Friday, March 15, 2013

There is No God but Godlessness, and Obama is His Prophet

Truth is hierarchical and symphonic, which implies both One (i.e., one symphony) and many (i.e., a multitude of instruments and individual parts -- motifs, melodies, counter-melodies, etc.).

In contrast -- to paraphrase one of my favorite aphorisms of Don Colacho -- leveling is the barbarian's substitute for order. Which is why -- to paraphrase another aphorism -- in order to understand leftism, a vocabulary of ten words is sufficient.

In other words, relativism is another word for leveling, which is why leftist is another word for barbarian, and barbarism the end result of leftism.

What is the uni-versity? Or rather, what was the university? For starters, it was a way to cure our barbarism by elevating the intellect and perfecting the soul.

"The university," writes Schall, "grew out of the structure of the medieval Church." Thus, for example -- and it is not my intention to induce vomiting -- the dean of a university is analogous to the pope, while the professors represent a priesthood of knowledge and truth, for the purpose of both forming and saving young souls.

This is still the case, except that when one's first principle is relativism, then one's pope is actually an anti-pope whose main task is to enforce leveling so as to ensure barbarism. Which is why universities are secular seminaries whose tenured apes churn out so many well-programmed chimps.

Best popetweet I've heard so far: Francis has been linked to an anti-Marxist organization -- the Catholic Church.

"Unless some objective criterion of truth is available and acknowledged, unless some reality in fact exists, freedom means little" (Schall). Why is that? Because to insist that "my freedom" consists of "my truth" (and vice versa) is to again collapse the hierarchical space in which truth is sought. In other words, it eliminates any meaningful vector to our cognitive and psychospiritual lives, so there is no direction om.

It is no different than if we could somehow eliminate desire from the soul. If there is nothing to desire, then there is no reason to so much as move. This is typical of Major Depression, a central feature of which is anhedonia, or loss of pleasure. In the absence of a sense of pleasure, the world goes "flat," and the person literally doesn't know which way to turn, since it doesn't matter. Since nothing induces pleasure, why bother?

The resultant apathy and withdrawal can culminate in a kind of interior implosion analogous to a black hole. All because the psychic hierarchy has collapsed in on itself.

I am not being polemical when I say that the identical thing occurs in various cognitive pathologies of the left. The left talks about "academic freedom," but in the absence of transcendent truth this is just whistling past the slaveyard. In reality it is quite literally academic slavery, for one is beholden to something less than truth -- whims, inclinations, intellectual fashions, career advancement, political correctness, etc.

What is the point of knowing if it is not to know truth? If we don't know truth, then what is knowledge? Freedom unbound from its proper object reduces to mere will -- just as, say, sex unbound from its proper object is nothing but a selfish impulse.

Indeed, a good wanking definition of "perversion" is any impulse detached from its proper object, whether we are talking about sex, intelligence, art, religion, politics, etc. Just as there are sexual perversions, there are artistic perversions, perversions of justice, perversions of philosophy, etc.

Among other things, God is Logos-Word-Reason, which is why he is intelligible (not in total, of course, but within the forms of our sensibility), and indeed why there is both intelligence and intelligibility in the cosmos, the one mirroring the other. Schall (actually, Benedict, on whose lecture he is commenting) contrasts this with Islam, which has no such conception.

Rather, the latter "implies a Godhead whose power is not in principle limited even by the principle of contradiction, the principle that governs reason.... Any such restriction would be seen as a denial of the omnipotence of God" (and you will have noticed that this is the same aberration that afflicts certain Christian fundamentalists).

It seems that normative Islam (not, say, the esoteric Sufism of Schuon) is not addressed to our reason, but rather, to our will: "This position affirms God is not Himself bound by His own truth. It would limit His glory to impose any restrictions, even of contradiction. The effect of this view is to eliminate any secondary causality which would attribute to non-divine things an inherent order" (ibid., emphasis mine).

Now, what is this beautiful order of secondary causes but the cosmic hierarchy? Yes, God is at the top, but this doesn't negate all of the intermediate levels, any more than our own free will negates the relative autonomy of the atoms, molecules, cells, and organs that constitute us. The One doesn't negate the many, any more than the One reduces to the many. Or, just say transcendence and immanence, the latter a consequence of the former.

But Islam eliminates secondary causes, and insists that everything that happens is directly caused by God. Therefore, there is no reason to study the world, because God does what he wills, with no guarantee of reason, law, predictability, or consistency: "His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality."

Things couldn't have developed more differently in Christendom, as the logos wended its way through history, resulting in such benefits as science, natural law, and the preciousness of the individual. As such, Allah, "in the Christian view, cannot be reasonable. Indeed, he cannot be God.... Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's name." No offense, but simple as. The two positions are irreconcilable.

(And this is not to imply that God never does things we cannot comprehend, nor that everything in God is comprehensible in human terms; rather, we're just refracting the mirroraculous analogy between macrocosmos-God and microcosmos-man.)

So: "if God is understood to be only power or a will that transcends reason, then reason is subservient to will." That's right: fascism by another name.

And now you understand the alliance between Islamists and the Left, because their ways of thinking are so similar. In his lecture, Benedict discusses the three stages of what he calls the "dehellenization" of the West, which, as you have no doubt noticed, results in a creeping hellification of culture, hell being defined as any place where Reason is impotent. You know, like the New York Times editorial board, or the womyn's studies department of a major university.

More on the deep connection between Islam and the Left as we continue....

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dreams of Reason and Nightmares of History

Hey, this book on Pope Benedict's Regensburg Lecture is pretty good.

Wait! Don't go away! It's not as dry as it sounds. Far from it. Rather, it provides something like a Master Key to understanding our whole civilizational decline, from Moses/Socrates/Jesus to Obama/Biden/Reid.

But before getting to that, a brief comment about the surprising architectural skills of the Dreamer. Now that Alexander has schooled me on what to look for, I can't help but noticing what a marvelous architect I am.

In your dreams!

Yes, in my dreams. I already conceded that.

The question is, how can this be? I don't have any architectural training, and probably not even good taste. Not so my Dreamer, who has an unerring sense of what goes where (unless he's just being ironic or trying to make a point).

Last night, for example, I somehow got through security and wandered into the most beautifully constructed high-end country club. Here words fail, since I'm not an architect or an interior decorator or a Lileks, so I am reduced to such feeble adjectives as "cool!" or "awesome!"

The thing is, I've noticed the phenomenon before, but I always marked it down to more of a literary/narrative/cinematic skill. But now I see that this cannot be the case, since it takes more than just glibness or a good eye to produce these fabulous sets (which are not copies of anything I've ever actually seen in awakeworld). Now that I know what to look for, I see that my Dreamer knows all about the 15 fundamental properties of life as elucidated by Alexander, e.g., strong centers, gradation, echoes, local symmetries, good shape, etc.

I have a feeling the dream might have been provoked by watching the popification on TV yesterday. Again, now that I know what to look for, I was noticing how the beautiful architecture in Vatican City manifests so many of the Fifteen Fundamental Properties.

Now, it may seem like a trivial observation to say that the Dreamer has "good taste" in architecture, but the implications are actually quite profound. For it suggests that, just as man doesn't invent logic but discovers it to be woven into the very fabric of his being, it also turns out that Good Taste isn't just subjective, but rather, that an aesthetic sense is also built into the f. of our b.

And this is indeed Alexander's point: that aesthetic reality is just as objective and as real as material reality. In fact, the two can only be artificially separated, because nature herself effortlessly tosses out beautiful objects, just as does the Dreamer.

Odd, but nature rarely makes ugly things. Rather, almost all of the ugliness in the world comes from man. Only man could makes a place as ugly and lifeless as, say, Lancaster, CA, or MSNBC. But the California desert itself -- unmolested by man -- has a kind of austere beauty thingy going for it.

Now, what does all of this have to do with Benedict's Regensburg Lecture, whatever that was? The LoFo world, if it remembers it at all, will have remembered it for accurately describing the problems of Islam, thereby earning the condemnation of the same LoFo world (which is led by the mullah-terror & nasty-old-leftist complex).

Alert readers will recall last Tuesday's post, wherein I mentioned the term "rapprochement." Now, how many times a year does one hear that word? And yet, I'm reading The Regensburg Lecture yesterday, and it must have turned up a dozen times. In the words of Beavis, this means something, numb nuts.

