Monday, March 04, 2013

Space to Lent

Letter VII, The Chariot. Tomberg tells us that this arcanum has to do with that most subtle temptation, spiritual temptation. It is subtle -- or at least tricky -- because the temptation results from one's very spiritual success: "It is the temptation to act 'in one's own name,' to act as master instead of servant." The entire new age movement is so devoted to this particular temptation that it is for them a vice.

This is why all authentic spiritual paths begin with moral development. If they sometimes exaggerate man's depravity, this is far preferable to the converse, since one of its purposes is to prevent the inflation that occurs when spiritual energies are mingled with the unredeemed man, a la Deepak and his ilk.

Again, when this happens, you create a demon, a monster -- and not just spiritually but politically, as in Obama. Obama is what happens when untutored spiritual impulses are mingled with the projected ideal of "savior." This is simply religious instinct in the absence of the religious object -- i.e., the only object toward which religious impulses are properly directed. Anything less than this violates Commandments I and II. The rest follow.

Schuon said something to the effect that man tests his faith by renouncing, while God tests it by removing. Renunciation has the practical effect of opening up an unsaturated space where the ego would otherwise be. You might say that this space must be lent to God in order for the (↓) to get in and do its work.

Elsewhere in the book, Tomberg makes the wise crack that while nature abhors a vacuum, Spirit requires one.

Here again, the inverse of this would be the Deepak-style new age idea of The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, or of Creating Affluence. To the extent that Chopra's magical ideas "work," it is because they harness demonic energy. To the extent that they continue to work, it will depend upon how thoroughly one has vanquished the conscience -- i.e., become less than human -- and how full of oneself one has become.

In a relativistic universe in which there is no difference between up and down, this is to become a Nietzschean superman. This is why Chopra is apparently regarded as a "wise man" by thousands, instead of the spiritual cancer that he is. For as Tomberg says, "it is not desire which bears magical realization, but rather the renunciation of desire."

Or, one might say, "blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Again, one must not saturate the space where vertical energies operate. Rather, one must get out of the way.

Here is the key practical point: "For some the superman has more attraction than the Son of Man, because he promises them a career of increasing power, whilst the Son of Man offers only a career of 'foot washing.'" The ego obviously prefers the superman, and it is to the power-seeking ego which all false paths appeal.

Thus the centrality of worshipping that which is above us and the ceaseless effort to do so, which Tomberg says is the best inoculation against spiritual inflation, since this serves as a reminder of the unbridgeable (from our end) distance between us and the goal.

We must not confuse "what we are" with who or "what the worshipped being is." True, "all is God" -- although it is far more accurate -- or less inaccurate -- to say that "nothing is not God." Nevertheless, to paraphrase Schuon, it does one no good whatsoever to say "I am one with God" before one appreciates the extent to which one isn't. A sense of perspective, please.

Tomberg points out that since the purpose of esoteric spirituality is the cultivation of height, depth, breadth, and profundity -- i.e, "that which works behind the facade of ordinary consciousness" -- inflation is the principle danger for all who would embark upon this path.

As such, this is why there is such an emphasis "on the cultivation of humility," for example, in remaining obedient to orthodoxy (or to the true Master), of systematic and continuous "examination of conscience," and on "the reciprocal brotherly help of members of the community" of Raccoons. "Authentic experience of the Divine makes one humble; he who is not humble has not had an authentic experience of the Divine" (MOTT).

This, by the way, goes to the meaning of true community, of which left wing statism is such a disgusting caricature. As Russell Kirk writes in Eliot and His Age, the left settles for the dreary monotony and soul-crushing exterior uniformity of the welfare state, rather than "to undertake the hard and austere labor of thinking through a program for restoring true community," which can only be rooted in the Spirit, not neo-Marxist matter.

Leftism and secularism embody the preference for -- and enforcement of -- illusion over transcendent reality. These vertical parasites "live upon a civilization to which they contribute nothing." In fact, because they are "progressive," they actively sever the living link between the present and the past, so that communication with the past -- the source of practical wisdom -- is impossible. The idea of "temporal progress" denies the spatial mode of civilization, in which we are presently floating atop -- and nourished by -- hard won wisdom, truth, moral beauty, and liberty.

