Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Become Fully Human and Triple Your Pleasure!

Our unKnown Friend poses the question, "Does not the very idea of movement -- biological, psychic or intellectual, it does not matter -- presuppose an affirmative impulse, a conscious or unconscious 'yes,' self-willed or instinctive, at the basis of all movement that is not purely mechanical?"

Indeed, if this cosmic Yes were not at the basis of things, then "universal weariness and disgust would have long ago put an end to all life." Nor would it have been the last bloomin' word of Ulysses ("yes I said yes I will Yes") or the last word of the penultimate paragraph of OCUG ("A Divine child, a godsend, a touch of infanity, a bloomin' yes").

Yes, it reminds me of something Bernard Lonergan wrote of the distinction between man and animals, and how Darwinism is powerless to account for it (another example of the truism that the intellect explains Darwinism, not vice versa; which is not to say that the latter is wrong, only incomplete, for if it were complete, we couldn't know it).

"[I]t is only when [animals'] functioning is disturbed that they enter into consciousness. Indeed, not only is a large part of animal living nonconscious, but the conscious part itself is intermittent. Animals sleep. It is as though the full-time business of living called forth consciousness is a part-time employee...." (in Spitzer).

Spitzer continues: "When animals run out of biological opportunities and dangers, they fall asleep. When you stop feeding your dog, or giving it affection and attention (biological opportunities), and introduce no biological dangers (such as a predator) into its sensorial purview, it will invariably fall asleep."

Human beings could hardly be more different, for we not only respond to biological opportunities -- i.e., food, sex, and government handouts -- but to intellectual and spiritual uppertunities. At least some of us.

What this means is that the cosmic Yes that unKnown Friend posits as the basis of non-mechanical movement, shades off into the patently non-mechanical domains of intellect and spirit, or knowledge and truth. And the Spirit moves where it will.

Another way of saying it is that animals, outward appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, have no slack. For example, we have a Great Dane who, when food, walks, and affection are not in the offing, is asleep. That amounts to about 23 hours a day, and sleep is not slack unless one places it in the greater context of slack as such.

Conversely, look at what humans do with slack -- which is pretty much everything: "when human beings run out of biological opportunities and dangers, they frequently ask questions, seek purpose or meaning in life, contemplate beauty, think about goodness (or imperfections) of their beloveds, think about unfairness or injustice and how to make their situation or the world better, and even think about mathematics, physics, philosophy, and theology -- for their own sake" (ibid).

The operative phrase is for their own sake, which is synonymous with a stance of disinterestedness. Thus, ironically, animals are only capable of "interestedness." When there is nothing of biological -- which is to say, Darwinian -- interest, the animal goes into energy conserving mode, like your computer.

Only human beings awaken to an interesting world of disinterested interest -- which is the only possible approach to truth, since truth is only sullied (or Sullivaned) by desire, fear, ambition, etc. Ultimately this results from the fact that the intellect as such is of the substance of truth, and only like can know like.

Now that I think about it, virtually all forms of mental illness have as a central feature a lack of movement, or a "stuckness" about them (or else a kind of meaningless agitation that goes nowhere). For example, when someone is depressed, it is not just that they are sad -- everyone has their moods -- but that they are in a kind of static, heavy, and occluded state of mind. There is no movement. Or, if there is movement, it's all arbitrary. Nothing is any better or worse than anything else. There is no convergent meaning, as everything goes "flat."

Let's take another example, the pathological narcissist. The narcissist typically develops a "false self" or "as if" personality to negotiate with the outside world. While he will use people to prop up and mirror the false self, in reality, there is no deep exchange with others, i.e., no L (love) or K (knowledge) link.

Rather, the clinical narcissist uses people in order to maintain a kind of static equilibrium, so as to avoid intolerable emotions, in particular, shame. In other words, the narcissist may outwardly appear to have a strong ego, but it is actually quite brittle. The very purpose of his narcissistic defenses (i.e., the false self) is to protect the unthought true self from an emotional catastrophe.

But such a person slowly dies from within, because if one cannot suffer pain, one cannot suffer pleasure. In order to maintain the closed system, the narcissist also closes himself to real love, which causes the soul to wither from within. He eventually dies of his addiction to the false mirroring he craves.

When people hear the term "narcissism," they often think of it in terms of physical attributes, but it can equally apply to the intellect (or to any other positive attribute, for that matter). Academia is full of "brilliant" people whose intelligence has been hijacked in the service of their narcissism, the result being that their minds eventually become closed and therefore no longer susceptible to real organic growth (vs. a kind of mechanical accumulation).

Obama's anti-science advisor, John Holdren, comes readily to mind, but one could think of hundreds of others.

In all forms of enduring psychopathology, portions of the personality can become sealed off, frozen, and autistic, and therefore highly resistant to change -- like giant boulders, or sometimes fine sand, within the soul. Other times it is felt as a kind of icy glacier. The underlying reality is essentially joyless because it does not flow.

Some people who appear to be open are actually tightly closed systems who are merely interacting with their own disavowed projections. One thinks of the mythifolkers who suffered through Bush Derangement Syndrome, and who now constitute the OWSers -- the rabble without a clue -- and their academedia sympathizers.

It's fascinating when you think about it, because these people are under the delusion that they are interacting with the outside world, when it couldn't be more obvious that they are really just trapped in their own absurcular errspace. To withdraw psychic toxins from George Bush and reproject them into "Wall Street" is just a case of new whines in the same battle.

And here is another key point: this state also brings a kind of pseudo-freedom that conceals actual enslavement to the projected object, from which the projector cannot escape. It reminds me of the Taoist principle that if you want to control a bull, just give it a large pasture.

In America, "freedom of speech" is precisely that large pasture, in which people are free to construct their own fences and define their own arbitrary psychospiritual limits, which then provide the subjective illusion of real freedom. But Raccoons -- by their very nature -- are very quick to identify these intellectual and spiritual fences, which we don't so much trespass as transpass. For us, a wall is a challenge, not a limit. Build one and we'll just stand on it to see further.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Of Moonbats & Moonshine: The Drunken Whinos of the Tenebriated Left

I have half a mind to imitate government employees and take a day off from pretending to work.

Which reminds me of something I once said about clinical depression. When one is depressed, it takes all day to get nothing done.

But seriously, I'm more than a little ambivalent about this MLK birthday business. My son attends a private school, but even he still had to spend last Friday learning all about racism. Problem is, he has no frame of reference, since his friends are of every colorition of the rainbow, and better yet, he doesn't notice. Hence the truism that if racism didn't exist, the left would have to invent it.

Because he has no awareness of race, he must first be made race-conscious, and learn that people are supposedly categorizable on the basis of skin color; and that some people hate others on the basis of this distinction.

But of course it makes no sense to him. To hear him explain it, we celebrate this holiday because brown kids can use the drinking fountain. Which isn't completely mangled, but what is the point of cluttering his head in this manner? In the course of a normal education -- which involves education of the spirit, quintessentially -- one would naturally arrive at the same conclusion, unless there is something fundamentally wrong with the Democrat-controlled educational system. But since when have Democrats ever not been obsessed with race?

File under Don't Get Me Started. Let's move on.

Continuing with the subject of the false Holy Spirit, the only way to guard against this is to first and foremost seek Truth, and then allow joy to be a byproduct. If one seeks first the joy, then one will become the sort of "intellectual drunkard" that is so popular in Europe.

There, tenebriated ginheads and leftist whinos are elevated to great authority, as if their opinions matter more than those of, say, a businessman, much less a coonical pslackologist. Here in the US we mainly quarantine these pests in state-funded looniversity bins, and otherwise don't take them too seriously.

Historically this has been one of the keys to our success, even preeminence. Only with FDR did the self-styled intellectual class begin having some real clout in government, and we can all see where it has led. No coincidence that our greatest presidents, Washington and Lincoln, were not impaired by college.

Secular intellectualism in any form is simply unsustainable. This is soph-evident if one simply pursues its first principles to their logical ends. There is always a day of wreckening for ideas detached from reality. For the United States, that day has arrived, and yet, there is still a 50-50 chance that the country will not pull back from the abyss and reclaim the keys to our printing press from this debt-addled president.

The "false joy" of the intellectual drunk is the intoxicated self-satisfaction of the narcissistic child, who needs others to mirror his greatness and to reassure him that he really is the center of the universe.

Now that I have a three and a-half year old (now six and a-half) who is at the zenith of his narcissistic joy -- not to mention a number of relatives from the world of post-education -- I have even more insight into the psychodynamics of the tenured, whose narcissism appropriates whatever intelligence they have been given, in the service of a joyous celebration of the self. Hence the adages, "publish the perishable" and "let the dead bury the tenured."

As unKnown Friend explains, the difference between dead and living truth is that the former is conceived in the false joy of intoxication, while the latter results in a kind of "sober joy." In turn, this joy "is the key which opens the door to understanding the Arcanum of the world as a work of art," because the joy is a result of a sort of inner harmony; or specifically, a "rhythmic harmony" between the inner and outer, above and below:

"Joy is therefore the state of inner rhythm with outer rhythm, of rhythm below with that of above, and, lastly, of the rhythm of created being with divine rhythm." Call it the Tao, if you like, for the essence of Taoism involves harmonizing oneself with these greater cosmic rhythms. Ignoring them will bring pain and disorder in one way or another.

Existence and life are a function of countless rhythms at every level of being. Interestingly, as we have discussed before, we come into the world in a state of "rhythmic chaos," so that the most important function of early parenting is to help the child internalize various rhythms, which will achieve physiological and psychological "set points" with regard to sleep, hunger, mood, self image, and eventually identity.