Remember what I said about my use of the term, which is intended in both its colloquial and human developmental senses? But my ultimate point was again to suggest that man begins his journey fused with nature, just as the infant starts out fused with the (m)other. Our separation from nature culminates in the scientific revolution, whereby we are able to study nature in a wholly objective, abstract, and quantitative way. But now it is time for a rapprochement of mind and nature, which is one of the themes of my book, of this blog, and of Alexander's whole approach.

It is also the theme of the Regensburg Lecture, but by now I'm accustomed to these dense synchronicities.

To preview where this post is headed, Benedict locates the ground of western civilization in a unique synthesis of revelation and (upper case R) Reason, which was achieved by the Bible being filtered through the Greek mind. This observation itself isn't new, i.e., the Athens-Jerusalem matrix.

What is apparently new is Benedict's suggestion that this syntheses, this "Greek turn" was providential, not just some random occurrence. Fascinatingly, he supports this through recourse to Paul's Dreamer, who tells him (see Acts 16:9) DON'T GO TO ASIA, but rather, MACEDONIA IS REALLY NICE THIS TIME OF YEAR!

Could it be that the whole of western civilization hinges on a dream?

Western civilization begins with the vision of a rapprochement of God and Reason. As we proceed, we will appreciate just how different this is from the dreams of the left and of Islam, for in each case, no such rapprochement is possible.

Islam, for example has a strictly voluntarist theology (which is really no theology -- i.e., theo-logos -- at all), rooted in God's will, not his logos (Reason). This can be appreciated with reference to the differences between "Israel," which means wrestle with God, and "Islam," which means submit to Allah. In Islam no wrestling is allowed, except with others, who had better submit on pain of violence and death.

Likewise, for the leftist there can be no rapprochement of Reason and Revelation, since the latter is just a dream (heh). But as soon as you think about it, you realize that this is no different than Islam, for which there also can be no rapprochement of knowing and being. In both cases, there is no Logos/Reason lighting up the world from within.

As a result, all that is left is submission, either to Allah, or sharia, or the caliphate, or political correctness, or Obamacare, or the tyranny of relativism, whatever. What is not permitted is liberty in its classic sense, predicated on the individual's access to the Truth of Things. Authoritarianism to follow.

Example.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wholeness, Happiness, Order, and Discrimination

Recognizing this life in things is equivalent to saying, "The universe is made of person-stuff. I always thought it was made of machine-stuff, but now I see that it is not." --Christopher Alexander

The whole thing reminds me of Eckhart's key principle of the Ground: Alexander speaks of how "the structure we call wholeness is connected with a ground where matter becomes personal..." This is why nature so obviously "speaks" to us, both in terms of feeling and of thought, art and science, beauty and truth. If we take this comm-unication seriously, the implications are endless.

For example, this is why language is even possible, because the person-stuff of the universe is interiorly related and therefore capable of encoding and transmission from one body or region to another. Our ability to see the beauty or apprehend the deep structure of the world represents one cidence of of the same coin-. It is to receive the memO and be in the lOʘp.

For this reason, we now understand how and why scientists are guided by feeling and artists by science. In other words, a scientist wouldn't even know what to investigate in the absence of a feeling that reduces the infinite field of phenomena to something "interesting," something that attracts his attention.

As it so happens, not too long ago I evaluated a former research scientist who had developed a dementia. It was still in its incipient stages, so he was well aware of how it had robbed him of his ability to perceive the deeper significance in things.

It reminds me again of a hybrid SACD, which has a standard CD encoded on the surface and the SACD layer encoded below that. Only an SACD player is able to reach beyond the surface and retrieve the denser, high-def information at the center. My research scientist was like this: his laser could no longer penetrate below the surface.

There is something analogous to this phenomenon in any discipline, from art, to science, to literature and religion, the difference being that there aren't just two levels to reality (i.e., CD and SACD), but an inexhaustible number. There is no end to the depth, but this depth extends in both directions, into the object and into the subject, which, in the end, are complementary aspects of one another.

In other words: we can only see the depth in things to the extent to which we have become deep. As I've said before, depth is a very real feature of the cosmos, not something merely "subjective." In many ways, it's the whole point, isn't it? It's certainly the point of this blog. And of this life, for that matter. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be a cosmic surface dweller. I know I was there, but I can no longer remember what it felt like.

Schall raises the same point in this book I'm reading -- or at least I'm seeing obvious links. For example: "The Catholic [you could also say Raccoon] soul is not a divided soul. What is characteristically Catholic is the mind that pays full attention to the truths of reason and revelation on the basis of the truth that they both belong to a coherent whole."

More: "The 'wholeness' of all things to be known, something that fascinated a Plato, an Aristotle, an Aquinas, a Dante, cannot leave anything out and still claim to be concerned with the full scope of mind.... Philosophy is the quest for knowledge of the whole, a quest that, in principle, cannot omit any claim to the truth of things and still claim to be open to all things."

Thus, any form of bonehead atheism or vulgar scientism is a philosophical non-starter, because each has closed itself to the living ground (both "outside" and "inside").

Dennis Prager makes a similar point in his Still the Best Hope, which should be required reading for all human beings struggling to cure themselves of the liberal plague. He writes of how

"It is difficult to overstate the depth of the differences between the Judeo-Christian view of the world and that of its opponents on the Left. In addition to such basic issues as objective versus subjective morality, it involves the question of whether there is order to the world" (emphasis mine, and bear in mind that Alexander's quadrilogy is called The Nature of Order).

Now, as Alexander explains, order is intrinsically related to life, to wholeness, to depth, and to happiness (I would prefer a slightly more spiritually inflected term such as ananda-bliss, beatitude, or slack). And as Prager points out, "Basic to the biblical worldview is the proposition that God made order out of chaos -- order expressed largely through separation and distinction."

Indeed, what is order but distinction? And what is thinking but discrimination and synthesis? And what is chaos but indiscriminate blending?

Now, we all know that the religious are happier than the irreligious, conservatives happier than liberals. Might this have something to do with the unregenerate muddleheadedness of the latter?

Prager discusses the most obvious distinctions that the left denies, thereby engendering chaos and fueling unhappiness, such as good and evil, God and man, man and woman, holy and profane, human and animal, and great and poor art.

Denying these distinctions has devastating material, psychological, and spiritual consequences for both the individual and the society. At the very least, it creates unhappy people, and unhappy people are responsible for most of the world's problems. Happy people don't become activists, utopians, and ideologues. But to deny the nature of human order is to defeat the order of human nature. Which is the quintessence of soph-defeating beehivior.

Thus, "Almost all disorders of private or public life somehow begin in the souls of an educated elite..." And these elites are shielded from the devastating consequences of their noxious ideas by such things as tenure, jerrymandering, and wealth (the most wealthy counties in the country are the most liberal).

"A wise man," writes Schall, "knows how to find the order in things."

Bottom line: Everything that exists is an orderly circle that flows from and returns to the ground, Alpha to Omega. And some circles are deeper and more expansive than others. A stone is a smaller circle than a plant.

Likewise, your life is a circle, the difference being that this is the only circle that isn't simply "given." Yours needn't be a little jerk circle. Rather, it has some free play, some slack. How wide will you make it? And how deep is the order? Or how depthless, rather?

For the name of this depthlessness is God.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Taking Reality Personally while Championing the Bobvious

Over the years, I've made any number of references to the trinitarian structure of reality. Actually, "structure" isn't quite the right word, because structure implies parts. In my view, it would be more orthoparadoxically correct to call it a trinitarian substance, which features an irreducible interiority and intersubjectivity (each a reflection of the other).

I've now completed volume one of The Nature of Order, and there are several places where Alexander essentially expresses the same idea, although not in any Christian context. Rather, his approach is entirely empirical and phenomenological: he's just observing and describing how things truly and objectively appear in our subjective experience. His metaphysics is posterior to the experience.

The first half of the book shows how and why "degrees of life" are present in space (i.e., space itself is inseparable from life), and how we are able to objectively perceive these levels of intensity. In the second half he shows how the presence of life is inseparable from the question of personhood. Indeed, chapter seven is called The Personal Nature of Order.

Thus, as it turns out -- and again, this is based first on observation, not any kind of apriorism -- "living structure is at once both structural and personal."

As applied to philosophy and metaphysics, this is his key idea, as it furnishes the means to "bridge the gap that Whitehead called 'the bifurcation of nature.' It unites the objective and the subjective," and ultimately, science and person, physics and poetry, thinking and feeling. Yes, instead of mythopoetic you might call it mathopoetic.

Jumping ahead a bit, the first thought that occurred to me in reading this chapter is that this is all foretold in scripture. In particular, I'm thinking of Proverbs 8, where it suggests that reality is ultimately composed of -- not just by or with -- "God's wisdom," so to speak:

The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,

Before His works of old.