Note how Tomberg saw the malignant Obama in his teloscope half a century ago:

"The reformer who wants to correct or save humanity easily falls victim to the temptation of considering himself as the active center of the passive circle of humanity. He feels himself as the bearer of a mission of universal significance, therefore he feels himself to be more and more important."

And why not, with deeply disturbed creatures such as this serving as his herald demon:

"You really only get a handful, a smattering, maybe three or four per lifetime if you're lucky or blessed or just so happen to be paying the right kind of deeper karmic attention. Historic events, I mean. Major shifts, upheavals, great leaps forward, the Thing That Changed Everything.

"President Obama will be just such a shift, an extraordinary marker, a type and flavor of history that we as preternaturally jaded humans rarely get to experience anymore.... the sheer volume of expansive energy surrounding Obama's run has been absolutely astonishing, a global outpouring of positive interest and awareness like almost no other leader, no other potential slap of progress we've experienced in modern American history. From the international headlines down to the forgotten corners of our own culture we normally never hear from, the message is the same: Something is about to upend. Something seems like it's about to give way."

(Note to the Reader: this post was first prewritten in 2008, before the devilry heilbullies moved in.)

Yes, something is about to give way (and be taken away) alright. With an Obama presidency, we will now be governed by those least capable of governing themselves, which is a recipe for hell.

It would not be too difficult to name some politicians whose influence and impact agree very well with the classical concept of the "black magician." Indeed, is it difficult to name politicians who have exercised a deadly, suggestive influence on the popular masses, blinding them and inciting them to acts of cruelty, injustice and violence, of which each individual, taken separately, would be incapable... and who, through their semi-magical influence, have deprived individuals of their freedom and rendered them possessed? And is not this action to deprive men of their moral freedom and to render them possessed the aim and very essence of black magic? --Meditations on the Tarot

17 Comments:

Blogger James said...

and who, through their semi-magical influence, have deprived individuals of their freedom and rendered them possessed?

I know of this. It happens not only with the masses but it can happen within an individual as well. In a way the folks wielding the black magic lose more. The progress is always the same. Less freedom until you are nothing but a wraith. Tolken illustrated this beautifully in the LOTR.

3/04/2013 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Yes, in Fantasy tropes, the Lich is one who has descended so far that becoming a wraith seems like a positive step.

3/04/2013 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...it does one no good whatsoever to say "I am one with God" before one appreciates the extent to which one isn't. A sense of perspective, please ...

It always frustrates me that I will fail in some small way -- spectacularly but small. But, occasionally, when some bigger thing comes along, I'll do maybe a little better. I guess God figured it was better for me to fall off the bed than off the roof.

3/04/2013 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

This, by the way, goes to the meaning of true community, of which left wing statism is such a disgusting caricature.

Lewis said that a truly Christian society would be one that looks both more right-wing and more left-wing than ours. (I'm paraphrasing from an increasingly unreliable memory.) That is, it would be more socially conservative, as we might say, while being nearly communistic with regard to property.

The world I grew up in was very much like that. We were hardly perfect, but we thought it better to be taken advantage of by one bad person than to think everyone bad.

3/04/2013 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Mushroom,

In terms of non-basic economics, communism makes a lot of sense. But only when it is voluntary, and only when you have a good leader who will act as a ballast or rudder for the group. (We may think of the family here, but monasteries work too.)

Outside of the non-basic sphere, Communism is dubious; so many 'goods' being 'held in common' among so many people - many of whom do not identify with one another - is a recipe for abuse and disaster.

But in the community sphere, a well run commune is better than 'I'll pay you 10 dollars for every A'.

3/04/2013 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Yes, we were rural, and a lot of us were family. You could leave your doors unlocked -- not just to the house but to everything. You could leave your keys in the pickup and your gun in the rack. We traded work and helped one another out, and it really was from each according resources, to each according to need.

And it was all voluntary because we were part of a faith-community -- even if we split between the Baptist and the "Campbellite" buildings on Sunday morning. We still adhered to the same basic view of right and wrong.