A mentally ill person will always suffer from some sort of dysregulation, say, of self esteem, or shame, or anger, or impulse control. The dysregulation results in chronic disharmony between inner and outer (not to mention self/other and above/below), so that they then have chronic relationship problems, or impasses in work and creativity.

In fact, my blogging -- for me, anyway -- is the result of an inner rhythm and resonance between various levels of being, that has now become "locked in," so to speak. It is not something I would have ever thought possible before I started doing it. But again, as UF says, this type of "living rhythm" is basically joy. Which in turn is why the primordial state of man and nature is one of joy: "that the world, in so far as it is a divine creation, is a kingdom of joy. It was only after the Fall that suffering became added to joy."

Now, one of the good & happy things about the Fall is that one may consider it as literally or as metaphorically as one wishes. My main concern is the mechanism through which the Fall repeats itself, and what we can do about it.

In the case of Future Leader, I will be watching very carefully to see that the Conspiracy doesn't get to him too early, before he has had the chance to stably internalize the celestial rhythms, which in turn become a spiritual touchstone for the remainder of one's life. Soon enough, the conspiracy will get its hooks into him and try to rob him of his slack. But with a good foundation, one can repel the pressures of the world, and retain one's ground of slack within the unmoved mover.

Some children are robbed of their slack so early in life, that it is very likely that they have no conscious recollection of it, of "paradise." Nevertheless, there will definitely be an unconscious recollection of deprivation of their birthright, except that they will then project it onto present circumstances.

Given the appalling level of parenting in the Islamic world, one must conclude that this is central to their chronic whining, victimization, paranoia, externalization of blame, homicidal rage, sexual obsessions, and bizarre combination of superiority and psychic brittleness.

But the same dynamic no doubt motivates the left-liberal, who imagines that mother government can make up for the Great Lost Entitlement of Infancy.

I have no doubt that this sad condition has only been aggravated over the past two or three decades, what with the rise of daycare, which results in so many children being denied their birthright and therefore looking for it in all the wrong places -- like the OWSers who are groping for someone to blame for the fact that they are lucky enough to be among the global 1% (HT American Digest).

In other words, unlike adults, the infant is entitled to his omnipotence, and if you fail to provide it to your infant, he will spend the rest of his life either searching for it (the victim) or imagining that he is its source (the narcissist). The former needs the psychic bailout of the breast; the latter imagines that he is the breast. President Obama is only the latest breast; his intoxicated cult members are the hungry mouths.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Don't Misconscrew Reality

We left off yesterday with a word of warning to those who would detach truth from the good and beautiful, or attempt to cuckold the Creator by presuming to steal his eternal mysteress Sophia.

Now, just as there are true illuminations from the Holy Spirit, "so there are intoxications from the spirit of mirage," which our unKnown Friend calls the false holy spirit. Referring to the Holy Spirit as "false" is slightly oxymoronic, but you get the point -- like "false god," or "prophet of atheism," or "liberal messiah."

Here we are dealing not just with Maya, but with the dark side of Maya -- who is, in the negative sense, the power of "cosmic illusion," but in a real and positive sense (switching gears for the moment to a Vedantic terminology), the Creator's divine consort, or Shakti, the latter of which means conscious force.

For our purposes it is somewhat analogous to Gregory Palamas's important deustinction between God's energies and essence. We have access to God's energies but not his essence. We may have a front row seat, but not a backstage pass.

Thus, the energies are not, strictly speaking, "God," but then again, what else are they? They occupy a kind of middle ground that is not dissimilar to what is called the "transitional space" in psychoanalytic parlance.

Culture, for example, takes place in this uniquely human transitional space. Looked at one way, culture is "outside" human beings. But where else could culture be, if it isn't inside humans? Remove the humans, and there is obviously no culture at all.

Thus, culture is a kind of human projection into this transitional space. We all live "in" culture, even though it is ultimately in us. Like Maya it is the nurturing matrix and the devious matricks, the generative womb or the submagical tomb.

Just so, Maya is a kind of divine projection into the world sensorium, for lack of a better term this early in the morning. She is the vehicle of both exile and re-union, depending upon how one looks upon her form, i.e., with lust, love, or lovelust.

Maya embodies the garments over the void, in the absence of which there is only void. Thus, as we say in coonspeak, she always reveils, which is to say, simultaneously veils and reveals. Way it is. There is nothing under that veil but another veil, or, alternatively, nothing.

Maya/Eve has both a mother and lover dimension, which relates to reality and appearances, respectively. To fall in love with appearances is to exclude the possibility of a cosmic family re-union.

Thus, the God-Mary conception is the antidope to the Adam-Eve misconception, the latter of which involves an unholy and scattered matterimany of ego and appearances, which gives birth to the little big god -- AKA the human beastling -- and the false holy spirit.

This is all covered up in a much more obscure manner in pages 6-19 of the bʘʘk, so I won't rebeat that particular horse.

unKnown Friend outlines the criteria for distinguishing between the true and false holy spirit: if one seeks only "the joy of artistic creation, spiritual illumination, and mystical experience," it is ineveateapple that one will "more and more approach the sphere of the spirit of mirage" and become increasingly seduced and hypnotized by her charms. Been there, done that.

BUT, if one first seeks for truth in the above referenced activities, one "will approach the sphere of the Holy Spirit" and open more and more to its influence, which brings with it an entirely different mode of joy and coonsolation, for it is in no way egoic.

Rather, it tends to reverse the forces that result in either hardening or dispersion of the local ego. Call it a "soft and supple center," which is none other than the divine slack and d'light immaculate that gently illuminates "Toots' Tavern," where it is always "happy hour," or the tippling point between appearance and reality.

Again, appearances can be a window or wall, a fiery sign or neon mirage. unKnown Friend discusses the nature of mirages, which are not the same as hallucinations, as they are rooted in something that is "really there" -- as when the asphalt up ahead on the way to Vegas looks "wet," or when you think you can beat the house once you arrive there.

But the mirage is a sort of "floating reflection of reality," which is nonetheless one step removed from it. And this is indeed the problem with what most people call "truth," especially scientistic truth, which floats atop reality like... like some kind of small thing floating on a much bigger thing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Evil is Necessary in a Cosmos that Isn't, but Woe to the Man who Messes with Sophia!

Is it possible that Truth, Love, and Beauty could have their "dark sides," so to speak?

Properly speaking, no; or perhaps yes and NO. For just as light casts a shadow, Truth seems to entail the lie (for the converse could never be true, and lies are obviously all around and often in us).

I am sure this is why Jesus said in the presence of his nonplussed audience, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." Is this an argument against Jesus' divinity? No. Only the wrong kind of divinity, i.e., monophysitism.

Jesus' strictly orthoparadoxical formulation is somewhat of a self-tautology (for he was omschooled), like saying, "nothing is true but Truth alone." But it goes to the ineluctable fact that everything in the realm of manifestation or creation is more or less distant from its Principle or Creator, hence the existence of lies, evil, ugliness, etc. Thank God we can never measure up, otherwise we couldn't measure at all!

Only a fool or a downright decent person asks why there is evil in the world. Infinitely more mysterious is why there are good (or beautiful, or honest, or loving, or virtuous) people to ask the question.

To put it bluntly, evil is necessary (but not permissible!) in a cosmos that isn't. Thus, why do you say I am bad? Nothing is bad except separation from the Creator. All other sin is both unoriginal and derivative.

In other words, if the world were necessary and not contingent, evil could be readily explained without recourse to the Creator. Nothing would be a mystery, even though man couldn't know it. If good didn't exist, we would never puzzle over why things aren't.

But to ask "why is there evil?" is to implicitly recognize the priority of the good. No animal asks this question. Or perhaps only animals, depending upon the depth of their disingenuousness. Either way, in the absence of God, evil is pure illusion anyway, just a projection of animal fear and desire. Only an implicit theologian even asks the question. A true atheist or consistent Darwinian wouldn't waste a second puzzling over it.

But the world is creation, therefore "other" than Creator. It is this essential otherness that brings out the naughtiness in things. And the only cure for otherness is the "link" or bridge of love -- although love manifests in the forms of truth, beauty, and goodness. To deny these latter transcendentals is to pull up one's cosmic drawbridge and live in a dark and silent tomb.

For example, seeing my neighbor as myself overcomes the "otherness" between us, and therefore all of the falsehoods that tend to fill that intersubjective space: envy, paranoia, jealousy, aggression, etc. Love your God. And love the stranger. If I am not mistaken, this would be the essence of Torah.

To put it another way, as we have discussed before, the first five Commandments are "vertical," and govern man-to-God relations. The second five can be thought of as their horizontal prolongation in the world, governing man-to-man relations. The first five emphasize the closeness between man and God. This closeness, if it is "real," will result in solidarity with one's fellow man. In Jesus, this closeness between man and God is "perfect."

But it is a mistake, I believe, to emphasize the Godhood and not the closeness, for in a trinitarian metaphysic, the closeness is God, so to speak. In the above wise crack, Jesus is, among other things, counseling against idolatry.

"The dark side of the good" can also occur as a result of an imbalance or absence of harmony -- the over- or under-emphasis of a principle that can become "less than true" if stripped from its total context.

For example, let's talk about the dangers of beauty. I would say that on the whole, men are more aware of this danger than women, being that women are the primary danger.

Yesterday Mizz E left a comment that speaks to this subject, a "Decalogue of the Artist" as articulated by the Chile Bowl cook-off prize winner -- or possibly Chilean Nobel Prize winner, I forget -- Gabriela Mistral. For example, You shall love beauty, which is the shadow of God 
over the Universe. Note the word shadow. Yes, beauty is "divine light," but not divinity itself, for that way lies idolatry:

Each act of creation shall leave you humble, 
for it is never as great as your dream and always 
inferior to that most marvelous dream of God 
which is Nature.

