Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Grow with the Flow vs. Upplication of the Will

Here is another vertical murmurandom from four years back and down the road, but it feels new to me, especially now that I have substantially edited and updated it. The editing ended up taking at least an hour, which is how long it takes to drive a new post into the ground anyway.

Reader Kahn the Road recently attended a ten day Buddhist meditation retreat, during which time he lived as a shut-yer-trappist monk and attempted to pull himself up by his own buddhastraps via "silence, dietary restrictions, no reading, writing, outside communications, etc."

Although he had a favorable impression, he was left with ambivalence about "the complete detachment required and the lack of room for a deeper spiritual understanding beyond reduction of the worldly experience to neutral throbs and tingles in the body." As such, "it didn't take long for me to realize that a serious Buddhist practice wasn't for me, although it is comforting to know that such a path is there."

"My question remains, however, how does one access the ever fine line between faith and complacency?"

First of all, I'm not sure if I'm qualified to dodge this question head on or just dance around it in a more oblique manner. In other words, even BS artistry has its limits.

What I can do -- or what anyone can do -- is treat the matter as a verticalisthenic exercise and draw upon the usual nonlocal theodidactic energies to guide us either toward the answer, or toward the conclusion that the question is too good to deserve a sudden death-by-answer.

Or, in plain lingo, we'll just plant the question in the old extra-conscious mind, then go about writing this post in the usual leisurely way in the hope -- or faith -- that any answers are somehow wefted into our warped perspective.

Because I've found that that is how life generally works, at least when it works. The thing is, you can pretend do everything in a "conscious" way, just as you can pretend that the world is analogous to a non-linear machine with no hidden variables.

But in either case you're still going to be subject to primordial powers (not to mention principalities) that are beyond the individual. In other words, the real world doesn't go away just because our soul has been captured, domesticated, and contained by some ideolatry, whether Darwinism, Marxism, scientism, whatever.

Unfortunately, this can sound like deepaking the chopra, but it really comes down to the upplication of the will, only with one's totality -- i.e., "all thy mind, heart, and strength," instead of just with one's surface ego.

To a certain eggstent it's a hatch 22, since this wingless flight involves "willing with one's totality," when the ability to do so would, in a sense, represent the final end of the spiritual ascent -- which is to say, to be one, or whole, or fully integrated, with no subterranean crosscurrents and mind parasites with agendas of their own: if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

Easy for I AM to say!

Again, people tend to denigrate the ego, even though -- back off man, I'm a psychologist! -- having a coherent and stable ego represents a significant developmental achievement for most people. This is why in the Wholly Bobble we noted that your typical folker is (•••), not (•). To live as (•••) means that one's I is not single, and that one will necessarily be at cross-purposes with oneself and thereby dissipate one's power. Conversely, one's share of the Power is magnified as one approaches the One (even while one becomes less identified with it, i.e., "thy will, not mine").

Furthermore, there is no way to "cure" this fragmented existential condition "from the bottom up," being that the "bottom" is fragmentation as such, while the "top" is where the Oneness abides.

Rather, real and enduring organization is ordered from the top down. To attain this would be to live in conformity with the divine will, or to see "thy will be done on earth (i.e., at the bottom) as it is in heaven (at the top)."

All spiritual paths involve 1) doctrine, and 2) method, AKA "reality and how to know it" (or, to be perfectly accurate, how to be it, or to combine Truth and Being -- which can only be separated in the human mind anyway, and nowhere else).

In Raccoon parlance, we say that it comes down to the combination of metaphysical or noetic know-how and spiritual or pneumatic be-who, but both are necessary to avoid error on the one hand, and hypocrisy or mere barren intellectualism on the other. The point is, we need to activate the Truth in order to make it efficacious in our lives, or to "set us free." Free from what? From lies, for starters.

Back when I was in graduate school in the 1980s, one of the first things I gnosissed about psychology was that, unlike, say, biology or physics, there is no organizing paradigm to make sense of it all. And to say that there is no organizing paradigm amounts to the same thing as saying that the science is in a primitive state. It would be as if physicists had no basic agreements, and just came up with hundreds of ad hoc theories to explain the appearances of things.

