Monday, July 23, 2012

Penetrating to the Core of Leftist Rot: Rules for Ridicule

This brief blast (unfortunate choice of terms for a Unabomber victim -- let's say righteous rant) by David Gelernter touches on some of the matters we've been discussing lately. As lucid as it is, it cannot penetrate to the core in the way Voegelin does, for he is still operating in the realms of fact and opinion rather than the Truth beyond which there can be no truther (although the book, America Lite, no doubt takes the argument deeper and higher).

For it is not sufficient to be conservative and therefore "correct" about this or that public (and private!) policy. Rather, this correctness needs to be grounded in something much deeper, otherwise (among other problems) it will have the tendency to merely provoke -- and even feed -- its reactionary opposite among leftists, who may not know much, but at least know who they hate.

There is a kind of conservatism that is in perpetual duality with the left, another kind that flies above -- and below -- it. (In other words, it is both transcendent and immanent, whereas leftism is pure "middle range," which renders it absurd and ungrounded.)

This is why (lower case) reason is powerless to explain how Obama remains politically afloat; and "even more surprising than his political super-buoyancy is the resurrection of big-government, 1930s-style economic thinking in the Democratic party long after it was taken out with the trash along with Jimmy Carter, and once more (for good measure) after Gingrich smashed Clinton in the ’94 midterms. The failure of central planning and state-managed economies is one of the big themes of the 20th century. But Obama’s handlers have yet to tell him" (Gelernter).

Why would they? They don't know it either (the tenured? Of all people!), plus he'd refuse to believe them anyway, just as is true of at least half the citizenry. And anyone with a financial interest in the status quo will be impervious as well -- the millions of state employees, bureaucrats, public school teachers, state college administrators, and other assorted dependents and rent seekers; and more generally that half of the population that is able to tax the other half for what it imagines is a lifetime of free lunches.

Even so, these people are motivated as much by creed as they are by greed. Human beings are not only epistemophilic, but cannot help "loving" the truth. Anyone is susceptible to living a lie, but almost no one willingly does so. Human beings are oriented to the good, true, and beautiful, so even when they aren't, they convince themselves that they are.

As Gelernter observes, "You might think that Obama makes a poor intellectual: he doesn’t seem to read; ideas evidently mean nothing to him. But notice that he governs on the basis of theories and not facts. And he graduated from Columbia and Harvard. Case closed" (emphasis mine).

Here again, these are not theories in the way you or I would understand the term, i.e., disinterested maps of reality, always subject to feedback and revision. Rather, the PORGIs discussed by Gelernter -- POst-Religious Global Intellectualistas (or Gnostic Internationalists) -- by the very nature of this designation, have converted their ideology to a religion rooted in faith and sentiment (which is an insult to the latter; instead, let's call them stupidity and emotion).

It's also an insult to religion more generally, because it implies that leftism is just another religion, like any other. First of all, in not recognizing itself as such, it is intrinsically confused about where it is coming from and to where it is going. For religion has to do with "ultimate reality" as such (O), not dogma per se, which can only be "O once removed," so to speak.

It is bad enough that the left doesn't understand this, but at least it has an excuse (i.e., an anti-intellectual climate of elite opinion that ordains materialism, reductionism, and scientism). There is no excuse for religious conservatives to get this wrong, for doing so is in direct violation of universal commanishad (or upanishalt) #3, which has to do with engaging in the kind of empty and vain pneumababble that makes God look stupid (see p. 235).

For when God and religion look stupid, this legitimately fuels the misgodded epistemophiliacs of the left, because even they know that truth, whatever it is, can't be stupid. The left feeds on this stupidity to build up their illusory intellectual superiority and self-righteous amoralism. But for every Voegelin, there are a thousand or more Joel Osteens who teach the same wish-drenched "prosperity gospel" as the left, minus most of the envy, hate, and scapegoating. Which is a start...

But it nevertheless reduces God to a banal horizontal cause on the same level as any other material or efficient cause. As Voegelin explains, "The modern reader, unless he is an expert in metaphysics, will have difficulty understanding" the principle that divine causation "does not have the meaning of cause which the modern reader associates with it."

For it is not the horizontal cause-and-effect of the natural sciences, but rather, the type of vertical causation that obtains in any hierarchical structure in which the lower is derived from the higher.

Religion "takes place" in this vertical space between...

I need to pause here for a moment, in order to introduce some symbols into the mix. We all know about O, which is simultaneously the "top" and "ground" of the vertical hierarchy. This form is definitional; it cannot be surpassed, but it can, of course (and must be) filled with the content of religious experience.

One might say that this vertical space is everything, for it is where existence becomes "self-luminous," irrespective of creed. The instrument of this luminosity is symbolized (¶). I think this is fair, because we can all agree that (¶) exists, even if our metaphysic cannot account for it. But whether one is religious or secular, this Light -- this illuminated space we call consciousness -- is again everything. It is why science illuminates so much, even if it can never illuminate itself on its own terms.

"Illumination" is in many ways indistinguishable from transcendence, because there is Light, but also someone who needs to witness it. These two -- witness and Light -- are of the same substance, which is to say, Truth. This is why something like, say, doctrinaire Darwinism, cannot possibly be true, since it has no rational basis whatsoever to affirm the truth of anything, let alone everything.

In short, if man is pure contingency (instead of partaking of the substance of Light and Truth), he has no access whatsoever to the necessary -- to the absolute, the universal, the eternal.

The point is that man both "spans" and "inhabits" this vertical space that runs from O to what we symbolize Ø. Critically, Ø is not to be understood as "falsehood," or as a kind of "opposite" of O. Rather, it only becomes falsehood -- even the essence of falsehood -- when conflated with, or elevated to, O.

To cite the most obvious example, the Darwinian referenced above begins (without admitting it to himself) by reducing O to Ø, and then concludes that Ø is all there is. But if this statement is true, it is obviously no longer Ø. Rather, it is coming from the mysterious vertical space -- the vast realm of potential enslackenment -- between O and Ø.

Thus one of Petey's Rules for Ridicule of the left: To deny slack is to steal it.

Sorry we didn't get too far, but I'm running late. We'll continue tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Some Place, No Place, One Place, Every Place

As mentioned a couple of days ago, this particular collection of essays by Voegelin might be the most dense with implications of any book I've ever read. It's a little overwhelming to even know where to start. I'm tempted to jump ahead to what I just read yesterday, but that might make the task more daunting, so I'd better just proceed from the beginning, page by page. One of the purposes of doing so is to try to wrap my mind around this unruly beast.

Okay, just one quote from yesterday's lectio divina. It's from a lecture called Wisdom and Magic at the Extreme; in it Voegelin speaks of a time -- this would be 1973, so it's only worse today -- "when all of us are threatened in our humanity, if not our physical existence, by the massive social force of activist dreamers who want to liberate us from our imperfections by locking us up in the perfect prison of their phantasy" (emphasis mine).

"Even in our so-called free societies not a day passes that we are not seriously molested, in encounters with persons, or the mass media, or a supposedly philosophical and scientific literature, by somebody's Utopian imagination."

See what I meme? It reminds me of jazz, in which one can improvise for twenty or thirty minutes over just a couple of choice chords.

Why did this happen, and why is it happening still? Why are we being harassed by utopians who are driven by a strange passion to (dis)order our lives before they have even ordered their own? And why is it being done to us by the most privileged, educated, and cultured members of society? How did things -- the things of the mind and spirit -- ever become so corrupted?

The first order of business is to cross the border of isness, into the space where engagement with reality can actually occur: "We have to break jail, and restore the philosopher's freedom of reason..." One is tempted to say that one must Tune In -- to reality -- Turn On -- to O -- and Drop Out -- of unreality, or Ø.

Eu-topia means, of course, no-place, or Ø, precisely. Since we can never have it, we always want it, which is perhaps the major source of the left's energy. In other words, the left takes advantage of the intrinsic tension that forever defines the human station, between the Way Things Are and the Way We Wish They Were. In order to make progress of any kind -- personal, societal, historical -- this tension must be respected, not annihilated.

For example, this is the tension that drives a market economy, and causes an inventor or entrepreneur to create something that didn't exist before. Thus, this is the same tension that Obama devalues because he deeply resents it: you didn't build that!