Here's how our unKnown Friend explains it: the good severed from the beautiful "hardens into principles and laws -- it becomes pure duty."

Likewise, "the beautiful which is detached from the good... becomes softened into pure enjoyment -- stripped of obligation and responsibility." This is the "art for art's sake" of an aesthetic hedonism that soon becomes luciferic at best. Mistral:

You shall create beauty not to excite the senses 
but to give sustenance to the soul. And You shall never use beauty as a pretext for luxury 
and vanity but as a spiritual devotion.

"The hardening of the good into a moral code and the softening of the beautiful to pure pleasure is the result of the separation of the good and beautiful -- be it morally, in religion, or in art. It is thus that a legalistic moralism and a pure aestheticism of little depth have come into existence."

On the one hand, you can have the clenched religious type without joy or art (or, conversely, with a joy and art that are equally kitsch), who co-arises with his shadow, the increasingly antisocial artiste who has become more or less detached from objective truth and virtue (or, conversely, becomes a tedious purveyor of political correctness as a substitute for truth and decency).

Soon enough beauty slips down the wayslide as well, so that art no longer even justifies its existence, for man has no cosmic right to produce ugliness. Or, he is always free, but never at liberty, to be such a thugly assoul. We have all heard the expression "shit masquerading as art," but this is only possible because there are shitheads masquerading as artists.

You will recall that when the Creator enjoyed the First Weekend after six loooooong days of creation, he said to himsoph, it is good. For Sophia was light there withim as he drew that *circle* on the face of the deep (Proverbs 22). Which is why this beautiful creation is infused with so much inexhaustible -- and beautiful -- truth. Which is none other then the Divine Light in all its metaphysical transparency.

So, the arcanum of The World is here to offer a gentle warning to those who would mess with the Creator's woman, because she is your sister (Proverbs 7), not your wife. So back off before you commit the oedipal crime of the ages.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Shooting Real Bullets at Invisible Targets

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. --Schopenhauer

But because we can't see it, we can confuse the genius with someone who just wildly misses the target, which pretty much explains most contemporary art and more than a little scholarshite. More on which later.

Speaking of invisible targets, this post was written from slightly beyond itself, from somewhere over the subjective horizon, so if it fails to hit the cʘʘnseye, please shoot the messenger and unknot the message. If you can see it, genius!

Frankly, I always try to bewrite from just over yonder, because that's the only way to ensure novelty and to laissez le bon timelessness roulé, pardon the English. (How does one say "timeless" in French, besides Jerry Lewis?)

Where's the bloody fun in repeating oneself? If I had wanted to do that, I would have become a Nietzschean and sought the eternal retenure of academia. Out of all the blogs out there, I believe only One Cosmos always cranks the ho-ho-holy blather up to elevenure, every day, 24/7/365/∞. Or it used to, before we stopped posting on weekends.

We left off yesterday with a comment about the need to develop that part of ourselves that is capable of perceiving beauty. Just as thoughts need a thinker, beauty needs the subtle eyes, ears, and hands of the soul to appreciate and create it.

And just as in thought, it is a circular -- or spiraling -- process, in which the end product feeds back and catalyzes the the whole innerprize.

It's autocatalytic, to use the technical term -- which, in a certain sense, is just another word for LIFE. And life without beauty wouldn't and couldn't be, for reasons we will explain. But first, Schuon (read deliberately -- don't be skimbag!):

"Art has a function that is both magical and spiritual: magical, it renders present principles, powers and also things that it attracts by virtue of a 'sympathetic magic'; spiritual, it exteriorizes truths and beauties in view of our interiorization, of our return to the 'kingdom of God that is within you.'

"The Principle becomes manifestation so that manifestation might rebecome the Principle, or so that the 'I' might return to the Self; or simply, so that the human soul might, through given phenomena, make contact with the heavenly archetypes, and thereby with its own archetype."

Do you see the circularity, the autocatalysis?

Circularity: The Principle becomes manifestation so that manifestation might rebecome the Principle.

Autocatalysis (which prevents it from being only a circle, but rather, a spiral): It exteriorizes truths and beauties in view of our interiorization, of our return to the kingdom of Godwithin.

Or, in schematic terms, God (↓) man. So that man might (↑) God. Or, even more simply, (↓↑).

In any event, how could such a sublime metacosmic process not be imbued with unutterable celestial beauty? That would make no sense at all.

In turn, this is why, as Eliot observed, our end precedes our beginning, and we may travel 'round the cosmos only to return to the beginning and know the place for the first time. And this blog aspires to be the area rug, or Big Chief Crazy Quilt, that pulls the cosmic room together.

Zero, point, line, circle, and repent as necessary.

Excuse me?

Just indulge, me okay? Play along with my theometry!

The Father is 〇.

The Son is •.

The Holy Ghost is (↓↑).

Please note that the black fire of the dot is written on the white fire of the unKnown Godhead, while the arrows are the smoke and flames, respectively. Where there is "holy smoke," the flames of agni cannot be far above. Thus the "agni and ecstasy" referred to on page 16 of the bʘʘk.

The involutionary movement from essence towards substance is also the movement of "the center toward the circumference" and "unity towards multiplicity" (Perry).

Nevertheless, the center is always there at the periphery -- hence God's immanence and the resultant sacredness of the world; and the unity is always in the multiplicity -- hence the possibility of the recollection of both union and unity, at anytime and anyplace. Except < fill in the blank -- create your own joke! >

Now, as our unKnown Friend writes, the self-beclowning materialist or scientistic jester are kinda'

"like the reader of a manuscript who, instead of reading and understanding the thought of the author, occupies himself with the letters and syllables. He believes that the letters wrote themselves and combined themselves into syllables, being moved by mutual attraction, which, in its turn, is the effect of chemical or molecular qualities of the ink as 'matter' common to all the letters, and of which the letters and syllables are epiphenomena."

Of this, we say: And you pay good money to have your children indoctrinated to this death cult? For that is a target one can only hit in one's sleep, and can never reach if one is awake.

[B]eauty stems from the Divine Love, this Love being the will to deploy itself and to give itself, to realize itself in 'another'; thus it is that 'God created the world by love'....

All terrestrial beauty is thus by reflection a mystery of love. It is, 'whether it likes it or not,' coagulated love or music turned to crystal, but it retains on its face the imprint of its internal fluidity, of its beatitude and of its liberality...

Swish! Nothing but neural net.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thoughts without a Thinker and Beauties without a Soul

Okay, there is a superabundance of great beauty in the world. But what is beauty? And how did it get here? Was it here before Homo sapiens arrived on the scene? Or is it only a meaningless projection of human sensibilities? But how did we get those sensibilities?

Well, whatever it is, we know that it was here before us. For example, when we look out into a starry starry night, we register events from millions of years ago, with light that has been traveling billions of miles in search of eyes to see it.

It reminds me of Bion's adage that thoughts are prior to the thinker, and that it is necessary for the thinker to come into being in order to think the thoughts. Otherwise the thoughts are all over the place, with no center and no coherence, like the Democratic platform.

"Beauty is a crystallization of some aspect of universal joy; it is something limitless expressed by means of a limit" (Schuon, emphasis mine). In this formulation, beauty is both the container (which Bion symbolized ♀) and contained (symbolized ♂).

Thus, beauty may be understood as a kind of explosive force within a limiting boundary (oops! a dirty world), but both of these are orthoparadoxically necessary in order for beauty to be presence (or presence to be beautiful). You need both ♀ and ♂ to create a baby. We refer to this as the "cosmic beauty-call."

In a painting, the boundary, or container, is the canvas and frame; in a poem, the meter or rhyme scheme; in a song, the rhythm, harmony, and melody; in a play, the stage. Remove the "limiting boundary" and there is no way to even perceive the work of art, because it is not set off from the rest of reality.

Note also that this explains how the work of the true artist "spills over," beyond the confines of its container. It is somewhat like the phenomenon of "headroom" in audiophile lingo. If you want to get the best performance out of a good pair of speakers, you need to have much more power than they technically require.

In my case -- at least since I splurged on a new Luxman integrated last year -- I barely have to turn up the volume in order to power my speakers. The distance between this and the full capacity of the amp is the "headroom." A less powerful amp will still power the speakers, but you will be able to detect the "strain" at high volumes.

I suppose it's a little like acceleration vs. speed. A Porsche and a Pinto can both travel 90 mph, but one of them is going to show the strain, like this metaphor. In fact, my first car was a Pinto Wagon, and its engine blew up at 40 mph. Literally.

There are a handful of singers who are instantly recognizable for the amount of headroom behind their voice, for example, Van Morrison, Sinatra c. 1950 to 1965, Ray Charles c. 1953-1961, Aretha c. 1966-1975, Howlin' Wolf almost anytime, Roy Orbison. There is so much power behind their voices, that it's always a little shocking. Inferior singers have to work to reach the same place, but you can always hear the strain. (I also think of Louis Armstrong's insanely powerful playing in the 1920s. So much force!)

It reminds me of something someone once said about Shakespeare: his writing must have come easily to him, because if it didn't, it would have been impossible. In other words, no amount of mere struggle could have achieved such an aesthetic grace.

As it pertains to the world -- well, first of all, let's see you create one! Even if you could, it would require straining all your abilities to the breaking point, to put it mildly. But the vast cosmic headroom between Creator and creation explains how so much beauty is effortlessly cranked out, with plenty of power in reserve.

The world is apparently the boundary, or frame, around God's canvas. This would explain how it is that when we are in the presence of a great natural wonder, we are always aware of the implicit power beneath the beauty. We call this intuition "awe."

