Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Strange Things are Afoot: Malicious Software in the Human Brainframe

So, I think we've established that the body -- AKA Brother Ass -- is Not Guilty by reason of mental incompetence. Rather, the body (to the extent that it is naughty) is just shoved around by the malware that makes its way into the human mainframe:

"Malware, short for malicious software, is software used or created to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems." It "is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software."

You mean like mind parasites?

Yes, it "includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware, and other malicious programs." "Sometimes known as a computer contaminant," it "is not the same as defective software, which is software that has a legitimate purpose but contains harmful bugs that were not corrected before release."

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? If so, that's a lot to digest.

First of all, how does the malware get into the hominid wetware? Where does it come from? If we stipulate that God didn't create it, then how does it get here?

And by "here" we are of course referring to Genesis 3, which is perpetually speaking to us from There to Here in vertical phase space, i.e., from Celestial Central to our 4D outpost at the edge of the subjective horizon.

Again, the real trouble can't come from the body, which only has a few simple needs and impulses that are easily satisfied. Indeed, since the body as such doesn't exist within the infinite subject, it doesn't even know about tomorrow (as is true of any animal).

However, it is incorrect to say that human beings "have" a body -- or even "have" a mind. Such thinking betrays an ontological (and ultimately Gnostic) dualism that just isn't there.

Rather, human beings are always a "bodymind." You can't even say that "we" are "embodied," because you've again separated the subject from its matrix in a way that we never encounter in the real world.

I think also that we need to widen out our conception of what it means to be embodied.

Language, for example, is an extension of the body. When we speak, we are simply using a thingy inside our necks to vibrate the air around us in order to tickle a bunch of little hairs within the listener's inner ear. In this context, it's a miracle that anyone understands a thing I'm saying (even leaving aside distortions resulting from the malware).

The question was raised in yesterday's comments as to whether our fallen condition is necessary or contingent. Was it inevitable that the humans would mess things up so badly? If so, how come God didn't foresee it?

There seems to be a genuine orthoparadox at work here, similar to the idea that we are created in the image of God, and yet, in need of redemption. The former would seem to obviate the need for the latter, but there you go. We all need a vertical lifeline.

Similarly, we are told that the creation -- man included -- is "good." Why then the mischief and mayhem?

Commenter Gandalin is on the bright track, noting that there must be some sort of "fall" woven into the very idea of creation, since it implies an existence separate from the Creator:

"And yet, in another sense... the material Creation is the apex and pinnacle and purpose of all of the 'higher' levels that progressively (or perhaps discontinuously) lead to Malkuth" (the latter term referring to the crystallized and coagulated material ghetto unhappyted by us I-ambodied malkutents).

But if I understand rightly, we actually inhabit the entirety of the Sephirot, at least implicitly or in potential (which is sort of the Whole Point). The Sephirot essentially maps the possibilities of Spirit, from top to bottom, Keter to Malkut.

Antother subtle point: the Sephirot may be thought of as a kind of manifestation of the unmanifest God. Behind it -- and totally infused by it -- is the Ain Sof, which I believe literally means No End. It is uncontainable, unimaginable, beyond all categories. It is utterly transcendent, for which reason it is also immanent in everything.

In other words, since it cannot be contained, it is present in every where and every thing. It is the mOther of all, the womb with all views and the mamamatrix of all Neovelty.

Wo! Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K!

Yes, you might call this ainsoferable mystery 'O' for short.

It just so happens that I am reading a book that hardy-har-harmonizes with these thoughts, Foundations of Christian Faith, by Karl Rahner. It's extremely challenging, so I cannot give a general raccoomendation -- like a combination of Heidegger and the Philokalia. If this is the Foundation, the mansion must be something else.

In discussing this "foundation," Rahner does just that: he drills all the way to the bottom, in the effort to establish the cosmic and ontological principles that make such a weird thing as Christianity possible. In other words, Christianity, if it is to make sense to human beings, must be in conformity with "the way things are," including all of the things that are prior to Christianity as such -- things like embodiment, for example, or having a language, or being a person.

For example, this word "God." Note that the apostles didn't first have to establish the existence of this entity, and then go about describing Him. Rather, they go straight to the description, and waste no time establishing the principle of God.

But as I said, Rahner digs deeper. Which is clearly necessary in our day and age, when so many people doubt the very existence of God. You can't just tell someone what God is like, if they have already rejected his existence. So we moderns have a lot more spadework in terms of building the foundation.

In practical terms, this means that it is much more difficult to be a believer today than it was 1,500 or 1,000 or 2,000 years ago. It's not even clear what sort of conscious "decision" was necessary to be a believer back then, since there were no unbelievers.

There is a kind of reverse analogy to contemporary times, since no one today has to make a conscious decision to accept science. Rather, you have to make a conscious decision to reject it, and even then you have to be more than a little crazy to do so.

Conversely, no longer can faith be "taken for granted" and "supported by a homogeneous religious milieu common to everyone" (Rahner). Look at the Islamists, who want to shove all this novelty back into the tiny bottle that existed in 800 AD. That's pathetic, and unworthy of any God deserving of worship.

Rahner wants to show that it is possible to live a Christian existence with "intellectual honesty," but again, an honesty that penetrates all the way down, deeper than both science and typical churchianity. This requires no less than an integration of everything, and you have to admit that there is a helluva lot more to integrate today than there was 2,000 -- or even 100 -- years ago.

But ironically, as we shall see, even the fact of so much new stuff to integrate speaks of the Hidden God alluded to above, who is again the source of novelty, and why things never get boring around here. Not only is God the cure for boredom, He is its radical antithesis. If nothing else, He is the highest form of entertainment.

Remember, we're not just talking about scientific developments, but "all the various non-scientific manifestations of the life of the spirit in art, in poetry, and in society..."

Rahner describes a kind of "anonymous" and preconceptual knowledge of God that is present in, and available to, anyone, theist and atheist alike. It is frankly why we -- and all cultures -- have the word "God," and why the word can never be eliminated from the human vocabulary.

Even if all people were self-described "atheists," we would still have this word, since the very existence of human beings is unthinkable without it. To put it another way, the moment we have persons, we are going to have the concept of God.

Why is this?

That's a big subject. To be continued...

Monday, November 05, 2012

Madness!

We were discussing the Two Natures or tendencies that seem to coexist in man, one lower, the other higher.

Here again, we all realize -- any normal person does, anyway -- that we have these two trends, and you have to engage in an awful lot of self-obfuscation, or auto-pullwoolery, to deny their existence. Frankly, you have to be as adept at self-deception as is our current future ex-president tomorrow, and not a moment too soon!

But the bottom lyin' for any full-blown secular maniac is that the higher and lower cannot exist, despite the fact that they so obviously do -- which leads to all sorts of confusion, ending in the intellectual and spiritual deadzone of diversity, multiculturalism, moral relativism, etc.

One problem with the modern mind is that it wants to search for explanations that cease to be explanations once they leave the human plane.

This is a Very Large Subject, but we all know, for example, that there are decent people and cruel people. Simple as. But if you analyze those terms too far, it's analogous to dissecting a body to find out where the life is: it results in the destruction of what one is looking for. In a different context, Alan Watts said it's like chasing a fugitive while banging a drum.

Which is why such vehicles as mythology, literature, and film are so much more effective at explicating this quintessentially human territory than is naive science. The same is obviously true of scripture and revelation. I have explained this to my son, so his brain won't get spoiled by trying to understand religious wisdom in a less than human way.

For example, the other day he was asking about the story of the Flood, and I explained that it isn't just a mundane weather report, but is supposed to tell human beings something very important about themselves -- in this case, that we are, or can be, so rotten that even God has grave second thoughts about whether to continue the ghastly experiment.

"The Bible's picture of human nature," writes Leon Kass, "is, to say the least, sobering." No political correctness here, no punches pulled, no liberal appeal to sociological "root causes" of the widespread depravity.

Rather, "The tales of the primordial family underline the dangers of freedom and reason, speech and desire, pride and shame, jealousy and anger." The narratives "make us suspicious not only about politics and the arts, but even about man's interest in the divine." Truly, it seems there is nothing that can't be ruined by human involvement.

Nevertheless, these "first stories of human life" accurately depict "the explosive tensions lurking in any human family, both between husband and wife and (especially) between siblings." For example, I have a relative who is one of those diversity tools at a fourth-tier cow college. Not surprisingly, we haven't spoken in years, not least because intra-vertical communication becomes tense at such extremes.

Kass makes the interesting point that not a lot happens between the accounts of the prototypical humans -- Adam, Even, Abel, Cain -- and the Flood, mostly a lot of begetting. But this begetting, in Kass's interpretation (which is too long to provide in full here), results in kind of indiscriminate blending of divine and human qualities, and with it, a gradual loss of contact with the "divine within."

Thus, we may understand God's otherwise cryptic comment in 6:3, to the effect that His spirit shall not judge from within man. In other words, to put it plainly, man gradually loses touch with his divine conscience -- which is obviously a central component of our higher nature -- or at least it is contaminated by various other strands, e.g., rationalization, the lust for glory, self-worship, tenure, etc.