Now, tenured superstition notwithstanding, science is intrinsically spiritual, being that it too involves the reduction of multiplicity to unity.

Problems arise when scientists do this "within" their own narrow discipline, but not across disciplines (like a vertical plumline that unites them all), which is why, for example, there is no way for science to unify matter and life, or life and mind, or mind and spirit, even though we unproblematically do it every day by virtue of being alive.

This is where the Raccoon project comes in, as we can mischievously scamper across disciplines under cover of darkness (our "gnocturnal O-mission"), unlike the tenured, who work only by day, and who have no nightvision giggles with which to get the pundamentals right.

So the first thing I noticed about psychology was that it was clearly in a "pre-paradigmatic" state, with no one agreeing upon the fundamentals, let alone the details.

One of the reasons leftists have been able to come in and take over the field -- or why the patients have taken over the asylum -- is because the absence of a proper Popperdigm is an invitation to deconstruction, since there is no stable "construction" to begin with. The less coherent the paradigm, the more leftists are able to take over the discipline with "feelings" instead of proper thought. Hence their successful transformation of the humanities into the subhumanities.

Please note that when one is in the grip of a Feeling, that is indeed a kind of oneness, at least while the feeling lasts. For example, how long did the Obama-feeling last? I can't say, because I never had it.

Anyway, Bion noticed the same problem back in the 1950s. Even in psychoanalysis -- which is a subspecialty of a specialty -- there were dozens of sub-subspecialties, i.e., various competing theories not only trying to account for the same phenomena, but creating phenomena of their own, which is what a theoretical paradigm -- good or bad -- does.

In other words, to a large extent, percept follows concept; or to put it in the colloquial, "you see what you believe." Combine this with "never trust a fact without a good theory to support it," and you have a situation in which people essentially live in their own private Idaho.

Long story short, that's why Bion felt it necessary to develop an abstract system of symbols, or "empty categories," to apply to the subjective mindscape and to bring unity to an otherwise hopelessly fragmented field. Being that no one else was apparently going to do it, I merely adopted the same approach to the spiritual dimension. After all, we have Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc., all claiming to have adequate maps of the spiritual dimension, plus efficacious means with which to get there. They can't all be right... unless...

So you see, the problem again comes down to the relationship between language and spirit. However, unlike cutandry euclidian space, the space of the mind is "hyperdimensional," meaning that it has more than four dimensions. This applies both to psychological space and to the spiritual space of which it is a declension, or a lower dimensional projection.

This is a key idea, being that a realm of lesser dimensions cannot produce one of greater ontological dimensions, which is why it has always been understood by traditional metaphysics that the realm of matter is the final precipitate, or "crystallization," of the involution of spirit (just as the lower animals are a "projection," or descent, of the Cosmic Man, which is the only principle that makes sense of an otherwise blind evolutionism).

It is also why the "many" is located in the more material dimensions, whereas unity specifically abides at the top; the more we move up the evolutionary chain, the greater the unity. Man is the vertical axis that spans the One and the many, and he can obviously go in either direction, depending upon a variety of factors.

A spiritual practice is nothing less than the recovery -- one might say resurrection -- of unity -- which is to say, being + truth, in all their manifestations. The language of revelation turns out to be a form of symbolism that furnishes keys to knowledge of suprasensible realities, keys which are of the same "substance" as the eternal realm they describe. That's why they make for such nourishing and attractive meals.

Now, back to Kahn's question, which, as you might remember, I've purposely forgotten, or "un-Remembered," so as to allow nonlocal dental factors to chew on it: ""My question remains, however, how does one access the ever fine line between faith and complacency?"

Again, to become "whole" is to be organized "from the top down," or from the inside out. This is what we call O-->(n). The more one becomes whole, the more powers one has at one's disposal, for wholeness counters the dissipation and fragmentation of profane living. A Whole Person is always a powerful person, both as a cause and an effect. A Whole Person is also "charismatic," in that his words and actions will have an existential "heft," since they are not alienated from the fullness of Being.

