Thursday, June 07, 2012

Revisionist Ontology: Seeing and Being Like a State

It occurs to me that the revisionist history -- and journalism -- of the left has a deeper purpose than to just indoctrinate, miseducate, and misdirect.

This is probably just another way of affirming the obvious, but the ultimate purpose is and must be to alter reality -- or at least the perception thereof. In a desiccated post-Kantian mindscape, the two -- perception and reality -- amount to the same thing anyway: you see what you believe.

Hence, for example, the left's absurd attempt to spin the Wisconsin election results as a great victory for Dear Leader. Does anyone not see through this?

Yes, as a matter of fact, there are millions who don't see through it, which means that there must be some kind of self-imposed screen which the recipient places over reality, and which prevents them from penetrating beyond the plane of spoon-fed appearances.

I am quite sure that the people at the top who come up with these preposterous talking points cannot possibly believe them. They're way too clever for that.

For example, I find it hard to believe that the people responsible for the manipulation of the Trayvon Martin case can be unaware of the reality. And yet, the false narrative continues to be successfully propagated despite the reality. This can only happen because the people at the bottom -- the manipulated -- refuse to believe and even see any fact that contradicts the narrative.

Similarly, people such as our longtime cyberstalker and left-wing errand boy, William Yelverton, seem to sincerely believe the spin. They are the shock troops -- or tools -- whose task it is to assimilate and propagate the meme. But in order to be truly effective, they must be swaddled in spin from the earliest age, and then for the remainder of their lives. The fruity isn't just spin-deep, but goes all the way to the bone.

In the overall scam of things, it seems to me that the cynics at the top are actually less dangerous than the rubes at the bottom. Take Clinton, for example. He is the very archetype of the cynical and disingenuous manipulator, and yet, people seem to enjoy being manipulated by his genial mendacity. While the hypnotized never lie, the hypnotists surely do. And there are millions more hypnotized than hypnotists.

Again, a revision of reality can't just occur on the surface. In order for it to really take hold, one must either see to it that the revision penetrates to the level of ontology -- of being -- or simply eliminate those deeper planes altogether, as in the case of deconstruction or multiculturalism, which reduce vertical degrees of being to horizontal perspectives of equal value.

In order to live in an unreal spin-zone, one's world must in one way or another become closed. Thus the need for godlessness, for only a godless world can be closed and only the ontologically closed can be godless. The fact that we are in the image of the Creator is the one and only guarantor of an open world (and, a fortiori, mind ), a principle of which our founders were miraculously aware.

Through this principle of deiformity -- or the Incarnation, if you like -- man is freed "from the ontological slavery with which Fate burdened him. The stars, in their inalterable courses, did not, after all, implacably control our destinies. Man, every man, no matter who, had a direct link with the Creator, the Ruler of the stars themselves.

"It was no longer a small and select company that, thanks to some secret means of escape, could break the charmed circle: it was mankind as a whole that found its night suddenly illumined and took cognizance of its royal liberty. No more circle! No more blind destiny! No more Fate! Transcendent God, God the 'friend of men,' revealed in Jesus, opened for all a way that nothing would ever bar again" (De Lubac).

But such disturbing ontological freedom just won't do for the state. Thus a new mythology was forged, in which man is cut back down to size and identified with material, economic, and cultural forces. There is no hole, no escape, no freedom, and certainly no Gods. Get back in that circle, slave!

For the state, God is a problem, not a solution. God is a competitor, not just for loyalty, but again, for ontology. The state sees you in a certain way, and is very much interested in you seeing yourself in the same constricted way. You must be abridged, and for a freedom-loving soul, that's abridge too far.

For example, when you say "community," the state would prefer you to say "government." When you say "charity," it wants you to mean "welfare." When you say "school," the state hears "left wing seminary." When you say "taxes," the state thinks "investments." And so on.