I have been established from everlasting,

From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.

When there were no depths I was brought forth,

When there were no fountains abounding with water.

Before the mountains were settled,

Before the hills, I was brought forth;

While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,

Or the primal dust of the world.

When He prepared the heavens, I was there,

When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,

When He established the clouds above,

When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,

When He assigned to the sea its limit,

So that the waters would not transgress His command,

When He marked out the foundations of the earth,

Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman.

All of this establishes the personal nature of the divine wisdom that infuses the cosmos, lighting it from within. This light can be seen scientifically or aesthetically, for it is the same Light. To paraphrase Schuon, truth is analogous to the light, while beauty is analogous to the warmth that naturally radiates from it.

In this next passage we see how "blessings" flow from human perception of this wisdom:

And I was daily His delight,

Rejoicing always before Him,

Rejoicing in His inhabited world,

And my delight was with the sons of men.

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children,

For blessed are those who keep my ways.

Hear instruction and be wise,

And do not disdain it.

Blessed is the man who listens to me,

Watching daily at my gates,

Waiting at the posts of my doors.

For whoever finds me finds life,

And obtains favor from the Lord;

But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;

All those who hate me love death.”

Whoever sees this wisdom finds life. Others find death, which isn't surprising, for if you begin with the premise that the world is fundamentally dead, then any life you happen to find will just be an anomalous accident. It won't tell you anything important or fundamental about the cosmos, much less about the nature of man -- despite the fact that man is uniquely able to perceive the degrees of life implicit in the cosmos.

Speaking of "implicit," it's interesting how we spend our lives rediscovering the same thing over and over. I suppose I first made this discovery back in 1985, and I've been making it ever since, although expressing it in different languages, e.g., the languages of physics, psychoanalysis, anthropology, metaphysics, theology, music, etc.

Gnote: I regard diverse disciplines as "languages," fundamentally no different than the various languages of human groups. Thus, just as one can express the identical truth in French, English, or German, one can express the same truth in physics, psychology, and religion.

And indeed, in order to express the fullness of truth, one must see it from all of these angles; it is as if truth is the white light that passes through the human prism, and comes out the other side in the form of different colors, i.e., disciplines.

A long time ago, I decided that what we call a "genius" is a person who uses this or that discipline or idiom to express a primordial truth. Depending upon his gift, the genius can accomplish it with a pen or pun or piano or paintbrush.

My personal discovery involved seeing a spontaneous connection between the metaphysics implicit in modern physics and the metapsychology implicit in modern psychoanalysis. This discovery suggested that either the cosmos is built like a person, or persons are built like the cosmos. Or that both of these statements are true.

So now you know why my dissertation had the ponderous title of Psychoanalysis, Postmodern Physics, and the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution: Toward a Rapprochement of Mind and Nature. Today I wouldn't use the loaded word "postmodern," but I didn't intend it in the obnoxious sense. "Post-Newtonian" or "post-Cartesian" would be more accurate. But the "rapprochement of mind and nature" is precisely what Alexander is up to.

And my use of the term rapprochement had a double meaning, intended in both the colloquial and psychoanalytic senses. Ultimately, what I meant is that, just as the baby must separate from the mother in order to relate in a more mature manner, it seems that human beings had to first separate from Mother Nature -- this being the scientific revolution -- in order to relate to her in a more mature manner -- this being the "new physics" of Alexander (or of anyone else who sees the underlying truth from whatever discipline).

I know! Too much me. Nevertheless, tucked away in my dissertation is a little speech I had to deliver upon receiving an award for the thing in 1988 (I've mentioned it before, but that was Long Ago). The speech could have been written by Alexander:

"This dissertation is really a reflection of my own personal obsession, which happens to be the relationship between the mind -- that is, the subjective internal world -- and the objective physical universe.... In the three hundred years since the onset of the scientific revolution, science has gradually come to regard everything in the universe -- including ourselves -- as mere machines....

Blah blah yada yada, "What is so interesting is that these patterns of process seem to be woven into the very fabric of the universe, cutting across and repeating at all the various levels we study -- including human mental development."

I mean seriously folks, this sounds like straight up Alexander, although it's only me again: "The appearance of life itself forces us to reconsider all of the reductionistic schemes and artificial boundaries we have invented to divide various domains such as mind and matter, animate and inanimate, physics and psychology.

"The great physicist Werner Heisenberg said that The same forces that have created nature in all her forms, are responsible for the structure of our soul, and likewise for our capacity to think.... With our new understanding, we can truly say that the development of the cosmos culminates in an unbroken fashion with the thought of man."

So, to say "One Cosmos" or "One Cosmos Under God" is just the same old sane old, from Proverbs to bobswords.

For Alexander -- and I agree with him entirely -- it means that we are at "the threshold of a new kind of objectivity," i.e., a higher synthesis of objectivity with what we usually consign to subjectivity in order to dismiss it, and thereby save the scientistic appearances.

But in dismissing the latter we are 1) devaluing the human knower, thereby undercutting the basis of all our knowledge, 2) chucking the most interesting and even astonishing fact in all of creation, and 3) ignoring an impossibly rich source of data about reality, not just in terms of content, but vis-a-vis the human form as such (in other words, the human form itself -- before we have even thought anything -- reveals important truths about the nature of reality).

Getting late. Gotta get some work done....

Friday, March 08, 2013

Matter and Life: Frozen Music and Flowing Architecture

Yeah, I'd better put MOTT aside for the moment -- just for the moment -- and begin blogging on The Nature of Order, or else I'll never catch up with myself. I'm already several hundred pages into the latter, and if I don't write contemporaneously, a lot of stuff just gets lost in the sea of consciousness.

First of all, I want to thank the person who read my book and alerted me to a possible connection between Alexander's approach and mine. I venture pretty far afield in my psychopneumatic peregrinations, but I don't think my wood've ever drifted into the frozen sea of architecture -- even though Alexander only uses architecture as a kind of focal point to discuss everything under the sun.

You might say that we have the same deep-structural approach to reality, even when we are sailing entirely different vessels on the surface. Twin brothers of different motherships.

Alexander has been building his ark since the 1960s, but the Nature of Order is said to be his magnum opus, the culmination of decades of attempting to feel his way into an entirely new way of looking at the world. From the ubiquitous Professor Backflap:

"Alexander describes a scientific view of the world in which all space-matter has perceptible degrees of life, and establishes this understanding of living structures as an intellectual basis for a new architecture.

"He identifies fifteen geometric properties which tend to accompany the presence of life in nature, and also in the buildings and cities we make. These properties are seen over and over in nature and in the cities and streets of the past, but they have almost disappeared in the impersonal developments and buildings of the last hundred years.

"This book shows that living structures depend on features which make a close connection with the human self, and that only living structure has the capacity to support human well-being."

Before reading the book, I wondered if he was just deepaking the chopra, but this is not the case. This is a very serious attempt to describe and draw out the implications of a deeper metaphysic that ultimately unifies the objective and subjective worlds that have been sundered from one another ever since the scientific revolution.

Interesting that in building my own little dinghy -- in particular, Book II, Biogenesis -- I searched everywhere for something like Alexander's buoyant approach. It's very much like what we discussed in yesterday's post: I had a preconceptual thingy of what I was looking for, but it had no content. D'oh! It was just a faith that somewhere there had to exist the concept to fill in the preconception, or the content to fill out the archetype. Frankly, I would have settled for some good BS to fill in the BSer.

The closest I came by far was Robert Rosen's Life Itself: A Comprehensive Inquiry into the Nature, Origin, and Fabrication of Life and Essays on Life Itself (neither of which is recommended to the casual mariner). Thus far I see no indication that Alexander knows about Rosen, but I think he'll be pleasantly surprised if he ever does meet him on the high seas. The description of Life Itself could have very well been written by Alexander:

"Why are living things alive? As a theoretical biologist, Robert Rosen saw this as the most fundamental of all questions -- and yet it had never been answered satisfactorily by science. The answers to this question would allow humanity to make an enormous leap forward in our understanding of the principles at work in our world."

That is a Critical Point: not only does science have no idea what Life is, but it will never find out using the tools at its disposal, which necessarily reduce Life to something else the moment the scientist ponders it. Rather, an entirely different approach to the world is needed if we are to understand Life Itself, i.e., to see the business of Life in all its glorious Isness. Herr Backflap:

"For centuries, it was believed that the only scientific approach to the question 'What is life?' must proceed from the Cartesian metaphor (organism as machine). Classical approaches in science, which also borrow heavily from Newtonian mechanics, are based on a process called 'reductionism.' The thinking was that we can better learn about an intricate, complicated system (like an organism) if we take it apart, study the components, and then reconstruct the system-thereby gaining an understanding of the whole."