To which one wants to respond: You didn't say that. Somebody else built that teleprompter.

When you give something to someone, you eliminate this tension. But that's only on the material/economic plane, where it's bad enough (unless we're talking about the legitimate entitlement-state of childhood).

The consequences are even more devastating when applied to the psychological and spiritual planes (although the three are very much related, something recognized by the Founders, what with their emphasis on the sacred rights of property, without which it is difficult if not impossible to secure any other kind of right; in the hierarchy of being, rights come from up above but they are secured from down below, backed ultimately -- when push comes to shove or ideologue comes to steal -- by legitimate violence).

To paraphrase Voegelin, oppressors such as Obama have a theory of oppression which assures a monopoly of oppression to themselves. Thus, with a straight farce he can say that no one founded General Motors but that He saved it.

Again, Utopia is no-place. It doesn't exist because it cannot exist, at least not on the macro/collective level. Certain pockets of sanity and decency can come pretty darn near to it, until the barbarians find out about it.

For example, believe it or not, the university was once a pretty good place to obtain the beginnings of an education. Tenureman (T) is actually a relatively recent phenomenon. Before the 20th century, for example, the greatest philosophers were mostly just curious and wonderfilled civilians, not credentialed idiots.

According to Voegelin, this permanent idiot class, or looniversity bin, really didn't become institutionalized until "the populist expansion of the universities, accompanied by the inevitable inrush of functional illiterates into academic positions in the 1950s and 1960s." The fringe is now the core, and vice versa, which is why discussion of reality is one of the few grounds for denial or revocation of tenure.

Of course, it is still permissible to be in contact with reality, but there is strict adherence to the policy of "don't ask, don't tell." Don't advertise this contact or you are toast.

How did Voegelin get away with it? That's a long story, but some of the details are instructive. One of the disturbing trends he noticed about the academic world was its "violently restrictive visions of existence that... surrounded me on all sides..." Therefore, "Something had to be done. I had to get out of that 'apodictic horizon' as fast as possible."

Apowhatnow?

Yes, you know -- the bovine certainty of such soul-killing ideologies as Darwinism, scientism, positivism, Marxism, Keynesianism, atheism, behaviorism, feminism, etc. All that dreary monolithic diversity to which we have become accustomed.

Horizon?

That would be mysterious "subjective horizon" to which your cosmic bus driver often alludes, i.e., GAGDAD BOB, FLOATING IN HIS CLOUD-HIDDEN BOBSERVATORY, JUST BEYOND THE INTERIOR HORIZON OF THE UNITED STATES OF MIND. This is where we live and where we write. It is where the bus is headed, the filial deustinocean that we can never quite reach.

Importantly -- and why is this controversial? -- this horizon is infinite. Therefore, to deny it is to live in NO PLACE. But there's a twist to it, because this latter is really a man-made SOME PLACE that doesn't actually exist. Rather, it is one of the many restrictive "second realities" discussed by Voegelin.

In reality, there is only ONE PLACE, one human happitat but numberless unhappy ones, more on which in a moment. Allow Voegelin to just complete his thought as to why he felt so compelled to escape the apodictic horizon of academia. For whatever reason, "I was attracted by 'larger horizons' and repelled, if not nauseated, by restrictive deformations."

Now, about that SOME PLACE that is NO PLACE and the ONE PLACE that is EVERY PLACE. I know this might sound cutely paradoxical and all, but it is truly orthoparadoxical, a rock-bottom truth beyond which there is no truther. It is the one truth that permits all the others that ceaselessly flow into this ONE PLACE.

Flow?

Yes. Recall the intrinsic tension alluded to above in paragraph seven. I'm starting to run out of time, so I'll be brief, but don't worry, we'll be returning to this foundation again and again. Voegelin speaks of

"the horizon that draws us [read: Attractor] to advance toward it but withdraws as we advance; it can give direction to the quest of truth but cannot be reached." Within this space certain "moving forces" become luminous, essentially "a human questioning and seeking in response to a mysterious drawing and moving from the divine side."

In other words -- or beyond words -- at the antipodes of this space are O and (¶), and within this space are ( ↑) and (↓).

These ladder "are experienced as the moving forces of consciousness.... Hence, the process of reality becoming luminous is further structured by the consciousness of the two moving forces, of the tension between them, and of the responsibility to keep their movements in such a balance that the image resulting from their interaction will not distort the truth of reality." (I symbolize this balance [↑↓] .)

For "one cannot know the mystery of the horizon and its beyond as if it were an object this side of the horizon." To do this is to violate Commandments one and two (which often topples the rest), which is the intrinsic heresy -- which we call ideolatry -- of the left in general and of Obama in particular.

This ideolatry always ends in tears and blood, because nightmares do come true. In other words, when falsehood enters history it takes on a deadly reality, as it destructively careens down the corridors of time (HT Vanderleun -- who has also advised all and sundry to pass along the following gem inspired by Harvard's Gift to Comedy and curse to economics:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Immortality is Fleeting, Socialism is Forever

Not much time for a new post this morning. The mother-in-law has been visiting, which gets me out of my usual rutine. It reminds me once again that pneumablogging is a delicate business; either that, or my isness is an unusually delicate business. In any event, she returns home today, so blogging should return to normal tomorrow.

Fortunately, a little Voegelin goes a very long way. Do they still make Bacardi 151? Sort of like that. I conducted a brief but memorable experiment with that particular beverage back when I was a college sophomore or less.

I just looked it up, and it says that the demon rum² is now conveniently "equipped with a flame arrester in the neck of the bottle to prevent large volumes of the flammable liquid from igniting... Nevertheless, incidents of severe injury have been alleged."

You don't say?

I didn't know -- for how is an 18 year old supposed to know this stuff? -- that it is intended to be used as a component in cocktails, not the main ingredient. I don't like to think about it -- my liver is subject to flashbacks -- but I probably had a dangerous level of blood alcohol as I sat there bobsmacked in my political science class. Maybe the only time I was ever "beyond drunk." Friends of the time may disagree.

As far as I can recall -- which admittedly isn't much -- it was qualitatively, not just quantitatively, different. Perhaps like absinthe. Something tells me ge would know.

The moral of the story? Don't drink anything that requires a flame arrester: rocket fuel, nuclear waste, 75.5% alcohol, etc.

Back to Voegelin's discussion of immortality, which we began two days ago. First of all, what is immortality? For it seems that no human group is unfamiliar with the concept. Indeed, one definition of humanness could be "awareness of mortality," and therefore immortality. But which comes first? I'm pretty sure they co-arise, but we'll look further into this breaking story as we proceed.

Whatever else it is, "immortality" is a word, a symbol, a signifier, a container (the latter of which we symbolize [♀]). Yes, but of what? In other words, what does it mean?

True, you could look it up in the dictionary, just as you could look up, say, "drunk on Bacardi 151," but that would hardly convey the actual experience. Trust me.

Again, the type of symbols we're talking about are intended "to convey a truth experienced." They "are not concepts referring to objects existing in time and space but carriers of a truth about nonexistent reality." As such, the symbols are meant to facilitate "a consciousness of participation in nonexistent reality."

Therefore, "when the experience engendering the symbols ceases to be a presence located in the man who has it, the reality from which the symbols derive their meaning has disappeared." The symbol remains, of course -- i-m-m-o-r-t-a-l-i-t-y -- but people only pretend to know what it refers to. In technical terms the container (♀) remains, but the user simply fills it with his own idiosyncratic content (♂).

If you understand this problem alone, you will have understood one of the most ubiquitous problems in all of philosophy, metaphysics, and theology. What is "liberty," for example? Same container, radically different content for a liberal conservative vs. an illiberal leftist.

Likewise, what can it mean when an atheist "disbelieves" in God (O)? It means precisely nothing unless we're talking about the same experience. It either means that O cannot be experienced, or that "that wasn't O you experienced, just... your brain, or something." But if he is intellectually honest, shouldn't the atheist say the same of himself? "This is not atheism I'm experiencing, merely my own nervous system."

More generally, when I read theology or scripture, I am not looking for "information." Rather, what I am after is "a meditative reconstitution of the engendering reality" that brought the symbols about. When they fail to provoke this -- when the symbols cease to be translucent to reality -- we are stranded in the stoned rubbish of teenage wasteland, when

you know only / A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, / And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, / And the dry stone no sound of water.