Now, as our unKnown Friend explains, the idea of the world as a work of art is implicit in Genesis, being that existence is a result of a creative act. In my opinion, so-called creationists focus way too much on the inevitable result of the act, rather than the act itself, the latter of which constitutes the very source and essence of creativity.

While the boundary is necessary in order to see the painting, you don't go to a museum in order to admire the frames. Rather, they should become "invisible," so to speak, and be there in support of the "explosive force" within them. Just so, the world-frame always overflows with the unique stylings of its profligate Author.

In this regard, it is critical to bear in mind that the cosmogony of Genesis is an essentially vertical, not horizontal, one. When Genesis says "In The Beginning," it really means in the beginning of the eternal creative act that is always happening now and which sustains the cosmos.

This is not merely an eccentric Bobservation, but standard Thomistic philosophy. "In the beginning" refers not to the temporal beginning, but to the atemporal beginning, or the beginning of time as such -- which "flows" from (and back to) eternity. It is the metaphysical, not the physical beginning , i.e., the "big bang." The vertical bang of which we speak is neither "big" nor "small," since there is nothing to compare it to. In fact, it's not even a bang. Just.... O.

Therefore, as Aquinas knew, "God is necessary as an uncaused cause of the universe even if we assume that the universe has always existed and thus had no beginning. The argument is not that the world wouldn't have got started if God hadn't knocked down the first domino at some point in the distant past; it is that it wouldn't exist here and now, or undergo change or exhibit final causes here and now unless God were here and now, and at every moment, sustaining it in being, change, and goal-directedness" (Feser).

In short, the "first cause" is above, not behind. But because it is above, it is necessarily ahead, which is in turn why the present cosmos is the "shadow" of its final fulfillment: "I am Alpha and Omega."

Similarly, as Perry observes, "from the cosmological perspective, creation is a progressive exteriorization of that which is principially interior, an alternation between the essential pole and the substantial pole of a Single Principle."

Again, of the two, essence is the more interior, and therefore takes priority. Essence could never be derived from substance alone, which is one more reason why it is absurd to insist that consciousness could ever be derived from matter.


Oh yes. Petey would like to remind us that this is one of the points of the obscure phrase "One's upin a timeless," at the beginning of the book. It refers to the Creator's eternal activity. Translated into proper English, we might say something like "the One is always present up there in the timeless creative beginning that always is."

In any event, just as we must develop a thinker to think the thoughts, we must cultivate the soul in order to apprehend all the beauty. If you can both think and create -- or even appreciate their work -- you're roughly halfway home in this halfway house.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Where there's Holy Smoke there's Celestial Fire

We've completed all but one chapter in our three-month meditation on Meditations on the Tarot. With all that behind us, we have a pretty good sense of what we are. Now it's time to shift gears and find out what the world is.

Naturally, we tend to conflate the world with our characteristic way of knowing it, but it is always "more" than this or that point of view, something the materialist seems constitutionally incapable of appreciating.

I mean, who can disagree that the world is composed of matter? But only matter? C'mon. Who says so, a tenured rock? And if that is the case, why are there university departments other than geology?

All historical periods have their share of stupidities, man being what he is. The danger in ours -- because it is spiritually fatal -- is to regard the world as nothing more than a reflection of our lowest way of knowing it.

Just because the world may be known scientifically, it hardly means that it is nothing more than the material object disclosed by science. If this were the case, the world would be too simple to account for the existence of even the most simpleminded materialist.

Think about it for a moment: we all know that it is wrong to treat a human being as a material object. This is an example of our intrinsic morality, something we cannot not know unless we have attended graduate school. The rest of us know that a person is infinitely more than a sackful of meat, blood, and bones.

Nor is man a statistic, a socioeconomic class, a sexual orientation, a tax bracket, or a race -- for these are all just neo-Marxist elaborations of the same sick idea -- but a person, a unique and unrepeatable individual with his own inviolable interior.

A person necessarily includes materiality while always transcending it. Our true identity could never be a function of any materialist doctrine, if for no other reason than it unfolds through time, and cannot be unambiguously given in space, as can a material object. (And even that is no longer accurate, since the quantum world consists of vibrating patterns of energy flow, and vibrations necessarily require time.)

Back to our last arcanum, The World. It is indeed no coincidence that this is the last word and final card, for the sum total of our previous meditations should begin to facilitate an ability to regard the world as a work of art, with all this implies.

Now, intellect is to truth as will is to virtue and love is to beauty. It's quite simple, really: Truth is what we must know and be; good is what we must nurture and do; and beauty is what we must love and create. Now, grow away and sin no more.

Being that beauty is the splendor of the true, there is a deep and abiding connection between truth and beauty, or knowledge and art, for surely art is a way of deeply knowing beautiful truths about the world that are inaccessible to science per se (although, as we all know, aesthetics enters science through the side door, for example, in the beauty of mathematics).

More than any other theologian of whom I am aware (with the possible exception of Balthasar), Schuon has the deepest understanding of the role of beauty in the cosmic economy. He said many brilliant things about the subject, but here are a few, conveniently taken from a book that is soon to be republished, Echoes of Perennial Wisdom:

"The cosmic, and more particularly the earthly, function of beauty is to actualize in the intelligent and sensitive creature the recollection of essences, and thus to open the way to the luminous night of the one and infinite Essence."

In other words, essence is opposed to existence as substance is to form. Just as the function of man's intelligence is to discern between appearance and reality, the function of the aesthetic sense is to discern between form and essence, the latter of which is always more inward, whether it is hidden in a poem, painting, musical performance -- or in the world itself.

In ether worlds, the latter has an inner ethereal essence that reveals itself in the mode of formal beauty -- which is why this ineffable divine beauty is only everywhere.

I noticed a trivial example of this the other day while out mountain biking. The bike trail winds through "virgin nature," which, for reasons that are indeed mysterious, is essentially always beautiful -- even the random patterns of rocks strewn about always seem "just so," as if carefully arranged by a Japanese painter or landscape artist.

But along the trail I saw a piece of broken concrete. I have no idea how it got there, but it didn't belong. Frankly, it was ugly, and was obviously out of place. It was an aesthetic error, which, when you think about it, is an interesting way of putting it, for it again emphasizes that there is surely truth in beauty, and therefore the possibility of error.

Schuon: "Beauty is a reflection of Divine Bliss; and since God is Truth, the reflection of His Bliss will be that mixture of happiness and truth which is to be found in all beauty.... The beauty of the sacred is a symbol or a foretaste of, and sometimes a means to, the joy that God alone possesses.... Sacred art helps man to find his own center, that kernel whose nature is to love God.... The sacred is an apparition of the Center, it immobilizes the soul and turns it towards the inward."

Yes. Just as truth is a reflection of the "divine light," beauty bubbles over with the divine joy.

Our beautiful unKnown friend writes that "the world is fundamentally neither a mechanism, nor an organism, nor even a social community -- neither a school on a grand scale nor a pedagogical institution for living beings -- but rather a work of divine art: at one and the same time a choreographic, musical, poetic, dramatic work of painting, sculpture and architecture."

Now, what if man actually subsisted in the bloodless and desiccated world of scientistic fantasy, devoid of intrinsic beauty? In addition to being an "impossible world" -- existence as such being an exteriorization of the divine beauty -- our very lives would be a cold and joyless task, like removing the Guy Ritchie tattoos from Madonna's wizened hide, or being married to Harry Reid.

Well, that is all I have time for this morning. Must get ready for work. To be continued.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Quinquagenarian

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a waltblog trundling down the digital highway and this waltblog had a passage by Franklin Merrell-Wolff which elaborates on what we were saying yesterday about manifesting one's destiny or becoming oneself, which you'd think is unavoidable but it is:

"I find that, as the days go by, there is a re-organization and consolidation of life about a new center. The thrill of new Awakening, that at first so dominates and sweeps personal consciousness, gradually becomes a quiet steadiness on a level of new confidence. I cannot say I feel any regret for the old life. I do not find any inhibition that would restrain me from dipping into any phase of old experience if I desired and found it convenient to do so. I do not feel the restless urge for outer adventure that formerly I felt so strongly."

The thing about real spiritual growth -- like any real growth -- is that it brings changes that one wouldn't necessarily have willed, any more than, say, a pre-pubescent child wills puberty.

Or, to paraphrase George Costanza, just when you get used to puberty, here comes middle age and all its attendant changes. I was finally comfortable with being uncomfortable with myself, and now I'm back in high school again, a freshman quinquagenarian. Hope I don't get hazed by the sextagenarian, septuagenarian, and octogenarian stalemen!

Likewise, sometimes, or perhaps usually, spiritual change can be rather disorienting, as the old interests that once oriented oneslife "drop away" and one reorganizes around a new center. This "unexpectedness" is one of the hallmarks of real change and growth -- a kind of seal of authenticity -- and it is again the exact opposite of that which is typically promised by the new agers and integralists, such as this appalling gobshite:

Look at that scheming visage. Would you pay cash money for used or even new karma from a guy like that?

If one attempts to will spiritual change from below, one generally ends up with a bloated and vainglorious ego, not any kind of genuine spiritual transformation, which requires surrender and then acceptance, even resignation, not to mention trials, pop quizzes, and a final exam, before anything is accomplished, let alone It.

But if you know ahead of time that you will simply be granted whatever your wretched ego desires, what kind of change is that? This will not redeem the ego, but further harden it by fostering the illusion that it can have perfect happiness on its own terms, in its spiritually fallen state. Schuon expresses it well:

"We must tend towards Perfection because we understand it and therefore love it, and not because we desire that our ego should be perfect. In other terms, we must love and realize a virtue because it is true and beautiful, and not because it would become us if we possessed it.... One must realize the virtues for their own sake, and not in order to make them 'mine'.... Moreover, it is not we who possess a virtue, it is a virtue which possesses us."