"However, Rosen argues that reductionism does not work in biology and ignores the complexity of organisms. Life Itself, a landmark work, represents the scientific and intellectual journey that led Rosen to question reductionism and develop new scientific approaches to understanding the nature of life. Ultimately, Rosen proposes an answer to the original question about the causal basis of life in organisms. He asserts that renouncing the mechanistic and reductionistic paradigm does not mean abandoning science. Instead, Rosen offers an alternate paradigm for science that takes into account the relational impacts of organization in natural systems and is based on organized matter rather than on particulate matter alone."

It turns out that in order to understand Life, we really have to situate it in a cosmos capable of sustaining Life. Note that this is not quite the same as the intelligent design approach (nor of the Anthropic Principle), because the key issue -- or "ultimate primitive" -- isn't information but wholeness.

Without the prior wholeness, all the information in the world won't get you from matter to Life -- nor, for that matter, will it get you from Life to Mind, Mind to Spirit, or Spirit to God. In a way, the ID folks are laboring under the same paradigm that limits and stymies conventional Darwinism. The problem is the Cartesianism, whether it appears in the form of Darwinism or ID.

A thoughtful amazon reviewer of Life Itself says this:

"Although many influential scientists claim -- and most members of general public believe -- that all of reality can 'in principle' be expressed as the dynamics of its constitutive elements (atoms, genes, neurons), some have intuitively felt that this reductive tenet is wrong, that life and the human mind are more complex phenomena. Critics of reductionism have pointed to Kurt Goedel's 1931 'incompleteness theorem' (which shows that in any axiomatic formulation of, say, number theory there will be true theorems that cannot be established) as a contrary example, but this paradigm-shattering result has been largely ignored the scientific community, which has blithely persisted in its reductive beliefs."

I can probably save myself some time if I playgiarize with a reviewer of The Nature of Order. Let's see if I can find one who speaks for me.... Here, close enough:

"The essence of [Alexander's] view is this: the universe is not made of 'things,' but of patterns, of complex, interactive geometries. Furthermore, this way of understanding the world can unlock marvelous secrets of nature, and perhaps even make possible a renaissance of human-scale design and technology....

"[T]here are emerging echoes of this worldview across the sciences, in quantum physics, in biology, in the mathematics of complexity and elsewhere. Theorists and philosophers throughout the twentieth century have noted the gradual shift of the scientific worldview away from objects and toward processes, described by Whitehead, Bergson and many others. Alexander... takes it a step further, arguing that we are on the verge of supplanting the Cartesian model altogether, and embarking on a revolutionary new phase in the understanding of the geometry of nature."

Here is where I think Alexander's intuition converges with mine: "he argues that life does not 'emerge' from the complex interactions of an essentially dead universe, but rather manifests itself, in greater or lesser degrees, in geometric order. For Alexander, the universe is alive in its very geometrical essence, and we ourselves are an inextricable part of that life. This is a 'hard' scientific world view which is completely without opposition to questions of 'meaning' or 'value', 'life' or 'spirit.'"

That's another key point: in re-unifying subjective and objective, Alexander also shows how meaning and value are built into the cosmos. Things we think of as "subjective" are actually as objective as can be, including beauty, which is his main focus.

Here is what we said in One Cosmos, and I think you'll psi the psymilarity: "Life is not an anomalous refugee from the laws of physics, enjoying a brief triumph over the grinding, ineluctable necessity of entropy, but an intrinsic, exuberant expression of the type of universe we happen to inhabit."

Yes, please save your "woo-hoos" for the end of the post.

And "consciousness is not an accidental intruder that arrives late to the cosmic manifestival, but an interior, subjective landscape that may be followed forward and back, like Ariadne's thread, to reveal the transcendent mystery of our existence.... To borrow a hackneyed phrase, 'it takes a cosmos' to raise up a conscious being, and vice versa."

Elsewhere we wrote that "all death is local. Unlike Life, which must be a nonlocal, immanent spiritual principle of the cosmos, there can be no metaphysical principle called 'death.' Rather, there are only cadavers and corpses, strictly local areas where Life is no longer concentrated and outwardly visible at the moment."

Or, if you prefer the supersillyus version in an overused pompyrous font of nonsense: And the weird light shines in the dark, but the dorks don't comprehend it. For truly, the weirdness was spread all through the world, and yet, the world basically kept behaving as if this were just your ordinary, standard-issue cosmos.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Why Obama is Less than Worthless

The bad news: Obama can kill Americans on sight if he suspects them of terrorism.

The good news: he knows where Bill Ayers lives.

Next up in our chapter-by-chapter dialogue with MOTT, Letter IX, The Hermit. Tomberg claims that a person who is "truly young, i.e., living for an ideal," is instinctively drawn to this figure. This is neoteny raised to a higher key, in that it makes a man fit to understand and appreciate the highest things. The attraction is a result of archetypal projection, whereby the unsaturated archetype -- or contentless form -- is "within," but we must first locate it without.

In so doing, we assimilate the content into the preconceptual form within. Without the experience, the archetype will remain an empty category -- a dead letter addressed from the Self to oneself; alternatively, it might accumulate a hodgepodge of elements in a random way, but only if you attend a public school or university.

When atheists speak of God, for example, this is usually what's going on. They have the archetype, like anyone else, but without any systematic or rational/experiential content.

Or, think of a Sean Penn, whose archetype of "wise and good ruler" is filled with Hugo Chavez. How did that happen? For that matter, how did Obama happen? How does "the world's greatest deliberative body" end up headed by Harry Reid? Much more productive to ask: what the f*ck is wrong with man? That's the question our Founders started with. Which is why the left starts with the question of what the f*ck is wrong with the Founders.

The Hermit is "a wise and good father... who has passed through the narrow gate and who walks the hard way -- someone whom one could trust without reserve and whom one could venerate and love without limit." To venerate is to revere, not worship. However, you might say that veneration is horizontal worship, while worship is vertical veneration.

The reason why there are so many false teachers is that we have an innate need for actual(ized) ones -- just as counterfeit money (or fake anything) is parasitic upon the existence of the real thing.

But since our culture has largely -- and proudly -- severed itself from its own wisdom tradition, the Deepaks of the world rush in to fill the void. In fact, we can see that Obama is riding the waves of that same archetypal energy field. Human nature does not change, obviously.

The difference is that the sophisticates of the left do not believe in human nature (unless it is convenient to do so), which only makes them more susceptible to deviant versions of it. Which explains, for example, their insistence that the federal government enforce a new definition of marriage in violation of human nature. "Same-sex marriage," what ever else it is, can only be a caricature of the real thing, because a man cannot really be a woman, and vice versa. I have no objection to human beings arranging their personal affairs in whatever way pleases them. But why invert reality in the process? It's totally uncalled for.

With regard to our current two-bit hood of state, only a culture that has lost its spiritual bearings could regard this bumbling cipher as unusually intelligent, let alone wise. For an insight into Obama's unconscious archetypal swamp, one must only recall the sinister minister he idealized as his own Hermit -- Reverend Wright! That, my friends, is what archetypal pathology looks like (although Bill Ayers-as-freedom fighter will do just as well).

Such an odious choice of ideals runs much deeper than the question of "judgment," for what and who one loves simultaneously reveals who one is and what one shall become. Truly, we become what we love; or, to put it inversely, we love what we want to become. To paraphrase an aphorism of Don Colacho, to love a person is to understand the reason why God created them. But what does it say about someone who loves things that could only be repellent to God?

Likewise, the person who would expose his children to the spiritually toxic environment surrounding a Reverend Wright is unfit to be a father, much less president. The point is to protect your child's innocence, not shatter it with hatred and vicious lies.

I am also reminded of an insightful comment by Henry Kissinger that runs counter to conventional wisdom. That is, we often hear about presidents "growing into the office," but according to Kissinger, it is the opposite.

That is, by the time a man runs for president, he has acquired the bulk of his intellectual capital, and if he should succeed in making it all the way to the presidency, he will simply draw upon the existing capital, not add to it. It's not as if a liberal president is going to suddenly decide to look into the Federalist Papers, or read the Constitution, or immerse himself in Hayek, and realize his professors led him astray and that he is trying to govern with a headful of destructive fantasies.