When you think about it, a lot of it comes down to the authenticity of reputation. We knew whom we could trust, and our information about our neighbors was nearly perfect because we knew everybody that anybody knew.

When it gets too big for that to be the case, any kind of communal sharing will fail.

3/04/2013 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Happy International Transdimensional Raccoon Day, my furry friends. Woooo!

3/04/2013 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

These vertical parasites "live upon a civilization to which they contribute nothing." In fact, because they are "progressive," they actively sever the living link between the present and the past, so that communication with the past -- the source of practical wisdom -- is impossible. The idea of "temporal progress" denies the spatial mode of civilization, in which we are presently floating atop -- and nourished by -- hard won wisdom, truth, moral beauty, and liberty.

We stand on the shoulders of giants. Leftists and "progressives" are convinced that if we would just kill the giants (thereby removing the means of maintaining our present height), we would be able fly. Which would be all well and good were the giants holding up only the leftists...

~
Happy March Forth! Is it beer o'clock yet?

3/04/2013 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

the 'gods' killed the 'titans' didn't they.

3/04/2013 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Skorpion said...

Relevant: "The 'New Atheism' is Dead"

3/04/2013 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Gagdad,

In terms of what they represent, do you think that FDR and Kennedy belong in the same category as Obama?

3/04/2013 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bob, had you not made bold (twice) the word "possessed" I would not have noticed it...The relation between being free and being a "possession" or "property" of someone else and "demonic". And for one's free will to be "taken over" by a demon is to be-come a demon.
When you think on the fact that one may so easily, willingly, become the possession of another (who hasnt witnessed this), exorcism does not seem so unreasonable a way to solve this disease. The solution or cure, if there can be one, must reside in this realm as surely it has nothing to do with say mathematics or physics or... What good are regular bullets such as simple economics against a werewolf.

Also, note the difference in the "abilities" and humble quality between the president and the Pope, the latter of which "can see" duty in stepping-down. For he sees his authority is on loan from a Higher One. The peaceful transfer of power.

3/05/2013 03:18:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Chris:

No. First of all, FDR didn't know what he was doing. He was an economic illiterate, not an ideologue. He was a typical well-intentioned liberal who had no idea his policies had such destructive consequences. Plus he didn't despise America, unlike the modern left.

JFK was a liberal, not a leftist, and a conservative liberal at that. On military issues he ran to the right of Nixon, and like Reagan he was a believer in supply side economics who reduced taxes, leading to an economic boom. And as cynical as he was, I also believe he loved the country.

3/05/2013 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Rick-- Yes, as Tomberg says, spirit requires a vacuum, including bad spirits. It's either Thy will be done, my will be done, or a mind parasite's or demon's will being done.

3/05/2013 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger phil g said...

River and Mushroom:

Cultural cohesion which is a necessary condition for high trust are required to have a form of voluntary communism. This is one of the primary evils of the church of multiculturalism. It destroys the fabric of trust and cohesion we need to operate as a community of communities.

3/06/2013 03:29:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Phil - that is an excellent point; it touches on something I've been thinking about lately. The culture of trust is also necessary for the free market to be effective, and multiculturalism is just as damaging to that trust. Part of the reason that everything's going down the crapper these days is that the trust has systematically been broken, starting with the financial sector. If you think about it, for a while there was an unreasonable excess of trust (during the housing boom, for instance, when it became ridiculously easy to con the system and pass off bad debt, thanks to government meddling). Now the pendulum is swinging the opposite way. It's becoming unreasonably difficult to do anything because lenders don't trust anyone. This process built up gradually, with the whole Fannie and Freddie debacle, but having TFG (as Ace might say) at the helm touting his class warfare and encouraging people to wallow in their victimhood has only served to pour gasoline on that fire. And the more the government meddles, the worse it will get.

After all, socialism only really "works" (remains stable, in other words) when everyone is paranoid...

3/06/2013 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Julie, yes. It is The Boy Who Cried Wolf all over again.
~ Yogi Berra

3/06/2013 05:19:00 AM  

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