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."


"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