For one thing, there is no longer any time or space to think, to read serious books, or to reflect. This is why Obama appears to shrink with each passing month, since he didn't have much working capital to begin with -- or, more problematically, it was just the intellectually worthless coin of the left. And even that was given to him to assuage white liberal guilt, meaning that he's really using inherited funny money. He's not just worthless, but worthlessness².

Now, the real Hermit "possesses the gift of letting the light shine in the darkness -- this is his lamp." And here is a critical point: "he has the faculty of separating himself from the collective moods, prejudices and desires of race, nation, class and family -- the faculty of reducing to silence the cacophony of collectivism vociferating around him in order to listen to and understand the hierarchical harmony of the spheres."

This reminds me of the task of the psychoanalyst, which is to listen to the patient with "even hovering attention" -- or with the "third ear" -- in order to hear into the deeper layers of the unconscious (or nonlinear and translinguistic right brain). One must "unlisten" to the explicit in order to hear the implicit; or one must delve beneath (or above) the plot in order to apprehend the theme or soul-mission.

Bion said that one must suspend memory, desire, and understanding, in order to enter a state of faith, or what we symbolize in the book as the receptive and anticipatory mode of (o). (o) is evidence of things unKnown, a memoir of the future, an apprehension of as yet undiscovered -- or of prediscovered -- realities.

But that is not all, because if it were, we would live in a kind of bloodless idealism which Christianity specifically reconciles with flesh-and-blood reality -- or, materiality, to be precise. In other words, the Hermit unites reality and matter within his own being. Or, you could say that he embodies the ideal, or principle, in imitation of the Master himself (and in whose absence the whole innerprize would be impossible). As Tomberg writes, the Hermit

"possesses a sense of realism which is so developed that he stands in the domain of reality... on three [feet], i.e., he advances only after having touched the ground through immediate experience and at first-hand contact without intermediaries." This is none other than 〇-->(n), or the transformation of prior reality into experience, which is the foundation of all real knowledge, i.e. Truth.

So the Hermit is an archetypal reflection of the good father, behind or above whom is the Father in heaven. The Hermit is a little word from our nonlocal sponsor, so to speak.

As Tomberg says, he also represents the method of obtaining valid spiritual knowledge, in that he is able to synthesize within himself the three great antinomies with which any thinking man is confronted, and which any efficacious philosophy must reconcile. These are the complementary pairs of 1) idealism <---> realism; 2) realism <---> nominalism; and 3) faith <---> empirical science.

Which we will leave for tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

No Judgment, No Thinking, No Justice, No Equilibrium, No Peace, No Slack

On to Chapter VIII, Justice. There are different forms of justice: legal justice, spiritual justice, and, of course, "social justice," which is a god-term invented by the left to signify getting what you want while avoiding what you deserve.

More generally, Social Justice is one of the best disguises for envy ever devised by the cunning of man. It is essentially the denial of the first two forms of justice, AKA Justice.

But real justice doesn't require being unjust to another, as in, say, affirmative discrimination, or Title IX, or Obamacare, or the Community Reinvestment Act, or the federal minimum wage, or the perpetual imposition of the Voting Rights Act of Almost Half a Century Ago (as always, "progressive" means permanent solutions to temporary problems. Like suicide, only not painless).

Don Colacho has many fine aphorisms on the subject: "To corrupt the individual it suffices to teach him to call his personal desires rights and the rights of others abuses." The LoFo (low information) left consists of "individuals dissatisfied with what they have and satisfied with what they are." "The left claims that the guilty party in a conflict is not the one who covets another's goods but the one who defends his own." "Instead of demanding the repression of envy," the left "demands that we suppress the object which arouses it."

This is why so many on the left mourn the death of Hugo Chavez. It doesn't matter that this disgusting pig was an authoritarian thug who siphoned 100 billion out of the economy. He was for social justice! Plus he hated America, and that's just 'batnip to the left. There's a spot for him next to Arafat in leftist heaven, i.e., hell.

Tomberg points out that to think is to pronounce a judgment and to therefore render justice. Indeed, in order to make any sort of declarative sentence at all -- e.g., "Chavez was a man, unfortunately" -- we must exercise judgment.

The totolerantarian left prides itself on being "non-judgmental." Since thinking and judgment involve the same act, this is nothing less than a refreshing self-condemnation of their own critical faculties. It answers the question of why their ideas are so confused and why their policies begin and end in injustice: because they have renounced thought.

This also explains why their writing is such a mess, since logic is implicit in the proper use of language. If only they could learn to express themselves properly, truth would surely follow. But that would be deadly to their ideological fantasies, so the bad prose must continue. There is no James Taranto on the left, nor any Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Sowell, George Will, Ace of Spades, James Lileks, PowerLine, Roger Kimball, Sultan Knish, or a thousand other clear thinkers and therefore writers.

The left says: no justice, no peace. We back it up a couple of steps, and say: no judgment, no thinking, no justice, no equilibrium, no peace in which to hear myself think and judge.

And of course, in reality leftists are obnoxiously judgmental, which is a degraded caricature of judgment. But since they are not permitted to recognize this in themselves, they project it into conservatives.

One of the banes of the modern world is that science has become conflated with thinking, when it is actually just a tool of thought. Thus, proper thinking does not reject science, but nor does it turn science into an idol.

As Tomberg writes, the application of science has resulted in three singular discoveries; first, the fact that this is an evolutionary (which is not to say "Darwinian") cosmos; second, that matter reduces to pure energy, or patterned information; and third, that the consciousness of the surface ego is but a local phenomenon floating within (actually, "outside") an upper and lower vertical which are nonlocal.

Whereas science is "public" and "general," esoterism is private and particular. In short, no one else can make its discoveries for you. This is knowledge that cannot simply be "given" to you. Rather, it must be undergone -- at times even "suffered" -- so that in each person it will have a slightly different inflection but nevertheless be "objective." This is a critical point.

It should be axiomatic that only a person may synthesize religion and science. Religion cannot do it. Nor can science do it. Thus, the esoterist engages in a "double discipline": he prays and he thinks. Or he "thinks on his knees." In so doing, he is able to "redeem" whatever it is he successfully assimilates into his person (when you think about it, Jesus did the same thing, only on a macrocosmic scale).

And this integral assimilation can only occur under the personal conditions of creativity, clarity, fluidity, precision, warmth, magnanimity, sensitivity, faithfulness, intensity, breadth, depth, height, adaptability, firmness, dignity, and serenity.

This is how perception and thinking successively disclose a real Cosmos worthy of Man. And to say that we move from appearance to reality is not to say that reality is a function of perception, as maintained by the newage.

In reflecting upon Chapter VIII and then rereading and rewriting this post, I see that I've left quite a bit out. However, I'm so preoccupied with another form of judgment, or "aesthetic justice" -- i.e., trying to make my way through 2,000 pages of Christopher Alexander -- that I'm a little distracted. The older I get, the harder it is to think of eight things at the same time. But it's a good question: does beauty have any intrinsic rights in this world, or must it go the way of truth and justice?

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Reality: It's Always in the Last Place You Look

Following up on yesterday's post on spiritual temptation, I just received a synchronistic email from a representative of "California psychic and entrepreneur, Tori Hartman," who has "personally been reading your site for ideas and inspiration in my own personal life, and am excited to see where Tori's work can fit into the work you do."

Oh well. Not everyone is a careful reader. Tori's specialties include "Chakra magnetizing, Multi-Generational Healing, and working with the Color Wisdom Cards oracle deck." And that only screeches the surface! Her tangled website weaves

"a line of spiritual accessories designed to manifest miracles of transformation in the everyday lives of our customers. The concept is simple: provide tangible products and rituals that serve as doorways to the enchantments and powers of the Universe. The objective: make personal abundance attainable to every person who strives for change.... Our products guide the way to attracting those things our customers seek through intention, such as money, relationships and employment. Our spiritually connected team works to collaborate and deliver miracles with every item offered."

Sounds a little vague. Could you maybe spell it out?

"All of our products are tools [as are the customers] to assist you in attracting what you deeply desire and setting powerful intentions to make it happen. All of our products work in harmony and you will be attracted to those which most align with your intention."

Intention?

"It is bigger than a wish, more intense than a goal. An intention is the force that rolls determination and spirit all into one and throws it out into the universe like a meteor, hurling toward creation and manifestation. This is the power of you and spirit combined."

If a giant meteor hurtles into creation, that's a good thing?

Okay, how do I begin?

1. Identify your desire.

Wow. That was easy!

2. Feel it into your soul.

Um, where is it now?

3. Live the invisible.

Excuse me?

