Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Speak Truth to Power by Getting a Clue about Yourself, Assoul

Yesterday we discussed that book in the Priestess's lap, which is said to represent the descent of spirit, from the spiritual/experiential "touch" of mysticism down to the religio-philosophical sense, and into the "writing of one's book," so to speak. Evidently, in order to become a journeyman spiritual transmitter, one must begin as an apprentice lightning rod.

This is what Tomberg refers to on p. 43, where he writes that "Gnosis without mystical experience is sterility itself. It is just a religious ghost, without life or movement. It is the corpse of religion, animated intellectually by means of scraps fallen from the table of the past history of humanity."

It is not dissimilar to how a once great nation that produced luminaries such as Washington, Hamilton, and Lincoln -- people who actually touched political truth -- has been brought so low that it can be led by an ill-educated political psychopath who agrees with his Marxist spiritual advisor that "white folks' greed runs a world in need." But no one cares because the state never makes a mistake. At least when race-baiting leftists are in charge, whose credo is speaking lies to the powerless!

As always, right thinking is the ultimate act of rebellion against the fallen world, just as disordered thinking is the root of auto-slavery.

Tomberg writes that a mysticism that fails to give birth to gnosis "must, sooner or later, necessarily degenerate into 'spiritual enjoyment' or 'intoxication.' The mystic who wants only the experience of mystical states without understanding them, without drawing practical conclusions from them for life, and without wanting to be useful to others, who forgets everyone and everything in order to enjoy the mystical experience, can be compared to a spiritual drunkard."

So many spiritual drunkards! This pretty much summarizes the New Age movement, which is so devoid of sobriety, like the incoherent ranting of Deepak Chopra. Example:

"If Occupy America can channel its anger into awareness, the next step is to ask, 'What is our goal?' When I was down among the demonstrators, I led a meditation on that question, and it seemed to calm down the people around me, which demonstrates, I think, that the whole Occupy movement is about angry idealists, not just people who feel screwed by Wall St., although that is the spark and the point of injustice that somehow must be faced."

More like channeling greed into wealth by selling impotent resentment to the masses.

Like all liberals, there is one thing Deepak knows: that nothing will change until you embrace and celebrate your inner victim and turn your power over to the state. "Eventually, all change starts there," by "standing up and saying 'I accuse you of injustice.'" Wahhhhhhhh!

Yes, all personal growth begins with an unwavering commitment to the ideal that It's all someone else's fault! My son's not even eight yet, and he knows he can't get away with that. So how can the president? Oh, right. Three. Different developmental stage.

Tomberg makes the important point that true contemplation picks up where discursive reason leaves off. "Discursive thought is satisfied when it arrives at a well-founded conclusion. Now, this conclusion is the point of departure for contemplation. It fathoms the profundity of this conclusion at which discursive thought arrives."

The contemplation of depth is the miraculous vertical rabbit hole that draws us in and up: "contemplation discovers a world within that which discursive thought simply verifies as 'true.'"

Please note that what Tomberg is saying doesn't only apply to the world of scientific truth, but to religious truth as well.

Again, there are spiritual books that are deep, but many more that are shallow. Both disclose "truth," but what a difference! It's like a great artist and a Sunday painter depicting the same landscape. Who knows, the latter might even be more technically "accurate," so what explains the depth of the former? Here again, it is that sense of mystical touch, which the gifted artist is then able to convey on canvas.

There is something much deeper than the simple binary question, "is it true or false?" Think of a great novel. Was it true or false? Did the events really happen as described?

As Tomberg writes, contemplation "perceives more the significance of the truth discovered by discursive thought," and then tries to trace this depth back to its ultimate source. How does one do this? "By listening in silence. It is as if one wanted to recall something forgotten."

It is analogous to the "tip of the tongue" phenomenon, in which you know it's there, but have to relax into it -- perhaps even forget in order to remember. Or, perhaps it's like the distant stars which disappear when you stare directly at them, but reappear in your peripheral vision if you look away. An infinite amount of light will elude you if you attempt to stare it down with scientism!

No, this is the realm of vertical recollection, or what Plato called anamnesis. As Tomberg points out, horizontal memory renders the past present, while vertical memory "renders that which is above as present below."

This is perhaps the key to understanding scripture, which, if reduced to mere horizontality, becomes functionally useless. No, that's an exaggeration. The point is, it will still operate vertically, even if you imagine that it is horizontal. It can still work its magic, but if you insist too much on the horizontality, it can diminish the verticality.

It reminds me of the sola scriptura of DNA fundamentalists. Their genetic determinism notwithstanding, they are free to believe that the story of man may be reduced to the literal book of DNA, but they're going to miss all the interesting stuff.

As the mystical sense is analogous to spiritual touch, the gnostic sense is analogous to hearing. Obviously, it is this that Jesus is attempting to highlight when he speaks of having ears but being unable to hear, for true hearing takes place on the level of vertical depth. This kind of deep hearing can only occur in an environment of expectant silence or passive openness, i.e., (---) and (o).

You will notice that we listen to a great artist in a different way than we do to the typical hack. One of the reasons for this is that the true artist has earned our respect, as we know from experience that there will be an added dimension of depth to his work if only we give it sufficient time. There are no hidden depths in the mediocre artist. It's all right out there, as in pornography (which may almost be defined as having no interior).

Tomberg goes into a little riff on the nature of art, which he compares to the magical sense of projection: "The talent of the artist consists in this: that he can render objective -- or project -- his ideas and feelings so as to obtain a more profound effect on others than that of the expression of ideas and feelings by a person who is not an artist. A work of art is endowed with a life of its own," very similar to the process of birth itself.

He concludes the chapter by noting that scientistic materialism can only be "true" if we exclude all of the other planes that make the horizontal plane of natural facts possible, and isolate the realm of quantitative facts from the rest of reality.

At the polar opposite of this is the Hermetic-philosophical sense, or the "sense of synthesis," which is capable of a vision of the whole: "The scientific sense... summarizes the facts of experience on a single plane, in the horizontal. Hermeticism is not a science and will never be one. It can certainly make use of sciences and their results, but by doing so it does not become a science."

Or, one could say that profane science is the study of the relative, which is change itself. But Hermeticism is essentially the science of the changeless, which is to say, metaphysics. Metaphysics is the science of the permanent, of those things that cannot not be, for example, the Absolute, and by extension, the Infinite. Or, of Beyond-Being, and its child, Being.

Again, science can verify truth on a single plane, while the gnostic sense investigates the depth of said truth. Thus, any philosophy of naturalism can only appear to be true to the extent that one fails to ponder its depth and significance.

The moment you engage in the latter, you have disproved it, for you have revealed a vertical depth of truth and being for which naturalism can never account. You have left materialism behind. For to listen in expectant silence in the vertical space is to be "instructed by God," i.e., theodidacticism.

It is the very opposite of the infantile approach advocated by Deepak, in that it is necessary for Truth to speak to our striving for illusory power. Real change begins there, by standing up and saying, I accuse me of being an assoul.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Liberalism is a Bitch

We are now moving on to letter II of Meditations on the Tarot, the High Priestess, AKA La Pappesse.

There is a reason the Priestess follows the Magician, and this has to do with the distinction between the pure Light of knowledge -- which is analogous to the sun -- and its reflection in the book (in her lap) -- which is analogous to the moon (the moon is always female, which is why moonbats are so much like insane women, i.e., lunatics; insane men have their own problems).

Interesting that the French name for High Priestess is, as you can see, La Papesse, or "The Popess." Interesting because Schuon often refers to the pontiff as the archetype of Man as Such, i.e., Pontifical Man, the latter being the microcosmic vertical principle who bisects all the planes of existence and who contains all potential within himself. The Latin pontifex connotes "builder of bridges," and Man is indeed the ultimate bridge builder, only it is a vertical bridge (or sometimes ladder) between manifestation and principle; or the many and the One; or Heaven and Earth; or the upper waters and the lower waters.

I am intrigued by this implicit idea of "female pope." What could it possibly mean when we combine -- or play with -- the archetypes of pontifex and female? To put it another way, what does female connote in its vertical aspect? I ask this because female is usually associated with all of the words and concepts derived from mother or mater, including matter, meter, mara, maya, measure. There is the Father Principle, or "pure form," which "fertilizes" pure materiality in order to bring about the manifestation (e.g., the play of purusha and prakriti, or Shiva and Shakti).

Genesis treats this subject in mythopoetic terms, as the woman represents the descending tendency who is seduced by the snake, the symbol of earthbound horizontality. For which reason Mary is the shadow of Eve, the light-filled womb that nurtures and gives birth to the quintessential pontifex.

Thus, Mary-Matter-Maya is "pregnant with God," not just 2000 years ago, but for all time(less). We don't have time to go into Eckhart's many fruitful ideas about the feminine aspect of divinity, e.g., that God perpetually lays on a maternity bed giving birth. Creativity -- which is often seen as a more masculine activity -- is actually more quintessentially feminine, both because of the birth motif, but also because true creativity is fertilized "from above."

Tomberg then goes into the difference between a "Christian yoga" and yoga-yoga, in that the former aspires to a unity of two rather then the dissolution of twoness into an acosmic and impersonal Oneness. (And don't be put off by the word "yoga," as it simply means the same thing as "religion"; both have to do with "yoking" or "binding" (from the Latin religare, "to bind"). Thus, "His yoga is easy," as it were.

A Christian yoga must be rooted in the principle that there is something higher than oneness; and that higher principle is the easy yoke of love. And clearly, love is not possible -- or, it is merely an illusion -- if all is actually one.