A state sponsored (via PBS) schlack peddler such as Dyer would be out of business if he spoke the dire truth, which is more like Ask not what God can do for you, but what you can do for God. Dyer is practicing the satanic arts (I mean that literally, not in a polemical or insulting manner), in that he is simply employing such commonplace modes as seduction and hypnosis over the spiritually untutored and unchurched, who will believe "anything." Like Schuon, he would sell few books if he were to convey hard spiritual truths such as

"Much is said about the subtle illusions and seductions which lead the spiritual pilgrim astray from the straight path and provoke his fall. Now, these illusions can only seduce him who desires some benefit for himself, such as powers or dignities or glory." But he who "seeks nothing earthly, so that he is indifferent to being forgotten by the world," "such a man possesses true poverty and nothing can seduce him."

This is what I meant the other day in my comment about being "beyond cynicism." These vulgar atheists imagine that they are the cynics, but I went through that phase by the time I was ten or eleven years old. To put it another way, people like Dawkins and Harris, or ex-people such as Hitchens, are speaking from and to ten year old rebellious cynics. Done there been that.

Me, I'm am also beyond nihilism, as I've circled back round to the great Nothing-Everything that is its source and ground. For "In true poverty, there remains only existence pure and simple, and existence is in its essence Being, Consciousness and Beatitude. In poverty there remains nothing more for man than what he is, thus all that is" (Schuon).

It is not that matter or sensation are shunned -- perish the thought! -- but that our priorities are straight, and we have the proper balance between inner and outer, celestial and terrestrial, I and Thou. The point is not to deny the exterior, but "to remove oneself from its seductive tyranny" (Schuon). In real spiritual transformation, the inner takes precedence over the outer, through which the latter becomes "enriched" in a compensatory manner. The converse can never occur -- that is, enriching your exterior will never result in an interior transformation of the spiritual substance, only in a dying sack of tool's gold which you'll be forced to take with you.

To put it another way, you cannot will your destiny, at least until you have truly recognized it. And even then, once it is recognized, one mainly senses it in subtle ways, such as a sense of "being on the right track."

I would compare it to a kind of vehicle that is guided by a nonlocal morphogenetic field. It is like trying to learn how to steer within this nonlocal field, and one must be quite sensitive to do this. I imagine it is somewhat similar to how certain animals have an interior guidance system that allows them to migrate back home, only transposed to a higher key. We all have this spiritual homing device as part of our standard equipment, but it is not like a two-dimensional map, much less a linear train track.

This oming deivoice allows us to apprehend ever so subtle indicators that our idiom is near -- in abook, aperson, amyth, avision, adaydream, anobject, anandithing. It is as if we project it slightly ahead of ourselves, and respond to the projection. To have "no direction" is the quintessence of the spiritually alienated state. One of the most painful consequences of the hellhounds of clinical depression and anxiety is that they rob the person of spiritual direction, and therefore meaning.

On the other hound, depression can be a sort of "divine gift" if one uses it as an occasion to reclaim one's spiritual destiny and get back on the right track. Indeed, I would imagine that most Raccoons have at one time or another been shown their fate in the form of depression, despair, meaninglessness, etc., which was then a jumping off point for rediscovering their destiny.

The fated person, as Bollas writes, "is fundamentally interred in an internal world of self and object representations that endlessly repeat the same scenarios," and "has very little sense of a future that is at all different from the internal environment they carry around with them. The sense of fate is a feeling of despair to influence the course of one's life." Not for nothing is Groundhog Day considered one of the more profound spiritual parables ever to make it to film.

"A sense of destiny, however, is a different state, when the person feels he is moving in a personality progression that gives him a sense of steering his course." It is as if the future is able to "reach back" or down and touch the now, whereas the fated person is trapped by the past reaching forward and strangling the present:

"Instead of feeling the energy of the destiny drive and of 'possessing' futures which nourish the person in the present and creatively serve to explore pathways for potential travel, the fated person only projects the oracular" -- by which Bollas means the oppressive and mystifying voice of the dead and unalterable past. As a result, they "repress" their own living future, as it is just too painful to contemplate what might have been if only it could have been.

Sometimes, such a person will wallow in their fate as a way to compensate for the loss of their destiny -- like amor fati, minus the amor). Here again, one thinks of the victim culture of the left. But this is a real sin, for man has a right "to suffer from an injustice in so far as he cannot rise above it, but he must make an effort to do so; in no case has he the right to sink into a pit of bitterness, for such an attitude leads to hell" (Schuon).

Mother.... prays now, she says, that I may learn in my own life and away from home and friends what the heart is and what it feels. Amen. So be it! Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race. --Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Restless Brain Syndrome and the Quest for the Perfect Word

My mission here -- in case you're wondering -- is to help scattered members of the vertical diaspora discover their destiny and thereby reclaim the slack that is their cosmic birthright. For the rest of you unrepentant assouls, there's nothing I can do but irritate you. But even that would be enough for me, since my needs are few and my amusements simple.

The inalienable slack of which we speak is yours to keep and enjoy, even if it has been stolen, squandered, or given away. In a certain sense slack is all you have, but what you do with it is another matter entirely. Slack isn't just time, but time well spent -- which means that it purchases, or perhaps ransoms, something or someone.

America's founding generation risked all -- their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor -- to prevent Great Britain from yoinking our slack, and in order to establish a new empire of slack on earth.

But that was hardly the end of it. For example, we had to fight a seevil war against internal slack thieves who imagined that certain categories of human being weren't only entitled to nøslack, but that their own slack depended upon this theft.

It is no different today with the misguided OWSers and other radical leftists who imagine that retrieving their missing slack is somehow dependent upon stealing the slack of some other arbitrarily defined group. They absurdly call these targets of hatred and envy the "one percent" -- as if the latter have somehow stolen all of the slack for themselves!

But I would be willing to bet my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor that I have more slack than most of these so-called one percent. How can this be? Well, for starters, I don't fritter away my slack by sitting around at organized temper tantrums and complaining that I have none. If that is how you choose to dissipate your slack, don't blame people who choose different means to waste theirs. Unless being the CEO of Home Depot is your idea of fun. In which case, go for it!

Wait. Isn't slack just some dollar figure? And isn't there a finite amount of dollars?

Please. This is like saying that homelessness is caused by a shortage of inches and feet. If we could just distribute more rulers and tape measures to contractors, they can start using them to build houses!

You don't see Korean or Vietnamese immigrants risking their lives to make it to America, only to complain after they get here that all the slack is gone. Why? Because they appreciate slack and know how to use it. Indeed, if not for state sponsored racial discrimination, most of the students in the UC system would be Asian.

Now, spending time among the tenured is not my idea of slack, but what business is it of the state to say that only a certain percentage of Asian Americans are permitted to do so? I couldn't care less if every victim of tenure were Asian, any more than I would care if every deli owner were Jewish. So what? As long as I'm not forced to read academic drivel and can get a good pastrami sandwich, I'll be happy.

In a free society such as ours, slack theft is usually an "inside job." In short, it is a result of mind parasites, the internal saboteurs that covertly appropriate our destiny and subject us to fate.

Thus, there is Fate. And there is Destiny. Although often used interchangeably, they are actually -- for our purposes, anyway -- opposites. You might say that fate is the destiny imposed by the dead hand of the past, while destiny is the fate opened up by our living future. Allow me to explain.

The term "destiny drive" was coined by Christopher Bollas, and is discussed in his book Forces of Destiny. However, he's really just reframing established psychoanalytic ideas and presenting them in a more modern theoretical context. Plus he's an excellent writer, which is a rare commodity in the humanities and subhumanities.

The context just alluded to regards the mind as intrinsically intersubjective and "object related," as opposed to being more like a hydraulic machine driven to discharge instinctual tension. To put it another way, man's primary motivation is always relationship, not instinctual pleasure. Yes, we seek the latter, but ideally in the context of the former. The alternative is what we call cosmic ønanism, or he with no shedonism.

(Of course, in our world this ultimately derives from relationship to and with O, whereas psychoanalysis is a secular enterprise that is often hostile to religiosity. The former view has long been recognized, for example, by Augustine, who said something to the effect that our souls don't rest in peace til they rest in God. This is just another way of saying that anything short of relating to the Absolute, the ultimate principle, will cause restless brain syndrome.)

Now, the question is, how does the true self actualize and undergo development, or deveilop in the wondergrowth? Bollas's thesis is that it is through the discovery of one's unique idiom, which you might say is the signature of the true self: human idiom is that peculiarity of person(ality) that finds its own being through the particular selection and use of the object. In this sense, to be and to appropriate are one.

(And "idiom" is not limited to language, music, painting, etc., but can be anything through which we express our true self. For some people, their life itself is the idiom of expression, even if they leave no recorded traces of it. Parenting might be an example of this. My son has become my idiom in ways I had scarcely -- or only -- imagined. No him, no me!)

In other words, you might say that the true self is a preconceptual logos, or nonlocal clueprint, that must discover those objects it requires in order to elaborate itself and "live." In this regard, Bollas says that the self's idiom is "akin to a kind of personality speech, in which the lexical elements are not word signifiers but factors of personality."

There is no real being in the absence of this articulation of one's idiom, only a kind of paradoxical "negative being," i.e., ø, which is very close to the patent nonsense of e-i-e-i-ø.

Or, to turn it around, when you cannot articulate your idiom, your life will feel somewhat like a prison, whatever the outward circumstances. For example, many feminists choose to live this way, because it is less painful for them to imagine that the bars of their prison are outside their minds.