The state, of course, is not a person. But like any autopoietic system, from family to culture, it does exert a force on the people within it, pressuring them conform to its survival needs. This is one of the reasons a state employee like Scott Walker quite literally drives the statists mad. He drives them mad for the same reason a woman who loves -- and is loved by -- men drives feminists crazy. Such people are traitors to their class.

The state will do what it must in order to go on being. However, the options are quite different between, say, a liberal democracy and Syria. The Syrian state has no need to conceal its ruthless will to survive.

But a democracy must use more subtle means to control the populace. Over the long run, it attempts to create the kind of citizen it needs in order for the citizen to adopt the narrow view of the state. In other words, the state deploys a host of means -- rewards and punishments, whips and goads -- to create State Man.

It seems to me that Obama is our first president to be fully State Man, owing to his rise up the ranks of the racial spoils system and his complete indoctrination in left wing ideology, with no outside influences. Note also that even when he supposedly turned to Christianity, he chose the ontologically closed pseudo-form of black liberation theology, which encloses the person behind bars of Marxist materialism.

Obama has spent his life in this hermetically sealed -- and ontologically closed -- world, so it certainly appears that he is more hypnotized than hypnotist. Which is again why he is far more dangerous than, say, Clinton, who clearly doesn't believe half of his own bullshit, and is even working as a double-agent for the GOP to rid us of this dangerous true believer who doesn't get his own joke.

These state simplifications, the basic givens of modern statecraft, were, I began to realize, rather like abridged maps. They did not successfully represent the actual activity of the society they depicted, nor were they intended to; they represented only that slice of it that interested the official observer. They were, moreover, not just maps. Rather, they were maps that, when allied with state power, would enable much of the reality they depicted to be remade.... --James C. Scott

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Incarnating the Cosmic Person

Damn. I can't recall being this depressed about an election since 1990, when the Sandinistas lost.

I mean, if public employee union bosses can't forcibly extract dues to help elect politicians who will conspire with them in good faith to grow the state and loot the treasury, freedom as we know it is pretty much dead IMO. What's next, a war on organized crime? (I know, redundant.) An attack on the privileges of 1/00 Indians?

And what's with the left? Isn't it a little late in the game to issue death threats? Isn't that like the New Jersey Devils deciding to goon it up tonight, after the Kings hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

But as long-time cyberstalker and crackpot emeritus William Yelverton assures us, at least it was a good night for Barack. If nothing else, the results show the desperation of an increasingly radical right wing that thinks it can succeed by simply winning the war of ideas and trouncing the left in elections. That only works in America.

Speaking of infra-cosmic primates, back to Cosmic Humanism. Naturally, in order for there to be cosmic humanism there must be cosmic men and women. But what is a cosmic human?

I was thinking about this the other day.

Actually, that's not true. Rather, as usual, it just popped into my head. Only now am I actually thinking about it.

But it occurred to me that in order to qualify for the appellation, the human in question must be fully functioning in no less than four broad sectors, and possibly more if I think of them as we proceed.

I'm picturing two horizontal and two vertical areas. Thus, I suppose you could imagine a Cross with four quadrants.

We could say that the horizontal is an externalization of the right and left cerebral hemispheres, and their differing ways of perceiving and processing reality. To have access to only one would make us far less then human.

In human (i.e., non-neurological) terms, we might say that this ultimately redounds to the complementarity of science and art, or logic and emotion, or analysis and synthesis, or Spock and Bones (who are reconciled in the Kosmic Kirk). There are scientific men and there are sentimental men, but a cosmic man needs to be fully functioning in both sectors. Only then may he command the Innerprize.

No need to go into the latest research, but obviously there is much more appreciation these days of emotional intelligence and the manner in which emotion in general functions as a kind of high-speed information processing center. I would go much further than that. For example, we often talk about the implications of the Dreamer Who Dreams the Dream, Who is somehow able to, in the words of Grotstein, think and create in a manner

"that is beyond the capacity of conscious human beings.... [D]reams are, at the very least, complex cinematographic productions requiring consumate artistry, technology, and aesthetic decision making.... dreams are dramatic plays that are written, cast, plotted, directed, and produced and require the help of scenic designers and location scouts, along with other experts. The stage of the dream can be likened to a container or ground, whereas the play itself constitutes the content or the contained..."