So I suppose the question is, how does one achieve this wholeness without already having it? Again, I think it comes down to making a commitment on every level of one's being to making it so. I suppose, to a certain extent, I discuss this toward the end of my book, with the "Ten Commanishads and Upanishalts for Extreme Seekers."

I see there's even a helpful little summary on page 244: "In short..., the spiritual life involves making the transition from mindlessly willing for that which we uncritically yearn, to consciously yearning for that which we actually want (that is, enlightenment and liberation). In making this transition, it may appear as if our conventionally understood 'horizontal' freedom is diminishing, which is true. However, the point is to exchange it for a more expansive 'vertical' freedom that is relatively unconstrained by material circumstance, so that the old freedom is eventually regarded as a comparative enslavement."

Then what happens? Page 247: "Thus, in our properly oriented right-side-up universe, its unity and coherence are experienced from the top-down, in light of our source and destiny in the non-local singularity at the end of the cosmic journey." Blah blah blah, yada yada yada, I suppose you could say that the Buddhist paradoxically "cleaves through detachment" to the empty plenum, while the Raccoon has an unapologetic passion for wholeness and therefore eternal Being which, from downbelow, can look like a void, for the same reason that an abundance of light can render one blind.

Cosmic weather permitting, I'd like to discuss all of the above in the context of a book I recently read, Ages of the Spiritual Life, tomorrow or maybe Friday.

32 Comments:

Blogger Anna said...

Great post. Thank you. Timely. One of my favorites, yet! I realize it is a redo but it has a lot of freshness to it, or I do with regards to it.

7/11/2012 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

The thing is, you can pretend do everything in a "conscious" way, just as you can pretend that the world is analogous to a non-linear machine with no hidden variables.

Since I am supposed to be something of a software engineer, whenever a computer isn't working around the house, I get called. My wife will often say, "Why don't you just tell me how to fix it then I won't have to bother you?"

When I try to explain that I have no idea how to fix it, she thinks I'm dismissing her. But I do that all the time at work. Just yesterday we had a GUI that wouldn't show some menus. After dinking with it for twenty minutes, I "suddenly" knew what was wrong and had it fixed in 30 seconds.

7/11/2012 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

In making this transition, it may appear as if our conventionally understood 'horizontal' freedom is diminishing, which is true.

Andrew Murray called it "Absolute Surrender".

7/11/2012 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Mushroom - Yep. That reminds me of a time that I worked on an intricate hand-held wooden puzzle at a toy store where I once worked. It was at a back counter where you mostly just watch for shoplifting and help occasional customers, so I fiddled with it for about seven hours, in the free moments, and didn't solve it. The next morning I walked up to it and solved in one go, in a few minutes. I was already reading things like "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" and other books about that sort of thing, so it didn't surprise me, but it was interesting.

7/11/2012 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

-- I "suddenly" knew what was wrong and had it fixed in 30 seconds."

Yes, I think that any kind of genuine expertise involves the immediate or intuitive ability to grasp the "whole."

7/11/2012 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

GB - Ah... concur.

7/11/2012 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Which is precisely what atheists do not or cannot get about religion.

7/11/2012 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

or will knot.

7/11/2012 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Will not, I'd say.

My brother (atheist) thinks religion is simply a waste of time. The proper business of life is to solve the practical problems of physical existence and propel technological innovation forward. That is all. Anything "spiritual" is error and distraction.

He's not terribly reflective. In his terms, his CPU is entirely occupied with practical computation.

So he insists. Totally, willfully horizontal.

I've come to realize that this is a function of his concept of himself as essentially a being a "role," instead of being an actual person.

7/11/2012 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Magister, No offense to your Brother but it reminds me of something I read in Tomberg this morning regarding Commie Pinkos.

"Thus, the evolution of humanity brings forth technicians and engineers, not saints and sages. Human beings with technicial abilty are able to accomplish more in the fight for exsistence."