Recall what we said yesterday about the centrality of liberty, because I've forgotten already. Oh, right: in the absence of liberty, it is very unlikely that you will be able to discover your own unique idiom, which is again the key to the articulation of the true self.

Private property is a fundamental expression (and prerequisite) of liberty, and the most precious property is oneSelf (or we its, to be exact). But without secure private property, how can the self appropriate what it needs to speak its idiom? If those things are determined by the state, or by political correctness, or by scientistic fairy tales, the self is sharply constrained in its ability to find its real idiom.

You could also say that when you fail to find your idiom, you will feel as if you are haunted by a kind of fate that blankets your life, and from which you cannot escape. More on which tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

You're Not Special, You're a Jackass

First, an ironyclad point of orthoparadox: our thesis is that the normotic person is not normal in the cosmic sense of the term, i.e., in conformity to his nonlocal archetype. Rather, he has a pseudo-normality that conceals and oppresses a true self which has been developmentally stunted somewhere along the lyin'.

We are coming at this from a conservative classical liberal point of view, in which (to plagiaphrase someone) individuality is freedom lived. But one might just as easily reverse the terms and say: freedom is individuality lived. It should go without saying that you are only truly free when you are yourself. Otherwise, who is free? And for what?

What is freedom? The individual. What is the individual? Freedom.

However, freedom is not at all synonymous with an absence of constraint, which would immediately reduce to nihilism. Rather, genuine freedom is always freedom for. Thus, we may speak of the "yoke of freedom"; or, wisely crack that man is condemned to freedom (and to truth, which really rubs insalt to the injury).

Actually, we prefer "liberty," which is perhaps the second most important Raccoon macro-value after Truth. And in fact, you cannot have one without the other, for one must be free to discover truth, and truth is what sets one free; this is why the compulsory truths of, say, political correctness, or of reductionistic Darwinism, involve an intrinsic contradiction. To say that "I am a contingent assemblage of selfish genes" is to say that "I am a moron. Please ignore me."

You might say that Truth + Liberty = Authentic Being. Being that the left denies absolute or transcendental truth, we can have nothing in common with them. Or, we have in common a fallen self which we re-cognize and they don't.

And being that they believe in positive liberties granted by the state instead of negative ones protected by the state, there is again no common measure between us. In exchange for political power, the leftist substitutes for timeless truth the petty dictates of time-bound political correctness, which strangles the individual and nourishes the hardened collective ego.

Belief in permanent truths results in the ordered liberty, or "disciplined mischief," of the Raccoon. To deny them results in mere horizontal license, and in a system that cannot be sustained. To the extent that such freaks appear "unconventional," it it is in a blandly predictable and drearily conformist manner (the "herd of independent minds"). There is nothing individual, much less creative, about a Madonna and her legions of cultural spawna. She can only engage in a kind of reactionary parasitic "anti-normotic" illness that mimics actual creativity and true selfhood. How daring! Life reduced to one long wardrobe malfunction.

Most of these dramatic deviations and disturbances may appear to be signs of "empowerment," but are really just another form of psychic slave rebellion from a self that is the actual slaver. Bollas writes of how certain homosexual's "adornment in exaggerated representations of the subjective element can be a defiance of the normotic way of life. Where the normotic parent may have stressed 'reasonable' thinking, the homosexual may espouse the superiority of anti-reason. Where the normotic parent never tolerated the controversial, the homosexual may become perversely addicted to collecting controversies."

Bollas adds that compulsive sexual promiscuity among many homosexuals "has the character of a material phenomenon, and is in part an inverted representation of the normotic illness." Honest and self-aware homosexuals will know exactly what Bollas is referring to. The rest will feel victimized, which is to take a secret pleasure in participating in one's own auto-subjection. It is also abnormal, so you can't win. Or whine. Check mate.

If we take a godseye view and consider the world a work of art, the genuine artistic co-creator is an archetypal example of freedom lived, or of potential actualized, at least in the aesthetic sphere.

For example, in a banalogy I have used before, I am "free" to play the saxophone, but not in any meaningful way, unless I undergo the years of discipline it takes to transcend mere freedom and transform it into something higher. Although a cosmic master of sonic vibration is much more constrained than I am when he places the sax in his blowhole, those musical constraints -- or boundary conditions -- are precisely analogous to the intrinsic truths that allow oneself to ascend to its proper soul station.

Just so, to deny the intrinsic spiritual truths that in-form the soul is like trying to play the sax without harmony, melody, chords, rhythm, pacing, etc. But conversely, to only conform to these moral truths in a rigid, exterior way, without realizing and assimilating their inner meaning, can result in a superficially good and decent person, but still, something will be missing... *cough* romney *cough*...

That something is the true self. And for the true self, truth, virtue, and beauty fundamentally involve consciousness of a plane of reality, not conformity to a rigid exterior model. I don't just want my son to "be good." Rather, I want him to know, understand, and love goodness. Nor do I want him to take the easy path of the tenured, and merely obtain good grades without being intelligent.

Our essentialist idea of a true self parts ways with the existentialists in all their variety, who believe that the self is entirely self-made, so to speak. First of all, the true self cannot possibly be self-made -- any more than you could make your liver or kidneys. It is an organ, except that it is a multi-dimensional organ that transcends space and time, at least to a certain extent. But the fact that the self may know timeless truth proves that its ultimate source is outside time.

Like all other organs, the self requires time in order to reach maturity. But the function of the self is much more complex compared to, say, the kidneys, which mostly have the one task of filtering blood.

The self, on the other hand, has the ongoing task of metabolizing and synthesizing internal, external, past, present, and transpersonal experience into a higher subjective unity. This is why you might say that the self is man's first "hyperdimensional virtual organ," so to speak. It is just as busy as the heart or lungs, except that it accomplishes its feats in a higher space that obviously exceeds three or four dimensions (cf. the phenomenon of dreaming).

In turn, this is why the normotic personality may appear outwardly normal, even while living a life in which he systematically denies the sufficient reason for man's existence. From the human standpoint, it can never be "normal" to be a radical atheist or leftist, for both of these categories prevent man from discovering transcendent truth and becoming what he is -- from actualizing his real nonlocal potential.

Yesterday I mentioned the "destiny drive," which is to the self as final cause is to biology. Biology is incoherent in the absence of final causation, in that each organ obviously has a function to fulfill within the context of the whole, and failure to achieve this function is the very definition of pathology. In other words, we can only know about sickness because there is a thing called "health" (which with good reason is etymologically related to wholeness).

But what was the Self designed to do? Well, if you are a Darwinist, it is a moot question, because the self reduces to biology, which in turn reduces to physics, which has no purpose at all. This down-and-backward looking metaphysic hurls the self against the dead rocks of the cosmic past (HT Vanderleun), so it can actualize no intrinsically real future, i.e., destiny.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Slipping Through the Net of Normality: It's Always a Midwife Crisis

... now that we're down to just us three, we can finally get into the deeper stuff without fear of distortion and misunderstanding by all those other impenetrable readers. Good riddance! As long as I have an audience of One -- or multiples thereof -- that's all I ask.

Continuing with yesterday's line of thought: just what causes the tragedy of normality? You might say that it is the result of an immaculate conception, minus the conception part. Thus, it is a misconception. Except it isn't immaculate. A dirty misconception, I guess. A misbegotten bastard. Or, bitter yet, let's call it a postnatal abortion, because that's what it is -- unless, of course, man isn't subject to a series of births that constitute the totality of his life. But that would be absurd. We're all bornagain annagain annagain, 'til weewakes and our soily river finds its salty sea.

As Christopher Bollas explains, "it is striking how this person [the Normal] seems to be unborn" (emphasis mine). Such individuals -- and you all know at least one, probably more than one -- often appear to be "content and happy" on the surface, but are in fact "lost in the concrete," and therefore never make the full leap into what Bollas calls the "originating subjectivity which informs our use of the symbolic."

I hope that isn't too jargony, because Bollas is an exceptionally deep and lucid thinker who is as clear as it is possible to be in these dark maters. The takeaway point is that our originating subjectivity is prior to the symbolic (which is the realm of the Father). This flies in the farce of most contemporary thought, which essentially equates the two: in this metaphysic, we can have no stable or enduring essence, only a contingent bagful of symbols -- somewhat like an inescapable kaleidescope, in which a new image appears merely by rearranging the particles. While this is true of the tenured -- hence the compulsion to publish their ephemeral patterns -- it is not a general principle that applies to everyone.

Bollas goes on to say that since the Normal doesn't "perceive himself as a subject, he does not ask to be seen by the other," nor is he able to look deeply into the other. That italicized part is key, for these people have no conscious desire for true subject-to-subject contact. They cannot make real contact with themselves, and therefore, others.

But real contact always involves this two-way -- actually, three-way -- contact, consisting of knower-known-knowledge. Not only is it a kind of in-spiraling process, but -- as you might have anticipated -- none of the three can be radically separated from each other. They are siblings, as it were -- triplets.

This can be formulated in various ways. For example, it is a true Ism and Usm that knowledge of others is limited by self-knowledge. Indeed, we can go beyond this, and affirm that knowledge of anything is limited by self-knowledge, because if one doesn't even know what the self is, why should we care about what it pretends to know? And I'm talkin' to you, Charles Rhesus Darwin!

(As we've mentioned before, one of the reasons the Constitution is so durable -- why it amounts to "political scripture" -- is that it is rooted in a sober and accurate assessment of that scoundrel, human nature. Which is why job one of the left is to attack human nature as a means to change the plain meaning of the document.)

We can also look at it from the other angle, from the perspective of the known. This is one of the ways faith operates, in that it involves acceptance of truths that have the effect of shaping the knower, and saving him from all manner of potential falls. This type of truth is like the yeast in the bread, or better, the pesticide in the rathole of the skull.