As a result, it seems that "Only two ways are open: total destruction of the world or the imposition of external law" (Robert Sacks, in Kass). This would also explain why we so detest lawyers, because the vast majority of their thousands upon thousands of laws are aimed only at bad people, and in a way, create bad people, because we start confusing morality with obedience to the exteriorized law.

Think, for example, of how liberals conflate big government and charity, when in reality big government displaces and even eliminates man's charitable impulses; real charity is actually in competition with the state, the latter of which is just the quest for power mesmerauding as charity or "public service."

So God can't help gnosissing that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the day. And God says something similar to Colonel Nicholson in Bridge on the River Kwai, in his case, What have I done?

Interesting too that Colonel Nicholson's moral crime fits right into the scheme of what man was up to in those antediluvian days, telling his troops that "One day the war will be over. And I hope that the people that use this bridge in years to come will remember how it was built and who built it."

Rrriiiiiiiiight. It's really about the Colonel's own unhinged lust for glory. Indeed, after the bridge is completed and he is dining with Colonel Saito, he reflects on being "nearer the end than the beginning" of his life: "And you wonder, you ask yourself, what the sum total of your life represents. What difference your being there at any time made to anything.... I don't know whether that kind of thinking's very healthy; but I must admit I've had some thoughts on those lines from time to time."

No, it's not very healthy at all, as Nicholson discovers too late. In short, his higher impulses -- honor, duty, self-discipline -- were totally contaminated by the lower.

As it all plays out below, Major Clipton famously mutters in astonished disgust, Madness! Madness!

That seems to echo God's sentiment as he surveys the human wreckage below: "The experiment in anarchy -- in living law-less-ly -- has failed miserably, so much so that God despairs of His creation. In an extraordinary remark," the Creator "says that he repents His creation of man and the other animals."

Blah blah yada yada, God ends up finding a righteous, pure, and simple heart in the figure of Noah, so all is not lost. For "blessed are the pure in heart."

I'm just consulting the Catholic catechism for any further insights into this issue, and it says that "Because man is a composite being... there already exists a kind of tension in him; a certain struggle of tendencies between 'spirit' and 'flesh' develops."

However, "it is not a matter of despising and condemning the body," but rather, cultivating certain "permanent dispositions" which result from submission or resistance to "the saving action of the Holy Spirit" (which we have symbolized (o) for the submission and (↓) for the saving action).

Friday, November 02, 2012

Earthers & Lumin Beings

Can we not all agree that man is possessed of no less than two natures?

I guess not. Anyone on the secular atheistic/scientistic side of the spectrum rejects any nature -- i.e., essences -- although never in a coherent way, mind you.

The leftist, for example, will insist that everyone is inherently racist except for blacks (and their white liberal scaretakers); or homosexuality is "fixed" whereas for the rest of us, gender is just a cultural construct.

So, let me get this straight: all sexuality is an arbitrary cultural construct except for homosexuality, which is why members of the latter group are entitled to special rights plus cash and other valuable prizes from the government?

Yes, exactly. You got a problem with that? It's all about voting blocs, not intellectual consistency, moron. To look for intellectual consistency in a leftist is like milking a bull. At best, you're in for a nasty surprise.

The two natures alluded to above are central to all religions, either explicitly or implicitly. Raccoons tend to take things a little too far, and posit two types of humans: children of Light and children of the earth.

This frankly sounds a little too gnostic for most folks. However, we don't say it because it is necessarily true literally, but because it works. We'll drop it as soon as we come up with a better idea.

Children of the earth -- at least in my experience -- tend to stay earthbound. If someone only superficially looks like an earther, as soon as he hears the dOctrine -- presented to him in the right way at the right time -- he will will recognize his Light-nature and soon enough go about shedding the earth-dross.

Can I get a witness?

Conversely, genuine children of the earth respond to the dOctrine either with bovine vacancy -- in other words, they just go on chewing while briefly looking up from the trough -- or a snake-like hissing fit.

In Judaism (or at least Kabbala) the higher and lower natures are called neshamah and nefesh, respectively. Importantly -- critically, even -- the lower soul is not intrinsically corrupt. To the contrary, it is intrinsically innocent -- or as innocent as any other animal.

Rather, it is corrupted by the soul -- which recalls Jesus' wise crack to the effect that Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.

You could say that our lower nature is like a fish in the sea -- it is plunged into the body and engulfed by the senses. It is that part of us which is of the earth and made of clay.

But there is another part -- obviously -- that always floats on the ocean or sits on the bank of the river, so to speak. Which is why we aren't all wet, and why the Light isn't completely extinguished.

Can I get a wetness? Without being totally drenched?

Completely out of time. I'm tempted to not even post this fragment, but why not? I'll pick up the strand Monday, no pun intended for once.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Veils and Brutes, Whores and Bullies

Amazing what putting one little naughty word into the title does for one's traffic, as indicated by the spike on the right side of the chart:

No wonder our language has become so debased. It works! If only putting a shocking vulgarity in the White House worked so well...

Perry notes that it is possible for Love and Truth to become polarized, but only as a result of a kind of declension, or devolution, from their higher unity. In such a case, Truth devolves to mere reason, while "Love becomes sentiment."

Have you noticed, for example, how sentimental people become when they have rejected religion? Actually, they can become either hard or sentimental, but I've noticed that some of the hardest ones can have a sequestered area of pure mushy sentimentality as a kind of replacement for a more rigorous and demanding religioisity.

Why, for example, does Richard Dawkins get married -- not just once, but repeatedly? Why this spiritual flabbiness amidst the hard and selfish genes?

But really folks, Truth and Love. What would life be without 'em? No, not false and hateful, since those represent deprivations, not negations.

We can't even say it would be like mammal life, because we all know that dogs, for example, have some sort of rich emotional life, with something analogous to "love." I suppose it would be more reptilian in nature -- just existing for the pure, unreflective sensation of it, like Charlie Rangel.

In fact, existence without Truth and Love isn't even existence, really. In a way, it's indistinguishable from non-being, and in any event, not worth the bother.

This is what often strikes me about radical environmentalists, who talk as if human beings are a destructive parasite on an otherwise beautiful and harmonious planet. What nonsense. If there were no humans to enjoy it, the earth might as well be obliterated by an asteroid, for all we care.

This also explains the widespread touchiness of political correctness. It turns out that these brave nihilists have more sacred cows than an ultra-Orthodox Jew with obsessive-compulsive disorder (like my wife's late Uncle Davy).

You can hardly say anything without offending the tender sensibilities of the politically correct. The other day Ann Coulter stepped into a sacred cowpie for calling President Obama a "retard."

But he is a retard, if by retard we mean someone who is intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, or morally arrested. The Benghazi scandal alone qualifies him for moral retardation. I mean, if no one is retarded, then no one is advanced.

Which is precisely what the left wants us to believe, but only when it is convenient. Otherwise they regard themselves as morally and intellectually superior to the 99% rabble o' retards.

Leftists also treat women as "sacred objects," but they go about it in a completely wrongheaded way. In fact, there is something deeply sacred about femininity, something worthy of veneration and protection, and which properly evokes chivalry in the male.

But this is quite different from the vulgar leftist belief that there is something special about a woman just because she is a woman -- or, more to the point, a leftist woman who feels that life has treated her unfairly. The left venerates victims, irrespective of whether or not they have any praiseworthy qualities.

Perry observes how "veiling and unveiling" play "such a central role in the contemplation of female beauty." Why, for example, is there a Victoria's Secret, and what is it hiding? We're not complaining, mind you, but a male equivalent of this would not only be absurd, but pathetic. What's the deal with the veiling of feminine beauty?

Perry says that it has to do with "the sacredness of beholding the essence." All cultures are -- or at least were, prior to the 1960s -- aware of this feminine power, and try to deal with it in various ways. However, the balance can be tipped too far in one direction or the other.

For example, "An excessive emphasis on veiling, and on guarding woman from the predatory passions of men, while necessary in a world populated by brutes, can overshadow the deeper function of veiling which... has to do with protecting man from beholding the Divine Essence unworthily" (Perry).

This is precisely the problem we see in much of the Islamic world. But we have the opposite problem in much of the west, represented by the culture of porn. For what is this culture but an unveiling so thorough that there is no mystery left to behold? There is no there there, at least nothing transcending the purely material plane, just surfaces in friction.

For strict atheists and other secular nihilists, this is all there can be, which again makes one wonder why the left is so eager to protect women that a man can be get sued for looking at one the wrong way.

Ironically, this regime is analogous to a "legalistic hijab," a kind of state-enforced veiling that has totally forgotten why the veil is necessary to begin with. To put it more bluntly, you can't really shame a whore any more than you can be mean to a bully, because the first is truth, the second justice.

***

Difference between zombies and liberals? If you give the zombie what he wants, he'll leave you alone:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Obama: Our First Bitch President

This is pretty much all you need to know about radical feminists: as a result of her devaluation and/or inversion of the male-female polarity, a "woman's inherent sweetness can turn to bitterness, changing her into a fury who, in revenge for man's weakness or arbitrariness, will harass him mercilessly" (Perry).