"Communists are believers in evolution and for this reason have no sense of creating truth, goodness and beauty as ends in themselves. Consequently, "truth" for them is what is useful; "good" is what is functional; "beautiful," what functionality allows to appear attractive."

7/11/2012 02:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm afraid most atheists "get" religion perfectly well.

7/11/2012 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

an amigo's reminiscence of
Nick Drake

7/11/2012 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Communism is Christianity without Christ. Both the Christian and the Communist believe in evolution with a direction, i.e., genuine evolution. We are moving to the Kingdom and the One New Man.

Like us, the Communists have an omega point. Unfortunately it appears to be more like a black hole or maybe a rectum.

7/11/2012 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

"Please note that when one is in the grip of a Feeling, that is indeed a kind of oneness, at least while the feeling lasts. For example, how long did the Obama-feeling last? I can't say, because I never had it."

The Obama-feeling is like a dull buzz.

Similar to static.

7/11/2012 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Taranto (first story) really nails the dynamics of why liberals are so out of touch with reality. His analysis is in accord with this book of essays by Voegelin I'm reading, in that the totalitarian mindset only recognizes their second reality, and refuses to acknowledge first reality. Which is why it is impossible to communicate or converse with liberals in an intelligible way, since they deny the only object of intelligibility.

7/11/2012 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"...it is impossible to communicate or converse with liberals in an intelligible way, since they deny the only object of intelligibility."

Heh - yes, just as today's Anonymous put it: they do "get" religion. One only has to look at the greens or the Obama worshipers to know how true that is. But they don't get O; if they did, they could not cling to their ideolatry.

Anna - I like the new pic. Your hair is so long!

7/11/2012 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Thanks, Julie! The ring is actually on my left hand (the picture is backwards). It is an Irish friendship ring with the heart facing inward... We'll see what happens... a slow-paced brew.

Re Voegelin - The little book I came upon (which was also discussed here a bit ago... which posts, I still hope to read) is tops! Take Ezra Levant and the commissioner and replace the scene with a contemporary philosophy professor and Voegelin. "Actually, no. It's not as you say. You just did violence to a section of reality (omitting it) to achieve that position." Those Ezra Levant videos of the Danish cartoon interrogation remain a permanent favorite for me.

7/11/2012 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Back when I was in graduate school in the 1980s, one of the first things I gnosissed about psychology was that, unlike, say, biology or physics, there is no organizing paradigm to make sense of it all. And to say that there is no organizing paradigm amounts to the same thing as saying that the science is in a primitive state."

Hi Bob- would you say that psychology is regressing to a more primitive state today, because most psychologists are leftists?

7/11/2012 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

This is where the Raccoon project comes in, as we can mischievously scamper across disciplines under cover of darkness (our "gnocturnal O-mission"), unlike the tenured, who work only by day, and who have no nightvision giggles with which to get the pundamentals right."

Aye, they're only concerned with sinbology. Seen with frightvision boggles. Such as Obamascare.

7/11/2012 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Of course, irt my question above, the advances in psychology made so far would'nt be erased for those who have ayes to sea.

However, actual breakthroughs have slowed down to a crawl from the looks of it, just like breakthroughs healthcare will slow to a crawl or stop if Obamascare ain't repealed.

7/11/2012 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Anonymous said...
"I'm afraid most atheists "get" religion perfectly well."

Your brilliance is like a candle in the wind.

7/11/2012 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

From Bob's Taranto link:

""Don't repeat conservative language or ideas, even when arguing against them."

That bit of advice, No. 1 on a list titled "The 10 Most Important Things Democrats Should Know," comes from the promotional material for "The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic" by George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling."

Yet more proof that democrats must be told what think and say to remain willfully ignorant.

No mention of metaphysic truth's like our Constitution.

Just an instruction guide that essentially says: "insert your left index finger in your left ear. Insert your remaining index finger (on your other left hand) in your other ear and say "la la la la la" as long and as loud as you need to, in order to drown out whatever conservatives say."

They go out of their way not to repeat anything that might bring reality within sight.

That way they don't hafta think about it, which is literally terrifying to them.
Illusion appears to be safer and more comfortable to them, although it is definitely not.