In the past, we have discussed how rapidly one may determine the intersubjective depth -- or crapacity -- of the other, which will be felt as an almost physical constraint one cannot get past -- or, alternatively, a kind of expansive and liberating space. The latter type of relationship is quite literally a blessing, and in fact, the first blessing is the infinite com-passion of the m-Other, who reaches into us as we reach into her. It is within this fertile space that we are subjectively "con-ceived" (or in which our potential subject is first actual-ized).

Yesterday I cited the example of Tristan's friend, whose mother is slowly driving him insane. To be in her presence is to confront a wall -- a wall which her son will have to try to somehow get beyond later in life, by which time the damage will have been done. His growth will be stunted until he can have an intimate bond with an other who can relate to who he actually is. As things stand, his mother only relates to what she projects into him, which will be internalized as a bad and rejected self. Such a person will have difficulty loving others, because he will want to protect others from his bad and unlovable self.

The real tragedy is that in order to adapt to this kind of parent, the child must excise parts of himself, so that he too becomes a psychic stillborn.

Luckily for me -- although it was painful at the time -- I was consciously aware from an early age that my parents mostly interacted with an image of me instead of the actual me, and I think this is what saved me. Had I not been aware of this empathic failure on their part, I too may have met the fate of the unborn. Or, let us say that I suffered only a partial birth abortion, in that part of me survived the procedure and was able to resuscitate the rest.

Here is how Bollas describes it: "At the most fundamental level, the normotic was only partly seen by the mother and father, mirrored by parents whose reflective ability was dulled, yielding only the glimmer of an outline of self to a child." This is an example of something that is as deeply problematic as, say, the need to vaccinate all children against various diseases. But because it is in the realm of the subjective, no one really talks about it. Obviously, it is not as dramatic or visible as material deprivation, i.e., mere exterior poverty. Imagine a UN commission on the interior poverty of children. You know, since they've done such a good job with material poverty.

In terms of psychospiritual development, the problem is that "neither of the parents is inclined towards the celebration of the child's imaginative life." And when they do enter play, it has a kind of covert sadism that terminates the play and brings the child back to reality instead of further into imagination.

When the parent fails to respond to who the child actually is, the unrecognized parts become "negative hallucinations," or "not there" particles that float aimlessly around the psyche in search of being. Then, when the child reaches adolescence, he is suddenly thrust into "the horrifying dilemma of being unable to symbolize his pain." Predictable consequences follow, because the homeless pain will soon enough incarnate via the sexlink.

Surely you have been witness to an aggravating soul murder? As I've mentioned in the past, we've already lost friends because we not only allow but encourage Tristan's natural inclination to use imaginary guns to shoot real bad guys. With relish. To deny a boy his manly aggressiveness is a psychic castration. One may try, but the aggression won't just magically disappear; rather, it will return in a disguised and dysfunctional form. Imagine someone like a Keith Olbermann or Howard Dean or Paul Krugman, who just bristle with a kind of toxic, infantile rage. These shrill bullies are emblematic of the "new castrati" (as Vanderleun dubbed them), who make up for in hysteria what they lack in male logos. They are always "premenstrual," which is why they cannot conceive themselves and we must bear them.

There is a "dialectic of death" between the normotic parent and child, which results in suppression of "the creative expression of the inner core of the self." Bollas says he doesn't fully understand "why some children give in to such a family atmosphere and become normotic, and why others do not."

But psychology is not deterministic, nor can we account for the workings of grace. While most children are traumatized in varying degrees by abuse (both positive and "negative" abuse), some children seem to emerge unscathed. Conversely, some children are just so temperamentally sensitive that they are crushed by the most benign empathic failures on the part of the parents. Others are born with such a robust "destiny drive," that it seems that nothing can stop them from becoming what they were meant to be. Other people can be blessed with what looks like abundance and become nothing, like so many victims of graduate school.

Here is another subtle point that I am sure is accurate: "I think it is highly likely that the children who give in to the normotic element perceive in the parents' way of being a form of hate that we might conceptualize as a death instinct." It is not necessarily the case that the child feels hated by, or hatred for, the parent. Rather, "it may be more accurate to say that the child experiences the parents' attack on life itself, and that such a parent is trying to squeeze the life out of existence."

Bollas suggests that perhaps the children who escape normotic parents "find a way to be mirrored even if the parents are not providing this." I believe this is what happened with me. I found other models that served this mirroring function, and in looking back on it, I can see that it clearly wasn't a chance phenomenon, at least not totally.

That is, my unborns were looking for particular exemplars to assist in their own birth. A fair number of people have testified that this very blog you are now reading or more likely ignoring has been instrumental in helping to bring their unborns into the world, and for that I am profoundly grateful. Didn't Socrates consider himself to be nothing more than a humble midwife? So if anyone feels spanked along the way, that's why. Nothing personal. We just want you to breath the celestial air.

I am passing out. O bitter ending! I'll slip away before they're up. They'll never see. Nor know. Nor miss me. And it's old and old it's sad and old it's sad and weary I go back to you, my cold father, my cold mad father, my cold mad feary father, till the near sight of the mere size of him, the moyles and moyles of it, moananoaning, makes me seasilt saltsick and I rush, my only, into your arms. I see them rising! Save me from those therrble prongs! Two more. Onetwo moremens more. So. Avelaval. My leaves have drifted from me. All. But one clings still. I'll bear it on me. To remind me of. Lff! --From the last paragraph of Finnegans Wake, which, if it means what I think it means, well...

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Tyranny of Normality

Is there anything else we need to say about The Fool before moving on to The World? Yes, I think so. In The Spiritual Ascent, Perry discusses divine madness, the seeming mindlessness of many of those "who have transcended the purely rational faculties."

The Creator himself must be crazy -- or at least out of his mind, in the sense that, in order for there to be an independent creation, it must be relatively separate from him. In this foolish way of looking at things, there is a "fall," so to speak, within God, from being to existence -- or perhaps from beyond-being to being, i.e., the apophatic to the cataphatic God, or Nirguna to Saguna Brahman.

This was the opinion of no less a gnut than Meister Eckhart, who observed that "God's idiosyncrasy is being" (quoted in Perry) -- Being being the first exteriorization, or precipitate, of the creative Godhead beyond being. Which is why, as Plato expressed it, "the madness that comes of God is superior to the sanity which is of human origin."

Now, typically, it is the extreme bhakta -- the God lover -- who most exhibits the symptoms of divine madness -- weeping, pining, carrying on. But the way of the Raccoon is to filter that same madness through the jnanic, or contemplative, temperament -- which results in the sort of irritating linguistic post-normality you have come to expect from Dear Leader. Rules of grammar, or spelling, or sentence construction -- well, we just don't care. But we always break the rules from above, never below. Like the fashion-conscious dapper Dan, it is acceptable to break a rule, so long as one is aware that the rule is being broken.

If one regards culture as a sort of boundary -- a necessary boundary, by the way -- anyone who does not stay within the lines will be regarded as an outlaw, a retrobate, a moron, or a fool, irrespective of whether they fall below or above its expectations. The One Cosmos troll, for example, suffers from a nasty case of chronic, even terminal, normality. A Normotic Personality Disorder, if you will.

As a matter of fact, back when I myself was hoping to join the ranks of the normies, I considered publishing a paper on this topic, because it is something one routinely encounters in clinical practice, not to mention day-to-day life. In a certain sense, to be "normal" is to be partially dead, unless one is aware of the fact that one is only behaving normally in order to "pass." In Coonspeak, "if you're not eccentric, you're wrong." But we do not necessarily advertise our eccentricity in the wrong circles. That's not proper madness, that's just stupidity. Why act the fool with people who'll just think you're nuts?

Perry cites the example of Omar Khayam, "whose wisdom clothed in frivolity is opposed to Pharisaism clothed in piety." Or, as Schuon put it, "if religious hypocrisy is possible, the contrary paradox must equally be so." In other words, if we were to pretend to be normal, we would be a rank hypocrite.

The psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas coined the term "normotic personality," which might very well describe the anti-Coon. On the one hand, therapists routinely deal with patients who are limited by a weak sense of reality.

But just as often -- actually, more often -- one encounters people who, as Winnicott expressed it, "are so firmly anchored in objectively perceived reality that they are ill in the opposite direction of being out of touch with the subjective world and with the creative approach to fact" (quoted in Bollas; keep this in mind when we discuss the next arcanum, The World).

Bollas elaborates on the concept, describing "a particular drive to be normal, one that is typified by the numbing and eventual erasure of subjectivity in favor of a self that is conceived as a material object among other man-made products in the object world." Hence, the oft-mentioned spiritual autism of our scientistic jester -- and all such jesters who, ironically, are "anti-fools."

You might call it a "blank psychosis," in that, instead of positive symptoms -- e.g., delusions, hallucinations, etc. -- these people have only negative symptoms that are characterized by their absence. As a result, a person who has these non-symptoms will be the last to gnosis, since they are "not all there." In order for them to become sane, they must first "go crazy."

As Bollas writes, the normotic person may enter therapy because "they are unable to resolve that psychic pain which derives from the annulment of internal life. They are usually aware of feeling empty or without a sense of self, and they seek analytic help in order to find some way to feel real or to symbolize a pain that may only be experienced as a void or an ache."

Notice that in order for a person to feel real, they must live in the very opposite of what most people take to be "reality," that is, the objective or material world. One can also understand how this type of person could be prone to various forms of addiction and pseudo-addiction as means to gain a spurious sense of freedom and subjective reality -- to escape their cramped prison for a while.