Yes, we all know the type. No normal man would be attracted to, say, Janeane Garofalo. And yet, she probably has a boyfriend, poor bastard. The question is, why?

Probably for the same reason -- only inverted -- that Richard Ramirez or the Menendez brothers are never without female companionship. Indeed, Erik, Lyle, and Richard all married in prison.

By way of contrast, marrying Janeane Garofalo -- or her type in general -- would amount to entering prison.

Now, just as the child will test boundaries but unconsciously wants and needs them to be there in order to feel safe and secure in the world, a woman will always test her man. Way it is.

And yet, this makes perfect sense from an evolutionary standpoint, because deep down no woman wants to be stuck with a weak man. The testing is like an inborn Wimp Detector.

Beneath this wimp detecting harassment, according to Perry, is the "attempt to have him become the man she would have him be."

In other words, she is unconsciously "hoping that he may yet rise to the challenge and not fall for the shrill bait of her badgering; that he will stand in impervious strength before her assault, while displaying magnanimous generosity, thus rescuing her from her own restless and potentially chaotic nature."

Imagine, for example, if Larry Summers had reacted in this calm and manly fashion to the shrill attacks of the angry feminists when he made his crack about women and engineering. Indeed, he might have responded with a good-natured you're making my point much more effectively than I ever could.

It's similar to how Muslims react to charges that they are violent by behaving violently (and I suppose this would be the male analogue to female violence, which is more verbal, hysterical, relationship-bound, and passive-aggressive).

Yesterday a thought popped into my head. What does it mean to be "cool"? It seems to me that coolness essentially equates to competence. Someone who is competent at a difficult and challenging endeavor -- especially when under pressure -- qualifies as cool.

Women obviously thought Obama was cool four years ago (70% of unmarried women voted for him, as did an even higher percentage of androgynous Yelvertons). Upon closer inspection it turns out that he was indeed cool, but with nothing to be cool about.

In other words, he has no competence at all, neither generally nor in any particular subject area. At best he has a nice burnished timbre to his voice, but he has never uttered an interesting thought with it. So, why didn't be become a TV journalist?

Is there a name for this kind of vacuous coolness, or breezy pseudo-mastery? Yes, I think so. It's called "celebrity."

A celebrity is, of course, famous for being famous. But celebrities are also cool for being cool. Which is why all the cool celebrities still support Obama. Professional courtesy.

Perry says something similar, that "when a man displays commanding self-domination and lucid reason this normally has an irresistible and deeply liberating effect on woman, for she is now free to be totally feminine and thus to blossom without fear of exposing her vulnerability -- this vulnerability or sensitivity being a necessary dimension of her nature."

But for the same reason, the fake sort of self-domination affected by Obama provokes the sort of fake feminine response we see, for example, in a gushing Chris Matthews, or in the liberal media more generally.

This media, being liberal, is "feminized," but obviously not in a healthy way. Thus Obama is their dream man -- or a man in their dreams.

I predicted several years ago that Obama's fake coolness would crack under the pressure of actual expectations. Again, the facade of coolness could be maintained so long as he was borne upward on nothing more substantial than the winds of white liberal guilt.

But look what he has now become: petty, peevish, vindictive, brittle, petulant, small-minded, mean-spirited, acid-tongued. In short, our soon-to-be ex-wife.

Indeed, in recent weeks Obama has gone full Garofolo on us. Again, some people no doubt find this attractive, just as, at the other end, some people find pathological masculinity attractive.

But we at the One Cosmos Decision Desk have determined that there just aren't enough of them this time around, so it's all over except for the bitching.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Playing the Game Existence to the End of the Beginning

I don't yet know if I have time enough for a post. Maybe just a series of unconnected fragments on the way to a post. I guess we'll find out.

Speaking of sexual differences, Perry writes that "man is identified with the pole of transcendence and woman with that of immanence."

Transposed to the social plane, this complementarity has various iterations. One that comes immediately to mind is man as "hero" and woman as "nurturer." The ultimate hero is "savior," since his heroism applies to our transcendent destiny. But our immanent destiny is in the hands of woman; hence, Jesus as savior is nevertheless "born of woman."

It is also understood -- even by science -- that the female brain tends to be much more geared toward relationships, whereas the male brain leans toward abstraction and law. As Perry says, the former is union or synthesis, the latter discernment and analysis. Who is right?

Certainly not that question. Again, we are dealing with a complementarity that conditions every degree and mode of reality short of God. For example, in quantum physics wave is female, particle male.

Indeed, in a provocative footnote, Perry observes that "Geometrically speaking, if man is the central dot, woman is the whole circle." However, it's not a question of either/or, but rather, both/and. In short, it is ʘ.

Complementarity as such strikes one as "female," does it not? For me it does, anyway. The male psyche wants to find THE ANSWER -- as in reductionistic scientism -- but there is no answer without its alluring female consort, or complement. Or, one might say that for every answer there is going to be a mysterious female context that shades off into the infinite.

Of course, one notices this much more in spirituality than in science. I see that this is a recurring theme of Karl Rahner, who writes, for example, that

"The Christian never simply 'comes across' God... as one specific phenomenon among others within the sphere of human existence, one, therefore, which falls within the limits of his ideas and actions."

Rather, "he is in contact with the living God as the all-encompassing and the unencompassed [i.e., container and never contained], as the ineffable upholder of being such that to call him in question is to call everything in question also, ourselves included..."

Yes, "God is the incomprehensible mystery of our existence which encompasses us and causes us to realize, however painfully, the limitations of that existence, which he himself transcends." And "the distance between him and us is there in order that the unity of love may be achieved." Thus the soul is always female in relation to God.

In a very real sense, you could say that "The person is the question to which there is no answer" (ibid).

Or in other words, the questions to which the person gives rise are infinite, and infinite is another name for God: "Experience gives answers, but no answer which would make what we are questioning -- the human person as a unity and as a whole -- intelligible."

To pretend otherwise gives idolatry a bad name. Unless you realize that our transcendence is by definition unlimited -- and therefore needs an unlimited Object -- you will be very frustrated searching for the limit, i.e., the horizon of subjectivity. Yes, you may find it, but it's just like our geographical horizon -- the limit of vision, not the limit of reality.

Speaking of the existential frustration that ensues when we seek final answers where none are possible, Rahner adds that "Because we reach out beyond each finite object, but directly grasp only finite objects, we will never be content with this life, and so every ending is just a beginning," as indeed in the book of the same game -- i.e., the game existence to the end... of the beginning (John Lennon).

This is why, no matter how much we stuff into our brain, there's always room for more stuff, and why this blog just goes on and on and on: "We are constantly feeding new materials into the warehouse of our consciousness. It constantly disappears into an infinite expanse which, not to put too fine a point on it, is just as empty as before" (Rahner).

D'oh! So that's what happens to it. You can never have a dream that ends the need for dreaming.

What or who then is the proper male complement of complementarity? It seems to me that it must be God, who is again the only thing that transcends complementarity.

But even "within God" we are told that there is the complementarity of Father and Son, the one unthinkable in the absence of the other, even if "Father" must somehow be "prior."

Similar complementarities are God <---> world, or Absolute <---> relative, or One <---> many, even though in each case the former must take priority. Another complementarity is blogging <---> working, and the latter must now rudely shove the former aside.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Androgynes, Neuters, and Castrati, Oh My!

It is a commonplace to point out that we live in an age of feminized men and masculinized women. The question is, is this a good thing?

To a large extent this was the very goal of feminism -- to erase (or better, to ignore) the differences between the sexes (which are now called "genders" in order to emphasize the supposedly cultural basis of these superficial differences).

One thing you will have noticed about leftism in general and feminism in particular is that you are not permitted to question their assumptions. Doing so makes you a racist or homophobe or something. They get all hysterical on you, like that Harvard professor who almost fainted when Larry Summers wondered out loud if there might be some innate differences in aptitude between men and women with regard to science and engineering.

For the left, that question is closed -- not by the evidence, of course, but by fiat. It is a principle; or, more to the point, an article of faith. As such, questioning this article of faith evokes the same kind of emotional reaction as do insults to Muhammed in the Islamic world.

The result is that we can't really talk about the principle, nor can we evaluate it, without making the left uncomfortable. For example, Obama represents our first truly androgynous, metrosexual, and post-gendered president. He is not identifiably male or female, but an indiscriminate blend of both. How's that working out?

How did we get to such an appallingly misogynistic place?

First, an observation by Mouravieff. It goes without saying that there is no reason why a woman shouldn't pursue a genuine interest in science, "on condition, however, that even if dazzled by science she does not lose her feminine emotionality.... She must be aware of acquiring a masculine mentality and identifying with this."

Now, if you convey this banality to a normal woman, she will respond with a quiet nod of the head, or maybe just a "no shit, Dr. Phil." But if you say it to a feminist, she will respond with a violent rotation of the head while spitting out expletives, like Linda Blair.