Besides, rethuglicans are evil, ergo, anything they say must also be evil.

7/12/2012 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Zombie's review of Chairman Lakoff's little book is solid stuff:

http://pjmedia.com/zombie/2012/07/09/the-little-blue-book-quotations-from-chairman-lakoff/?singlepage=true

In the comments, there's some good occasional verse by "Winslow." Excerpt:

I’ll be obscenely generous

With subsidy and stimulus;

To fund my drunken spending sprees,

The fat cats’ profits I will seize!

For those who fail, my heart will bleed,

But woe to those who dare succeed.

I vow to vanquish human greed –

To each according to his need!

7/12/2012 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ben: Like everything else, psychology has simultaneously advanced and regressed. It has advanced where science has a free hand to explore and innovate, but has regressed where leftists control the agenda of what it is permissible to perceive and discuss. Various interest groups -- e.g., homosexual, feminist, African American -- produce loads of bad scholarship while forbidding the good. Curiously, creationists have had nothing to do with wrecking science.

7/12/2012 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of which, there is more eternal psychological wisdom packed into Genesis than there is in the totality of leftist subhumanitarian drivel.

7/12/2012 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Anna - I was wondering how things were going, but didn't want to pry. Sounds - and looks - like slow is good :)

7/12/2012 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Magister - thanks for the Zombie link. I didn't have a chance to read it yesterday.

One thing that stands out to me re. The Little Blue Book is the assertion that Democrats are by nature more empathetic... followed by instructions to literally not hear nor acknowledge arguments made by one's ideological opponents, which is one of the least empathetic means of interacting with another human that I can think of. In fact, it is literally de-humanizing.

7/12/2012 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Come to think of it, "dehumanizing" pretty much describes the nature of virtually every liberal policy I can think of, as well. I'm sure that's in no small part due to the fact that they start by refusing to see the humanity of the other. All in the name of empathy, of course.

7/12/2012 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"... the absence of a proper Popperdigm is an invitation to deconstruction, since there is no stable "construction" to begin with. The less coherent the paradigm, the more leftists are able to take over the discipline with "feelings" instead of proper thought. Hence their successful transformation of the humanities into the subhumanities...“

Yep. Which is exactly how we've wound up with the sub humanities being the outer of our educational system. Unless you ' activate truth' in your life, if that is not the center, how can anything else be of value or interest?

If it doesn't gain you some tangible gain, or some raw stimulation... then it is and can be of no value to that particular sub humanity.

Ugh.

7/12/2012 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

... And only material of raw stimulation or political power can make the reading list. Homer? Simpson, maybe... everything else is just 50 shades of gray.

7/12/2012 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Julie said "Come to think of it, "dehumanizing" pretty much describes the nature of virtually every liberal policy I can think of, as well."

Yep, that's about what I was thinking.

7/12/2012 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Pseudo-science strikes again.


Using a new personality scale, researchers determine how people with certain personality types use social media websites. Heather Shoenberger, a doctoral student in the MU School of Journalism, found that those individuals who liked high-risk activity tended to update their status, upload photos and interact with friends frequently. Simultaneously, those individuals who were more reserved tended to merely scroll through Facebook's "news feed", and did not upload photos or actively engage with their friends frequently.

"The scale that we used is called the Mini-Motivation Activation Measure, or Mini-MAM, scale," Shoenberger said. "Using this scale, we were able to find a trend in the patterns of how people with certain personality types use social media. I believe this could really help advertisers and certain types of media groups target potential customers with particular ads on social media sites. For example, if a company wants to target a population for a high-risk activity, they should try to determine who is active on Facebook posting pictures and updating their status frequently."


This is not the most embarrassed I've ever been to be an alum. That would be the nationally televised "Harpo's Incident" during the Mizzou-'Bama game in '75. But it is in definitely top five.

A PhD in Journalism has to be right up there with a PhD in Education.

The Mini-MAMmary.

Why not just market to the pathetic, needy people and save yourself some time?

7/12/2012 06:51:00 PM  

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