But Christianity teaches that love is not only not an illusion, but the essence of God, even a "name" for God, so to speak ("God is love"). Thus, the recognition of a trinitarian God, which you might say is "one in love" as opposed to being a mere quantitative one.

The point is, this does not mean to imply any dualistic cosmos; but it also isn't a monistic one. Duality, as Tomberg suggests, is always pernicious, as it posits two rival "ultimates" which battle it out until the end of time -- which never ends. But it is absurd to think that there could be two ultimates.

You could claim that one of the ultimates is merely an illusion, which is what materialists do. That is, there is a mind-matter duality that is ultimately reducible to matter. This, of course, is a non-starter, as it represents the worst kind of metaphysical nonsense: the intrinsically self-refuting kind.

Tomberg suggests -- and he is absolutely correct -- that Being deprived of love "would be the most appalling torment -- the Inferno itself!" Love -- and Truth and Beauty -- is what imbues being with worth, with value and with meaning. Being itself is morally indifferent, perhaps even vaguely sinister, in the absence of the divine light of love.

Tomberg then goes into a lovely little soliloquy on the "gift of tears" which are a sort of fluid membrane between the above and below, a certificate of authenticity in so many encounters with the God of Love. In contrast to the "dry" experience of depersonalized oneness, UF writes that the soul who experiences the miracle of divine love is moved to tears. Only humans cry tears of joy.

Now, man the microcosm is in the image of the Creator-metacosm. The most quintessentially human faculty is the Intellect, or nous. For us it is a passive or "female" principle, as it is a lunar reflection of the light of the Father. This is none other than Sophia, or wisdom hersoph:

"[T]he intellect is the feminine side of the soul, whilst the fertilizing imagination is the masculine principle. The intellect that is not fertilized by the imagination guided by the heart is sterile." In the pathologically feminized mind of the liberal, passions become hardened into irrational pseudo-thoughts that are impervious to reason. Being subjected to Obama is like having your ex-wife as president of the world.

The main principle embodied in the Priestess image is the descent of the Word through the stages of reflection, memory, word, and writing. In the descent of revelation, only the last stage is "the book" (recall that the Christian Bible wasn't canonized until something like 400). In other words, religion begins in the world of principles, or at the center, and moves out to the periphery.

Science, on the other hand, begins with facts -- "the book of nature" -- and attempts to reason from the periphery to the center (which is strictly impossible, as the very conduct of science presupposes the human center). Put another way, the "last stage" of God's involution is the material world, whereas the latter is the starting point of science.

Mysticism is the science of "spiritual touch," and it must be at the heart of all religion. As Tomberg writes, spiritual touch -- or intuition -- "is that which permits contact between our consciousness and the world of pure mystical experience."

It because of this contact that "there exists in the world and in the history of mankind a real relationship between the living soul and the living God -- which is true religion." And it is only because of this faculty of spiritual touch -- which is obviously a subtle sense that needs to be nurtured and developed -- that God is something "more than an abstract notion." Rather, as in the case of any other real knowledge, the abstract is rooted in the concrete.

But after mystical touch comes gnosis, or the spirit of understanding; and after gnosis, the magical sense, or the ability to put knowledge into action; and after magic comes the book, MOTT being as fine an example of the latter as one could imagine. As Tomberg writes, if the God-knower "wants all that he has experienced, understood and practiced to be not limited to himself and his time, but to be communicable to others and transmitted to future generations, he must develop the Hermetic-philosophical sense, and in practicing it he will 'write his book.'"

In Coonspeak we call it having the tome of your life.

And how eternally grateful we are to the many illustrious pneumanauts who left their living books for us to playgiarize with! For it is only through the very organicity of the living book that the totality of tradition may be "held together," from the top to the bottom, from the center to the periphery, from the vertical to the horizontal. To not have this experience of the living whole is to be possessed by a demonic partling, whether it is the demon of socialism, or of metaphysical Darwinism, or of materialism, or of scientism. Each of these results in the soul being possessed and ensnared:

"Yes, autonomous philosophical systems separated from the living body of tradition are parasitic structures, which seize the thought, feeling and finally the will of human beings. In fact, they play a role comparable to the psycho-pathological complexes of neurosis or other psychic maladies of obsession. Their physical analogy is cancer."

Ain't it the truth. And there is no cure for this soul-cancer from within the absurcular realm from which it arises, only via relationship with the higher principle to which the soul is always "feminine." There is no cure for disordered love except love rightly ordered.

Friday, February 22, 2013

It Takes a Cosmos to Raise a Smile

While on the subject of I, AM, and the link between the two, I'd like to discuss Scruton's The Face of God. It's a short book, containing the published version of his Gifford Lectures of 2010.

If you're not familiar with them, the Gifford Lectures were the deathwish brainchild of the Scottish Lord Gifford (1820-1887), established and endowed for the purpose of promoting and propagating "the study of natural theology in the widest sense of the term -- in other words, the knowledge of God." The quality of these lectures is often quite high, and draws big brains from many disciplines, and thus comports well with our own multi-undisciplinary approach.

Among others, I've read those by Royce, Gilson, James, Eddington, Heisenberg, Dawson, Toynbee, Barbour, Dyson, Eccles, Polkinghorne, Rolston, Taylor, and, of course Jaki, Polanyi and Whitehead, all of whom are recurring characters on the One Cosmos blog. Again, these are folks who are attempting to think across disciplines, so many of them are pione'er-do-well Raccoons.

I haven't read a lot of the more recent ones, but one can't help thinking the quality has declined in recent years, what with dubious choices such as Said, Chomsky, Dawkins, and Carl Sagan. I mean, Edward Said? Makes one wonder what you have to do to not be invited.

Anyway, Scruton's meditation on the human face touches on a number of our pet bobsessions, including how the I comes to BE. In Psychogenesis we put forth an anthropological fairy tale that attempts to account for the sudden and unexpected ingression of the I AM into our biosphere -- i.e., how Mind emerges from Life -- and in my opinion, it must have occurred the same way then (say, 100,000 years ago) that it does today.

That is to say, we cannot begin with the fully formed adult, because by then it's too late. Rather, self-conscious subjectivity must be teased from the Stone Age infant in the intersubjective space between an incomplete, plastic, and "open" neurology and its loving caretakers. We are only individuals because we are members of one another. There is no other way. We are trinitarian right down to the Ground.

When we speak of the "knowability" of the cosmos, we must begin with the Face, for it is the first thing we know (and which knows us, for the one perspective depends upon its complementary other). Upon leaving the cozy confines of the womb, we are greeted by "one great blooming, buzzing confusion," in William James' famous description. The mother's face truly stands out like a lighthouse amidst the confusion, and we come into the world ready to be oriented to it.

Now, there was a time, not too long ago, when the world was regarded by philosophers as an orderly cosmos overseen by God. By way of analogy, we are all infants in this blooming, buzzing confusion we call life. But man could make sense of it with reference to a transcendent and benevolent Face looking down on -- and from within -- the proceedings.

Although nothing has occurred with the scientific revolution to cause us to doubt the deep order of being, it has nevertheless been accompanied by a kind of adolescent rebellion against the Orderer. This occurs at predictable points in human development, in particular, during the separation-individuation of early childhood, and then again with adolescence. But in reality, it is a recurring motif -- and temptation -- that shadows us as long as we live, because of our irreducible intersubjectivity. No one is ever alone and human, but some people want to be.

Now, what is a face? The key point is that it is a whole -- an integration of particulars that discloses an interior/subjective horizon. There are actually two important principles at work here, wholeness and interiority, but I believe these are necessary consequences of each other.

For example, no one "assembles" a face from its parts -- eyes, nose, lips, etc. -- and concludes that this is indeed a face we're dealing with. Rather, we always first see the whole.

Moreover, this whole always has something "behind" or "inside" it: the animating subject. The expressions of the face have a transcendent cause, and "science cannot, in the nature of things, trace an empirical event to a transcendent cause" (Scruton).

Thus, when we say we look "into" a face, this is precisely what we mean. The face is our first clue that the world does not consist of appearances only, but that there is a mysterious depth beneath the surface of things.

Autism, in whatever form it takes (e.g., intellectual, emotional, religious, moral, or aesthetic) is precisely the inability to apprehend the subjective depth in things. Just as there are people who are colorblind or tone deaf, there are prosopagnosiacs who cannot see faces. And yet, they obviously see the exact same thing anyone else is seeing. Rather, they just can't put it all together and see the inside.

Now, what is more real, the face or the parts that compose it? Or, who is more "in touch" with reality, the person who is able to see faces, or the prosopagnosiac?

Scruton asks what he calls a "strange question," but it is precisely this question that has motivated our blogplay these past eight years: just "what kind of world contains a thing like me -- a thing with freedom and self-knowledge?"

It turns out that it is impossible to answer this question without recourse to everything. In other words, it cannot be reduced to personal psychology, but touches on everything from cosmology to neurology to anthropology. For truly, it takes a cosmos to raise a person (and vice versa, bearing in mind what was said last Tuesday about the I and the One).

If you scan a face looking for the person, you will not find him. The person is "in" the face, but obviously cannot be reduced to the face. The person is not identical with his face, just as the meaning of a text is not identical to its letters, or a melody to the notes of which it is composed.

Scruton suggests that it is the same with God: look for God on the surface, and you will find nothing, for that is not where he is to be found. Rather, "He is present in our world in the same sense that we are: as a subject."

So anyway, blah blah yada yada, in this context, the idea that the metacosmic I AM should decide to reveil itself by putting on a face is quite understandable, for what better way could there be?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Rule of Vertical Law

As discussed in yesterday's post, we begin with the principle of the unity of the world, which is the necessary condition for knowledge of any kind. The cosmos "is not a mosaic," but rather, "an organism -- all of whose parts are governed by the same principle," the principle of unity or wholeness (Tomberg).

Now, this unity means that things can be connected in surprising ways. We know about the obvious ones that apply to the horizontal world, e.g., gravity.

However, there is another principle that links things in this world, the law of analogy. This law "is the first conclusion drawn from the tenet of universal unity" (ibid.), because it is our guarantee that beneath the diversity of phenomena we will always find something that unites it on an interior level.

In fact, we no longer even need metaphysics per se to understand this principle, since physics alone has arrived there, i.e., at nonlocality. Then again, the research that proved the reality of nonlocality has been called "experimental metaphysics," but really, no one needs to prove in a laboratory that nonlocality must be the case around these parts, since the parts make no sense without it.

Science can never actually prove the wholeness of the world (since it can never get outside the world), but it can never doubt it for even an instant. Science is only able to understand the contingent because it is rooted in certain principles that are necessary -- i.e., metaphysical -- which is to say, trans-material, trans-spatial, trans-temporal, and transpersonal.

Not to go all Deepak on you, but if this weren't the case, then we couldn't even be having this conversation, in which particles in my bean are causing particles in your bean to resonate at the same truth-frequency. In other words, human communication is founded upon the nonlocality of the world.

Now, we all know about the four types of causality that rule the material world: material, efficient, formal, and final. Science tries to do without the latter two, which works well enough for practical purposes, even if it is metaphysically incoherent.

But as it pertains to the vertical world, we cannot do without formal and final causation, since they operate from the top down, and enlist material and efficient causation to achieve their ends. This is seen in a self-evident way in the most simple execution of free will.

For example, I can conceive the idea of taking a sip of coffee, and actualize it by reaching over with my left hand and grabbing the cup.

Science (or scientism) has no idea how this is possible -- and never will qua science -- for science literally "doesn't go there." In order to explain the same action, it has recourse only to material and efficient causation -- as if sipping the coffee causes the idea of doing so.

Peter Kreeft touches on some of these issues in his Summa Philosophica. Of the four causes, he notes that two are intrinsic, two extrinsic.

Formal and material causes are intrinsic, having to do with what something essentially is and what it is made of, respectively. But final and efficient causes seem to come from "outside," and are therefore extrinsic.

Thus, as it pertains to human beings, we could say that our soul -- which is the form of the body -- is a formal cause that is actualized through free will.

However, in the overall scheme of things, the soul is oriented to its final cause, i.e., the Great Attractor beam of O. I suppose one could say that God, or O, is explicitly extrinsic but intrinsically implicit, i.e., transcendent and immanent. Nevertheless, his transcendence always takes priority, and he is only immanent because transcendent. In other words, immanence is a necessary consequence of transcendence, as Infinite is to Absolute.

Anyway, it is because of the wholeness of the world that the Law of Analogy operates throughout & in. And it goes a little like this: That which is above is like to that which is below and that which is below is like that to which is above, to accomplish the miracles of (the) one thing.

Our favorite application of this principle is spoken by the Trinity in Genesis 1:26, when they say to himsoph, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness."

Among other things, this is the most profoundly humanistic principle one could possibly imagine, endless in its implications. At the same time, if not for it, we wouldn't even have the word "God," much less know anything about him. But because of this reciprocal principle, the essence of humanness will reveal certain truths of the Absolute, just as the Absolute reveals certain truths about us.

For our purposes, probably the most important fact about God is that he is a person, which is why he can say -- and what it means to say -- I AM. Only a person can say I AM, and anyone who can say I AM is a person.

So there is the prototype or archetype above, and the maninfestation below. How to express and develop this correspondance? You see, the problem here -- THE human problem, as it were -- is that we are in time, while God is not. This means that the analogy fails here, in the sense that parts of us exist in potential, but not so for God, who is "pure act," as they say.

Therefore, we have to actualize our essence -- or "become the Likeness" -- in time and in history. In other words, we are subject to change, but because of the Law of Analogy, we are not only subject to the "bad change" of entropy, but to the "good change" of growing toward our archetype.

Which just means that the orthoparadoxical point of Raccoon Life is to "become oneself," even while knowing that this is an endless process in the herebelow. Indeed, this is precisely what it means to be a "progressive" in the real world, in contrast to pretending to be one in the ideological spaces of various second realities of the left. For Marx's house contains only a few mansions for the vanguard of the proletariat, but many dilapidated shacks and hovels for the rest of us.

Tomberg provides a helpful little map of our cosmic situation. It consists of a horizontal line between past and future, bisected by a vertical line that runs from the prototype above to the space below. In between are myths, which are recurring motifs that recycle both individually and collectively. Sometimes these are rooted in the above, while other times they can be little more than reified collective mind parasites, and therefore "pseudo-archetypes," so to speak.

For example, forcing women to live in black bags has nothing to do with any real archetype. Rather, this is the transparent expression of a deep hatred and fear of women, leant a patina of pseudo-sanctity by an appeal to some twisted religious darketype.

Real myth has a timeless validity, even if it doesn't partake of the principial order per se. Rather, it applies to human individuals and groups as we find them here on the ground, in time and in history. Presumably they no longer apply in the celestial sphere, in "heaven."

Tomberg cites the example of brother-on-brother hatred, as exemplified in the myth of Cain and Abel. There can be no such hate "above," even though it seems inevitable herebelow.

Likewise, the Fall of A & E cannot be an analogue of something within the godhead, but is something that human beings did (and do) to themselves wheneveateapple. Rather, the Fall is a contingent, even if nastily persistent, pattern, and therefore doesn't negate the divine archetype. Which is why we are wounded, but not mortally.

What this means is that we have to be cautious in applying the "as below, so above," because we don't want to attribute human flaws and failings to the Creator.

Indeed, probably the only way to finally prevent this is to come down and show us how it's supposed to work. I believe Schuon said something to the effect that Jesus is the icon of God, just as God is the icon of Jesus -- in other words, we are dealing with the full implications of the reciprocity between image and likeness. Presumably this should inoculate us from using anything short of the real deal to "compare" God and man, or to confuse the two.

Speaking of which, Jesus overwhelmingly relies upon the Law of Analogy in order to disclose higher truths through the use of parables. Everything in the parable is an item or concept taken from below -- shepherd, vine, door, marriage, harvest, fruit, soil, etc. -- deiployed in order to illuminate the above.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

You Must Be One Before You Can Be Someone

Continuing with our discussion of Letter I of MOTT, it is fair to say that the approach to Christianity espoused by Tomberg is essentially a science of everything and the art of assimilating it.

Thus, it is neither science nor religion per se, but bothand (and with bothbrains working over time). To put it another way, it is not in competition with religion or science, but accepts the truth of each (in its proper place in the proper scheme of things, of course).

All of this is predicated on the Oneness that IS; or which infuses all that is. Every itty in the universe, regardless of how bitty, is a lil' one (similar to how all numbers are just multiples of one, or of unity).

Indeed, one might say that ONE is the most important discovery of man, and is a prerequisite for all that follows. Conversely, the insistence on radical manyness -- i.e., nominalism -- is his most impotent discovery, for it leads nowhere.

However, ONE can only be discovered in THREE. In other words, if there is only ONE, then there is nothing to discover and no one else to discover it. And TWO is either an irreconcilable dualism or an imaginary one, for as Wittgenstein said, "to draw a limit to thought, thought must think both sides of that limit."

Scientism always engages in a version of this fallacy, in which it draws a line between two realms (say, mind and matter) and covertly floods one zone with content from the other.

Science itself is none other than the reduction of multiplicity to unity, and it is the ability to discern this unity in every dimension that characterizes the human. For example, although a dog is subject to gravity, it can have no conscious knowledge of this unifying force that appears under so many guises.

More generally, no animal can discern the abstract in the particular, i.e., have conscious knowledge of universals. But human beings do it "without thinking," even though doing so is the essence of thought.

Which is why we live in neither a universe nor multiverse, but uni-multiverse, in which the oneness is perpetually flowing down into manyness and then back up to oneness, in the old (↓↑) spiral. (Tomberg prefers the LOOP d' LʘʘP infinity symbol, ∞, which works just as well.)

Bearing this in mind, Tomberg proposes the following rule: "it is necessary to be one in oneself (concentration without effort) and one with the spiritual world (to have a zone of silence in the soul) in order for a revelatory or spiritual experience to be able to take place."

It is only IN oneness that we may discern the oneness: "the tenet of the basic unity of the world" redounds to "the basic unity of the natural world, the human world, and the divine world." Without this unity, "no knowledge" -- of any kind -- "is conceivable."

Thus, a truly brilliant scientist (not the mere wanker bee kind) is really a mystic of matter, no matter how much he denies it, for he has peered into the deep unity of whatever realm he is looking into. Some, like Einstein and all the others, are fully aware of this, but it is by no means similar to being a religious mystic, for the latter involves oneness with the divine, not just with the epidermis of being.

Clearly, the unity of which we are speaking must be prior to any act of knowledge, of any kind. If it weren't, then there would be no way to gain any knowledge at all. We would first have to build a ladder between the known and the unKnown, but, like animals, we wouldn't even know of the latter, so it's a moot point. No one needs a ladder when there's no up.

This is why, although dogs have co-evolved right alongside human beings, I frankly don't see any progress in them at all. Rather, like liberals, they perpetually chase their tails and sniff each others butts, and then call it "progress."

What our Magician is really concerned with is vertical unity. Along these lines, Tomberg notes that unity -- or the vector of truth leading toward it -- proceeds from facts, to laws, to principles, to essence or being.

And when we say that reality is knowable, we are really affirming faith in a promise that it is so, based upon the prior gift, or presence, of unity -- ultimately, of knowing and being. If knowing and being weren't so linked, then knowledge would be just a dream, and truth wouldn't deserve the name.

Thanks to this unity, everything that exists is knowable; in fact, these two categories reduce to one: to the Logos that bifurcates into intelligence and intelligibility. To exist is to be known in potential in man but actually in O.

Which, by the way, is why you are one, i.e., a specific person (although the qualifier "specific" is really unnecessary). Indeed, to say "person" is really to simultaneously utter the most profound mystery of the cosmos, along with its "solution" (hint: three letters, starts with an I).

I guess you could say that "AM" accounts for oneness, but only "I" accounts for someoneness, the particularity in the universal.

(Interesting that I and 1 look so similar, and that we're playing with Letter 1 -- or is it number I?)

That's all I have time for this morning. Our leisurely climb up Mount Oneness will resume tomorrow.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stop Writing the Mechanical Bull, and Don't Leave Any Sacred Cowpies!

This is a continuation of whenever it was that we were discussing MotT and the Magician:

Now, the magician is the master archetype for our journey into the rest of the symbols -- the symbols themselves representing a kind of mirror of the totality of the Great Interior situated just over the egoic horizon.

Why is the magician the would-be spiritual knowa's archetype? Because he is the symbol of what we must become if we are to have a fruitful journey through the rest of this symbolically resonant world. We must become this magician. And what does this magician represent?

Well, among other things, he embodies the principle of Slack, in that we must leave the field of profane time behind, and become attuned to a more subtle music that has its own rhythms and harmelodies. Here is how UF formulates it:

Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light!

The first of these prescriptions has to do with what we call the principle of Higher Non-doodling, which in turn is similar to the wu wei of Taoism. It also shares psimilarities with what Sri Aurobindo calls the attainment of the "silent mind," which is well explained in chapter 4 of The Adventure of Consciousness.

In fact, we may discern a convergence of the Christian and neo-Vedantic approaches, as Satprem writes that "the major task that opens the door to many realizations is to silence the mind.... Clearly, if we want to discover a new country within us, we must leave the old one behind -- everything depends on our determination to take this first step."

Part of this is in order to excape our existing container (♀) in order to assimilate the new content (♂) of the inscape. In other words, we need to somehow get beyond or behind or above or before our surface ego, or local self (•).

And why is that? Because "In a certain sense," writes Aurobindo, "we are nothing but a complex mass of mental, nervous and physical habits held together [read: contained, ♀] by a few ruling ideas, desires and associations -- an amalgam of many small, self-repeating forces with a few major vibrations."

Ouch!

This outward and external container becomes thicker and more dense, until we are "confined in a construction," which becomes a kind of pseudo-center by virtue of its rigidity and predictability. No more (♂). Your fortress against reality -- against the flow of interior novelty -- is complete.

This is why -- in a manner of speaking -- we might say that the first half of life involves learning, while the second half involves unLearning; or, we must be reborn as little children, who are so full of uncontainable and irrepressible (♂).

This requires not only a leap of but into faith (o), which Aurobindo describes as "an intuition not only waiting for experience to justify it, but leading toward experience." In other words, faith isn't just content but a mode of spiritual cognition, which brings new content into view. This content cannot be directly perceived by the ego.

Here again, UF agrees that we must achieve calm (---) and silence (o) "at the expense of the automatism of thought and imagination" (the bad kind -- more on which later). Only in so doing are we capable of authoritatively "speaking" of these matters, instead of merely being our own auto-copilot.

A Raccoon must never speak of spiritual matters in the predictable manner of writing the mechanical bull, for doing so results in the sacred cowpies of a Deepak. I suppose doing so has its place, but such familiar pneumababble is ultimately "by the dead and for the tenured," not for us.

One reason why silence is so critical -- shut up while I'm speaking! -- is that it is only in silence that we become "one" (anxiety always fragments and dissipates). And as UF writes, we must first become one in ourselves if we are to become one with the spiritual world. Unity is as unity does.

It's just common nonsense, isn't it? Without unity, there can be no knowledge of any kind. For example, the only reason we may possess scientific knowledge is because a primordial unity subtends the division of subject and object, knower and known.

However, that is the world of horizontal quantities, whereas the spiritual world is one of vertical qualities. Thus, the next step, according to UF, is to understand the Law of Analogy that governs the qualitative world of the vertical. This, of course, is why Jesus spoke in parables that are full of richly resonant symbolism with which we must "play" again as little children.

Well, playtime is almost over, but I'd like to conclude with some observations by Peter Kreeft from his highly effective mental disinfectant, Summa Philosophica. Chapter VIII article 3 considers Whether leisure is as necessary for man as work?

It IS, because allows us to BE: it "is not a practical means to a further end but exists for its own sake, like play. And since the end is of higher value and more necessary than the means, leisure is of higher value and more necessary than work....

"[L]eisure is not merely the absence of work but the presence of the higher ends which work makes possible, such as the understanding of truth, the love of goodness, and the enjoyment of beauty."

So if you're not playing, you're wrong

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Liberal War On Happiness

In The Pursuit of Happiness and Good Government, Murray essentially makes the the point that 1) the state (obviously) doesn't know what happiness is, and 2) has no idea how to measure it anyway. More generally, "Almost nothing having to do with social policy that we can measure directly is the construct we are really interested in."

For example, what is poverty? I personally know any number of people who are well above the "poverty line," but whose lives are spiritually and intellectually impoverished. Retarded, even. We call them "liberals."

Or think of GPA, which is an attempt to measure a construct called "intelligence." Sometimes it correlates, but there's certainly no causal connection between the two (not to mention all the corrupting factors, e.g., grade inflation). And life itself will sort the intelligent from the stupid much more efficiently than any test one could design, for the test is supposed to be a representative sample of "life," just as money is supposed (by the left) to be an analogue of happiness.

I'm currently reading a book about my FFF (Favorite Founding Father), Alexander Hamilton, and indeed one of the most appealing things about him is that he rocketed to the top of Cosmo-American history on wings of pure brilliance and practical intelligence, unlike, say, Obama, who was empowered by white liberal guilt, political thuggery, and a glib appeal to low-information voters, i.e., none other than the intellectually and spiritually impoverished folkers he promises to rescue from their squalor.

Obama likes to pretend his ascent was a quintessentially American one, but it is the very opposite, given the inverted world of the left, in which the scum rises to the top.

In Hamilton's case, he truly had nothing going for him but his own gifts, a "penniless, illegitimate, West Indian immigrant barely out of his teens" when plucked from obscurity by George Washington. In contrast, Obama was plucked from obscurity by people who wish to destroy America, such as Bill Ayers and Frank Marshall. Mission Accomplished.

Now, this question of happiness is a crucial one, because the vast majority of unconstitutional policies promoted by the left find safe harbor under the rubric of "the pursuit of happiness." Someone's supposed "unhappiness" pretty much justifies anything the left wishes to do to us, just as desire instantaneously converts to constitutionality for the left, i.e., "if I want it, it's a right" (say, if I want to murder my baby or force someone else to pay for my birth control).

Since happiness is a (supposedly) nebulous concept, it is reduced to the crude quantitative metric of the "poverty line." But in reality, there is no reason to assume that human beings below this imaginary line are "unhappy," nor that they are all alike. Really, it's just a pretext for the state to get involved in everybody's business. It's a little like the state saying, "from now on we're only going to help the 50% of people who are below average. Once they are brought up to average or above, we'll quit."

The problem, of course, is that half of the citizenry is by definition below average. Which is also why the percentage of people living "beneath the poverty line" never changes. A free society is going to be pretty efficient at sorting people along these lines. The mistake is to use a snapshot instead of a motion picture to examine the data.

In short, there is no such thing as the poor, since the composition of the group is constantly changing, with people coming and going for a host of reasons, everything from talent to bad luck to divorce to stupidity to drugs to being a victim of the liberal educational establishment.

Let's look it up, just to make sure I'm not being a polemical assoul. Here it is:

Virtually no change between 1965 and the present. And prior to 1965, when the spending floodgate was opened, you can see that the line was dropping sharply. Heckuva a job, Lyndie!

(And this doesn't even get into the massive destruction of whole communities as a result of the Law of Unintended Catastrophes, since the benevolent feelings of liberals never result in such things. Conversely, conservatives by definition have bad intentions, so the fact that their policies actually help people is quite beside the point. In their wildest dreams the KKK couldn't have accomplished what the left has done -- and Obama is doing -- to blacks. But that's what leftists do: to paraphrase Thomas Sowell, they replace what works with what sounds good.)

Blah blah blah, this is what I really wanted to highlight: Murray suggests that "Money buys access to things and possibilities but not to the capacity to enjoy them" (emphasis mine).

That particular sentence really arrested my attention, but I'll continue:

"In that sense, the privileged are not those with the most money but those with other gifts -- natural abilities, curiosity and interests, realized through education -- and enough money (which is not necessarily a lot) to exercise them."

Could it be that the most important factor in happiness is this mysterious "capacity to enjoy?"

Lets' get down to cases, in this case, mine. This will no doubt sound outrageously narcissistic to some -- a nutcase -- but it's not intended to, and besides, I have a feeling that it applies to most Raccoons. The essential point is that I get such a kick out of just being myself -- in the fullest sense of the term -- that nothing else in the world -- certainly no amount of money -- could ever replace it.

I think this explains why, when I was "poor" -- which I suppose I must have been, but never bothered to check -- I was not only not unhappy, but again, getting an intrinsic kick out of just being me. In fact, now that I think about it, this intrinsic enjoyment may be the key to my lack of conventional achievement, thank God! I mean, if you're already yourself, what's to achieve except more of it?

Interestingly, I get essentially the same kick out of my son. I feel so privileged to just know this unusual soul, and to be able to interact with him on a day-to-day basis, that it is literally impossible for me to imagine something more meaningful, more joyous, and more conducive to happiness. And it's a truly egalitarian form of happiness, because it's available to most everyone.

And feminists gave this up for some stupid corporate job? Or, like the archetypal liberalette, Julia, a marriage to the state? No wonder they're miserable.

To be continued....

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Government Of, By, and For the Unhappy Losers

I would like to discuss human happiness vs. what is typically thought of as "success." Sometimes they go together, but the older and wiser one becomes, the more one recognizes that there is no necessary correlation between the two. Indeed, all you have to do is read a few biographies of the rich and famous to find out how tortured, or driven, or persecuted, or conflicted, or tormented, or insecure, or unsatisfied they were.

Part of the problem is that an unhappy person tends to project happiness elsewhere, into other people. In other words, the unhappy person sees happiness in the people he envies. This is obviously not a true -- or even conscious -- idea of happiness, just a fantasy, often allied with projection of other primitive impulses, such as greed.

When a leftist complains about all those greedy and happy people, you can be sure he's just projecting, and that if he knew how to be happy he'd just be happy without any need to obsess over the projected emotional muddleman. In reality, no matter how much money X has, it has no impact whatsoever on my personal happiness. It can only have an effect in fantasy, and this fantasy needs to be rooted in some personal lack. For every fully functioning man has the means to happiness.

This pathological mechanism almost defines the left, since the left reduces reality to material and economic terms. Now, matter is not nothing, but it clearly isn't everything. Nevertheless, the left has managed to convince the majority that human happiness can be reduced to a crude economic metric, and that it is the task of government to force this metric up via transfers of wealth.

How's that working out? Trillions of dollars spent on the war on poverty, and the needle of human happiness hasn't budged an inch. Not only that, but because people in the meantime have bought into leftist philosophy, they imagine that the government isn't spending enough on the insane project of making them happy (instead of preserving the conditions which allow happiness, more on which below).

There is no question that the welfare state directly undermines happiness by short-circuiting its causes. To cite one obvious example, a big part of happiness involves a feeling of accomplishment for an achievement of something genuinely difficult and worthwhile. At the opposite end we have state-mandated affirmative discrimination, which can confer the effect of achievement on blacks or women or hispanics, but not the cause. But what is an achievement with no cause?

That's right: it's just narcissism, or self-deception, or theft, or cheating. Clearly it's not the real thing, and on some level, every so-called beneficiary of affirmative discrimination knows this. The only way to preserve one's dignity in such a situation is to attack the entire system as corrupt, so that genuine achievers are thought to be just lucky, or connected, or greedy, etc.

I think Obama falls into this category -- a weightless mediocretin who was effortlessly wafted to the top on the winds of white liberal guilt. A man that is literally not permitted to fail can never find true happiness, for what has he achieved? Nothing. If Obama really thought about this -- that is to say, if he were normal -- he would be embarrassed or ashamed. I mean, Ben Carson he is not, and how embarrassing for him to even be seen in the same photo.

Indeed, Obama is Carson's antitype in more ways than one, in that Carson is a man of singular accomplishment who has devoted his life to saving babies, while Obama is a vacuous demagogue and corrupt politician who has devoted his life to murdering them. (And let me emphasize that I have some sympathy for aspects of the pro-choice argument, but I cannot imagine ever being "proud" about it, nor can I imagine being so delusional as to think that abortion isn't a grave evil, irrespective of whether or not it is legal.)

Much of Obama's outlook can be attributed to his implicit awareness of the fact that he has ascended to the top of a system he thinks of as absolutely corrupt. Therefore, in order to preserve his dignity, he will be the one who "fundamentally transforms" this rotten system. He is like someone who becomes a mafia kingpin, and then decides to make the organization legitimate.

The problem is that such a person doesn't really "know anything," so he'll ultimately fail at whatever he tries. In the real world, corporate CEOs aren't just greedy and corrupt mafia godfathers. As Thomas Sowell says, if all it requires to be rich is to be greedy, then we'd all be rich. Problem solved.

Now, any system -- even the very best system in the world -- will be regarded as rotten by those who fail in it, but who cannot take responsibility for their failure. This is just human nature. Few people are brave and insightful enough to say, "I'm a loser and it's my own damn fault," especially when an attractive ideology is available to tell them that nothing is their fault. In a democracy, this can easily lead to a situation in which we have a government of, by, and for Self-deluded Losers, which was precisely one of major headaches of the founders.

In his classic Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, Bailyn writes that "faith ran high" among the framers

"that a better world than any that had ever been known could be built where authority was distrusted and held in constant scrutiny; where the status of men flowed from their achievements and from their personal qualities, not from distinctions ascribed to them at birth; and where the use of power over the lives of men was jealously guarded and severely restricted." Only with such a distrust of political authority could institutions spontaneously emerge to "express human aspirations, not crush them" (in Murray, emphasis mine).

The founders were quite aware of the fact that something in a man changes when he goes from private to public -- in short, when he is suddenly given access to political power. Such men are to be profoundly distrusted, especially the ones who seek it. For starters, just what personal defect(s) are they attempting to conceal or compensate for?

That one's for you, Obama.

What? You only want to "help"? Why you passive-aggressive bastard. What about the half of us who not only don't want or need your help, but regard it as destructive even to those you presume to help? When I say that I despise Obama and everything he stands for, I am obviously speaking for millions, not just the imaginary "one percent" of wealthy malefactors who have caused all our problems.

We can be sure that Obama has never had the thought, "what if the founders of this great nation were wiser than I am?" Because to even think the thought would create a contrast so odious, so ridiculous, that he'd banish it from consciousness. It would be like sitting in the shadow of Ben Carson. That won't happen again! Better to just stick with what cognitive heavyweights such as Andrew Sullivan or Chris Matthews feel about him. Ahhhh, that's better!

The founders weren't only aware of the danger of ambitious but mediocre men with power, but concerned about the source of this destructive power. In the past we have called this Loser Power. In nature, a being with no power has no power, period. There's no way to get around it. Only humans can convert loserhood into genuine political clout, making it a farce multiplier. In a quantitative world of majority rule, qualities literally do not count. If 51% believe 2+2=5, it's a done deal.

For which reason a central message of the Federalist is that Loser Power is "a danger so great and so unending that all the structures of the government must be arrayed against them," because "republics collapse when a faction is able to use the state to impose its vision of the good on the rest of society" (Murray).

Are we there yet? Or, is the left correct: that the federal government is just too small and unobtrusive?

To be continued....

Monday, February 11, 2013

Title IX, Benedict XVI, and the Absolution of Liberal Guilt

Given the surprising news of the deity, I think I'll fast-forward a few chapters, to the Pope. Like, what is he? Or in other words, by virtue of what principle is such an institution not only possible but necessary?

Other pack animals have top dogs. Is that what he is, just a vertical alpha? Postmodernists would likely say "yes," which is precisely (they say) why we need to eliminate this authoritarian atavism, or at least not take it seriously.

More generally, postmodernism, is opposed in principle to hierarchy (or pretends to be), which is the secret to why it cannot recognize or tolerate quality in any dimension, right down to the most trivial activity. It is why all the kids on my son's baseball team are forced to engage in the ritual of receiving a meaningless trophy at the end of the season.

Talk about a fake benediction! Humans don't have the power to forgive bad baseball playing.

This refusal to acknowledge hierarchy is also how the the left can confuse a person with a single meaningful accomplishment or ability with Obama.

All of the children on my son's team are, of course, aware of the inevitable Hierarchy of Skilz, unless they're either dense or afflicted with delusionally high self esteem.

So, who came up with this loony idea of pretending no one is better than anyone else, so that everybody equally sucks?

The left, that's who. You wouldn't think that anti-Catholic bigotry and children's sports are linked, but they most certainly are.

Indeed, the same sickness extends to adulthood, for example, vis-a-vis Title IX, a federal law that forces us to pretend we give a fuck about women's sports that don't feature scantily clad nubileans frolicking about. While we're at it, how about a federal law that forces us to watch male beauty contests?

Bear in mind that I'm not coming at this from a Catholic angle, but from a metaphysical one. And the plain fact of the matter is that if there is a hierarchy, there is a top. Indeed, there is only a hierarchy because there is a top. Simple as.

Recall the subversive wise crack of the old Soviet Union: we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us. Thanks to the left, Little Leaguers can now say: we pretend to win, and grown-ups pretend to give us trophies. Or, as it pertains to Affirmative Discrimination, we pretend to be intelligent, and they pretend to give us degrees. But a degree in sociology or education or women's studies is worth less than a Little League trophy.

It reminds me also of music. There's probably a proper term for it, but if you think of, say, the much-copied ending of Take the A Train, it goes dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-DA. The way the song is set up, our minds anticipate that last DA. It couldn't end with any other note. Until someone like Monk came along and played with musical expectations.

But that's the point: a Monkish surprise only works because we're anticipating something else. Indeed, that is why someone called jazz "the sound of surprise." It's always tweaking our musical expectations. It is also how comedy works.

Are there bad hierarchies? Of course. But the left pretends to treat all hierarchies as if they were bad. A bad hierarchy has no intrinsic legitimacy, but is fraudulently rooted in the human need for status, recognition, and power.

I suppose old-fascioned European style "conservatism" did the opposite: glorifying sometimes illegitimate hierarchy just for its own sake. But modern conservative classical liberalism is (or should be) the champion of legitimate hierarchy -- or, in a word, excellence, and let the chips fall where they may. If UC Berkeley is 100% Asian and Jew, that just means that other cultures need to imitate them, not discriminate against them by handing out a lot of phony parchment trophies.

It reminds me of all those tyrannies that officially refer to themselves as "Democratic" or "Republic" -- Iran, Cuba, China, North Korea, etc. Ironically, these regimes explicitly pay tribute to what they implicitly deny, but that is what the left always does. The left by definition superimposes rigid, top-down, freedom-denying hierarchies over spontaneous and self-organizing ones. Obama's "signature accomplishment" was just such an attack on the field of medicine.

The result will surely not be more medical excellence, but rather, a more equal distribution of medical mediocrity, or worse. The Cosmic Law mandates that medicine will become more expensive (because there is no longer a rational means to determine price and an efficient way to drive down costs), more scarce (because of increased demand, plus potential doctors gravitating toward other fields), and diminished quality (which the left doesn't care about to begin with, since it implies one of those nasty hierarchies).

Better get on to the Pope before we run out of time. There he is, to your right:

Tomberg says that the key principle here is "the presence of the act of benediction." But just what is this transfer of vertical energies? "What is its source and its effect?" And "Who has the authority to bestow benediction?"

Well, no mere man does, for starters. That way leads to madness of varying kinds, everything from religious cults to the cult of celebrity to the cult of Obama (but I threepeat myself).

In contrast, real benediction is "the putting into action of divine power transcending the individual thought and will of the one who is blessed as well as the one who is pronouncing the blessing."

Here again, this "impersonality" is the key. Really, we're talking about a vertically open system between man and God, or as I prefer to unsay, between (¶) and O.

There are two main ways the process can be disrupted: by the ego of the benedictee misappropriating the energies; or by the ego of benedictor claiming a unique power and ability to transmit them. But no human has this right or this ability.

Rather, he can only be the channel for such. Unless you don't believe in hierarchy, in which case every man is not just his own priest, but his own deity. And then we're back to the left, and "may the baddest god win." For the leftist, we are all of the same race: the race to the bottom.

Now, the universal principle of man's "pontifical" nature (in which our feet are in the many but our heads in the One, so to speak) is unthinkable in the absence of the (↓↑) vertical energies. Tomberg describes it as "a double movement, ascending and descending, similar to the circulation of the blood."

This is symbolized in the card, where one of the acolytes below has his left hand raised, the other his right hand lowered. This corresponds to the right and left brains respectively, which makes sense, because the right brain "reaches up," so to speak, toward synthesis, unity, love, and mercy, while the left brain "reaches down" into law, order, and "severity."

With regard to the overall circulation of (↓↑), Tomberg says that it is as if the "blue blood" ascends and is detoxified, returning down as the ʘxidized "red blood" of benediction and mercy.

As it so happens, my son had his first "reconciliation" (read: confession!) last Saturday. What is this ritual but a rather precise reenactment of just the cosmic principles we are discussing?

In which case my son undertook the task of searching his conscience for "impurities," so to speak, and these are in turn "detoxified" through (not by!) the Priest. Really, it was a beautiful thing to behold, and yet, it isn't difficult to imagine the multitude of ways human beings could screw up such a divine slackrament.

Nevertheless, abusus non tollit usum (the abuse of a thing does not take away from its legitimate use). Otherwise Obama would be an argument for abolishing both the presidency and the Constitution, when he's really just an argument against the cheap grace of absolving liberal racial guilt via electoral trophies to the unqualified.

Next time, do us a favor: just go to confession instead of imposing your penance on the rest of us. We have our own sins to worry about, but racism isn't one of them.

The end. Out of time.

Friday, February 08, 2013

The Metamorphosis: Just Say No to Bugs!

As mentioned yesterday, I want to clear a few items from my head before we continue with MotT. As they say, bloggin' out your noggin keeps the bean clean.

As you know, I don't like to just read a book -- in this case, James Schall's The Modern Age -- and toss it aside without further re-flection. The following are just spontaneous impressions, not any kind of formal review. Some of them go to yesterday's comment thread, in which the question was raised as to whether man is evolving (in the vulgar Darwinian sense) or whether he has a fixed nature.

Our position has always been that we are orthoparadoxically evolving toward our fixed nature, both in general (i.e., "humanness" as such) and individually (i.e., a deepening of our unique personal identity, which is ultimately only possible within the intersubjective space between person and Person, ¶ and O). Man's puzzling charge is to become who you are! (emphasis God's).

True, there are other theories, but they don't interest me because they don't account for my life and my experience. I concede that these theories my well apply to insects or bats or atheists or progressives.

Which reminds me -- one of the literary touchstones of the 20th century is Kafka's The Metamorphosis. Its famous deadpan opening line very much expresses the bleak existential tenor of the times, and proved to be an eerily prescient meta phor the nightmares to come:

One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.

Yes, one of those days. Or centuries, rather. Or administrations.

"What's happened to me," he thought. It was no dream.

Devolution in action! Or evolution, rather, because if metaphysical Darwinism is "true" (which it cannot be, but just for the sake of argumentativeness), then man has exactly the dignity and value of an insect, no more, no less. In that case, Kafka is not just a neurotic schmendrick with terribly low self-esteem, but a prophet.

Millions of European Jews of the 1930s woke up with exactly this experience, having been transformed overnight by evolutionist Nazi ideology into "monstrous verminous bugs."

But the Jews, as always, were the canaries in the world-historical ghoulmind. In the long run -- as promised by the Creator -- things never turn out well for those who persecute the Jews.

Indeed, a very handy way to locate the center of evil is to find out where Jews are being persecuted and dehumanized. Today it is within Islam, academia, and the international left.

Unfortunately for us, the disease has now spread to the White House -- unfortunate because those who curse the Jews are cursed in return. What a way to fritter away divine protection. And for what? So jihadis and liberal fascists will finally love us?

The bottom lyin' looks like this, which I just randomly stumbled upon while looking for an image of Gregor. Just say no to Bob!

No O, no I. No me, no thee, no we, no three. No ʘ and no pilcrow (¶) either.

The only way to retain our Slack and cultivate our Higher Sanity -- and avoid being transformed into an insect -- is to completely reject and bypass the postmodern Creepy Crawler bugmaker machinery.

My son is at that age -- almost eight -- when he is really into dinosaurs. We've been reading dinosaur books at bedtime, but it has never occurred to me to remind him that the ultimate lesson here is that human beings are no different from the dinosaurs, just another meaningless freak of evolution that will soon enough depart from the terrestrial stage, only to be replaced by another freak. And with any luck, this freak will be less destructive to the Mother Gaia than human beastlings are. You know, as if it matters what the fuck happens to the planet if we aren't here to enjoy it.

In other words, I don't transform him into planetary vermin. Which is what would surely be happening if he were being subjected to a secular brainwash in one of our intellectually and spiritually devolved public schools, where one learns how to be a compliant insectoid member of the statist hive.

All of the above occurred to me -- implicitly, anyway -- upon reading a sentence from The Modern Age. Schall makes a passing remark about the forced materialism of the Soviet state, and about how this compulsory misosophy "is a sign of imprisonment in this world not only by a coercive regime but by modern thought itself" (emphasis mine).

One might as well say: One morning, while sitting in poli sci class, Gregor Samsa was disabused of his humanist fantasies of dignity and meaning, and told that an infallible herd of half-educated tenured apes had determined that he was a random and meaningless product of natural selection.

Or: One dreary November morn, Gregor Samsa was dismayed to learn that he had been changed overnight into an anonymous cog in Obama's collectivist machine.

Or: One morning, Gregor Samsa was roused from holy innocence and charged with the vague thought crime of being a guilt-stained and verminous Enemy of the People.

Again, I'm trying to spare my son from all these idiocies, and from an infrahuman fate more generally, i.e., forced materialism. For the truth is much, much stranger. Something like:

One fine morning, as humanoid primates were just waking up from some weird enough prehistorical dream, they discovered that they had been transfigured into an image of God, with all this implies.

Or: One morning, Gagdad Bob awakened to an empty procrustean bed and realized that his professors had been lying to him, and that he wasn't an insect at all. Rather, he woke up to the surprising deuscovery that he was a hooraysurrected mirrorcle of the Abbasolute!

Truth is much stranger than fact.

Whoops, where'd 'ego?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

If This Post Doesn't Make You Want to Vomit, There's Something Wrong with You

Moral indignation is not truly sincere unless it literally ends in vomiting. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

This is not just a blog, and sometimes not even that. Rather, it's just an all-purpose clearing house for the thoughts that come into my head. In other words, blogging helps to keep my melon clean and empty, as it should be.

But sometimes these are just one-off thoughts, unconnected to anything else -- you know, as in Larry King's head. I could always tweet these fragments, but I found that medium to be more taxing than it's worth. Besides, if people want me, they know where to find me. No need to irritweet them with constant reminders that I'm here.

So before we continue with the Magician, I just want to offload a few pieces of my mind.

The other day, a commenter asked what my main beef is with Ken Wilber. Well, one would surely be that he is an evolutionist and I am not. This has nothing to do with belief in evolution or natural selection, but rather, whether we are just a stage or a phase on the way to something else, something "better" or "higher." True, as soon as you think about it it makes no sense, but it is nevertheless one more pestilent pneumapathology that must be confronted.

I have several objections to such a metaphysic. First, if true, it robs man of his intrinsic value and dignity, because it means that all of the human beings who preceded us weren't only "incomplete," so to speak, but just a means to arrive at us, the better and more important people.

Yes, everyone likes to feel like a VIP -- a Very Impressive Primate -- but the immediate corollary is that we are just a means to some superior end -- to the Better Sort at the end of the evolutionary rainbow. You know, people like Wilber, or that quintessential Evolutionary Being of Light, King Barry himself.

This is another example of a "bad infinite," because it actually ends up depriving us of any standard, and relativizes everything. There can be no final, unalterable truth, because we can always evolve into something better tomorrow, or in a hundred or a thousand years. With one exception: "The progressive believes that everything soon becomes obsolete, except his ideas" (Don Colacho's aphorisms).

For which reason the leftist also sees the irony in everything but himself. The ridiculousness of the left? Forget about it. They're not sufficiently evolved to know about that.

But the classical liberal tradition -- and the Western tradition more generally -- is founded upon certain final and unchanging truths that preserve and protect man's infinite value, for example, that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights. If the evolutionist metaphysic is "true," then the immediate implication is that human beings are neither created nor equal. We are better than past humans -- woo hoo! -- but future humans are better than us -- d'oh!

By what standard? Oh, you're not supposed to ask that. Remember, for the evolutionist, all is in flux, so there can't actually be any standard. This is not to suggest that they won't try to slip one in the back door, hence, a dreadful Deepak will be the first to tell you that he is more "evolved" than those evil conservatives who believe in absolute standards through which to measure evolution. To put it another way, either evolution explains man or man explains evolution.

Which leads to the other problem with the evolutionist metaphysic: that it simply doesn't see what man is. For man can only know the absolute because he partakes of the absolute, which is again the source of his dignity, his value, and his purpose.

Don't try to fool yourself here, because this is very much an either/or question: either man partakes of the absolute, or he is nothing. I think once you realize this central truth, you can never be an evolutionist or a progressive leftist. And you probably haven't fully realized it if these two ideologies don't make you want to vomit. The realization should be that powerful.

For us, any man at any time has access to absolute -- and therefore saving -- truth, for this is what defines man. Man is surely "in between," as suggested by evolutionists, except we are not between what we presently are and some future mutation. Rather, we are first and foremost between matter and God. In between man and God there is a further vertical hierarchy, but it is fixed, not some epiphenomenon of random terrestrial mutation. Hence, for example, the necessity of angels, of the community of saints, of the Fellowship of Post-Biological Raccoons who reach across the great divide and throw us the occasional bone from on high, etc.

Here Schuon expresses the point in a way that is both exceptionally clear and beautiful: the object of man's existence

"is to be in the middle: it is to transcend matter while being situated there, and to realize the light, the Sky, starting from this intermediary level. It is true that the other creatures also participate in life, but man synthesizes them: he carries all life within himself and thus becomes the spokesman for all life, the vertical axis where life opens onto the spirit and where it becomes spirit. In all terrestrial creatures the cold inertia of matter becomes heat, but in man alone does heat become light."

Here is a more concise way of saying the same thing: "The very word 'man' implies 'God,'" just as "the very word 'relative' implies 'Absolute.'”

Here it is from another angle: man "is intelligence; and intelligence -- in its principle and its plenitude -- is knowledge of the Absolute; the Absolute is the fundamental content of the intelligence and determines its nature and functions" (emphasis mine).

In other words, in the absence of the Absolute, then all of man's thoughts are just so many shadows that reveal nothing about reality.

The following goes to the absolute poverty (and we absolutely mean this literally, not polemically) of any form of evolutionism: "Once man makes of himself a measure, while refusing to be measured in turn, or once he makes definitions while refusing to be defined by what transcends him and gives him all his meaning, all human reference points disappear; cut off from the Divine, the human collapses" (Schuon, emphasis mine).

Which is again why, if the left doesn't make you want to vomit, there is something desperately wrong with you. To repeat, this is not at all polemical but objective. The left DESTROYS MAN because it first annihilates (in fantasy) the Absolute. Thus, the evolutionist or progressive does not transcend man, but rather, fails to ascend to him.

What is an antonym for transcend? You could say that the progressive evolutionist fails man, or loses man, or worsens man. And if you don't see that, just look to history, to all of the politico-ideological states that have been premised on the improvement of man: fascism, Nazism, communism, etc. When you deny man's infinite value up front, you have already excused yourself for the genocide that will surely follow, as night follows day.

One irony of Obama-style progressivism is that it violates its own spirit by pre-emptively attacking future generations. While the latter are supposed to be more evolved than us -- making us just an evolutionary stepping stone to them -- Obama is undermining them in such a way that it will be very difficult for them to overcome the financial catastrophe he is bequeathing them.

For they are the ones the low-information progressive herd is waiting for: the ones who will pick up the tab for Obama's drunken power spree. Obama has truly given these future subjects a bargain they can't refuse, since most of them aren't yet born. Long after Obama passes from the scene, these patsies will be financially obligated to him.

I was about to say that leftism is a Foistupon bargain between private bullies who want stuff and public bullies who want power. Or, as Don Colacho sez, To corrupt the individual it suffices to teach him to call his personal desires rights and the rights of others abuses. Thus, Obama makes no demands upon his envious flock, only upon the unborn who will foot the bill (for which reason you'd think he'd have a little respect for the unborn).

Yes, there is always a forgotten man in the bargain, or, in this case, forgotten generations, both past and future. What it really represents is man forgotten (as in the nature of man). And to forget this is to fall yet again.

Oh well, those future brains will be much more evolved than ours, just as we are more evolved than Aristotle, Aquinas, Madison, Washington, and Lincoln. They'll figure it out. I mean, just imagine a world full of Deepaks and Wilbers and Gores! What won't they be capable of, if not intellectually, then at least morally? When lawlessness disguises itself as law, anything is both possible and permissible. Right to the throat, good and hard.

You could say that for the reactionary, the past justifies anything; for the hedonist or psychopath, the present justifies anything; and for the leftist, the ideologue, or the evolutionist, the future justifies anything.

In contrast to these defective visions, our metaphysic begins with the principle that man is made in the image of the Absolute. Period. To imagine you can do better than this is to ensure hell on earth, or haven't you noticed?

Damn, that was supposed to be like one or two sentences. Oh well. To paraphrase John Lee Hooker's mama & papa, the boy's got it in him, and it got to come out somehow.

To say that man is made of intelligence, will and sentiment, means that he is made for the Truth, the Way, and Virtue. In other words: intelligence is made for comprehension of the True; will, for concentration on the Sovereign Good; and sentiment, for conformity to the True and the Good. --Schuon

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Mining for Nous Gold

No time for an all new post, so I've ransacked the knowa's arkive and pulled out these past meditations on the magician. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, has changed about ultimate reality since these nuggets were first excavated in 2008.

We eliminate the warm-up act, and join the post in mid-thought:

It will require a good couple of months to fully unwind MotT, but even then, riffing on one card every day or two does a disservice to us all -- you, me, and our Unknown Friend -- since it should be more of an organic and interior-directed process that proceeds at its own supernatural pace.

That is to say, one needs to "dwell" "in" (emphasis on both words) the book in order to actualize its pneumacatalytic powers. You must get into it in order for it to get into you, very much like the old onetwo of (↓↑). To paraphrase UF, the tarot images are like "enzymes" that facilitate growth when sprinkled over the sincere and open soul. You know, like the yeast in the bread.

I suppose I've read the book cover to cover maybe four or five times. I know this because I have two copies, each with different colored highlighting. And yet, each time I read it, I get something new out of it. I know this because new passages are highlighted on subsequent grow-rounds.

Also, as mentioned in a comment the other day, the first time I tried to tackle it, I got nowhere. It was just too difficult; turns out we were both too dense. And when I say "dense," I mean this in a kind of literal way, in that its light could not penetrate me. It was there, of course, but without a receptive agent to transmute it, it was just another brick in my wall of mostly ordinary books.

But by the time of my second attempt a year or two later, a transwarmation of some sort had taken place that allowed me to understand it -- or rather, melted whatever it was that was obscuring the light.

Indeed, it was like entering a vast cathedral, only this time with the lights on. In other worlds, without the Light, an infinite space will appear as a black wall, which is essentially the predicament in which the atheist finds himself. He imagines he's telling us about an objective barrier, when he's really just describing the back of his manmode I-lid. It's difficult to imagine a worldview more banal and lacking in elementary curiosity.

There is a reason that all spiritual traditions speak of "illumination." The visible light we see with our eyes is an analogue and symbol of the light we perceive with the intellect (and of which the intellect is composed, for light comes from Light).

In other words, the intelligibility of the world is and must be prior to its materiality. To be sure, the spiritual world is an intelligible world, but in order to perceive it, you will need to partake of the uncreated light of the awakened intellect, the nous (or, to paraphrase Joyce, the part so ptee that does duty for the holos).

Without activating the latter, you will again be staring at a blank wall (or you'll just have to take someone else's word for it). Jesus will just be a community organizer, if he existed at all. Miracles will merely be statistically rare events instead of edifying vertical ingressions. The Bible will be a collection of myths instead of simultaneously urgent and timeless memos of infinite depth from Soph to self, O --> (¶).

A couple of important points before we begin. The book is not about Tarot reading, nor does it have anything to do with the occult or new age. We're not just deepaking the chopra here.

Rather, the author, who is Catholic -- indeed, the afterword is by none other than Balthasar, and I've seen him name-checked by Ratzinger -- merely uses the twenty two major arcana of the Tarot as a basis for what we call spontaneous verticalisthenics, or theodidactic soul-jazz. It's almost as if he free associates and uses the cards as fixed forms, or unsaturated archetypes, to explore his own incredibly fertile spiritual imagination.

But his ideas are for the most part completely orthodox and intelligible to others, unlike, say, occultists, who may or may not speak truth, but clothe it in idiosyncratic and obscure ways that can be extremely difficult to decode, verify, or replicate. Our unknown friend always appeals to the universal intellect.

While earlier in life the author (who was born in 1900 and died in 1973) was a follower of Rudolf Steiner, he broke with that group and converted to Catholicism at the age of 44. In fact, he was booted from Steiner's Anthroposophical Society for being too independent of Steiner (who died in 1925).

As always, there is no doctrine more radical than Christianity, so it will always make ideologues, pneumalogues, and newage do-it-yoursophers uncomfortable. Anthroposophy is yet another instance of a spiritually gifted but erratic occultist whose fluid ideas are reified by his generally mediocre followers into an orthodoxy: the master ruins the disciples and vice versa.

Importantly, this is a dynamic that afflicts virtually all groups, as Bion recognized in some of his early papers. Indeed, it is precisely what had happened to Bion's own field of psychoanalysis, as Freud the explorer became Freud the inerrant prophet of a pseudo-religious infra-mystical order.

In relation to orthodoxy, Bion himself was analogous to the "messiah" (a term of art) or mystic who brings new life to the deadened forms, but only in order to return it to first principles. Similarly, Tea Partiers are aptly named, since they are simply re-animating the timeless principles of the Founders, principles that have been systematically undermined by the left.

Truth that isn't regularly rediscovered and lived is subject to entropy, just like everything else. To be perfectly accurate, it is not truth that dissipates, only the person who falls away from it. You might say that the space of the spiritual world, like the natural world, is curved, so without the rocket booster of effort, you'll merely go around in circles.

The author worked on MOTT in his 60s, and it was originally published posthumously in 1984 (in English in 1985). Although the identity of the author is known, he wished to remain anonymous, so we will respect his wishes and refer to him as Unknown Friend (UF), which is what he calls himself.

UF truly is our friend, and a precious one at that -- a trusty guidekick for any serious spiritual seeker from now until the end of time. And it is very much a "brotherly" relationship, despite his obvious spiritual eminence.

With regard to my post the other day about the person who was asking for spiritual guidance, UF is a fine example of how one may form a living relationship with a saint, sage, mystic or mentor, despite the person no longer being an active biological concern. The fact is, these persons are very much alive, but they will only come to life in the dynamic transitional space between you and them (or "I and I," as the ganjafarians say). But how is this different from any other deep friendship? Or just getting stoned?

It's about the living space. For example, we naturally love our family, but we also love the space it simultaneously creates and exists in. This can go unappreciated, but it is the background context of our whole life. It is the space in which we live and breathe. I suspect we'd feel rather hemmed in and oppressed without the yoke of this sphere & chain. Not all freedom is liberating, to put it mildly.

One thing we like about MOTT is its jazz sensibility, of which Bob has written in the past. To improvise means to stand up and play "over" the group. But to produce great jazz, one must simultaneously be a part of the group even while transcending it. This complementarity is the key, and I think it embodies a general lesson, almost a koan. That is, Man is the group animal whose very groupishness is the matrix out of which his individuality emerges.

To be an individual is to live on the surface of the group, so to speak, but with roots deep within it. A narcissist fails to appreciate the importance of the group in making the individual possible, as if he could exist without it. And yet, the collective could never be the "end" of our existence, as leftists believe. Which is why the left is such a graveyard of true individuality, an anonymous (in the negative, pre-personal sense) pack of dogmatic barketypes.

Yes, this is one of the first principles of our politics, since a libertarian overvalues the individual while the leftist insect naturally overvalues the hive. The cosmically correct position is to appreciate the family as the unit of civilization. Or, as in the Bible, maleandfemale he created them. When God says "let us create man in our image," this is what we's talking about: the unity within the plurality, and vice versa (and of course, baby makes threeness, and vice versa too).

I suppose it's somewhat analogous to the body/mind relationship. One cannot have a mind without a body, but to reduce the mind to the body is to do away with the person and our very reason for existence. Or again, one could say that this reflects the exoteric/esoteric, or inner/outer, complementarity of religion.

Anyway, we're just going to riff on UF's riffing, and see where it takes us.

But this is starting to get overly long, isn't it? Plus I'm late for work.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Flowgorrhea & Wordplay

We have arrived at Rule One: Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light!

Tomberg says you can take it in several ways, so long as you take it seriously: clue, wise crack, advice, threat, etc. In any event, play is a very serious isness, fit only for amateurs (amo, of course, referring to the love that motivates the ama-teur).

The sentence may be broken down into three clauses, the first involving "effortless concentration." Tomberg provides a useful definition of the latter, which is "fixing the maximum attention on the minimum amount of space."

Imagine the concentration necessary to hit a little ball traveling at 100 mph. Or a wide receiver focusing on that ellipsoid flying object while knowing full well that he is going to endure great pain if he so much as touches it.

That sort of focussed attention "is the practical key to all success in every domain," and it is best accomplished by calmness and silence , or what we more or less symbolize (o) and (---).

(o) signifies a state of patient openness, while (---) is unhurried silence. These also happen to be the keys to allowing the softer voice of the right brain to speak, which is no coincidence, for the left brain is a loudmouthed know-it-all.

Just as not-knowing must precede knowing -- or emptiness fullness -- silence is anterior to (↓).

Tomberg then draws a critical distinction between interested and disinterested concentration. For example, it isn't difficult for most men to focus their attention on a Victoria's Secret catalogue. In a way, in order to practice disinterested concentration, we must liberate ourselves from the typical things that are always vying for our interested concentration.

This interested concentration arises from various planes of being, e.g., genetics, evolutionary psychology, mind parasites, cultural mimesis, cash and other valuable prizes, etc. As Tomberg says, gluttons and misers -- not to mention perverts and other activists -- are quite attentive to the objects of their interest, just as Obama has a laser-like focus on expanding state power and diminishing yours. He makes liberal fascism look so easy!

In fact a truly "liberal education" involves acquainting oneself with the entire domain of reality that exists outside necessity. Indeed, a key to happiness is doing things just for the hell of it -- i.e., for their intrinsic pleasure -- rather than for some identifiable payoff. Studies have even demonstrated that if you pay a person to do something he intrinsically enjoys, he will derive less enjoyment from it.

I found that last nugget in Charles Murray's In Pursuit of Happiness and Good Government, which I'm reading for some reason, apparently because it relates to this post. He highlights the "paradox" that Americans are no happier today (and probably less happy) despite a historical increase in wealth over the past 50-60 years. What gives?

There are a number of reasons, but one is surely that the accumulation of wealth involves a great deal of interested concentration, when we've already established that a key to happiness and fulfillment is a lot of disinterested concentration, i.e., play. Murray points out that for most of western history we implicitly agreed upon an Aristotelian definition of happiness, whereas today we have one that is more Lockean.

The former revolves around the idea that we derive the most happiness from exercising our most fully realized capacities; in the book I discussed this in terms of realizing our potential, but the point is the same. We all have some sort of gift(s), and happiness very much involves using and developing the gift. Importantly, the rewards from doing so are intrinsic, unrelated to any secondary payoff.

This is what we call slacktivity, because it is the essence of higher nondoodling. It is a way of simultaneously doing nothing and something. You could also call it multi-slacking, which is what I am doing at the moment: several types of passionate nothing all in the same timelessness.

And no, that last crack wasn't just superfluous, because real slacktivity results in temporal dilation. That is to say, the present moment "widens out," so to speak, so the garment of the now isn't so tight and binding. More like one of those pirate shirts with the billowy sleeves.

Murray brings in a discussion of the unfortunately named flow -- unfortunate, because the word makes it sound like something Deepak might have come up with, instead of being a serious concept. It was coined by a man with the unflowing name of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, but his initial term sounded more serious: autotelic, meaning "self end," or an end that is both by and for the Self (not "ego," I might add).

Consider Murray's description of flow: it is action joined to awareness, such that "you know exactly what you're doing, but you are not thinking about the fact that you know." Like me right now. One thing I never do while blogging is look down, because if I do, I'll lose my balance and fall from the ground.

You could say that we are in flow when we are concentrating without effort, turning work into play, and multi-slacking. And flow has no purpose but to just keep flowin'. Which reminds me of Eckhart's notion of "living without a why."

I believe it is fair to say that Professor Cz%$^*&@yli's idea of flow, when applied to the spiritual dimension, illuminates what we call the "divine spiral" of (↓↑), as we are effortlessly pulled into the Great Attractor.

Now rhea means flow, and this pointless logorrhea must now cease its flow for the day.