Mouravieff continues undaunted, because what's the worse they can do, deny you tenure?:

"A male mind in a woman's body excludes the possibility of esoteric development. This type of woman is unfortunately widespread in our days, as is that of the effeminate man, representing what the Tradition calls the neutral sex," or what Vanderleun calls the new castrati.

For such con-fused individuals, writes Mouravieff, "The Kingdom of God is closed for them."

Wo, wo, wo. Hold on just a minute. That's a pretty radical statement. Are you suggesting that feminists are spiritually condemned or something?

Yes, but only in a spiritual fantasy world that they reject anyway. It's like those atheists who get offended when some fundamentalist tells them they're going to hell. So what? If some nut believes in unicorns, I don't fret over the idea that I'll never get to ride one.

Likewise, feminists shouldn't be troubled by the fact that they are barred from higher states of consciousness that they don't believe in anyway. For feminists, the highest state of being is that of the profane man with lots of worldly power -- a crass Bill Clinton or vulgar Barack Obama.

Since 1789 we have been living in the "age of revolution." Prior to this age there were, of course, changes in power, but not fundamental changes with regard to the order of the world, or Nature of Things.

Even -- or especially -- the American Revolution was not of this nature. It was not for the purpose of overturning the order of the world and remaking man, but rather, simply fostering the conditions that would allow man to be what he is. Thus, it did not reject tradition, but recognized that tradition nurtures man's true interior order.

Not so the French revolution, and virtually every revolution since. Mouravieff writes that "while life on the material plane is moving at an accelerated pace due to the political, social, and industrial Revolution which has occurred since 1789, man has made no marked progress on the moral plane." No kidding. What's your point?

Well, for starters, what is required today -- and every day, really -- is an interior revolution. "Revolution" means to "turn around," which is precisely what repentance means, i.e., "metanoia" (the Greek term used in the Septuagint).

It seems to me -- I was just a kid, of course -- but still, it seems to me that there were many seeds of this kind of liberating interior revolution in the 1960s, but that the whole thing was eventually hijacked by the left in general and by mind parasites in particular.

Nevertheless, it is a historical curiosity that movements of spiritual liberation evolved into an oppressive statism, which is why a wholesale pneumababbling huckster such as Deepak Chopra should be one of Obama's most obnoxiously unredeemed supporters.

Speaking of vulgarity, Mouravieff makes a subtle point that "Periods where the ennobling role of the woman in the life of human society has faded are marked by a triviality of morals and manners, expressed by a taste for realism [I would say "naturalism"] carried to its utmost limits." At first blush this seems paradoxical, for so much of our pornographic society seems to be geared toward developmentally arrested teenage boys.

But again, women are the "leading edge" on this particular plane of phenomena (think of Eve in relation to Adam). Woman have to first reject and even forget about the feminine, which then evokes a certain type of masculinity to go along with it. As mentioned in the last post, it is subhuman, in the sense that it not only doesn't aspire to humanness, but rejects the whole idea that such a station even exists.

And if you have no target, you're sure to hit it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Finding Your Polar Bearings in Swampland

For the sake of continuity, let's continue with Mouravieff's discussion of what he calls "polar beings" (male and female), and how the interplay of their energies fosters spiritual transformation -- or, a kind of purification and ascent.

To back up for a moment, the spiritual life always consists, in some form or fashion, of purification (or purgation), illumination, and union. None of these can actually be radically separated from the others, and the process is always ongoing.

One of the purposes of marriage is to purge oneself of mind parasites (think of them as "impurities") that drag one down and impede growth. Marriage provides an opportunity to work through and eventually transcend these patterns. In the colorful phrase of Raccoon emeritus Dilys, marriage helps us "drain the swamp" -- which is equally true of any sacrament.

A sacrament may be thought of as a kind of disinfecting light that is noxious to the anaerobic beings of interior swampland. This is probably where the legends of photophobic vampires come from. Lies can only flourish in the dark, and in a very real sense, are the Dark.

"The deepest reason why lying to oneself is forbidden," writes Mouravieff, is that "he who lies to himself will also lie to his alter ego."

And "that will be the end of the miracle. The wonderful side of the meeting will disappear behind a curtain of trivial lies, which will rapidly take the aspect of an impassible wall." (Sounds like he knew my parents.)

Once the Wall is in place, "relations with the polar being will no longer be distinguished from those that a man can have with other women: wives, mistresses and adventures. Once more, the experience will be spoiled."

I often wonder what saved me from ruin -- from diving into the swamp and staying there. I won't pretend to know, but I think part of it may have had to do with a kind of intense romantic longing for my "polar being." From the age of nine or so, I can remember each school year, having an intense "spiritual crush" on a different girl.

But even after I entered my teens, these crushes were not sexual per se. Rather, they consisted of a painfully intense longing for an idealized image of femininity -- almost like an angelic being. This image is completely un-cynical, un-ironic, and un-jaded. It is innocent, chaste, virginal, and radiant with a kind of pure light.

For example, I can still remember thinking about one particular girl in the fifth grade. We're sitting on a picnic blanket or something in a wooded area, and I'm looking at her, and her blonde hair is literally aglow with a numinous energy -- I mean, like a Disney movie, when the prince gazes into the princess's eyes and falls in love.

I have a suspicion that more men are like this than we may realize. Or at least used to be. I can't speak for today's youth culture, which certainly appears bereft of such higher sentiments.

The only theorist I know of who has spoken directly to this developmental reality is Joseph Chilton Pearce, in his Evolution's End. There he writes that "at the age of eleven, an idealistic image of life grows in intensity throughout the middle teens." Then, "somewhere around age fourteen or fifteen a great expectation arises that 'something tremendous is supposed to happen.'"

Just what this tremendous IT is supposed to be is something of a mystery. He references the writer George Leonard, "who spoke of an anguished longing so acute he knew it could never be assuaged." That's what I'm talkin' about!

Pearce goes on to say that "it may be difficult to accept that adolescents are idealistic: often they seem crass and cynical, following the obvious anti-heroes." If you knew me at the time, this is probably how I would have appeared, but it was just a facade to protect the vulnerability underneath.

This pure energy probably also gets deflected into politics, hence the naive and romantic liberalism of the young and stupid, or Obama's base. (One more reason why his cynical and deeply unfunny new ad that conflates sex and voting is so misguided.)

When an archetype is awakened within us, we first look for a model in the external world. In this case, it is the anima, or female archetype, that is awakened. I know the archetype is real, because I can remember dreams in which she appeared, and again, the longing for her was painful beyond words.

An archetype is supposed to function as a psychic attractor that guides development. If there is no external model to "meet with" and correspond to the archetype, it can whither on the vine. It becomes "just a fantasy," instead of an important clue to the innate directionality of life, of spiritual maturation.

Back to Mouravieff for a moment, before I run out of time. He agrees that "the highest expression of divine Beauty on Earth is the human body, especially that of woman, for nothing can equal the harmony of perfect feminine forms."

And "The divine purity of masculine and feminine forms really depicts adamic humanity before the Fall. It presents us with the original types and subtypes of sinless men and women, without vices and without karmic burden."

That sounds vaguely familiar. I do remember something about a garden...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rising and Falling on the Axis of Eve

Eroticism, sensuality, and love, when they do not converge in the same person, are nothing more, in isolation, than a disease, a vice, and foolishness. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

Anything that can go right can go wrong, and love is obviously no exception. It's not as simple as the discernment of truth from error or illusion. For most of us, if we find out that something we think we know is wrong, we make an adjustment. We reject the falsehood and move on.

But love isn't so black and white. We can love the "wrong things," and yet, find it difficult if not impossible to let go of them, even when we know full well they're not good for us.

Then again, perhaps this isn't so different from truth after all, since people also "fall in love" with all sorts of theories and doctrines and ideologies for reasons other than their truth value. President Obama, for example, has seen his entire beloved worldview crumble before his eyes. But has he actually seen it?

Yes and no. As we've discussed in the past, Truth doesn't require a thinker, since it is true regardless of whether or not anyone recognizes or believes it. The world still revolves around the sun, even if everyone thinks the sun revolves around the earth. Perception is not reality. But accurate perception comes close, at least on its own plane.

Conversely, the Lie not only requires a thinker, but requires some prior recognition of the truth (otherwise there would be no need to lie). For example, the lie that the Libyan terror attack was the result of a You Tube video required the prior recognition that it wasn't. When simple truth starts to get so convoluted, you can generally tell that you're actually dealing with lies and liars.

Thomas Sowell mentions this in this new collection I'm reading. He says that he wants the book to "reduce the likelihood that readers will misunderstand what I have said on many controversial issues over the years."

Of note, when you misunderstand someone, you can't actually disagree with them, which is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to talk to a liberal. Almost everything they disagree with may be traced to a misunderstanding, either willful (i.e., a "dis-understanding") or unconscious. Bullshitters think everyone else is one.

Sowell points out that, ironically, "One reason for some misunderstandings is that my approach and my goals have been too plain and straightforward for those people who are looking for hidden agendas or other complex motives."