So there is scientific genius and there is artistic genius, and though both are genius, the one can't be reduced to the other, because the genius is filtered through two very different modes.

The other continuum is vertical and extends from the unconscious (or infraconscious), to the conscious ego, to the supraconscious realms terminating in O. Emphasizing one end over the other is not the way of the Cosmic Man, i.e., Raccoon, who ideally wants to colonize as much space as possible between O and ø. "Know thyself" and all that.

In my opinion, modern psychoanalysis, rooted in neurodevelopmental attachment theory, does the most adequate job of mapping the lower vertical. The problem there is that it oversteps its rightful boundaries when it tries to usurp the egoic and trans-egoic realms, which has disastrous consequences for spiritual development.

For example, a psychoanalyst might interpret genuine spiritual experiences as being infantile in nature, thereby reducing O to some kind of wish fulfillment. Which no doubt happens.

In other words, there are clearly people for whom religion operates as a kind of primitive magic. Snake handlers come to mind. That sect strikes me as lower verticality masquerading as higher verticality.

But there is also a truly higher verticality that denies the lower vertical. Unfortunately, Schuon tends to fall into this error -- as if, say, a medieval man whose life revolved around religion didn't also have a primitive unconscious.

Again, the fully cosmic man will accept and try to integrate, or assimilate, both the lower and higher. And as a matter of fact, this type of verticality is quite explicit to both Judaism and Christianity.

Judaism, for example, has a quite this-worldly emphasis on the spiritualization of everyday activities such as family, food, sex, etc. It makes no effort to deny the lower vertical in favor of an escape into an abstract spiritual realm. You might call it the mysticism of everyday life.

Likewise, the message of incarnation and embodiment could hardly be more clear in Christianity. God did not merely become a man; rather, he also took on human nature, which extends into the collective human body. And the human body includes left and right hemispheres and supra- and infra-consciousness, on pain of the Incarnation not being "complete" and total.

Christianity is simultaneously simple and complex, and in the past we have discussed how Western (left-hemisphere) Christianity tends to focus on our fallen nature and its need of redemption, while Eastern (right-hemisphere) forms tend to emphasize the Incarnation. But in reality one obviously needs to hold both in a dynamic tension.

For example, De Lubac -- who was one of the first modern Catholics to rediscover the treasures of the early Fathers, who were more venerated in the East -- wrote that "if man digs deeper and if his reflection is illuminated by what is said in Sacred Scripture, he will be amazed at the depths opening up within him.

"Unaccountable space extends before his gaze. In a sort of infinitude he overflows this great world on all sides, and in reality it is that world, 'macrocosm,' which is contained in this apparent 'microcosm.'"

Thus the human wormgod, or spiritualized humus being, "knows that the lowliness of his origin in the flesh cannot detract from the sublimity of his vocation, and that, despite all the blemishes that sin may bring, that vocation is an abiding source of inalienable greatness."

Bottom line: the cosmic person needs to be left, right, over, under, sideways, and down.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

We Came Through

Fire the guns, and salute the men who died for freedom's sake....

Aggravated Cosmic Humanism

Cosmic humanism. I guess you could say that this is one of the enduring concerns of this blog. And this life. Of mine. How and why I came by it, I don't really know, but it's getting worse all the time.

I can say this, however. It is definitely a Mighty Strange Attractor (a well known mathematical concept that apparently no one else has ever thought of applying to the spiritual dimensions), in that people have been falling into its slipstream for as long as people have been people.

After all, one of the primary purposes of religion is to align the soul with the trans-cosmic Absolute, which is why all men, as men, are in need of it in one way or another.

Indeed, the opening of the "cosmic perspective" would have to be one of the attributes that defines the emergence of man as such. For even when he is just marveling at the starry heavens or dwelling in the beauty of our terrestrial home, man is cogitating the cosmic context and meditating on the metamatrix.

As mentioned before, Purcell's From Big Bang to Big Mystery is clearly caught up in the dynamic morphopneumatic field of this same cosmic attractor. Of necessity, he will see and describe a somewhat different landscape than do I, for the same reason that two people on different white water river-rafting expeditions to the sea will be exposed to different sights and sounds.

The fact of diversity hardly invalidates the descriptions, because this diversity is a necessary condition -- and consequence -- of individuality. If we were genetic robots, we would all have the same experience, but since we are oriented to a transcendental telos, we all come toward it in different ways. Hence the diversity of religions and revelations despite the single ocean. To reduce God to having just one way to make the same point is to make him less than a person.

This doesn't mean there aren't better and worse descriptions, because here again, just as in science, there must be more and less comprehensive and complete models of the natural world. Evolution and progress are only possible because there is a goal, an end.

And vertically speaking, there can be no hierarchy without a top, which, by the way, is another way of presenting one of Aquinas' classic proofs of God. It doesn't matter whether the horizontal universe has been here forever, or came into being with a dramatic big bang. The more important point is that it cannot exist without a vertical cause. The First Cause is not in- but outside time. Or in other words, no amount of horizontality can account for verticality.

Purcell quotes a couple of well-known paleoanthropologists, who come close to the wider cosmoanthropological perspective in writing that, "unlike even our closest relations, Homo sapiens is not simply an extrapolation or improvement of what went before it... our species is an entirely unprecedented entity in the living world, however we may have come by our unusual attributes." So you're not alone in feeling very unlike your closest relations. All Raccoons feel this way.

Again, what makes man different is that he is astonishingly fit for the cosmos -- not just the earth, and certainly not just some highly restricted Darwinian niche.

Since this or that man can be anything from a novice to an extreme seeker, he is always free to confine himself to the green diamond trails of science, or venture onto the blue diamond trails of philosophy and theology, or take a chance on the black diamond trails of metaphysics -- not to mention the ungroomed slopes of mysticism and infused contemplation. Whoosh!

Man's existential "nothingness" -- which is a correct intuition, as far as it goes -- is a consequence of being pre-adapted -- at least in potential -- to everything. For to even say that it all began with a Big Bang that can be reduced to a mathematical formula is to insist that man's mind is a priori in conformity to the everything and the all.

Just as there are and must be genetic birth defects, there are pneumatic second birth... well, not exactly defects, for they are usually more willful and self-unslackted. Call them birth defenses, similar to what we were saying the other day about pneumatic defense mechanisms. Some people prefer a womb of rationalism or positivism or scientism or Marxism to the great wide open.

Our miroculous ʘpenness to the great wide Open goes by the name of faith, and faith cannot be transcended. Rather, in the words of de Lubac, it can only "grow deeper, that is to say, find itself more completely, to realize itself more thoroughly, as faith ." Yes, it yields a harvest, but no amount of food can replace the need to eat. And no amount of the wrong type of food is conducive to growth. Nor, for that matter, can one live on vitamins, i.e., abstractions from the total I-AMbodhiment of divine (corpo)reality.

De Lubac describes a middle-zone of "superficial clarity" which exists between "two infinities." This is also the "non-religious zone," and it isn't difficult to understand why some people would prefer to huddle on its shores than to take the plunge into the Infinite, especially without a kenosis. But these two Infinities are not identical, although they are often conflated, by both religious and irreligious -- trolls and hyperliteralists -- alike. De Lubac writes that

"There is the sacredness of myth which, like a vapor rising from the earth, emanates from infrahuman regions; and there is the sacredness of mystery, which is like peace descending from the heavens. The one links us with Nature and attunes us to her rhythm but also enslaves us to her fatal powers; the other is a gift of spirit that makes us free."

The latter presence would be the Cosmic Zone, and man's true happitat.

To be continued...