Speaking of which, because of the intersubjective magic of counter-transference, when you are in the presence of this kind of individual, you will notice that they cannot help psychically infecting others with a kind of persecutory banality. This is the real reason why newspapers and TV news are so odious to the Raccoon. Can you imagine anything as stultifying as having, say, Rachel Maddow, or Keith Olbermann, or Katie Couric, instruct you on the nature of reality -- i.e., what is "important" and how we should interpret it? Whatever else the MSMistry of Truth is, it is a hell of pure banality.

Katie Couric is no doubt normal. But it is strictly insane for such a person to "feel good about herself." Her first step toward recovery would be to feel as repulsed by her banality as we are. In other words, in order to get well, she must first make herself sick.

"A normotic person is someone who is abnormally normal. He is too stable, secure, comfortable, and socially extrovert. He is fundamentally disinterested in subjective life and he is inclined to reflect on the thingness of objects, on their material reality, or on 'data' that relates to material phenomena." Tell him that a child needs a mother and father, and he'll say "show me the data." Tell him that "homosexual marriage" undermines the basis of civilization, and he'll say "show me the study."

The normotic personality has a particular affliction that prevents him from appreciating the irreducibly poetic, analogical, and symbolic nature of reality. Instead, they project their own psychic deadness into the world, and then insist that the world is as dead as they are. In turn, they re-introject what they have projected, which, psychically speaking, amounts to eating rocks and expecting to be nourished.

This is one of the reasons irreligious people often worship at the altar of art, because they idealize the artist as someone who has escaped this trap. I know people whose houses are filled with expensive art, but whose heads and hearts are full of kitsch. As Bollas says, "such an individual is alive in a world of meaningless plenty."

What makes the normotic person such a burden to be around is that they cannot help treating you in the same manner they treat themselves and their world. As a result, to bear their presence is to have to live outside the full spectrum of your own psychic life. You know what it's like to have to be around people who cannot possibly make contact with you. Since they cannot resonate with, or conform to, reality in all its richness, in order to get along at all, you must conform to them and their little reality tunnel. This is especially tragic for children who must amputate the greater part of themselves in order to cope with their normotic parents. Tristan has a friend whom it is painful to be around, because his mother is slowly sophicating him.

The normotic person lacks genuine introspection, and even has a kind of automatic defense mechanism that deflects such inquiries. Bollas: "Such a person appears genuinely naive if asked to comment on issues that require either looking into oneself or the other in any depth." It is frustrating to deal with such a patient, because they constantly bring the subjective back to the objective, from interior essence to exterior circumstance.

Such a person may outwardly appear "unusually steady and strong." But outside their comfort zone, they soon betray their shallowness, whether it is in a discussion of art, religion, film, literature, whatever -- anything that requires subjective depth, i.e., soul.

The normotic person forecloses the Mystery and reduces reality to the superficial laws and regularities he is capable of comprehending with his object-mind. But what person with a minimal amount of education can't shoot down the imaginative and mythopoetic formulations of exoteric religion with a kind of rigidly applied profane logic? What's the point? Why not pick a fight with a God who is not one's own puny size?

Look at the childishly literal manner in which the radical atheist interprets revelation -- as if transcendence is a thing, of all things! The figurative accounts for the literal, not vice versa, otherwise the celestial message would be trivial. But instead of going off the deep end, the self-enclosed atheistic believer goes off the shallow end, head first. Which, if it strikes the concrete bottom, may result in paralysis from the heart in and ego up. Or drowning in a few inches of water.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cool Fools and Foolish Tools

All of a suddenlike we're down to dealing the last two cards from the bottom of our deck of Meditations on the Tarot. This series began on October 5, which also marked the six year anniversary of the blog. This will be post #1853 for those keeping score, not counting a couple hundred that have been tossed overboard the Knowa's Arkive on account of being unfit for eternity.

This is good timing, since it means we can start off the new year with a new subject, the substance of which has not yet been revealed to us, if ever.

And this might be an appropriate time to thank readers for using the Cosmic Love Box and other links to amazon, for which we receive a modest kickback when you pull the trigger on a purchase of any kind. Do feel free to spring for that tropical island you've had your eye on, or even this understated Diamond Cluster Fancy Necklace for only $116,849.00. After all, Valentine's Day is right around the corner, not to mention MLK's birthday!

But seriously, you should know that 100% of the paltry proceeds from amazon are plowed directly back into the blog, in that they are mostly used to gamble on books that I would otherwise h-h-hesitate to purchase if I were frittering away my own funds. But since it's "house money," I can venture far afield, which every once in awhile pans out in terms of providing healthy blogfodder. This also provides an invaluable service to you cosmic explorers, as I am able to serve as an advance scout in hyperspace, letting you all know when a seductive little path turns out to be a disappointing nul de slack. In short, I do it all for you.

What kind of fool would do that? A wide-eyed fʘʘl, that's who!

Now, where are we? I mean temporally? Yes, we are "now," just as we are "here," but where is this now in relation to the totality of time? According to our unKnown Friend, "the trial of our epoch is that of Faust. It is the trial of the satisfaction of desires." How very true. But what does this have to do with the Fool?

[A brief sidebar -- just yesterday I read an intriguing comment by Samuel Beckett, who was discussing the Vico-dian temporal structure of Finnegans Wake, which takes us from necessity to utility, convenience, pleasure, luxury, and then abuse of luxury. Is not contemporary western man veritably dissipating in his own abuse of luxury? If not, why is -- are? -- the majority of "poor" people so fat? And why do they have widescreen plasma TVs to park their fat asses in front of? What about the tattoos and other body mutilation? That stuff's not free, is it? I mean, before Obamacare kicks in?]

[And in no way is this intended to apply to the deserving poor, who constitute only a small minority of the Liberal Poor, loosely defined as "people who don't have all the stuff they want."]

[Note that in an absurcular cosmos, "abuse of luxury" comes back around to "necessity," which is one of the motive forces of the OWSers, whose main complaint is that their desires are actually needs which others are obligated to fulfill.]

In contrast, unKnown Friend writes that the fʘʘl "teaches the 'know how' of passing from intellectuality, moved by the desire for knowledge, to the higher knowledge of love." This is "related to the transformation of personal consciousness, where the self (ego) is no longer the author of the act of consciousness but its receiver."

I don't know about you, but this fool can relate to that. Whatever wisdom our little ego can muster on its own is so limited as to be.... well, følly to God, that's for sure. Or, as Rick said in a comment, "it must be grace, because I'm not that smart."

There are two principle ways of dealing with that boastful know-it-all, the (egoic) intellect. One is to jettison it altogether, a la Zen; or, it may be "placed in the service of transcendental consciousness," which is of course the Raccoon way. This involves "the active surpassing of the intellect," which is also a kind of sacrifice. For it is the "method of sacrificing the intellect to spirituality in such a way that it grows and develops instead of becoming enfeebled and atrophied."

This involves a marriage of opposites, "namely discursive intellectuality and illuminative spirituality," the former being male, the latter the female we call Sophia. It is "the union of human wisdom, which is folly in the eyes of God, with the divine wisdom" which is folly in the eyes of the tenured.

Surprisingly, this doesn't produce some kind of hybrid lowbred fool, but rather "a single wisdom which understands both that which is above and that which is below." Again, this is the way of the good ship Raccoon, if your aye-aye be single.

UF then goes into a discussion of scholastic philosophy, which nobly aimed "at an as complete as possible cooperation between spirituality and intellectuality," or the marriage of the sun and moon discussed a few posts back.

Our mission -- i.e., our fʘʘl's errand -- is to advance the progress of this union of spirituality and intellectuality, which is none other than the "philosopher's stone," or the legendary "ark of the Raccoon" that is supposedly stored away somewhere in Toots Mondello's basement, amidst the sacred bowling trophies and beer bottle collection.

UF explains the centrality of (n) vs. (k) in this endeavor, or of be-who over know-how. Again, the whole project only works to the extent that the tradition is alive and one's knowledge is living: "the tradition lives only when it is deepened"; mere "conservation alone does not suffice at all," as it can all too easily be reduced to a kind of glorified mummification. We are not embalmers. Nor is it like operating on a corpse.

Reminds me of something Schuon said: "When God is removed from the universe, it becomes a desert of rocks or ice; it is deprived of life and warmth.... the soul becomes impoverished, chilled, rigid and embittered, or it falls into a hedonism unworthy of the human state; moreover, the one does not preclude the other, for blind passions always overlay a heart of ice, in short, a heart that is 'dead'." (And this comes back to the "excess of luxury" which is needed by people so spiritually numb as to not notice the luxuries we take for granted, and what they're Good for.)

One must start with faithful reverence for the "heritage of the past," even while humbly bumbling to deepen and expand it. Since this verticalisthenic takes place at the innersection of the vertical and horizontal, it is always necessary to do the work of assimilating new "horizontal revelations" into Revelation as such, and working out their interior harmony. This is the fruit of "two faiths," of which Jesus is a quintessential archetype, that is, "the perfect union of divine revelation and the most pure humanism." To isolate one at the expense of the other is intrinsic heresy.

In fact, it is only because of this fusion that Jesus was uniquely able to combine a divine birth with a divine death, which is another thing entirely, isn't it? As UF states, prior to this, man "had only the choice between renunciation and affirmation of the world of birth and death," but now we may participate in its actual transformation, you know, one bloody fʘʘl at a time.

And it apparently renders death a kind of gnuclear fission instead of linear division, and initiates what we call God's "scorched birth policy."

The paradox of the human condition is that nothing is so contrary to us as the requirement to transcend ourselves, and nothing so fundamentally ourselves as the essence of this requirement, or the fruit of this transcending. --Schuon