In other words, liberals unconsciously assume that we are as devious and agenda-driven as they are. For example, they are obsessed with race, or greed, or homosexuality, so they assume we must be.

But let's get back to Love. There is much in the world that is lovely. I mean, right? The beauty is infinite. But just as with knowledge, we must take care to love the right things in the right way.

Women, for example. Who doesn't love 'em? Most men will tell you -- even in the teeth of a restraining order -- that the female body is the most unsurpassably beautiful form in all of creation. Here I am reminded of another aphorism:

The laws of biology alone do not have fingers delicate enough to fashion the beauty of a face. Female beauty evokes a kind of ache, or longing, in men, that easily shades into transcendence. I mean, here it is, in this world, and yet, how could it be?

Another truenbeautiful aphorism: From an aesthetic experience one returns as from a sighting of numinous footprints.

And for men, woman is the quintessential aesthetic experience, whether or not they (women or men, for that matter) wish to believe it. It is as easy for a man to worship a woman -- or women more generally -- as it is to worship a god.

Which is, of course, where the trouble arises. It brings to mind a crack by the unorthodox Orthodox Boris Mouravieff, about how Adam and Eve fall for "the mirage of temporal goods": "Adam turned away from his real 'I' and identified with his personality," or what we call (•). Then "the beauty of the daughters of man did the rest."

And still does. Woman is, writes Perry, "the veil of universal illusion, both seducing and dispersing, for the same veil that refracts the Light also veils it. Thus woman, in spite of herself, can pull man away from the Spirit and therefore needs man's strength to reconvert her energy heavenward."

Dennis Prager has often spoken of how men and women face very different battles with themselves in this world. But our society focuses exclusively on those impulses men must master, e.g., the impulses to dominate, rape, and generally do violence. But I am not aware of any comparable attempts to tutor and channel female nature.

As a result, pathological femininity gets a free hand to do as it pleases, and if you say anything about it, well, you're a misogynist! Which is so far from the truth that one hardly knows where to begin.

For one thing, it is specifically because we love women that we want what is best for them, and by extension, us, since man's nature will generally only rise to the level demanded by women. If women make no demands, men are only too happy to oblige, so long as they are ensured sexual access.

Yes, it's true: "depending on his degree of virile self-domination," a man "can be dissipated" by female beauty (Perry). Which means dispersed, spread thin, and deprived of his true vector and purpose. And a man without a transcendent purpose isn't much of one, is he? And besides, Sex does not solve even sexual problems (Don Colacho).

While looking for that quote by Mouravieff, I also found some relevant thoughts in Volume 1. He says that "the role of a woman, on the ascent to Redemption, must be comparable to the part played by woman in the Fall." Makes sense, no?

Recall that Eve inspired Adam, so to speak, to turn away from his higher source: "Having conceived in her fertile and artistic imagination the notion of Illusion, the woman, after tasting its fruits, offered them to her husband" -- which you might say is what gets the whole nightmare of history underway.

Reversal of this tide requires a man to "go in search of the being without whom he is not real."

I am lucky enough to have met and married the person without whom I am not real (we are speaking here of the human-human plane, not divine-human per se). I had this distinct sense of reality, of "ontological heft," as it were, on our first date -- which is not to say that many kinks and mind parasites didn't have to be worked out between then and now, so no idealization please! -- and it is interesting to see Mouravieff so accurately describe such a peculiar phenomenon:

"Without clearly being conscious of it, the polar beings know each other, and this knowledge, as ancient as they are themselves, is expressed by the voice of subconsciousness. This creates an atmosphere of absolute confidence and sincerity from the moment they meet....

"Polar beings do not lie to each other. They do not need to lie, for inwardly both are one single being, from the depths of which the real 'I' issues his call and gives his assent. After this, that absolute, spontaneous sincerity constitutes the basis of their relations, and this in turn will give these two beings the otherwise inconceivable feeling of freedom in unity, which ends the impression of servitude and isolation under which we ordinarily live."

(There's quite a bit of occultish stuff in those Mouravieff books, but also some things it's hard to find elsewhere -- like MOTT, only much more so.)

This rambling post is over for now, but there's a whole lot more to this business of male-female relations. To be continued...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Human and Subhuman Sexuality

Let's begin where we left off yesterday. Yes, let's talk about love, both human and divine.

First of all, love obviously requires two parties. With love itself, that makes three: lover, beloved, and love.

However, if the system is functioning as it should be, there will be two lovers and two beloveds united by one love, which makes five. But two lovers focused solely on each other is a kind of static situation; plus, it is as if the love only radiates "inward" instead of outward, in an essentially narcissistic manner.

Thus, I think real love can only flourish when the two are united by one love, but also focus their mutual love on a beloved "third." The most obvious or "natural" third is the child, but it doesn't have to be, especially after the children are grown. There are any number of "symbolic thirds" that can unite a couple in their exteriorized, or radiated, love.

Recall that we've been discussing the complementarity of individual <--> collective, with a particular focus on how the person is central to Christianity (i.e., infinitely precious and worthwhile in his own right; or let us just say loved by God), whereas in eastern religions the individual is essentially an obstacle to enlightenment or liberation.

I don't know about you, but if I ever achieve enlightenment or liberation, I want to be there when it happens. And of course, from a Christian perspective, it "happens" in love.

My favorite chapter in The Mystery of Individuality is the last one, which deals with love and marriage. It is full of wisdom that people need to know, and yet, are generally unaware of.

By way of contrast, think of "sex education," or indeed, the entire field of secular "human sexuality." Deprived of the type of quintessentially human wisdom discussed by Perry, these disciplines are not even "animal" or "primate" sexuality. A more accurate term would be subhuman sexuality, which is neither human nor animal, but a kind of rebellion against, or rejection of, our human nature.

Perry begins with the observation -- uncontroversial for 99.99% of human history, prior to the ascension of tenured stupidity -- that "the mystery of individuality must include an image of it seen through the prism of the masculine and female duality which divides the individual into two incomplete halves, as it were." He adds that the cosmos is "ruled by polarities," but I prefer to say "complementarities," since this latter term implies an underlying harmony.

And in fact, Perry adds that, "though divided, these polarities presuppose an underlying unity without which they could not oppose each other." In this case, male and female are united in their essential humanness. As Jung observed, within the male is the latent anima archetype, just as within the female is the latent animus archetype.

Perry writes of the need for a functioning cosmos to be characterized by complementarities such as positive and negative or attraction and repulsion. Without these, "the universe would collapse and be reabsorbed into Non-being..." It would be like a dead battery, or a lesbian marriage.

First and foremost -- or at the first degree of cosmic manifestation -- we might say that masculine and feminine are personifications of Absolute and Infinite, respectively (a subject we have discussed in a number of previous posts). These terms -- Absolute and Infinite -- may be "prolonged," so to speak, in various iterations.

For example, masculinity, writes Perry, achieves "its purest intensity as Truth and Strength," whereas femininity does so in the modes of Love and Beauty. But again, beneath the complementarity is the oneness of, say, beautiful truth or loving strength (the latter being the Good Father). Dualism implies a kind of battle, whereas complementarity is a dance.

Perry naturally says a lot of things that are politically and academically incorrect, which I suppose is a good gauge of their veracity. For example, "What woman loves in man is essentially his strength and intelligence, or his liberating objectivity, and in this respect man is equated with the motionless center or the static or axial principle..."

Conversely, "what man loves in woman is essentially her beauty and her love, her kindness and mercy, or the mystery of her liberating subjectivity..." It doesn't mean this is all he loves in her, but it is difficult to imagine being attracted to a woman in the first place if she lacked these things; or, conversely, if she were as rigid, severe, cruel, unmysterious, and unyielding as, say, Gloria Allred.

Elsewhere I remember Schuon saying something to the effect that (I'm paraphrasing here) woman finds her axis, or center, in man, whereas man finds his "space" in woman. I think this explains why women become more conservative when they marry, because their vulnerability to emotionalism and flightiness is disciplined by a masculine center (which is already in them, as animus, but is most often first encountered in projected form).

Likewise, this is why we see an Obama campaign specifically tailored to the emotionalism and flightiness of single women (not all of whom, obviously, respond to such childish, illogical, selfish, and generally Fluked up appeals).

There are also "pathologically masculine" appeals, but not so much in the mainstream. For example, there can be an element of this in dogmatic libertarianism, or perhaps in those irrelevant militia groups. Nazis and Islamic supremacists also come to mind.

An important point to bear in mind is that pathological masculinity almost always contains a background of pathological femininity, and vice versa. For example, the angry and dogmatic feminazi is a kind of perverse caricature of masculinity, whereas the aggressive statism of an Obama is bit like mommy with armed thugs.

This is why, as Perry observes, there is something unnatural about a man without courage, just as there is something unnatural about a woman "lacking in tenderness." It hardly means that a man can't be tender and a woman can't be courageous. In fact, in a life properly lived, we will develop and assimilate complementary virtues, in balance with the existing ones.