Yeah, I know, TS: tough shit. Nothing you can do about it.

Not true: "For a man does not cease to be man, even when he runs amok in worlds of his own making, and a madness of the spirit is never quite undisturbed by a knowledge of its madness, however skillfully suppressed."

In short, man = man, wherever and in whatever condition you find him. And "the madness we call modernity is accompanied throughout by thinkers who, correctly diagnosing its cause, set about to remedy the evil by various attempts at recapturing reality."

In other words, a constant theme of modernity is the experience of alienation. The alienation is real enough -- for example, just read a couple of Hallucinations From My Marxist Father(s) -- it's just that socialism is not the cure. Are citizens less alienated today than 50 years and 15 trillion dollars ago? Or even three years and 5 trillion dollars ago?

I don't think so. Rather, leftists seem as alienated and angry as ever. Which is to say, their alienation is always already cranked up to 11.

To be continued....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

John Roberts: Destroyer of Worlds, Vandal of History

It is fair to say that Voegelin saw his life's mission as an investigation into the truth of man, society, and history. His conclusion is that there is such a truth, but that it is more a matter of form than content per se. (All quotes are from Volume 12 of the collected works.)

This is because ultimate truth has the character of an event, not a fact. And an event is obviously impossible in the absence of experience, or, more to the point, human experience (no other animal has access to universal truths). To put it another way, no fact can -- or ever will -- account for its experience, or any experience, for that matter.

Thus, any philosophy that reduces experience to fact is a total non-starter. No need to even begin going down that road, for it is a spiritual and intellectual nul-de-slack, i.e., ø. Such a path is like a river that never reaches the sea. Or a prostate so enlarged that urination is impossible. I recently had a patient to whom this happened one morning. To say that he was in no condition to contemplate timeless truth is putting it mildly.

This is one of the primary reasons we can make neither head- nor heartway with our ideological opponents -- why our arguments cannot gain traction.

For it is not argument against argument; rather, "behind the appearance of rational debate there lurks the difference of two modes of existence, of existence in truth and existence in untruth. The universe of rational discourse collapses, we may say, when the common ground of existence in reality has disappeared" (emphasis mine).

Abstract? No, not in the least. To the contrary, this observation couldn't be more timely. President Obama -- and we'll get much more deeply into the reasons why as we proceed -- is a spokesperson for existence in untruth adapted to what Voegelin calls "second reality" (which is true of any ideological activist; Obama is just the same old serpent in a new skin).

Therefore, one can see that his campaign revolves around an endless barrage of untruths to which Romney is going to have to respond, on pain of the untruth being conceded as true. Unlike you or I, Romney cannot simply ignore unreality -- or at least not let it get under our skin -- and live in conformity to truth.

The problem here is that even responding to the untruth grants it a kind of existential "heft" to which it isn't entitled. After all, one could easily spend the rest of one's life shooting down one untruth after another, but it wouldn't make a dent in the total supply.

Unscrupulous lawyer that he is, the prince of this world will just make more of the verbal fertilizer that accrues from talking out of his ass. Obama obviously needs to make this campaign about something other than truth. Once truth is out of the way, it can become a contest based upon other non-rational factors, say, disgust, or rage, or envy, or violence, or bigotry, or raw hatred (or all of the Below).

Think, for example, of how difficult it would be today to produce a timeless political document such as the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution that enshrines its universal principles. 225 years down the line, one would think it would be easier to do this, not harder.

But this only reminds us that progress is hardly a linear phenomenon. There are always regressive liars such as John Roberts, living in second realities and prepared to eliminate in a selfish moment what required thousands of years for wise and courageous human beings to establish on this troubled earth.

Roberts has quite literally committed a crime against mankind and against history. One cannot put it more strongly than that. If it is true that America remains the world's last best hope, then one must conclude that Roberts has done his part to extinguish this hope. Nice work, assoul.

Would it be possible to correct Roberts with recourse to truth? (Let's not even mention the other four, who have been exiled from reality so long that they can no longer recognize it.) Voegelin notes that debate with ideologues remains "possible in the areas of the natural sciences and logic," where there is an external criterion of truth.

But any area that touches on the person has been so contaminated by the untruths of the left, that again, one could spend the rest of one's life simply countering them without making any progress toward truth.

There was a time when such a verticalesthenic exercise wasn't fruitless, because human beings hadn't yet become so warped as to extinguish their innate -- which is to say, God-given -- intellectual honesty, or love of Truth. Aquinas, for example, took it as axiomatic that the establishment of truth necessarily requires all due consideration being given to the varieties of error.

Not only is it incumbent upon the philosopher to meditate upon and communicate truth to others, but "to refute the opposing falsehood." In the words of Voegelin, one part of "the quest for truth is the perpetual task of disengaging it from error, of refining its expression in contest with the inexhaustible ingenuity of error."

For the person whose mind and spirit (nous and pneuma) are intact, once is enough. But for the pneumapathological and philocidal soul that has become perverse with error and overrun with mind parasites, a million times will be insufficient.

Falsehood does have certain legitimate rights, just as do criminals. But just as the left grants special rights to criminals, so too does it place lies on a kind of elevated and untouchable plane.

Again you may ask: abstract? NO!

For what is multiculturalism but the privileging and institutionalization of falsehood? Moral relativism? The "living Constitution"? Critical race theory? Class warfare? Deconstruction? Feminist theory? Racial quotas? Socialism? MSNBC?

You will have noticed that such luminaries as Aristotle, Plato, and Aquinas did not have to deal with this kind of systematic untruth, because it hadn't occurred to any thinking person to invent it.

Rather, it had to undergo research and development in the laboratory of modernity, and then be mass-marketed in the intellectual bazar of post-modernity. When the left argues that everyone needs (and is entitled to) college, what they really mean is that no one should escape the secular brainwash.

To say that there is no truth uniquely vouchsafed to man is to say that the world is an "infinite series," and to say this is to destroy "the very nature of the Good."

In other words, "The limit to the chain of [causation] is the condition of rationality in action." An infinite regress is ultimate absurdity.

To bring this back to the bobastic title of this post, with no limit set by our sacred Constitution, there is no limit to political and legal irrationality, to the acquisition and exercise of arbitrary power, and to willful malefactors who are in a state of revolt against reality, and who would force us all to conform to their warped and anti-human ideological (second) reality.

Other than that, I have no problem with these truly supreme court jesters.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Obama, First President of the USA (Unthinking Swarm of the Alienated)

This book of essays by Eric Voegelin is provoking some of the most intense reading I've ever done.

It's not that it's especially difficult per se (although he's not an easy read), but rather, that it's too rich, too full of implications to digest in more than small portions. It's as if one must pause after every paragraph in order to note the implications. One of the purposes of posting about these experiences is to explicate, metabolize, and assimilate the unThought implications -- or chew, swallow, and digest.

Note the word "experiences." Right away this should alert one to the fact that this involves a very different kind of reading, because a book that provokes experiential knowledge is quite different from one that conveys knowledge only, as do most works of nonfiction. In our symbolism, it is the difference between (k) and (n).

But one can't just leave it there, because the metabolism of (n) calls into play a different part of the being. This we call (¶). It is fair to say that Voegelin's whole project -- all 34 volumes -- revolves around the development of (¶). In fact, as we shall see, a true philosopher -- a lover of wisdom -- is none other than (¶). His polar opposite in the phase space of being would be (T), or tenureman.

Indeed, Voegelin has a lot to say about (T), none of it flattering but all of it memorable. It alone provides some fine insultainment.

For example, he wrote in 1973 of how philosophy -- which inquires into the nature of man in perpetual tension with the divine ground -- has been displaced by a banal "climate of opinion," and of how the changed climate of our universities "is hostile to the life of reason." However, "not every man is agreeable to having his nature formed by the 'climate,' or, as it is sometimes called, the 'age.'"

Recall that what we call (•) -- the empirical ego, more or less -- is precisely the part of us that is "shaped by the environment." Conversely -- or complementarily -- (¶) is shaped by encounters with the ground of being. The former is local, the latter nonlocal (and therefore timeless).

Thus, it is not so much that we eliminate (•), which we couldn't do anyway so long as we are in the world (the latter of which includes the material body). But nor should we call upon (•) to explore the nature of being, because to do so is to ask it to do something it was never designed to accomplish -- like asking the feet to grasp objects or the hands to chew food.