Monday, June 04, 2012

Pneumagraph #640 of My Summa Vocation

You don't really want to hear about how the pneumagraph was developed, do you? You just want to know, WHERE'S MY POST?!

Still, a brief introduction is warranted. I'm short on time again, so I decided to pluck an old one from four years ago. This ended up taking longer than anticipated, because no suitable candidate from June 2008 could be found. I then jumped back to June 2007, but again wasn't terrible impressed.

I eventually settled on this one from five years back -- #640, as it turns out -- finding it to be the least annoying. But in the time it took to wade through the arkive, I could have probably written a new one.

Anyway, either there is an Absolute or there isn't. But if there isn't, there is, since that's an absolute fact. So let's all, believer and non-believer alike, just acknowledge its existence. Don't worry, it doesn't mean you have to identify it with the Judeo-Christian God, or that you need to worship it. You can still be an assoul.

Now, the Absolute necessarily shades off into the relative, but at a point that is more or less impossible to identify precisely. Thus, it is difficult to say exactly where orthodoxy turns into heresy, morality turns into immorality, or a true American turns into an anti-American.

But in each case, people who fall into the latter categories use the existence of this continuum as a pretext to argue that the former are illusions and that "all is relative." In turn, this abolishes the idea of sin, error, and truth, since they imagine that they have eliminated any objective standard.

This is a hopelessly unsophisticated ontology, for it assumes that higher realms are mathematical in their precision. In reality, they are not so much like mathematical equations as they are like, say, magnificent granite monuments. The greatest theologians are somewhat like painters who evocatively can convey an image of this monument with clarity and resonance, but it is nevertheless an image and not the thing-in-itself.

This is what I meant the other day when I said that revelation is the closest we can come to an objective representation of O. Revelation is like an image of the monument, given by the monument itself. Nevertheless, each person's angle on the monument is necessarily going to be different.

Analogously, if you put thousands of people with cameras at the base of the Matterhorn, the photos are all going to be slightly different -- in other words, there will be the illusion of diversity despite the fact that there is only one Matterhorn. With respect to itself, it is not relative but absolute. In short, our view of the Absolute is necessarily relative, but only relatively so -- it is "relatively absolute." There is no such thing as absolute relativity, on pain of total absurdity.

A photograph is not just a literal translation but a transformation, as is perception itself. To perceive something is to transform an object in such a way that certain abstract coordinates and relationships are preserved, while others are distorted.

If you consider the modern art of the early 20th century, for example, artists were attempting to stretch the coordinates between object and image in creative new ways. The invention of the camera was one of the main reasons for this, after which painting became increasingly liberated from the object.

One could say that James Joyce did the same with language. Instead of trying to use it like a photograph to map reality in a 1:1 manner (which is impossible anyway), he used language in a new "holographic" way, so that it in turn mirrored the hyperdimensional nature of consciousness itself. He was actually using language to alter consciousness in such a way that a new view of reality emerged.

For example, let's take the first sentence of Finnegans Wake:

rivverun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

At first blush, this sentence appears to nonsense about nothing. In other words, it is difficult to apprehend the object of which this sentence is supposed to be a representation.

Nevertheless, like the hyperdimensional object scripture endeavors to disclose, this sentence is an adequation to a reality that transcends the senses. This reality is called "history," which in turn is thoroghly entangled with consciousness itself -- the same consciousness that is both the subject and the object of history. For Joyce, history was literally like a dream (or nightmare), in the sense that there is the Dreamer and the dream, but in the end, the two must be one and the same.

Therefore, it is very difficult -- impossible really -- to actually write "straight (or what Joyce called 'wideawake and cutandry') history" and imagine that the historian is not actually its dreamer. We are all in this thing called "history." History surely exists. And yet, we could no more objectively and exhaustively describe it than we could objectively describe the content of a dream. Rather, we can only take our photographs of the Matterhorn.

For one thing, where is the line between the dreamer who dreams the dream and the one who experiences it? In this regard, a dream is very much like a spider's web, which the spider spins out of its own substance and then proceeds to inhabit. Human beings are no different, only on a more abstract plane. Do you really think that the web a leftist spins out of his psychic substance and then inhabits is anything like your web? Or an atheist? Or an Islamist? Each of these, in his own way, is un-ironically entangled in a psychic web they take for reality.

How to extricate oneself from the psychic webs we create? "History," wrote Joyce, "is the nightmare from which I am trying to awaken." When I watched the Democrat debate the other evening, I could see how each of the candidates offered their "prescription for a nightmare." The nature of leftism prevents the one and only true cure, which is to say, "just wake up."

Rather, leftism as such is the philosophy of creating newer and stronger soporifics in order to maintain sleep [see Europe for details]. In so doing, it aggravates the symptoms it is supposedly treating, and simply makes the nightmare worse. Plus, people get hooked on leftist prescriptions, and require more and more of them in order to stay asleep, just like an addict. Rule One of the left is that the state must always grow. Like a shark, it dies if it stops moving Forward.

I am currently reading an outstanding book entitled A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900, which attempts to be a corrective to all of the noxious deconstruction that really got under way in the 1960s. Back then they called it "revisionist history," which sounds innocent enough, but which in reality was highly agenda driven, and attempted to rewrite history in such a way that the English speaking peoples were the villains rather than the (literally and repeatedly) (lowercase s) saviors of history.

It is interesting how easy it is to trace the roots of today's rank-and-foul leftists in a straight line back to their academonic source. For once history is deconstructed, it is very difficult to put it back together again. Thus, the left is operating in an upside down world first made possible by the early revisionists who, among other things, argued that America's founders were just a bunch of greedy white males protecting their economic interests, or that capitalism is pure exploitation instead of an extraordinary liberator of human potential, or that the colonized did not benefit from colonialism, or that America was at fault in the Cold War, or that Roosevelt's economic policies helped rather than aggravated and prolonged the great depression, or that poverty causes crime, or that it was wrong to drop the atom bomb on imperial Japan. These and similar ideas proliferated exactly like a toxin, infecting all of the academic rivers and then flowing downhill into the streams of journalism and politics.

What is so striking about the book is how America has remained constant, while the left has changed so dramatically -- and gained so much cultural power. For example, there is no moral difference between the way Roosevelt responded to the fascist threat of his day and the way President Bush is responding the Islamo-fascist threat of our day. The only difference is that America's motivations have been so undermined by the left, that it is as if we are dealing with two entirely different countries. But when did the "good" America of Roosevelt and the "greatest generation" transmogrify into the evil America of President Bush? It never did. Again, it is exactly the same fundamentally decent country. Only the left has changed.

Actually, one other thing that has changed -- for the worse -- is how utterly ruthless men such as Churchill and Roosevelt were in pursuit of their war aims. If it had been revealed in 1943 that some German or Japanese soldiers had been mistreated in an American prison camp -- which some no doubt were -- I cannot believe that any American would have wasted two seconds anguishing over it. Whatever we did could never approach the barbarity of the Germans, Japanese, and Soviets. And besides, there is no moral equivalence whatsover between what America and her enemies do, any more than there is an equivalence between the police and criminals just because they both shoot people.

To call Gitmo a "gulag" represents a kind of moral stupidity that is satanic in its implications. One of the most horrific consequences of leftist thought insinuating itself into our discourse it that it prevents one from speaking simple moral truths. It undermines everything -- not just morality, but even the ability to speak about morality. I believe this is because, following Descartes, it elevates our capacity to doubt to the highest wisdom. Thus, it ends up with cynicism as the highest ideal: a philosophy of stupidity, including moral stupidity.

Returning to our original metaphor of the monument and the mountain. The leftist notices the unavoidable fact that different people have different views of the monument. Therefore, the monument doesn't objectively exist. Furthermore, anyone's view of it is just as good or bad as anyone else's. As such, Truth is abolished and raw power rushes in to fill the void. The leftist always speaks power to Truth. Always.

In conclusion, this blog represents my ongoing effort to describe the cosmic monument as comprehensively as possible. In short, I am not advancing an argument but re-presenting a vision of what I see. It is a single object, but there are many views of it. I guess this would be #640 so far. Tune in tomorrow for #641.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Kings of Anglo-Kosmic Musick

Last week we batted around the subject of Cosmo-American music. This week we shall venture into the subject of Anglo-Cosmic music, of which the undisputed kings would have to be the Kinks.

Obviously there were plenty of great groups and artists in the British invasion of the 1960s, and in many ways this movement remains the gold standard of rock music in general. But most of them were more American than Americans, e.g., early Stones, Animals, Yardbirds, Small Faces, Dusty Springfield, Them, Hollies, all of whom were slavish devotees of Cosmo-American music.

The Kinks, however, were different. You will notice, for example, that most of the great British groups didn't sing with a British accent. In fact, one of the reasons the Beatles were such effective rockers is that the Liverpool accent is closer to American. In particular, they pronounce a hard "a"; imagine how different it sound if it were I Want to Hold Your Hond or It's Been a Hod Days Night, or Kant Buy Me Love. It's difficult to sing rock with a lilt in your voice.

Peter Noone also sang with a conspicuous British accent, but Herman's Hermits don't quite make the cosmic cut -- although they are definitely underrated, or unfairly maligned. They especially served a niche that opened up when the Beatles started producing more serious music in 1965, with Rubber Soul, and then 1966, with Revolver. The Monkees then rushed in to provide that service in late 1966, ousting the Hermits from the stage. Teen idolatry is a vicious and unforgiving idiom.

Another British group that definitely sounds British is the Zombies. In fact, they threw some American soul and R & B into their sets, which always sounded a little silly. Imagine Harry Potter singing I'm a Road Runner, Honey!, or I Just Want to Make Love to You.

The Who had some British elements and concerns, for example, Quadrophenia, the subject of which -- Mods vs. Rockers -- was a wholly British phenomenon. They were also fairly ineffective at trying to reproduce straight covers of American R & B, and didn't come into their own until they developed a unique style of bombastic order from chaos. But that style was greatly influenced by the emergence of the heavier sound of Hendrix in early '67.

David Bowie was pretty British, especially early on, in that he retained some Kink-like elements of British "music hall" style (e.g. Hunky Dory). I would also nominate Fairport Convention, who were to British folk what the Byrds were to American folk; and Pentangle, who also threw in some jazzy elements, forging a unique blend of British folk-jazz.

I first became a big-time Kinks fan with the release of the Kink Kronicles in 1972. They had hardly been heard from in America during their golden age between 1966 and 1972, so the album came as a revelation. The music they produced during that time didn't sound anything like their contemporaries, which is one reason why it still sounds fresh. Like most great composers, Ray Davies created his own unique musical world which is at a right angle, so to speak, to profane time.

Kompulsive Kinks kollectors are all akwiver about this upcoming six-disc box set of BBC performances, from the mid-'60s all the way to the 1990s. (This is without question the best existing Kinks kompilation.)

I stumbled on the following video this morning. It's touching where Davies gets choked up at the beginning of Days, since the performance was dedicated to his recently departed bandmate, Pete Quaife, the original Kinks bassist:

Friday, June 01, 2012

Reasons for Cautious Optimysticism

Balthasar writes that "When Paul [in Rom 8:19] refers to an indefinite and tense straining of all nature, it means in the first place that nature unconsciously strives toward man" (which I believe should be interpreted as the fullness, or fulfillment, of human nature.) There Paul speaks of the suffering -- the groans, the labors, the birth pangs -- that will -- we hope -- end in liberty, in redemption, and in peals of glory hahalogos, when the last laugh shall be first.

This is because creation as such is not an exercise in futility, but is infused with an otherwise superfluous and inexplicable hopefulness, the latter of which, on the human level, might be described as a kind of persistent "evidence of things unseen." It is the temporal shadow cast back by the fulfillment we hail from afar. Or so we have heard from the wise.