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Living Beyond the Boundaries of Time and Space

One must live for the moment and for eternity. Not for the disloyalty of time. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

Our lives are bracketed by... by what? Well, looked at temporally we could say conception and death; or perhaps ensoulment and discarnation. In space we are bracketed by the skin-boundary container, but not really, given the realities of language and intersubjectivity, through which we are thoroughly entangled with the world and with others.

Also, since time is a function of eternity and locality a special instance of nonlocality, it seems to me that we are always involved with that which surpasses us, both in space and time.

What do I mean by this? Well, religion, for example, is the "science of the eternal," so to speak, and provides efficacious means of communing with That which transcends our spatial and temporal bounds. Obviously no other animal has this privilege. Animals have no need of religion, since they have no intuition of its object, its sufficient reason. In contrast, even the most premature premodern man looked upon the world as a landscape of infinite immensity bounded by legends (Perry).

To paraphrase Schuon, instinct is the animal's intelligence, while intellection is our instinct. Intellect is "At once mirror of the supra-sensible and itself a supernatural ray of light." Only like may know like, so the world may be thought of as crystalized truth, while knowledge is its fluidic correlate. And both may be traced back up to their pre-bifurcated source in the One being.

The point is, a functional human being is never bracketed or contained by profane time and space. Rather, as Perry writes, we always understand these terms in relation to an "absolute beginning and absolute end," which is to say, Creation and Judgment, the one implying the other.

Perry further relates these to loyalty and faith, respectively. In other words, "the root of man's integral happiness" involves both "loyalty on earth to a divine origin," and "faith in a saving mercy at the end." In between our lives are woven by the play of contingency and co-creation. I'm guessing that judgment applies only to what we create, whereas the fact of contingency requires a degree of slackful mercy, or merciful slack.

Let's get further into this question of boundaries and brackets. "In pneumatology," writes Perry, "the ideas of Origin, Center, Goal, and Objectivity" represent the "sacred structural framework" for understanding man -- both his existence and, more importantly, his purpose, or end. It should go without saying that man can have no purpose in the absence of these metacosmic orientations; again, it is either God or nihilism, O or Ø.

We all have a local, egoic center (•) that ultimately links to a divine and nonlocal center, ʘ. These two are obviously not on the same "plane," as the former is a declension from the latter; it is in a "lower dimension," so to speak, like moving from a sphere to a circle, or circle to point, with a kind of "divine rope" in between. The fact of the higher center "means we can live partially outside the world and outside of time, and, as it were, with one foot in paradise" (Perry).

Or, in the words of Schuon, "The spiritual man is not completely here, nor completely there, he is neither before nor afterwards, he is always in the Center and in the blessed Now of God."

Or, in the words of Don Colacho, "Only God [O] and the central point of my consciousness [ʘ] are not accidental to me."

Through this higher center, we need to somehow bear in mind -- or live close to, or be in communion with -- our Origin. This falls under the heading of "vertical recollection," hence our need for daily verticalisthenics, whatever your particular practice (e.g., prayer, meditation, lectio divina, etc.). As Perry explains, "our awareness of a divine Origin serves to remind us of our essence and guides us therefore to not live beneath ourselves."

At the other end is, well, our End. Yes, we are always stalked by death, and if death is all there is, then this results in honest existentialism (or nihilism). But as alluded to above, beyond death is Judgment, because freedom is real. Thus, "our awareness of a divine End guides us in truthfulness and sincerity as well as in generosity..."

I am reminded of a passage from the Isha Upanishad that is supposed to be read at the moment of death, and is said to be employed in funeral rites: Let my life now merge in the all-pervading life. Ashes are my body's end. OM... O mind, remember Brahman. O mind, remember thy past deeds. Remember Brahman. Remember thy past deeds.... Thou knowest our deeds. Preserve us from the deceitful attraction of sin...

Which brings to mind another passage -- or rather, vice verse, since I was thinking of the Upanishads when I wrote it -- this one from the Cosmobliteration section of the Encirclopedia: O Death, you old mahahasamadhi.... Take us before and beyond this womentary maninfestation, reveal not the horizontal but our inmost upmost vertical bigending.

You see? I think it's actually as clear as obscurity can be. It incorporates just about everything discussed in this post, only in a compact and holofractal manner.

Now interestingly, it is possible to find "contentment" on a plane lower than the one we were meant to inhabit. But in order to pull this off, you have to essentially kill, or at least become insensible to, the higher self and all its needs. Which is why it is difficult for me to relate to my so-called profession of clinical psychology. Yeah, I can do it, but mostly by limiting myself to (•) and ignoring ʘ. But the younger I get, the more artificial this seems.

In order to escape from this prison, one must learn not to come to an arrangement with its indisputable comforts. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

I wish there were a field called, I don't know, "clinical pneumatology." Then again, as soon as you professionalize something, you sow the seeds of its ruin. And "amateur" comes from the Latin amator or Lover. Which is why the OC mysthead includes the crack about Much Amor!

So, I guess that's the end for now, but there'll be much amor tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Compulsory Miseducation and Ontological Duty

To review: we've been sporadically discussing the meaning of the person -- or of the whole category of Personhood as such. Assisting us today is Mark Perry, whose The Mystery of Individuality deals with just this subject.

Again, we want to get at the interior essence of man, beyond just the outward form. This isn't an issue for most contemporary thinkers, since they don't believe in essences at all. As always, let the dead bury the tenured.

For the rest of us, it is pretty obvious that man is, as outlined in the previous post, "composed of will (i.e., freedom and virtue), sentiment (i.e., love), and knowledge (i.e., disinterested truth and detached objectivity)"; or in other words, "that man is free, that he has a conscience that distinguishes good from evil, and that he has a mind that may discern the reality behind appearances."

So if we ask what man is "for," the answer should be clear, unless you just enjoy being oppositional. "Being intelligence," writes Perry, man is "meant to know the Truth, and being love he is meant to unite with the Good, and having free will he is therefore obligated, by ontological duty, to choose true over false, right over wrong, and good over evil..."

These are the sorts of things we all learn by kindergarten, and can only unlearn after years of graduate school.

With privileges come obligations, and since man is uniquely privileged to have access to truth, he is obliged to know it. The very possibility of civilization depends upon this meta-truth.

To turn it around, a civilization based upon lies cannot stand; or, to the extent that it "exists," it must do so at the cost of full personhood. Assimilating a lie always does violence to the person

Certain lie-based cultures are obvious, for example, the Soviet Union, the Palestinian terrortories, or the Arab-Muslim world more generally. But it also happens in more subtle ways here in the US. At PowerLine, Scott Johnson cites the entirely bogus statistic that females earn "only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn."

As Johnson writes, this silly charge "has been examined and disproved many times over." Nor can it survive mere logic, since any businessman would be a fool to pay male employees 40% more than what he can pay female employees to do the identical work. If the statistic were true, it would only mean that men are bizarrely overpaid, not that women are underpaid.

With a little research, any interested person can discover for himself that the 72% canard has no basis in reality. Therefore, to the extent that a person believes it, he or she must want to believe it -- not because it is true, but because they want it to be true. But why would someone want to believe such an unpleasant "truth"? What's the payoff?

Note that a so-called "independent" asked the question about this statistic during the last presidential debate. But the fact that the questioner had already swallowed this quintessential liberal lie puts an interesting twist on what it means to be "independent."

In this case, it means that the independent in question believes the lie, but is just uncertain as to how to go about "solving" the problem embedded in the lie. It's like the old joke about being unable to tell the crazy person he's not a chicken, since we need the eggs. We can't tell the woman that she's not a victim because we need the... the what, exactly?

Candy Crowley obviously believes the lie, or else she wouldn't have chosen it to be one of the precious few questions asked of the candidates. Why not ask what the candidates plan to do about the unicorn problem?

Crowley's role in propagating the fantasy should come as no surprise, as the purpose of the MSM is not to inform, but, to paraphrase the Sultan, to serve as a conduit between the state and the individual. State power is rooted in the Democratic party, which in turn depends upon millions of dysfunctional women supporting the party that will prop up the state that will then "rescue" these women from their illusions, mostly by forcing someone else to pay for their birth control. Why all women aren't insulted by this is something of a mystery. Then again perhaps not, since all women aren't real women, any more than all men are real men.

The simple truth of the matter would cut like a sword through this Rube Goldberg machine of lies. But it cannot be uttered by a presidential candidate. How weird is that? What does it say about these women that one is not politically viable if one doesn't patronize their lie? You can't just say to these women: Hey, guess what? Good news! That whole 72% thing is just a lie designed to keep you on the Democrat plantation. You're not a victim of the patriarchy. You're free!

These women no more want to hear this than the Heaven's Gate cult wanted to hear that the spaceship wasn't arriving to take them away. Since human beings are by nature hedonistic, it must mean that these types of painful lies must harbor a secret payoff. Pain in one area of the psyche may redound to pleasure in another.

I think it's fair to say that most people are unaware of the covert thrill up the leg when expressing certain painful emotions. But if you listen to that stillsmallvoice, you can sometimes hear one of them saying: "hey, I'm digging this!"