Let's check out one of the products, intention candles: "What if simply lighting a candle could attract money, love or miracles to you?" This sounds like something my father might haver come up with, as in, "Dad, can I have a motorcycle?" "Sure. Just light an intention candle and see what happens."

Yeah, but these are different. For one thing, they actually work.

How do we know this? Because each candle "is hand-poured by a Reiki practitioner using organic soy based wax. These candles weigh 2 pounds and have crystals hidden in the wax that carry the energy of your intention. These crystals represent the five energy points -- wind, air, fire, water, earth."

Makes sense to me. Is there anything soy beans can't do?

Best of all, the intention candle comes in its own soft velour chocolate brown BLESSING SACK. There are sixteen different candles, but it seems to me that you'll cover every contingency with a Miracle, some good Luck, and of course Health -- what good is a miracle if you've lost your health? -- which will set you back only $95.

You may think this is just so much infantile omnipotence, but Deepak lays out the tweet science behind the magic. In short, "Our thoughts shape our perceptions. Our perceptions shape our reality." Simple as.

In other words, we do not learn from reality -- i.e., knowledge does not follow being -- but rather, thought is anterior to reality. The downside of this infraphysic is that you are condemned to absolute stupidity because you have no contact with reality. The upside is that it doesn't matter, because there's nothing outside your kooky beliefs anyway. In which case, you don't need to buy the candles to get what you want, because you already have it.

I say, better to curse at these dorks than light a single one of their candles.

Speaking of getting what we deserve, let's finish up with The Chariot before moving on to Justice in our discussion of MOTT.

At the conclusion of The Chariot, Tomberg describes what an Integral Man would actually look like. Suffice it to say, he doesn't look like Deepak Chopra or Tony Robbins or even Tori Hartman.

For example, he will manifest creative being, meaning that his thought will possess the qualities of creativity, clarity, fluidity, and precision (in contrast, the disjointed ramblings of a Deepak are unimaginative, confused, inelegant, and imprecise, to put it charitably).

In the domain of feeling, his heart will radiate warmth, magnanimity, sensitivity, and faithfulness. And in the domain of will, one will see intensity, scope, adaptability, and firmness.

The integral person will balance serenity, mobility and resolution; and will also reflect the four cardinal virtues, i.e., wisdom/prudence, courage/strength, temperance/moderation, and justice. As Schuon would say, he will embody "the center at the periphery" or be a reflection of the "unmoved mover," hence his dignity.

Now obviously, putting flesh on these archetypal bones is a lifetime project. One of the reasons one must strive to be "integral" -- and this has always been known -- is that overemphasis on one of these qualities to the exclusion of the others will create an imbalance and therefore a fall.

For example, scientistic thought is precise but devoid of creativity or fluidity, not to mention lucidity (as in radiance of Light) or metaphysical discernment. It is rational in only the narrowest sense, and its clarity is purchased at the cost of a brutal simplification of reality. This kind of narrow clarity isn't just inhumane (or infrahuman) but also ends up doing violence to the Real.

In the final analysis, as Schuon writes, this type of "worldly intelligence" which oversteps its legitimate bounds is a product of pride; it destroys the "essential functions" of the intelligence, even "while allowing the surface mechanism to remain incidentally, as if in mockery." In other words, a Deepak mocks intelligence every time he presumes to exercise it.

This is why an Albert Einstein could be such a brilliant physicist but such an inane political and philosophical boob. One could cite countless examples of so-called "geniuses" whose intelligence is "fragmentary, unilateral, asymmetric, and disproportional." As a result of this imbalance -- or lack of integrity -- their thought will always contain a "hidden poison."

This is why it is critical that our intelligence not become detached from "metaphysical truth or with eschatological reality": "the definition of integral or essential, and thus efficacious, intelligence is the adequation to the real, both 'horizontal' and 'vertical,' terrestrial and celestial." Here again, this is the polar opposite of Deepak-style cognitive tyranny, for if we are not subordinate to reality, then ideology subordinates us. If power doesn't submit to truth, then power becomes truth, as in the Obama regime.

Lacking each of these personal dimensions, thought becomes a pale shadow of itself and ousts man from his cosmic station. It necessarily absolutizes the relative and thereby fashions a graven image. The rest is commentary. To live at the horizontal fringe of the cosmos is to subsist at the margin of one's Self. You become an unreal person in an unreal reality. But at least its yours! An immodest thing but thine own.

Let us conclude by emphasizing that it is extremely dangerous to surround oneself with mediocre and "un-integral" souls who have no idea that they are. Very dangerous. This point was driven home to me last Saturday, when I was at one of my all-day discontinuing education seminars. The speaker was a renowned psychoanalyst whom I had great difficulty understanding. Not because his thought was so elevated, but because it was so mundane and so metaphysically confused.

Here again, it must be emphasized that this has nothing to do with "IQ." But if I were to try to adapt my mind to his reality, I would lose it, precisely. I then realized that this was the problem with my whole journey through the educational system. I very nearly lost my mind. Well, I did, actually. Figures: it's always in the last place you look.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Space to Lent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 01, 2013

Substance-in-Relation & Some Dunce Ruining the Nation

A plurality that cannot be integrated into unity is chaos; unity unrelated to plurality is tyranny. --Pascal

We already discussed Letter V, the Pope, so we're moving on to Letter VI, The Lover.

For Tomberg, the central theme of this card is the vow of chastity, esoterically understood. For "one is chaste only when one loves with the totality of one's being." Therefore, there is no true love in the absence of chastity -- and vice versa.

Chastity is the living unity and wholeness in being whereby body, soul, and spirit become one -- not through a merger that effaces differences but through a harmony that... harmonizes them. This is not uniformity but unity. It is the return of the many to the One, both in oneself and with the other, the former via the latter, meaning that, ironically, it takes two to be at one. (Technically three, but we'll get to that later.)

The bottom line is that two's company and three's a cloud. By which I apparently mean that a cloud has no discrete boundaries except from a distance. Inside the cloud, boundaries become blurry and indistinct. One cloud merges with another. Likewise,

"There is a difference between spiritual things and bodily things. Every spiritual thing can dwell in another." And "Where I am, there God is; and then I am in God, and where God is, there I am" (Eckhart). When wholeness comes, the partial vanishes (1 Cor. 13:10).

As usual, the psychospiritual left embodies a direct inversion of this two-in-oneness principle. For instead of beginning with the individual-seeking-unity, it is in perpetual rebellion against the individual. Rather, it posits the exterior collective -- i.e., the benevilant state -- whereby our fragmentation and alienation are "cured." Remember last year's DNC? The State is the only thing to which we all belong! Or else.

Taken to its logical extreme, such a cure represents "perfect integration through perfect fragmentation. That is, the perfect unity of the state requires the utter destruction of all autonomous social bonds, rendering each individual more isolated and powerless..." (Taylor). It is as if the left grinds humanity to dust, molds this desiccated clay into its new-and-improved man, and then breaths the spirit of Marx into him.

The critical point is that our drive toward unity can become as perverse and pathological as any other drive. The secular left creates a unity alright, but it is a physical unity only, a reduction to uniform matter and thus no unity of soul or spirit.

Which is why leftism always yields to the totalitarian temptation, for every free thinker is a reminder that this faux unity has not been achieved. It is why they hate Fox News, why they have campus speech codes, why they are tossing Bob Woodward under the bus, and why they enforce political correctness more generally.

Tomberg writes that "to feel something as real in the measure of its full reality is to love." Obviously, it is no coincidence that Genesis discusses human sexuality in terms of knowledge. Is the Torah simply confused on this matter? Or perhaps disclosing a reality from which the tenured have exiled themselves?

Imagine a typically prudish "human sexuality" class that leaves out the very reality without which sexuality is not human. Obviously, there is no need to imagine it, because the purpose of all leftist ideology is to demoralize and make us less than what we are, which is to say, human (in the full sense of the term -- body-soul-spirit).

Rightly ordered love -- like any other human activity -- has an end, a telos. To pretend that this telos is no different from any other animal is to live in an infrahuman fantasy world.

To love someone is to begin the process of knowing a person in their full reality. The operative word is begin, for as Bion theorized, love is a link (L) between subjects. It merely gets the party started. Until we forge that link, the Other is not really real, just a piece of psychic furniture.

Now, matter is obviously a kind of "one," but represents an inverted doctrine of spiritual oneness. This material oneness is the false unity that inspires the left, and is the basis of their first political principle, i.e., "what's yours is mine," or "you work, I eat."

How do we escape the prison of our narcissism? Primarily through love, because love partakes of being, which is intersubjective right down to the ground. Being is substance-in-relation, or self-communicating love. And participation in this movement of love is "the very rhythm of Being" (Norris).

Here is how John Paul II once expressed it: "Let us have no illusions: unless we follow this spiritual path, external structures of communion will serve very little purpose. They would become mechanisms without soul, 'masks' of communion rather than its means of expression and growth." Real communion is a dynamic unity that "unites persons one to the other in a cause greater than themselves" (ibid.).

Tomberg writes that there are two principle methods of overcoming our cosmic narcissism, generally corresponding to eastern and western religions (although each has both; it is merely a matter of emphasis).

The first is obliteration of the illusory ego, so that one becomes a "shadow among shadows." This is the "equality of indifference." If the separate "I" doesn't exist, then we're all one. Being that the ego is the ultimate illusion, just vanquish that illusion, and the doors of perception are cleansed (although nobody's oming behind the door).

The above approach to circumnavelgazing the soul strikes an unbiblical chord in us. We prefer the other way, which is to extend the love that one has for oneself to other beings. Instead of "me dead, you dead," it's "me living, you living" -- i.e., extend the vertical horizontally, and love the neighbor as oneself.

Now, this is difficult to do. Obviously. But you don't try to do it all at once. Rather, you start with a small circle, and then gradually widen the circle. Start at the center, not the periphery. Try loving your neighbor before The Planet. Again, the left begins at the periphery. Obama is the great Unifier. But what kind of unity is it that doesn't even recognize my real existence? I'm not some ant in the leftist hive:

"When a Marxist says 'power to the people,' he isn't talking about actual people.... It takes no time at all to realize that Marxists and their intellectual offspring have no use for actual people in general, and only one use for 'actual people' who do want what they're supposed to want. They treat them like pets."

Tomberg returns to Genesis, where God says that "it is not good that Adam should be alone," which is to say that "it is not good that man should love nobody but his lonesome." And God wasn't just ribbing, for he then creates the complementary other, who is actually of the same substance as Adam, even a part of himself. To love is to recognize the prior unity: "In the beginning there was only one love and its source was one, since its principle is one." (Recall again that the one being is substance-in-relation.)

Again, love has to do with the recovery of higher unity, not the imposition of a lower uniformity. This is a key point. Tomberg agrees that this reality is precisely inverted by the left, but also by old-fashioned Freudianism.

In the case of the left, it elevates economic interest to all. In the case of Freud, he elevated the sexual instinct to all. You might say that the left reduces everything to the first chakra, Freudianism to the second. And both are entirely compatible with materialism, scientism, and metaphysical Darwinism, which attempt to account for the top by reducing it to the bottom. That's not love. It is hate. Hatred of reality.

Naturalism is not so much a love of matter as a rejection of, or inability to apprehend, that which transcends it. This is why Obama feels that the founders erred in writing a constitution that made it such a hassle for him to appropriate our stuff and give it to others, or why his pal Bill Ayers feels he "didn't do enough" back in his days as a loving domestic terrorist. But he shouldn't worry. As an "educational reformer," he's destroying more young souls than he could ever have hoped to as a bomb-tossing psychopath.

Only a culpably self-deluded fool cannot perceive the hatred that drives Obama and the spiritually cancerous movement he represents.

Just as there is one God in three Persons..., we are all "members of one another"; there is, and we are called to become, a single Man in a multitude of persons. --Olivier Clement

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Obama: Stage IV Metastatic Liberalism

Today's post is on the Emperor, and it could hardly be more timely, even though it was mostly written several years ago, before Obama came along to foulfill its proophecy. (Don't worry, lots of new material; no post is ever played the same way twice.)

I wrote at the time -- 2008 -- that "This is a timelessly timeless archetype, what with the likely election of a president who embodies so many elements that are the precise opposite of what this arcanum symbolizes."

Meanwhile, we just lived through another election that came down to "full-blown cultural warfare against a large and diverse segment of society known as Republicans.... Allegations that Republicans want sick people to die and hate homosexuals are caricatures you might expect of an extreme House member or a raving partisan running for local office. That a president would say -- or even believe -- such things is deeply disturbing."

But such demonization and slander of conservatives is the only weapon the left has, and the only weapon it has ever had. As their own bumper stickers proclaim, they're all about God, guns, and gays -- hating the first, confiscating the second, and promoting the third.

UF begins with the observation that "the less superficial a person is -- and the more he knows and is capable of -- the greater is his authority." Specifically, "to be something, to know something and to be capable of something is what endows a person with authority."

Being. Knowledge. Action. Rightly ordered knowledge is a reflection of being, just as rightly ordered action follows from knowledge. The more of these one "possesses," the more intrinsic authority. And importantly, this won't be any kind of secular or conventional authority.

Rather, the person will spontaneously radiate the authority outward, from the center to the periphery. Thus, it is a quintessentially centrifugal force, but easy for the rank and foul to confuse with the mere charisma of a JFK or BHO. The latter doesn't just radiate but seduces, so there is a centripetal effect as well.

In turn, each of these categories has a dimension of depth, i.e., verticality. One can know superficially or deeply. One can do something adequately or with great depth, like the genuine artist. But the most interesting category is that of being, for that is the most mysterious of the three. One of the primary purposes of religion is to confer depth at the level of being.

The other day I was reading an article about Schuon by the Orthodox Christian scholar James Cutsinger, whose initial experience of his "intrinsic authority" was virtually identical to mine. No one had to tell me that this man was an authority. Rather, the depth of his authority was communicated directly, center to center:

"Nothing had prepared me for my first encounter with a book by Frithjof Schuon. I vividly recall reading the opening page, and then rereading it again, then a third time and a fourth time, before proceeding" (Cutsinger).

Now interestingly -- and importantly -- the depth is not a matter of "complexity" or sophistication. Indeed, those are often just mystagogic tricks of the tenured to make you believe they are deep when their ideas would be recognized as utterly banal if expressed in plain English.

Cutsinger agrees that "the words themselves were certainly not difficult, nor the style at all complex. Indeed, compared to many a modern philosopher's work, Schuon's books are noted for their simple, and often poetic, beauty. And yet for some reason I found myself unable to move with the speed I was accustomed to."

Precisely. Part of it involves the question of rhythm, in particular, the rhythm of eternity. This is what we call "time dilation," a term borrowed from the Church of the Subgenius. As we penetrate into this realm, time slows down, or "thickens," so to speak. Like water, you can only run if you skim atop the surface. Underneath the surface, the faster you try to go, the more resistance you will encounter.

There is another corollary at work here, for just as only depth can recognize depth, only depth can recognize shallowness and superficiality. This is clearly why so many shallow people seem to think that Obama is deep, or nuanced, or even beyond that -- that he truly represents some sort of messianic or "transformational" figure. \

In reality, the entire content of Obama's mind -- I mean his tawdry principles -- could safely fit into a little corner of the average Raccoon's melon. He's really an ignorant man whose inappropriate confidence is both a cause and effect of the ignorance.

Speaking of water, Cutsinger writes that it was as if he were running along the beach, and then suddenly found himself in the ocean. Very mysterious. In other words, he was merrily scampering on the surface of one medium, but then, to his surprise, found himself in a different medium. Let's just call it "being" for short, but being is not monolithic, and has "many mansions."

As Cutsinger notes, "Here was a new medium, no less able to support my movement, but requiring an altogether different engagement. There would be no more running now. I would have to swim."

You might say that the essence of scientism involves trying to walk on water. At the same time, they naively imagine that we are trying to swim on dry land, since our movements are unintelligible to these savages.

Back to the Emperor. Among other things, the Emperor is the symbol of divine authority on earth. He is not a replacement of divine authority, but its horizontal prolongation. And along these lines, perhaps the most important point is that, as UF writes, "God governs the world by authority, and not by force. If this were not so, there would be neither freedom nor law in the world."

This automatically excludes Obama from being a legitimate ruler, in that the left is all about governing by force. He will not "lure" you toward the good by his intrinsic authority -- by any appeal to truth -- but compel you to "share" and "spread around" the fruits of your labor. And that's all it is: force masquerading as legitimate authority.

God does not "compel" acceptance of his authority, or we wouldn't be free. Thus, the typical atheist who asks for miracles in order for God to "prove" his existence is really asking for God to remove his freedom. But that is something he will never do. Rather, only humans can do that to themselves and to each other. UF elaborates:

"One is free to be believing or unbelieving. Nothing and no one can compel us to have faith -- no scientific discovery, no logical argument, no physical torture can force us to believe, i.e., to freely recognize and accept the authority of God."

The atheist says to Jesus: "Come down from that cross, then I might believe in your power!" But power is not truth. Rather, truth is power. And the truth is, Truth is crucified in history, and yet, survives. This is a powerful miracle, and a lesson to bear in mind as we endure this illegitimate embodiment of falsehood -- this lying little tyrant -- over next four years.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Rule of Love and the Science of Magic

Letter III, the Empress. For Tomberg she symbolizes the realm of sacred or divine magic, which is embodied in the formula that the subtle rules the dense, and all this implies.

One could translight this as "the subtle causes the dense," so long as we don't confuse horizontal and vertical causes, i.e., scientific/material and spiritual/psychic.

As we know, there are four causes -- or four "be-causes," as it were. Every event has all four, but in any given event, one may stand out more. For example, one person falls from a window because he was defenestrated. The defenestrator is the efficient cause of the event.

Another person falls because he wants to commit suicide. Death -- or cessation of suffering -- is the final cause. Similar event, but very different causes, the second more subtle than the first. Free will itself is a subtle cause that by definition eludes the gross instruments of science. Science will never "locate" it because it cannot be located. Rather, it is nonlocal per se, indivisible from the soul. Might as well try to measure the beauty of a sunset with calipers.

"Magic" is a loaded word, but Tomberg has a very specific connotation in mind. First, he notes that the only legitimate magic is that which is "authorized from above." And the only legitimate aim of magic is liberation in order to ascend. And the only legitimate accomplice to this climb involves a combination of the two wills: divine and human, or what we like to designate (↓) and (↑).

Thus, real magic results from our alignment with the divine will in order to ascend toward greater freedom, which is always grounded in truth. A new power is re-created through the harmonious attunement of divine and human wills. Here again, note that we are talking about final causes: God has a "purpose," as do we. Ultimately it is the same purpose, because, as the saying goes, our will does not rest until it rests in God. Then it's the cosmic sabbath, and everybody's happy.

Elsewhere Tomberg quotes a fellow named Peladin, who spoke of the application of the strengthened human will to accelerate the evolution of the living forces of Nature. This is accomplished through the science of love. Love perfects our nature, so here again we have a case of the subtle -- love -- ruling the dense (although some of us are more dense than others).

Recall from the previous card (the Priestess) that love is the essence of unity, or of the free unification of twoness in oneness, even while preserving the twoness: "Sacred magic is the power of love, born of the union in love of divine will and human will." Freedom, love, magic, will, ascent, evolution, multiplicity, truth, harmony, generativity, oneness... all of these are interrelated in surprising and surpassing ways.

Yes, "this is the aim of sacred magic; it is nothing other than to give the freedom to see, to hear, to walk, to live, to follow an ideal and to be truly oneself -- i.e., to give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, the ability to walk to the lame, life to the dead, good news or ideals to the poor, and free will to those who are possessed by evil spirits."

Forgive the self-reference, but the B'ob has received many communications testifying to the reality of this magic. He has been blogging about this stuff for many years, and there are now people -- one doesn't want to exaggerate the numbers, but probably in the high single digits -- who couldn't "see" God, but now can; people who couldn't hear, but now do; or people who couldn't walk the walk, but now dance the sacred coondance.

But to our everlasting relief, not a single one of these readers would attribute it to Bob. Well, maybe one person, but we haven't heard from him since the restraining order. The point is, they all "get it" -- that the magic results from aligning (↑) and (↓). No creepy cult of personality for us. We are not leftists.

Each person will navigate the the vertical terrain in his own way, from spiritual touch, to hearing, to synthesis and comprehension, then projection and vision. No one else can touch or hear or comprehend for you. Each has to be your own, so they will naturally be inflected through the particulars of your own personality. This is not so much eccentrism -- which means "outside the circle" -- as "essentrism" -- which I just rewordgitated, and means "inhabiting your own little space inside the sphere." Probably not a keeper, though.

Even Jesus -- who was a mode of the universal -- was nevertheless a human personality. True, he was "everyone," but he was quite obviously someone. This is what distinguishes him from merely mythological figures who are purely archetypal and therefore conventional. Jesus has a distinct personality that you just couldn't make up. Definitely an essentric.

Tomberg then goes into a very important passage on the inevitable obstacles along the path, one of which is none other than the mind parasites of which Bob speaks in the b•••(•)•••k. If the object of sacred magic is liberation in order to ascend, then anything that intrudes upon or prevents this process is more or less parasitic, dragging us down and stealing our launch monkey.

Well no, that's not quite correct. In fact, it's not correct at all. Earth is not to be confused with heaven. We are not meant to live non-friction lives, for it is precisely these obstacles -- so long as they do not escape certain parameters -- that present the opportunity for growth and transcendence.

In other words there are "legitimate" obstacles, tests and trials that work within the Cosmic Law, and illegitimate ones that may look satanic, but are actually mostly manmade (and often self-imposed via mind parasites).

For example, the legions of liberal losers who have transfered agency to the state have failed the test. Yes, one can always retake the exam at any time, but relatively few choose to do so once they have become spiritually entangled with the Machine, i.e., another prick in the wall. For this is what losers do: they project their failure on to some external demon of their own creation. But this hardly means they are "powerless."

Rather, through their coordinated political wacktivity, they conjur a very real loser power that allows them to get what they want without deserving it. So long as they do not question the machine, they are permitted to coast in the machine.

You might say that a kind of black magic results from the alignment of the human will with the forces of darkness and descent. A liberal victim is always rewarded with illegitimate power, otherwise no one would cast himself as one. And this power is ultimately grounded in someone else's existential guilt.

Tomberg makes the critical point that the Adversary never deprives anyone of his freedom. That is not his style, but more importantly, it is not his role. He's not some sort of street thug, or shiftless community organizer, or crude Chicago pol (but I repeat myself). No: "Temptation is [his] only weapon and this presupposes the freedom of he who is tempted."

But one can obviously squander one's freedom, to the point that one is essentially "possessed" by the demon that one has co-created with the Adversary. As Tomberg describes it, "One engenders an elemental being and one subsequently becomes the slave of one's own creation."

Look at the fiendly fire Herman Cain took for helpfully explaining to fellow blacks how this works in practice -- that so many are slaves to a dysfunctional ideology that casts them as permanent property of the white liberals who have the power to save them. Stray from the plantation, as Cain did, and you realize that the fugitive slave laws are still in force, and that the black conservatives have no rights that the white liberal is bound to respect.

Next on the left's hitlist? Ben Carson, because the life of a single child is not worth the death of millions more from the sanctified practice of abortion.

Tomberg observes that mind parasites "have been discovered by contemporary psychiatrists and are recognized as real -- i.e., as 'parasitic psychic organisms' independent of the conscious human will and tending to subjugate it."

I can personally attest to the truth of this statement. How? Back off, man: I'm a psychologist.

Tomberg continues: "One need not fear the devil, but rather the perverse tendencies in oneself! For those perverse human tendencies can deprive us of our freedom and enslave us. Worse still, they can avail themselves of our imagination and inventive faculties and lead us to creations which can become the scourge of mankind."

Let's pause here for a little more red state meat for the base. Liberalism is obviously about freedom. But the founders always understood this in the manner outlined above, as the slack magic of spiritual freedom, i.e., the freedom to ascend. For example, in the words of John Adams,

“Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.... We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.... We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.”

The Democratic party has long since abandoned the classical liberalism of America's founders for an illiberal leftism that is not just its political opposite, but its very negation. It is a collusion of man and his own lower nature in order to bring about hell on earth. Instead of a vertical (naturally supernatural) freedom conferred by God and protected by the state, it promulgates an unnaturally natural (for man) freedom granted by the state.

But just as the state cannot create wealth but only appropriate it by force, it cannot grant real freedom, since that freedom is a priori and intrinsically spiritual.

And by attacking and undermining religion itself, the left participates in the creation of a new kind of man-beast lowbrow hybrid whose narcissistic freedom is for his own sake. It is not even horizontal freedom, but merely the freedom to fall further beneath himself. And it results in the dense -- including dense people such as the Obamas -- presuming to rule the subtle.

It is remarkable that these change chumps and hope fiends of the irreligious secular left -- precisely because they are irreligious -- collectively created the pseudo-religious fantasy of Obama, a shape-shifting cipher and compulsively lyin' Hawaiian who represents the quintessence of soothing hypnosis and oily seduction, the favorite methods of the Adversary. For he is the inverted and perverted image of the Empress.