In the absence of this evidence of things unseen, progress would be impossible because unthinkable. Hope and change always go together, except in the faithless liberal who forgets that beneficial change is only a hope, not a certainty, and certainly not something man can accomplish unaided (if you don't believe me, just look at his grisly track record of trying).

If Obama had proclaimed "faith and love" his message wouldn't have been as popular, at least among his target audience whose immanentized and absecular hope is evidence of things unsane.

Simianly, think of the poor primate proto-human, sitting around and hoping for things to get better. But in a strictly Darwinian framework, what is he hoping for -- or, more specifically, for what does our aloftreeous furbear have any right to hope?

One thing: a random mutation that doesn't weaken, sicken, or kill my ass, but somehow results in a beneficial change. However, the fundamental change cannot have actually occurred in him, but only in his genetic predecessors, in an infinite regress. Which is why Darwin "jotted down as a stern reminder to himself the note 'never use higher and lower'" (in Purcell).

Which is also why intellectually consistent Darwinists would be the last to say that a Darwinian is somehow higher than a creationist -- unless the former are more successful at getting their genes into the next generation, which is not the case, otherwise the erstwhile Christendom of Europe wouldn't be undergoing slow motion demographic death. Supernatural selection in action!

Now this business of becoming human -- of evolving -- the thing about it is, unlike any other creature, it cannot just happen on the species level, as if the species does all the dogged, trial-and-error work of evolving, from which we passively benefit. No other animal has to learn how to be that animal, notwithstanding a limited repertoire of tricks the mother might pass along to her brood. And certainly no other animal needs to be born twice in order to undertake post-biological evolution.

But for human beings, each generation needs to fulfill the human journey anew. In the old days, philosophers and metaphysicians spoke of man as the microcosm who mirrors the macrocosm. That's true as far as it goes, but it implies a kind of static view, as if man is a once-and-for-all fact instead of a constantly evolving being.

Here again, Clarke's idea of reality as "substance in relation" is helpful, for with it we can posit the microcosmology of man in more dynamic terms, as a movement or action which is in turn the self-revelation of being. Therefore, evolution itself redounds to the self-revelation of being. Who knows what goodies lurk in the heart of being? Even time takes time, to say nothing of eternity. Or, time takes an eternity to get it all out.

Bearing in mind the above, when we say that man is the image and likeness of O, it means, in the words of Clarke, that "all finite beings, which are imperfect images of the Source, bear within their very natures this same divinely originated dynamism of active self-communication to others." In this way, we are simultaneously rich and poor -- or, contra Darwin, high and low -- in that

"every finite being insofar as it is... rich, pours over to share its perfection with others; but insofar as it is poor, deficient in the full plenitude of being, it reaches out to receive enrichments of being from others, sharing in their riches" (ibid.).

This is just another way of saying that man is an open system, both vertically and horizontally, and that God, the Absolute, O, the toppermost of the poppermost, must be understood in the same onederful way.

For what is the Incarnation but God "making himself poor," in which context we may understand certain paradoxymorons regarding the meek inheriting the earth, the last being first, and the blessedness of holy poverty.

Now, this interior activity of the Godhead, how to describe it?

Sorry, can't do that. That's well above our praygrade. We can, however, undescribe it, which we might symbolize something like (↓ ↔ ↑) to convey the total circulation of metacosmic energies in the perpetual now.

But if I were to reduce it to mere wordlings, I don't think I could do better than Schuon:

"If by 'science' we mean a knowledge that is related to real things -- whether or not they can be directly ascertained..., religion will be the science of the total hierarchy, of equilibrium, and of the rhythms of the cosmic scale; it takes account, at one and the same time, of God's outwardly revealing Manifestation and of His inwardly absorbing Attraction (emphasis mine), and it is only religion that does this and that can do it a priori and spontaneously."

Amen for a child's job.