One often sees this in squabbles between spouses, who get a perverse kick out of plunging in the blade, or who derive sadistic pleasure in playing the self-righteous victim. More generally -- to paraphrase a long forgotten source -- we shouldn't underestimate the pleasure involved in participating in one's own subjugation. It explains a lot about the left, if not quite everything.

Johnson wonders what other Big Lies "have moved beyond the pale of our public discourse?" I wonder too. What other mandatory lies must we tell ourselves, or at least pretend to believe, just because neurotic liberals need to believe them?

I would suggest that there is a lie at the heart of most every liberal assumption. I say this because, in the words of Don Colacho, "The left’s theses are trains of thought that are carefully stopped before they reach the argument that demolishes them."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What is Man that Man Should be Mindful of Him?

I have hardly any time this morning, and no time tomorrow, as I have to attend another continuing education seminar. So all you get is this brief and concentrated post:

What exactly is a person, anyway? Remember, we're talking about the interior, not the exterior, form.

Man may be defined in an exterior sense by, for example, the use of tools, or by the ability to reproduce with another member of the species. But what is man in the interior sense?

I think Schuon provides the most useful answer. To paraphrase him, man is composed of will (i.e., freedom and virtue), sentiment (i.e., love), and knowledge (i.e., disinterested truth and detached objectivity).

Thus, we begin with the premise that man is free, that he has a conscience that distinguishes good from evil, and that he has a mind that may discern the reality behind appearances.

But what is the source of these remarkable abilities? As mentioned yesterday, the scientistic mindset attempts to explain them away with recourse to an essentially reductionistic argument.

Such a simplistic approach holds no appeal to the intellect, although it may help its proponent to be less troubled by the promptings of his soul.

In any event, such arguments are self-refuting, for if there is no truth we couldn't know it, and if there is no freedom we could never conceive of it. There is nothing in us that compels assent to, or rejection of, truth.

Unlike animals, we can sink below ourselves, but for the same reason may rise above and transcend ourselves. And because we are human beings, we are privileged to see that nature points to trans-nature.

When we say that man is in the image of the Creator, this cuts both ways. In other words, I take seriously the idea that if we understand man essentially, this provides important clues as to the nature of God.

As alluded to above, there is no -- and will never be any -- naturalistic explanation for truth, free will, and knowledge of the good, as these emanate from above, not below.

But at the same time, this understanding of man's essence suggests that God's essence may also revolve around this trinity of love, truth, and freedom. Furthermore, these three must ultimately be one, in ways we don't normally think about.

However, as soon as we do think about it, we understand that there can be no truth in the absence of the freedom to pursue it, just as there can be no freedom unless we are free to choose what is good and true.

Likewise, love cannot be compelled, just as everyone knows that it is wrong to choose and love evil.

Now, man may know the absolute, which is just another way of saying that he may know, period.

In other words, any knowledge is underwritten by, or partakes of, so to speak, the absolute. As such, to say "man" is to say "God," just as "the very word 'relative' implies 'Absolute'" (Schuon).

To affirm "that man is made of intelligence, will and sentiment," writes Schuon, "means that he is made for the Truth, the Way, and Virtue." In other words, the way an object is made tells us something about its purpose.

Now, the purpose of religion is to remind man of the Purpose of purposes; or in other words, to stay focussed on reality and to steer clear of the illusions.

A religion may be reduced to doctrine and method, which is simply truth and the means of assimilating it. Note that we do not say "attaining," "acquiring," or "possessing" truth.

For obviously it is possible to have knowledge of the doctrine without it having the slightest impact upon one's being. Or, a mind parasite may warp the truth into its own image, which covertly elevates it to the status of a god, or a little human beastling.

Which provides another clue into both man and God, i.e., being. Genuine love, genuine knowledge, genuine virtue -- all are imprinted, so to speak, upon being; or, one could say that they are imbued with being.

And being is where subject and object merge into one. Thus, ultimate truth, which one might think of as being subjective, is also the most objective thing imaginable.

Which reminds me of an aphorism for you to chew on:

I distrust the system deliberately constructed by thought; I trust in the one that results from the pattern of its footprints.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lies Burn: Yelling Fire in a Clouded World

Before we were interrupted by unforeseen events -- and there is nothing quite so unforeseen as an event -- we were discussing the complementarity of individual <--> social, or narcissism <--> collectivism.

Note that each pole refers to the cosmic interior, as explicated by Wilber in various works. As culture represents the interior-collective, person is the interior-individual.

Note that we do not say "society" and "man," since those belong to the exterior-collective and -individual, respectively.

For similar reasons, "brain" is exterior while "soul" is the quintessence of interiority. One might even say that the purpose of life is to exteriorize the soul while interiorizing the world. The former is creativity, the latter knowledge. But obviously the two should be in harmony; to emphasize one to the detriment of the other is to compose a less than full life, i.e., words + music.

In my opinion, the presence of a cosmic interior -- a subjective horizon -- is without question the most mysterious and astonishing fact in all of existence. Frankly, it is the last thing we'd expect to find here, except that without it there is nothing to find and no one to find it. It is fair to say that the mystery of mysteries is the experience of experience.

One of the worst features -- maybe the worst -- of modernity is the persistent attempt to explain away the cosmic interior through various scientistic fairy tales, or to stunt it by neglect, or to maim it by exposure to a subhuman world that is then interiorized by the hapless soul. Already, at the age of seven, I can see the difference between my son and spiritually deprived children with no exposure to religious truth. A certain kind of light is slowly extinguished in the latter.

The two wings of intelligence are erudition and love. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

And Without a certain religious childishness, a certain intellectual profundity is unattainable. (ibid.).

If you ignore this interior reality, how could you not end up with a field full of weeds? How else to put it... There is something a little animalistic about such persons, since they live in ignorance of one of the most enduring features of the human mindscape, others of which include such archetypes as romantic love, fatherhood, warrior, priest, death, shadow, great mother, sage, etc.

In my view, the cosmic interior attains a kind of pinpoint focus in man, similar to how a magnifying glass gathers the sun's rays into an intense area of heat and light.

In the soul, warmth is emotion while light is truth. Here again, light without warmth is going to end in the imbalance of, say, scientism or modern atheism (which are "artificial light," like a florescent bulb that makes you look awful).

Conversely, warmth without light ends in any number of pneumapathologies, not the least of which being modern liberalism (AKA illiberal leftism). For an example of balance, think of Jesus, whose warmth is exceeded only by his light (since light must ultimately be the source of warmth).

Think of last night's debate. Obama's goal for the evening was to appear more fiery, which he surely was, although not to the extreme of Biden's self-immolation. But did this equate to more light? Obviously not, except in the negative sense, in that it shed unintentional light on his character and record.

Nevertheless, for the leftist, the presence of this fiery heat is all that matters, which is why most people on the left imagined Biden "won" his debate. How to explain such irrationality in people who like to think they're so much brighter than the rest of us?

Ace takes a stab at it. One reason is that "they believe, as an article of religious faith, that they are smarter than the voters, and the voters are stupid, and therefore simple contradiction must appeal to such people, who are very stupid and think that an argument is won by he who says 'No it isn't!' the most."

And also "Because they themselves just want to hear Biden and Obama call Romney and Ryan 'liars'.... If you just contradict Ryan and Romney, who are by the way lying monsters, then that's awesome, that's 'tough,' and you win."

So behind the aggressive heat is another kind of heat: contempt and superiority, which are two sides of the same coin. In other words, the inflated superiority can only be artificially maintained through contempt. Which is why the one thing the left truly excels at is defamation, slander, vilification, caricature, etc., all in the service of their grandiosity. (The other thing they do well is disguise envy as compassion.)

Not for nothing is this book I happen to be reading entitled Fire in the Minds of Men. Its subtitle is Origins of the Revolutionary Faith, and its origin is, in a word, Fire:

"The heart of revolutionary faith, like any faith, is fire: ordinary material transformed into extraordinary form, quantities of warmth suddenly changing the quality of substance. If we do not know what fire is, we know what it does. It burns. It destroys life; but it also supports it as a source of heat, light, and -- above all -- fascination."

With modernity came the displacement of the quest for spiritual light and heat to the world: "A recurrent mythic model for revolutionaries -- early romantics, the young Marx, the Russians of Lenin's time -- was Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods for the use of mankind. The Promethean faith of revolutionaries resembled in many respects the general modern belief that science would lead men out of darkness into light" (ibid.).

Indeed, the revolutionaries went even further, to a millenarian insistence that "the new day that was dawning" in which "the sun would never set." Tragically, their little spark turned into a conflagration that swept "across national borders, carried by small groups and idiosyncratic individuals who created an incendiary legacy of ideas" (ibid).

It is in this qualified and restricted manner that liberal and science do indeed complement one another: for leftism is the phony warmth and compassion of a bloodless, scientistic metaphysic; and scientism is the artifical light of the horizontalized and desiccated soul. But

An intelligent man is one who maintains his intelligence at a temperature independent of his environment’s temperature. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Will the Human Memome Project Lead to a Cure for Socialism?