Thus, a modern university education "is the art of adjusting people so solidly to the climate of opinion prevalent at the time that they feel no 'desire to know." It is "the art of preventing people from acquiring the knowledge that would enable them to articulate the questions of existence." Predictably, this form of miseducation pressures "young people into a state of alienation that will result in either quiet despair or aggressive militancy."

If you think about it for a couple of seconds, I believe you will agree that Obama is our first president to have been exposed to nothing other than this soul-deadening climate of elite opinion, which is why he has no desire to know, no ability to formulate questions outside this peculiar climate, and a strident and militant agenda that fundamentally appeals to the "alienated," of which he is the leader.

Truly, Obama is president of the USA: Unthinking Swarm of the Alienated. The OWS movement is what an unthinking swarm of the auto-alienated looks like. And smells like.

The alienation is real, they're just confused about the source. After all, the material ego (•) cannot perceive or understand any reality that isn't material, hence the blind transformation of alienation into a material construct. Thus, they wish to occupy "Wall Street," not reality. This is a quintessential example of the superimposition of a second reality over the first -- of ø over O.

This is why the reactionary left cannot help but reduce all existential questions to (bad and dysfunctional) economics. But "even the spiritually and intellectually underpriviliged who live by the bread of opinion alone" know that something is wrong.

However, they are powerless to name it: "the educational institutions have cut them off from the life of reason so effectively that they cannot articulate the causes of their legitimate unrest." This closed and static pattern aggravates their pneumapathology, the only cure for which is an open psyche (nous or pneuma) in contact with the ground of being, O.

There is too much here for me to digest or even organize at this point, so I think I'll just review some of the essays, beginning with one called Immortality: Experience and Symbol. In it Voegelin discusses one of his key principles of religion, which is that the latter begins in religious experience that is codified via symbolism.

Thus, "the symbols in question intend to convey a truth experienced," or (n). Unlike conventional symbols -- i.e., (k) -- they "are not concepts referring to objects existing in time and space but carriers of a truth about nonexistent reality." As such, the symbols are meant to facilitate "a consciousness of participation in nonexistent reality."

And when he says "nonexistent," he doesn't of course mean "unreal," but rather, immaterial and transcendent. For example, the statement "all men are created equal" is not derived from any empirical observation, but is nonetheless real and true for all time. And it is true even if no one has discovered it, or if people have forgotten it.

One of Voegelin's great concerns is what happens when the reality from which the symbols derive their meaning has "disappeared." To be perfectly accurate, this reality -- O -- obviously cannot disappear.

But the symbols can lose their metaphysical translucency, especially when they are overly reified in such a way that they exclude experience of the engendering reality that brought them about. Then religious symbolism becomes a kind of empty shell, or shadow of itself.

But this is not the last indignity suffered by Truth.

For when "misunderstood as propositions referring to things in the manner of propositions concerning objects of sense perception" (k), this provokes "the reaction of skepticism" which runs the gamut from hysterical atheist revivalism to "vulgarian agnosticism" to "the smart idiot questions of 'How do you know?' and 'How can you prove it?' that every college teacher knows from his classroom" and every pneumablogger knows from his trolls.

To be continued for, oh, about six months....

Friday, July 13, 2012

Why Mommy is a Democrat... and a Passive-Aggressive Ex-Wife from Hell

The previously scheduled post has been pre-empted by the following, since it is fresh in our mind. We'll get back to it next week.

What is it about liberals -- or about liberalism -- that makes it impossible to communicate with them? To be fair, they would insist that the problem is quite simple: that they possess the truth, and that their political adversaries simply refuse to accept it.

This failure on our part troubles liberals, whose painfully acute compassion compels them to find some way to shove the truth down our ungrateful pieholes. In fact, Obama even confessed to Charlie Rose that the biggest mistake of his presidency thus far has been the failure to "tell a story" to the American public.

In other words, he and his policies have not failed. Rather, it turns out that he has gotten the policies right -- that was the easy part -- but that "the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times."

When he ran for office, people had the opposite concerns about Obama: this guy is obviously a polished BS artist with a soothing, tobacco-burnished baritone, but is he a half-educated ignoramus who substitutes ideology for thought, every time?

Turns out we had it backwards. For he has been satisfactorily "juggling and managing a lot of stuff" alright -- economic stuff, racial grievance stuff, government expansion stuff, deficit stuff, unemployment stuff, medical stuff, Middle East stuff, homosexual stuff, you name it.

Obama concedes that there is, however, one "legitimate criticism" and it is this: sure, people care about all the aforementioned stuff, "but where's the story that tells us where he's going?," i.e., where Obama is taking us?

Well?

Unfortunately, he doesn't explain. Actually, he's already explained that he can't explain, but that he needs to tell us a story in lieu of an explanation. I suppose we'll all be subjected to this likely story over the subsequent three months.

This is just one more example of the inability of liberals to be self-critical. Again, in their cramped little minds, the thinking must go something like this: "There is a straightforward liberal solution to every problem. Therefore, it is a waste of time and energy to actually condescend to address objections to the liberal program. To the extent that people fail to understand it, then there is something defective in them. But I'm so darn compassionate I'll try to do an end run around their defective cognition by expressing the truth via myth."

In short, there's no need to rethink his ideas. He just needs to express them more obscurely.

Taranto has an insultaining discussion of this dynamic, based upon an excellent piece by Zombie at PJ Media, which I'm thinking maybe it was a mistake for me to resign from, since I actually got more readers back then. Oh well. Charles Johnson also quit, and how could he be wrong about anything?

It turns out that this refusal on the part of liberals to acknowledge reality is not a bug, but a feature. In the past we have devoted at least one post to the Berkeley professor George Lakoff, whose ideas about "framing" have come to dominate leftist discourse, and go a long way toward explaining why liberals are so annoying. I mean, imagine if your spouse tried to pull such a condescending attitude on you. You'd want to throttle him or her.

Technically I suppose you could say that I'm professionally qualified to be a "marriage counselor" -- back off, man! -- but this is the last strategy I would recommend to the husband who is having difficulty getting through to the wife, or vice versa. Here's how it works:

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

As Zombie explains, "This is why conservatives and liberals can't seem to have the simplest conversation: liberals intentionally refuse to address or even acknowledge what conservatives say. Since (as Lakoff notes) conservatives invariably frame their own statements within their own conservative 'moral frames,' every time a conservative speaks, his liberal opponent will seemingly ignore what was said and instead come back with a reply literally out of left field.

"Thus, he is the progenitor of and primary advocate for the main reason why liberalism fails to win the public debate: Because it never directly confronts, disproves or negates conservative notions--it simply ignores them...."

Taranto points out that "This is an important insight, not only into the way the left debates and otherwise communicates, but into the way the left thinks -- or fails to think. The book's subtitle, after all, promises an instruction in 'Thinking and Talking Democratic.' Lakoff and Wehling command their readers not only to act as if opposing arguments are without merit, but to close their minds to those arguments. What comes across to conservatives as a maddening arrogance is actually willed ignorance."

Which is of course incorrect. It is arrogance and willed ignorance.

In the past, I have on several occasions elaborated on the idea that left and right in many ways reflect the male and female -- or Mother and Father -- archetypes. Thus, in my view, a properly functioning state wouldn't come from left or right field, but from center-right field.

Why center-right, and not just center?

First of all, let's break down the concerns and responsibilities of the respective fields. The Father dimension involves first and foremost self-defense, which goes to domestic security, justified violence, autonomy and sovereignty, law, and punishment, plus standards, independence, achievement, etc.

Conversely -- or complementarily -- the Mother realm has to do with health, compassion, community, charity, nurturing, mercy, etc. As one can see, it is intrinsically more emotional, which is precisely why liberal arguments are so rooted in emotion and not thought. For a liberal it is sufficient to show some poor uninsured kid to tear down the greatest medical system in the world; or, it is sufficient to show a grieving mother to condemn a war. Each of these may be sad, but they are just a cheap substitute for hard thought.

And in any event, we can no longer afford the outrageous alimony and adult-child support payments, so it's a moot point. Mommy is going to have to cut up the credit cards and begin economizing. No more of your cockamamie sob stories. I see that look on your face. I know you want another "stimulus." But this time it's real: We. Are. Tapped. Out. And I'm not pissing away another cent of our children's inheritance just to keep you partying with your government union boy-toys. Some compassion you have!

The reason why a country should be center-right is that, as Dennis Prager has explained, masculine values tend to be more "macro" in nature, while feminine values tend to be more "micro" (and of course, this hardly means that a woman cannot lead in the macro realm, as exemplified by, say, Margaret Thatcher). Therefore, just as it is inappropriate for a father to treat his family as if he is the dictatorial general and his wife and children mere privates, it is inappropriate to treat the state as if it is a bountiful and inexhaustible breast and the citizens as dependent sucklings.

Our constitution essentially mandates a "center-right" country, in that the main responsibilities of the executive are 1) to defend the nation, and 2) uphold the constitution (and law more generally). And as it so happens, America remains a center-right nation, despite Obama's best efforts to transform it to a hard-left authoritarian social democracy ruled by an ex-wife from hell.

I'll leave you with some choice excerpts from the classic book, Why Mommy is a Democrat, which I posted back in March 2006:

--Ask not what your country can do for you. Instead, organize a demonstration and demand it.

--It's not how you play the game, so long as no one wins or loses and gets their feelings hurt.

--A fool and someone else's money can solve any societal problem.

--If life gives you lemons, file a class action suit against Sunkist.

--Always remember you're above average, just like everyone else.

--A person is known by the company he boycotts.

--When the going gets tough, the tough start leaking.

--Beggars can't be choosers. Rather, they're now called "homeless."

--Boys will be boys until government provides subsidized ritalin for every one of them.

--Regardless of your background, any American who really works hard at it can still be a victim.

******

Classic. Via Ace:

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.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Critters and their Crater

The Knowa's Arkive? The Seer's Catalogue? Yeah, I'm as curious as the next guy about what's actually buried down there. It seems like leaves under leaves under leaves dropped from the tree of life, resulting in so mulch humus nonsense. Is it true what they say? You know, the voices in my head? That if you read all 1989 posts you could reassemble the cosmos from scratch?

If so, I wouldn't be the first person charged with feckless driving behind the cosmic wheel. For example, Joseph Campbell, in the Skeleton Key, writes that Finnegans Wake "is a huge time-capsule, a complete and permanent record of our age. If our society should go smash tomorrow... one could find all the pieces together with the forces that broke them" within its pages. It is "a kind of terminal moraine in which lie all the myths, programs, slogans, hopes, prayers, tools, educational theories, and theological bric-a-brac of the past millennium. And here, too, will be found the love that reanimates the debris," for the latter "is not brickdust but humus."

In fact, Joyce even addresses this in the book, in the Manifesto of Alp (Book I, Chapter 5). In it he details the "mamafesta memorializing the Mosthighest" which "has gone by many names at disjointed times" but always comes back to "Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the Bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run, unhemmed as it is uneven!"

In mother worlds, there is the Male principle and there is the Female principle, and the mamafestation obviously has to do with the latter: with existence itself as the "other" scripture and (p)revelation, which complements the first: specifically, it is "Mother Nature's partial revelation of the majesty of God the Father; simultaneously it is the broken communication of that revelation through poetry and myth..." Not to mention rib-takling laughter, the guffah-HA! experience you should be having right about now.

Poetry and myth -- and music and laughter and beauty -- are, one might say, the complement and consort of sober science and teetotalitarian rationality. Which is why so many souls who fall into barren scientism are, ahem, "confirmed old bachelors," which is a polite way of saying compulsive homotextuals in a ghetto of one-storey bildungs.

On to this fallen leaf from exactly four years ago:

Excuse me, orificer! There's a hole in my crater! And a ghost in my post!

Which turns out to be a good thing, because without it, there would be no space for your own understanding in the bewilderness.

Let's talk about this smoking crater at the center of history. First of all, it doesn't just represent a horizontal discontinuity that divides history between BCE and AD, but a permanent vertical entrance -- and exit.

So there is both temporal and a spatial discontinuity; there are horizontal energies memorialized and sent forward by tradition, but vertical energies that continue to rain down and fertilize tradition "from above." (It's also where the saints and bodhisattvas rise and fall in and out, and where Petey and I meet for launch.)

Usually, to forget one of these streams results in a lack of spiritual efficacy, although not always, being that allowances must be made for the spirit blowing where -- and in whom -- it will. Still, the cross serves as an apt reminder of the vertical and horizontal energies that meet and harmonize in the crater of the human heart (or heart-mind). Of course, the heart must be "broken," which is again a kind of bewildering space that lets the light in.

With regard to the horizontal aspect of the crater, "before" and "after" take on absolute meanings instead of just relative ones. This recalls Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which is based on the absoluteness of the speed of light. Just as time slows down as we approach the speed of light, so too does history as we approach the crater. Prayer, contemplation, meditation, ritual, slack retrieval, the 5:00PM tippling point -- these are all vertical modalities that both slow down and dilate time (for the one is a function of the other) and allow us to exit history. Woo hoo!

This is surely what the author must have been referring to on Page 181 of the Encirclopedia, where it is written: "As a consequence of their apparently deathbound little selves, human beings began envisioning and longing for the whole, for an ideal existence located somewhere in the past, an eden, or in the future, a heaven, where all tensions are resolved, the circle is unbroken, and we are returned to the source from whence we came."

On the following page, it is written that a few vertical explorers were able to follow "a newly discovered current of being through to its non-local source upstream, far away from the terminal moraine of the outward-turned senses." They then identified "a passage [which is to say, a w-hole] hidden in plain sight, through which lay yet another altogether surprising but felicitous discovery: A Mighty Strange Attractor at the..."

Hmm. That's strange. The sentence ends just like that, at the end of the chapter. It's like the last stair is missing, and the book just drops off into a big crater or something... Oh well...

Anyway, if you read the pre-Christian pagan literature, you can see that this yearning for redemption or escape was becoming particularly intense and explicit as the Christic singularity approached -- for example, the poet.... what's his name, Jeeves?

I believe you are referring to Virgil, sir.

Yes, that's the geezer. In his Eclogues, he writes of "a new age that is about to begin. A child, the first born of the new age, is on his way from heaven" (Beckett):

A great series of centuries is born from the whole of time. / Now a virgin returns, the golden age returns; / now its firstborn is sent to us, down from the height of heaven. / Look kindly, goddess of childbirth, on the birth of this boy; / for him shall the people of iron fail, and a people of gold / arise in all the world

Come soon (for the hour is at hand) to the greatness of your glory, / dear offspring of the gods, great child of Jove himself! / Look how the round world bends in its weight, / the lands, the tracts of the sea and the deep sky; / look how all things rejoice in the coming time!

In order to be able to think about this, we need to appreciate the effect of a hyperdimensional object crashing down into history ("look how the round world bends in its weight") and then sending its waves both "forward" and "back" ("look how all things rejoice in the coming time!") These temporal waves have been sent "forward" -- not just by the impact of the original event, but amplified (or at least prevented from entropic degradation) through time by the collective ("tradition") and by certain elevated fleshlights (saints, doctors, mystics, etc.). Look at Augustine. He was already 400 years out from the singularity, and yet, still feeling its shockwaves as if it had happened just yesterday.

In fact, just as with physical entropy, it seems that if the original wave isn't renewed and given periodic "boosts," it will begin to fade. I can feel this quite vividly if, say, I read the early fathers -- who were much closer to the impact of the singularity -- and compare them to your uncoontemporary salesman of profit-driven churchianity.

In fact, this is one of the reasons Schuon was such an advocate of tradition, since there is a kind of spiritual entropy that slowly neutralizes the revolutionary effect of the revelation and eventually replaces it with the "human nature" it is designed to remedy. This entropic effect must be constantly battled, both in the individual and collective. Call it "conservative" if you like, but it's trying to conserve an explosive revolution, ya' knucklehead!

Think, for example, of how liberals take us further and further away from the original intent of our timeless "political revelation," the Constitution. The process is very similar -- which is why a so-called "conservative" is simply someone who wishes to preserve the radical spiritual revolution of the Founders.

In truth, all valid spiritual traditions will have something analogous to the Smoking Crater. Certainly the Torah serves this purpose in Judaism, for it is the infinite written in finite form. As such, it "explodes" all attempts to contain or reduce it to any mere human dimension. It's like a bomb that never stops exploding; or perhaps like a bush that burns continuously without being consumed.

Similarly, of Buddhism, Schuon writes that "Like a magnet, the beauty of the Buddha draws all the contradictions of the world and transmutes them into radiant silence; the image deriving therefrom appears as a drop of the nectar of immortality fallen into the chilly world of forms and crystallized into a human form, a form accessible to men."

In this regard, we can see that Christ is also like a lens in which the vertical energies are gathered and focused, just like a magnifying glass that can use the sun's rays to start a brushfire -- which Dupree insists he did not set, because he was here with me at the time throwing water balloons at the school bus.

Schuon calls this an "amazing condensation of the Message in the image of the Messenger," who also represents the "infinite victory of the Spirit," or the priority of the vertical over the horizontal. Note that Jesus said "it is expedient for you that I go away." Why is that? Because he needed to make sure that the crater stayed empty, which is to say, full of mystery.

Now, certain aspects of the teaching -- the "whole truth" -- can only actualize in time, as the waves move forward. This is because, to paraphrase Schuon, the original event must create the context for certain implications to be worked out. This is the necessity of the Church, or of Tradition, which "has the function, not only of communicating vital truths, but also of creating an environment adapted to the manifestation of spiritual modes of a particular character."

He goes on to point out that in religion, "some few centuries after its foundation, one sees a fresh flowering of a kind of second youth, and this is due to the fact that the presence of a collective and material ambience, realized by the religion itself, creates conditions allowing -- or requiring -- an expansion of an apparently new kind." One thinks of the fifth century that produced an Augustine and Denys, or 13th that produced both Eckhart and Aquinas. Or how Hinduism produced Shankara or Buddhism Nagarjuna (the spiritual genius, not the defective troll) only many centuries later.

As Schuon writes, the descent of the Holy Spirit would be inconceivable "without the departure of Jesus," through which he can become "present" for all time. Otherwise, his mere physical presence might have created a kind of idolatry, or "saturation" of the space where God is found. No space, no God, no service.

Again, that space is the smoking crater, but it is where the vertical energies flow. And of course, there are various heresies that essentially get the balance wrong between Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Us, and the Crater. You could also say that the Crater is necessary for man, since his worldly ego is essentially a precipitate or crystallization of a mode of consciousness that mirrors materiality.

But the higher self is a sort of mirror of the empty space of that crater, which has the effect of turning us "inward," toward our own existential crater that can never be filled by worldly things. As our trolls constantly teach us, to think in the material mode is to "think in opposition to intelligence," while to orient ourselves around the mysterious crater helps us to think beyond ourselves, into the Great Within.

In this regard, negation or "unKnowing" has always been understood to be a kind of ultimate affirmation; for in the end, the Void turns out to be a kind of plenum, whereas the solidity of the world turns out to be a kind of existential nothingness, or samsaric void. As such, we must practice a certain detachment from the empty void in order to allow a Voidgin birth in the plenary Real. Me? I'm just an empty space cadet, apophatic nobody.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Quick Proof of God, Not that it's Necessary or Useful

I think I'll take a little unscheduled breather of indeterminate duration. I could be wrong, but I believe my brain is telling me it needs a break (if only Justice Roberts had listened to his brain before committing a blunder for the ages!). Plus, there doesn't seem to be all that much interest in our current line of attack on the celestial horizon, so I'm sure a new inspiration will come to me if I close the current windows and reboot.

Reader Magister left a provocative comment that is worth your contemplation:

"When I look at a chimp, a dolphin, or a dog, or any other creature that is intelligent, it is quite clear that the other creature is less than me. I like my dog, and have a sort of relationship with him, but in the end, he is not going to read MOTT with me, make love or music with me, or help me deal with issues. He's good at playing with a tennis ball and acts like a friendly pack animal. That's about it.

"In chimps there is great family resemblance, so there is indeed something haunting about their returned gaze. But my human sense of 'I' could not arise by prolonged interaction with a chimp. This can only happen with my mother, father, and other humans. With them the other gaze is a commensurate 'I,' which is the only gaze that can be a productive relation for building a sense of identity. What's more, if this interaction is loving and not harmful or smothering, it can be creative.

[I would just add that it is a necessary condition of creativity, and that all subsequent creativity mirrors this primordial dialectic between spontaneous expression and joyous reception and recognition.]

"At some point however even these human interactions will be incommensurate with our deepest longings, not because they lack value, but because they are limited in various ways, and so incommensurate with the scale of our desire for complete understanding and perfect relation. For that, we turn to God. The interaction with God alone is infinite, an ever-expanding mysterium of relation, and this alone satisfies and dissatisfies, leading us both inward, outward, and in every direction.

"Only God is adequate. We are built for the infinite, are groomed for the infinite, and are restless until we live with it in perfect union. Only at that point will our own "I" -- in all its expansions -- be complete.

"Is this another way of saying what this post is saying?"

My response:

Yes, more or less, although I would add an important caveat about human relations -- that there are "sacramental" human relations that serve as a vehicle for the divine grace, so they aren't merely "human" but divine; or, fully human because divine.

Otherwise, there are an infinite number of ways to say it, but you said it perfectly well (and each generation needs to say it anew, in relation to the accidents of science, history, and culture; also it has to be experienced, not just known, i.e., what we call [n] and not mere [k]).

Man is indeed uniquely proportioned to ultimate reality, so nothing short of ultimate reality is adequate to his ontological, epistemological, moral, spiritual and emotional needs.

As Schuon says, "Our intelligence is made for the Absolute, or it is nothing." There can be no middle ground: O or ø.

That last wise crack reminds me of something Captain Beefheart once said: "Yeah, I'm a genius, and there's not a thing I can do about it."

Schuon adds that "If it were necessary or useful to prove the Absolute, the objective and transpersonal character of the human intellect would be sufficient as evidence, for that same intellect testifies irrecusably to a purely spiritual first Cause, to a Unity infinitely central but containing all things, to an Essence at once immanent and transcendent."

Right? Right. Embarrassingly obvious when you stop to think about it.

So, "total Truth is inscribed, in an immortal script, in the very substance of our spirit."

You might say we are condemned to transcendence, which hints at the supreme irony of Crucifixion in its universal sense. There's no way around it. One can, however, fall short of it.

So dive into the deep end. You're gonna get wet anyway. Plus you might even float:

Friday, June 29, 2012

It is Not Good that Man Should be Allone

Let's think through this notion of "person," which is so central to Christian metaphysics -- at least to the metaphysics of thinkers such as Ratzinger, Balthasar, and Wojtyla, plus some others I've read recently, such as Norris Clarke and Henri de Lubac. Each, in his own way, would say that Person is the ultimate category.

In purely abstract terms, person is covariant with centration. De Lubac illuminates this aspect of the problem:

"[W]e find that the higher a living thing rises in the scale of being, the more internal unity does it acquire." In contrast, "the undifferentiated, entirely homogeneous being is as little one as it is possible to be." Rather, the latter "is only a nameless agglomeration."

Therefore, the first thing we need to understand is that one -- or oneness, rather -- is located at the top of of the scale, not the bottom.

The infant, for example, when he is fed, dry, and comforted, is presumably "at one" with the cosmos. But this represents a very simple, or shallow, degree of oneness. As human beings grow and acquire more "parts," it becomes increasingly difficult to pull off oneness while retaining the achievement of identity.

De Lubac notes that in certain plants, "unity is so weak that every piece cut from the stalk produces a new plant." Each part is its own potential whole, so to speak.

The inverse obtains in something as complex as a human being, where each part supports the unity of the whole. A tooth is quite different from a toe, but each has its specific role to play.

Likewise, unlike earthworms, you can't cut someone in half and expect each half to grow into a separate person (unless the division happens during the very early and undifferentiated blastocyst stage).

Transposed to the psychic level, "True union does not tend to dissolve into one another the beings that it brings together, but to bring them to completion by means of one another. The Whole, therefore, is not the antipodes, but the very pole of personality" (ibid).

Thus, two errors need to be dispensed with. The human being is not an idealized individual -- as believed, say, by libertarians and objectivists -- but nor is he subordinate to a collective blob, as believed by leftists.

Rather, to be a person is "fundamentally to enter upon a relationship with others so as to converge upon a Whole." The chronically rebellious individual is just the other side of the slavishly conformist liberal, because both are equally repelled by real intimacy and communion.

This process of differentiation and union can only occur in time, hence the centrality of history to Christian metaphysics: "since the flow of time is irreversible nothing occurs in it more than once, so that every action takes on a special dignity and an awful gravity; and it is because the world is a history, a single history, that each individual life is a drama" (emphasis mine).

Again, this single drama is the drama of awakening to the cosmic person. Or, in the words of the title of another book we've been discussing, the cosmic movement runs from big bang to big mystery.

Thus, the person is ultimate, but with an important caveat: that there can be no person in the absence of other persons. Personhood is always, and can only be, a result of ex-change with other persons.

Therefore, just as there is a total biosphere, and beneath that a total system of physics and astrocosmology -- there is a single system of personhood. Call it the "psychosphere," or "pneumasphere" if you like. But we like to call it the cOʘnosphere.

At the center, or bottom, or ground, each person is simultaneously centripetal and centrifugal, within which we may "discern the stamp of the creating Trinity," like so:

"There is no solitary person: each one in his very being must give back to all.... It is like a two-way method of exchange, a twofold mode of presence." And "a person is a whole world," except that "this 'world' presupposes others with which it makes up one world only" (ibid).

De Lubac quotes Augustine, who asked, What is more yours than you? Yet what is less yours than you if what you are is from another?

Good question. I'm running out of time, so I'll just get to the upshot of it all, except that I'm going to take the extreme liberty of replacing certain words with empty pneumaticons, so as to not alienate non-Christian readers:

"By revealing O and by being revealed by him, ʘ completes the revelation of man to himself. By taking possession of man, by seizing hold of him and penetrating to the very depths of his being (↓) makes man go deep down within himself, there to discover in a flash regions hitherto unsuspected. It is through (↑) that the person reaches maturity, that man emerges definitively from the universe, and becomes conscious of his own being."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Open Thread

And barely enough time for that.

Question: does this mean we can check illegals for insurance documentation?

Otherwise, I don't see a big change. Anyone who's ever been audited knows that the IRS was already in the colonoscopy business.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't No Happy, Period

I'm just thumbing through this book on Vision and Separation Between Mother and Baby, trawling for any further in-sights into our subject.

Which is what again? I forgot.

I believe this all started with a discussion of the (temporal) cosmic journey, as outlined in Purcell's From Big Bang to Big Mystery. This journey ends in the Person, but this latter term is full of implications. For starters, the journey from infant proto-person to adult person is teeming with hazards, many of which fall under the heading of "mom" and "dad."

For example, Wright describes how the mother's face is the child's first "emotional mirror" through which he "is able to come to understand his own emotions."

Of course, it goes much deeper than the word "understanding" implies, because this is not a question of epistemology. Rather, it reaches all the way down to ontology, to the level of being.

In this regard, it seems that "I AM" is posterior to "YOU ARE" (or at least they "eternally co-arise," so to speak).

But this is consistent with biblical metaphysics, where man's being is wholly dependent upon Being-as-such; and this Being-as-such just so happens to be person-as-such. Otherwise, I just don't see how it is possible to shoehorn personhood into the cosmos, unless one simply has blind faith in blind chance.

A brief point of order: whenever I use the word "mother" in this developmental context, I am not only referring to the exterior mother.

Rather, human beings are born with a stock of archetypal preconceptions -- or preconceptual archetypes, if you like -- through which we organize primordial experience. As such, there is an "interior mother," an empty category awaiting experience in order to assimilate content.

Again, the mother's face is the child's first emotional mirror, but experiences in this modality come to "fill out" one's interior mother.

For example, if the maternal mirror "is unreflecting, damage is done to the child, who becomes walled off from his own emotional self by a similarly rigid and impervious wall" (Wright).

Do you see how that works? It is very much as if the psyche is now inhabited by this dialectic of an unreflective mother and a rejected -- because unrecognized -- self.

This is why, as Wright explains, body-image issues are so common in psychotherapy. For example, "someone who is troubled by a negative identity or discongruent self-image may, in an almost delusional way, experience his face as disfigured."

I'm thinking of, say, Michael Jackson, whose bizarre face was the outward image of an even more bizarre internal world. He spent his life searching in vain for the right face.

But even if he had succeeded he would have failed, for the true face has to belong to someone else, and be mediated by love. You might say that Jackson attempted to transform his own face into both lover and beloved, which renders growth impossible. Thus the pathetic spectacle of a 50 year-old child.

Just last week I was talking to a neighbor -- an old-timer who knows where all the bodies are buried -- who mentioned that someone I went to high school with had died of anorexia (probably a couple of decades ago). Anorexia is the sine qua non of a delusional body image.

I haven't studied the subject for a while, but back when I was in graduate school, it was thought to be related to deep ambivalence around primitive images of the mother, who is completely entangled with food, mouth, nourishment and digestion.

In other words, "primitive mother" and "food" are essentially indistinguishable at that level, hence the "oral stage" of development, which lasts from birth to... well, until it kills you, if you're not careful.

Actually, it does last to the end of one's life, only in a mature person it doesn't predominate. We all retain a healthy, primitive emotional attachment to food. But if you end up being reduced to a "foodie" whose life revolves around putting novel things into your mouth, you've probably got issues. But you're also harmless, so no biggie.

By the way, this whole subject has fascinating implications for theophagy, i.e., communion. "This is my body." "I am the bread and the life." "My Father gives you the true bread from heaven." Etc. Turning the cosmos right-side-up, we see that the primitive maternal relationship is our initiation into the life of the Trinity.

Again, I don't see how it would be possible to arrive at humanness -- or personhood, to be exact -- in the absence of this ontological communion, in which we interpenetrate and share being with another.

Wright calls this communion a "positively amplifying circuit mutually affirming both partners." The smiling infant fills the mother with joy, and the joyous mother presumably fills the infant with unspeakably juicy goodness. The mother's happy face is the deepest hint that the world is a good place, and doggonit, I'm good too.

For you gents out there, have you ever noticed the relationship between Happy Wife and Happy Life? It is quite true that When Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy.

But a bright and happy mama is like the sun shining indoors. Indeed, men have a deep need to make mama happy, in the absence of which we feel quite powerless, or puzzled, or despairing. Or maybe I just have issues.

Anybody got a doughnut?

Babies hold a secret about the human mind that has been hidden for millennia. They are our double. They have a primordial drive to understand us that advances their development; we have a desire to understand them that propels social science and philosophy. By examining the minds and hearts of children, we illuminate ourselves. --Andrew Meltzoff (in Garrels)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Face Time With God and Man

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Whatever else it means, this statement by Paul shows a high degree of psychospiritual sophistication and introspection, as it gets to the heart of what it means to be seen and re-cognized, and therefore to have one's being -- one's humanness -- validated.

In the book I referenced yesterday, Vision and Separation, the author writes that "The 'space' of self-consciousness is a secondary development within the field of consciousness. It arises when the subject (the child) becomes aware of the looking of the object. It is the space within which the person looks at himself through the eyes of the other.

"I often speak of consciousness as interface, or inter-face. This is to emphasize that both consciousness and self-consciousness, and the symbols that mediate these experiences, only arise between faces, in other words, in an interpersonal setting, within which relations between persons... are formative."

In fact, infant observation studies have been conducted in which mothers maintain a deadpan expression, but otherwise respond normally to their infant in every way. As you might imagine, the infants quickly become visibly distressed. They are literally dis-oriented, since the mother's face is not only the center of their universe, but their primary means to manage their own internal states. In other words, they look to the mother to "know what's going on," both outside and "inside," in the emotional world. Without the M(O)ther, the child is quickly drowned in O.

I suppose any normal parent is implicitly aware of this, but since we were consciously aware of it, Mrs. G. and I always provided Tristan with lots of animated face time. Have you ever noticed how, when children fall down or have some kind of sudden accident, they first look to the parent, as if to ask, "Am I okay, or is it time to shriek like a Democrat in November?"

In these situations, we always gave him an enthusiastic, or reassuring, or amused expression (unless he was doing something truly dangerous). Also, whenever he fell down, I'd put my arms out like a baseball umpire, and yell SAFE!

In contrast, when I'm at the park, I notice that a lot of mothers in particular are constantly transmitting anxiety to their children, with pursed lips and worried or disapproving expressions. This has the effect of reining in the child's natural exuberance and exploratory impulses.

As it so happens, Tristan has turned out to be unusually daring and fearless. Of course, there's no way of knowing if our parenting style has played a role in this, because there's no way to conduct a controlled study, plus he has other personality traits and quirks that clearly have nothing to do with us.

In any event, just last week his first grade teacher conducted a sort of mock graduation ceremony, in which she gave a diploma to each child, citing their most prominent characteristic. Tristan's was for "always being the fearless, active, and brave one all year!"

Like any other system, this facial recognition system -- in which we feel the need to be recognized by other faces -- can go awry. For example, pathological narcissism essentially revolves around an exaggerated need for human mirroring in order to fill a deficit inside.

The problem here is that the narcissistic mirroring doesn't reach to the level of being, but only touches a superficial "false self" unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) constructed by the narcissist. This means that the narcissist is actually in control of the process, and isn't truly "giving" or exposing his true self to the other. That would be too risky.

One can understand why so many narcissists gravitate toward entertainment and media (and now "reality TV" and other similar sops to the craving for recognition), since these are an ideal way to submit a false self to a bunch of anonymous faces for their slack-jawed but wide-eyed approval.

But deep down the narcissist has a well-founded contempt for such losers, so he knows as well as anyone that he is just addicted to psychic junk food. It's never enough, which is why, on top of it all, these types have to hand out so many awards to each other for being such successful and accomplished phonies.

I recently read a book called Mimesis and Science, which goes into some of the latest research on the centrality of the Face in human development. One author, Jean-Michel Oughourlian, compares it to a force of attraction, like gravity, except displaced to the subjective horizon:

"That natural force of cohesion, which alone grants access to the social, to language, to culture, and indeed to humanness itself, is simultaneously mysterious and obvious, hidden in and of itself, but dazzling in its effects -- like gravity and the attraction of corporeal masses in Newtonian space.

"If gravity did not exist, life on earth would be impossible. Similarly, if this remarkable force that attracts human beings to one another, that unites them... -- if this force did not exist, there would be no humanity."

This means, among other things, that "from the very start, psychological actuality is found between individuals.... The self and the other are thus bound together in a fundamental way at the point of origin by a tie that is ontological and existential.... The genesis of the self cannot take place except by the mediation of the other and simultaneously with the other in a process of differentiation that is gradual and reciprocal."

In all my studies, I never came across a psychoanalyst who was also an orthodox Christian, or at least made the effort to unify metapsychology and theological metaphysics. I have, however, stumbled upon a handful of theologians who are aware of developments in attachment theory, and of their implications for theology.

But I guess I haven't yet found anyone who is as startled as I am at the psycho-developmental implications of the Trinity, through which one is two, two are one, one is three, two are three, etc.

But all of this bears directly on infant development, to such an extent that it is impossible to assume anything other than a trinitarian metaphysic and still permit humanness to exist. To put it another way, if the cosmos weren't trinitarian right down to the ground, then we wouldn't be here. Nor would you understand a word of what I just wrote.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cosmic Evolution: It's Just a Going Through a Face

We left off last Friday discussing the always-increasing complexification of the cosmos, a process which ends -- as far as we can determine -- in the human person. We say this because we cannot imagine something "beyond a person" except for God.

This is an example of one of those things I should think everyone can agree upon, believer and infidel alike.

In other words, if we survey the 14 billion year history of the cosmos, the whole thing is clearly getting more complex with the passage of time, for there is literally nothing as complex as the human brain-and-nervous-system, what with its 10 billion neurons and 10 to the 14th power synaptic connections.

I'm better at myth than math, but if I understand rightly, this means that in this social network, each neuron can apparently friend up to 14 others.

That's a lot of synapses, so many that if you were to attempt to compute their possible combinations, it would take longer than this cosmos is going to last. Which is just another way of saying that we'll never run out of melodies, poems, or jokes.

Now, this cosmoplexification revolves around a center, and that's what makes it so interesting (or any other adjective, for that matter). Think of all that computing power in the human brain, and yet, it all resolves into this simple, unitary experience of an "I" at the center of the neural storm.

This "I" not only manages to resolve all that micro-neural activity, but it also unifies various macro-brain structures such as left and right cerebral hemispheres, limbic system, language area, etc., plus subjective/vertical structures from the primitive unconscious to the transhuman supraconscious -- all spontaneously and without effort. Rather, it "just happens."

You could say that this is similar to other infinitely complex systems, say, the US economy. For example, at the end of the day, you can hear on the news that the stock market gained or lost this or that amount of wealth.

This latter is presented as a unitary quantity, but of course it's just an abstraction, plus it has no actual center. There is no "I" in the middle of all that economic activity saying to itself "I cleaned up today," or "today I really lost my shirt, and it's all Bush's fault!"

As I've mentioned before, one reason I am skeptical of finding "intelligent life" on other planets is because of the extreme unlikelihood that we would ever find persons. A person is the apex of cosmic intelligence, but it turns out -- or so we have heard from the wise -- that the "center" represented by the person actually extends all the way down.

In other words, it is not as if the cosmos evolves to a certain point, and then there appears this inexplicable thing called a person, like the frosting on a cake. Rather, there is a kind of "centration" that is present everywhere and everywhen, only in more or less attenuated forms.

For example, when Jesus says "Before Abraham was, I am," he's expressing our point, albeit more enigmatically. This needs to be understood in the context of other biblical statements such as "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," "I AM WHO I AM," "When He prepared the heavens I was there," and "When He drew a circle on the face of the deep... I was beside him."

Also, in the extra-biblical but orthoparadoxical Gospel of Thomas, Jesus asks, "Have you found the beginning that you look to the end? Where the end is, is where the beginning is. Blessed is the one who stands at the beginning, for the one who stands at the beginning will know the end"; and even more to the point, "Blessed is the one who comes into being before he came into being."

All of these statements go to the idea of the person being anterior to all phenomena.

This may not be something you've ever considered before, but just as there can be no mind in the absence of a person, there can be no person in the absence of the face. Human beings are of course "social animals," but it is possible to be social without being completely interior to, or inside, one another.

For example, bees and ants exchange information with each other and act as a group, but they don't think about it. You might say that the "center" of a bee hive is dispersed throughout the colony, rather than being present in its totality in each bee.

But in the case of humans -- and liberals hate to hear this -- the center is in the individual.

In fact, liberals attempt to subvert this individual centration by forcing people to identify with race, class, ethnicity, gender, and what have you, but this is the very essence of "regressivism," as it recalls a time in human history prior to the emergence of the free and autonomous person.

As we can see, Obama's whole campaign revolves around the attempt to cobble together a plurality by pandering to various groups via the re-definition of marriage, amnesty for illegal Democrats, a war on men, and so on. Conversely, conservatism embodies arguments that can only be made by persons to persons, irrespective of such accidents as race, class, and gender.

Looking back on it, I must have first been alerted to the centrality of the Face after reading a book called Vision and Separation Between Mother and Baby. This would have been back down in the early '90s, way before I would have been able to draw out the metaphysical and theological implications. Nor have I picked up the book since then.

Just look at the cover photo, and notice the vibrant, joyous, and resonant space between mother and baby:

And when I say "notice the space," think about what that implies. Only another person is capable of noticing this space. Anything less than a person will see only two, three, or four dimensions in such an exchange, but the interior dimension will be inaccessible -- like a person who can hear the notes but not the melody of which they are a part.

I'm just flipping through the book to see what sorts of things I highlighted: "This book is the seen form of that which was previously felt but not clearly formed. Seeing is forming, and the idea that the self, as a conceivable entity, is formed -- or de-formed, or re-formed -- at that place where the Other's view meets with the felt substance of the person is an important part of my thesis."

"The central structure around which the book coheres is thus the space or gap that develops between subject and object through their separation. It is this gap that, according to my thesis, becomes the gap or 'space' of consciousness."

Yes, space is the place. Reminds me of Bowie's Moonage Daydream:

Press your space face close to mine, love / Freak out in a moonage daydream

To be continued...