We left off yesterday with Billington wondering whether the political religions of the left might someday "prove to be only a stage in the continuing metamorphosis of older forms of faith," and whether "belief in secular revolution, which has legitimized so much authoritarianism in the twentieth century, might dialectically prefigure some rediscovery of religious evolution to revalidate democracy in the twenty-first."

I would put it more starkly: if the latter doesn't occur, then mankind is doomed. I say this for two reasons: first, Islamists are not about to abandon their insane revolutionary hopes for a worldwide caliphate. And second, the spirit of leftism cannot be eradicated from the human memome, since it is one of the consequences of man's fallenness.

More generally, the left will always be with us, because any human being with a little imagination and a lot of envy can attack and undermine the present in light of an imagined future unattainable by man. The main brake on the left has never come from conservative liberals, but from the self-consuming nature of socialism, which weakens and eventually destroys the host. But just because the left destroys itself, it doesn't automatically mean that something better will replace it.

For one thing, the destruction isn't just economic. Rather, if anything, the psychological and spiritual consequences of unhinged leftism are even worse. As mentioned yesterday, it begins in the mountain springs of purely intellectualized envy, but eventually flows into the sewers of journalism and public education, contaminating everything. Its end-state is a "collection of disturbing, disorderly appetites" -- a Joe Biden, with his "preening exhibitionism," "smirking rudeness," "egotistical exuberance," and "bullying condescension." Name a prominent person of the left who doesn't fit this description.

Even so, we haven't hit bottom. As the Sultan writes, "There is no reason to think that Barack with his Third Culture image and his fake veneer of culture is going to be the endpoint either. If the left has taught us anything, it is that its narrative of cultural destruction is always able to conceive of more and more horrifying worlds than anything we might behold today."

"Revolutionary” today means an individual for whom modern vulgarity is not triumphing quickly enough. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

As mentioned in yesterday's post, Plato -- what with his pure love of thought -- "has never had success as a revolutionary and never will do so." In contrast to Plato, Karl Marx has enjoyed over a century "of astonishing success and has revolutionized the world. He has swept away millions -- those who went to the barricades and trenches in civil wars, and those who went to the prisons, either as jailers or as prisoners" (MOTT).

Really, can you name another philosopher who has enjoyed such a smashing and grabbing success in such a short span of time? But you -- yes, you there -- "as a solitary human soul, a soul of depth and sobriety, what do you owe Karl Marx?" (ibid.).

No man can answer that question. Not until April 15th, tax day.

The point is, "Plato illumines, whilst Marx sweeps away" (ibid.). Indeed, Marx said that, unlike other philosophers -- who merely illuminate reality -- his goal was to change it. This particular soul-sickness has decimated our universities, where activism has displaced the quest for truth.

Obviously, it is impossible to imagine a person of any spiritual insight or stature getting caught up in the Obama hysteria. But it is equally impossible to imagine such a person being caught up in any kind of political hysteria, politics being what it is. It is one of the reasons we can never match the diabolical energy of the left. Since the leftist is condemned to the horizontal world, he channels his spiritual energy into politics.

Transforming the world: the occupation of a convict resigned to his punishment. --Don Colacho's Aphorims.

The project of the left is to make us all useful to the collective, when the only possible justification for the collective can be in its usefulness to the individual -- not in a horizontal, egotistical sense, but in a vertical sense. Assuming that life has a transcendent purpose -- and you cannot be human and not make this assumption -- then the purpose of society should be to help human beings achieve this purpose -- i.e., to be useful to others by being faithful to their created archetype, so to speak.

But horizontal man, in denying the vertical, necessarily replaces it with a counterfeit version that substitutes the collective for the One and human will for the Divine authority. There is no one so inflated with narcissistic hubris as the leftist social engineer who will save mankind from its own self-inflicted wounds. Such persons, to paraphrase Eliot, dream of systems in which it will be unnecessary for anyone to be good.

Likewise, "the moment we talk about 'social conscience,' and forget about conscience, we are in moral danger. Eliminate the idea of moral struggle," and "you must expect human beings to become more and more vaporous" (Eliot). Since man is placed at the crossroads where he is free to choose between good and evil, to forget this is to abolish liberty, conscience, and transcendent meaning and purpose in a single stroke.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Once Upon a Time There was a President

This week should bring some brief periods of patchy slackshine, but no sustained episodes of time dilation or vertical belowback. Therefore, a timely reposting of what we wrote here in the immediate wake of Obama's funereal procession four years ago next month.

However, I ended up throwing in so much new material that I can probably divide it into two posts. But... isn't it unfair to alter a post that was supposedly about predicting the future? Never you mind. Just sit back and enjoy the insultainment. Besides, the essence hasn't been changed, only some details.

We begin with a hearty laphorism:

No folktale ever began this way: Once upon a time, there was a president… --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

Okay. Would you believe one folktale? Because a lot of folkers believed it.

Frankly, anycoon could have seen our dystopian future coming with their own two -- let alone three -- eyes, but I think you'll stil enjoy this gnostalgiac lookback. It was in the context of a discussion of Letter XI of Meditations on the Tarot, The Force, a book which all One Cosmos readers should by now have at least pretended to read:

The Force is a timely symbol for the events of the day, as the force of the left has ascended the political Wheel of Fortune. We sincerely hope they enjoy their brief little day in the sun -- er, moonshine. It won't get any better for them than this, for the apex marks the transition to the nadir. Or top to bottom, for those living in Rio Linda.

We immortals can draw consolation from the fact that, being that leftism is a closed intellectual and spiritual system, it is already, as we speak, "on the way down," outward appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. In insulating itself from the vertical ingressions of grace and then claiming powers entitled to no man, the left is blind to its own Icarus factor.

In short, its end is in its beginning, as the poe t.s. aid. Furthermore, the higher it ascends in its intoxicated reach for power, the further it will fall. The concrete fact of Obama shall soon enough obliterate the vaporous idea of Obama. There is no way around this vacuous cycle except all the way, 360 degrees, century after century.

Actually, there is one way out, and that is by avoiding the whole tedious promethean power-grab thingy to begin with. If you remain on the ground, or even on the second floor, you can't fall very far.

But if one is the greatest orator since Cicero, or the greatest presidential writer since Lincoln, or the Man who will Slow the Rise of the Oceans, then you my fiend are in competition with Felix Baumgartner.

The following passage by our Unknown Friend is perfectly apt today: "Plato has never had success as a revolutionary and never will do so. But Plato himself will always live throughout the centuries of human history... and will be in each century the companion of the young and old who love pure thought, seeking only the light which it comprises."

In other worlds, you can never have a mass revolution of people oriented to a target that few can even see and no one can actually hit.

This interior revolution is an individual endeavor, not the sort of thing that could ever occur on a massive scale. And the left is a mass movement, which automatically condemns it to mediocrity on a good day. It is led by a blundering herd of elites who imagine themselves superior, but nothing could be more banal -- and self-contradictory -- than the idea of "mass excellence."

Through history, all leftist revolutionaries have understood this, which is why leftism has never come "from the bottom up." Rather, it is always a trickle-down affair, led by an intellectual priesthood who can barely conceal their contempt for the working class dolts they wish to redeem.

Great stupidities do not come from the people. First, they have seduced intelligent men. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

These intellectuals show their true farce whenever some ingrate they presume to save declines their offer, as actress Stacey Dash discovered last week. The line she joins is long and distinguished.

This is the way things "must be," since the left is simply an inversion of Christianity, and could only have emerged in a Christianized culture. As Billington writes, these are men who see "in revolution an object of faith and a source of vocation, a channel for sublimated emotion and sublime ambition."

In contrast to Marx's crack about religion being the opiate of the masses, "revolutionary faith might well be called the amphetamine of the intellectuals" (ibid.).

For the manically revved-up revolutionary -- and remember, on the eve of his election Obama promised a fundamental transformation of this country -- "history is seen prophetically as a kind of unfolding morality play. The present [is] hell, and the revolution a collective purgatory leading to a future earthly paradise" (ibid.).

Thus, Obama's campaign essentially revolves around trying to convince us that this is purgatory, not hell; and that the purgation of our RacistSexistHomophobic past must last a little longer before we arrive in multicultural and redistributionist heaven.

Yes, "Once upon a time, there was a president." How'd that One turn out? And are we condemned to repeat the same myth forever? Is it possible for man to purge himself of fairy tales, and finally live in the real world?

Excellent question, even if it cannot be answered, because at least it recognizes the problem.

Looked at from a cosmo-historical perspective, Billington is "inclined to believe that the end may be approaching of the political religion which saw in revolution the sunrise of a perfect society."

And he is "further disposed to wonder if this secular creed, which arose in Judeo-Christian culture, might not ultimately prove to be only a stage in the continuing metamorphosis of older forms of faith, and to speculate that the belief in secular revolution, which has legitimized so much authoritarianism in the twentieth century, might dialectically prefigure some rediscovery of religious evolution to revalidate democracy in the twenty-first."

His lips to God's ear! Or rather, vice versa: God's lips to our ears.

Modern history is the dialogue between two men: one who believes in God, another who believes he is a god. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms