Friday, June 21, 2013

Adventures in Tenure, or How to be Brilliantly Stupid

Now that we have properly unverted the cosmos and reunited Alpha and Omega, we frankly don't even need to activate our cʘʘnvision to see that "it is simply not the case that the 'I' of human subjectivity is the product of evolutionary (biological-chemical) processes" (Davie).

I mean, we've arrived before at this conclusion from different angles, which makes sense, because a fact so IAMmense -- so fraught with IAMplications -- is going to rIAMify in all different directions. It really borders on an axIAM, since it unifies so many otherwise inexplicable truths, like "how did 'I' -- and 'we' -- get here?"

Yes, you could just say that God breathes a living soul into man and leave it at that. But many if not most modern and postmodern primitives have lost their ear for the mythopoetic, so it can be helpful to cast the old truths in a way they can wrap their diminutive minds around.

Davie references Wittgenstein -- not the naughty one, but the good one -- who points out that this mysterious center of subjectivity, the I of the existential storm, must be "the basis of all that can be said with any sense about" the world. I like this because it turns Kant on his head and enlists him as an ally.

In other words, instead of the world simply being a form of our sensibility, our sensibility becomes the basis of the world, the condition without which the world makes no sense. "It is," writes Davie, "grotesque to suppose that the highest organizing principle, the 'I,' can be explained as the product of what it organizes."

This very much reminds me of the old crack that a liberal is someone who is too broadminded to take his own side in a dispute.

Likewise, the Darwinian fundamentalist or scientistic idolater is someone too scrupulous to defend his own side in a metaphysical dispute. It is as if he is saying: "listen to me carefully, for this is the truth: I am just the product of random mutations, and therefore not worth listening to at all."

M'kay. And they pay you for this?

Now that I think about it, it is of course important to be familiar with scripture/revelation, as it bypasses certain surface structures and penetrates directly to the deeper recesses of the heart, or the cardiopneumatic center.

But when speaking with outcasts -- that is, people who have cast themselves outside the living spirit -- it is helpful to be able to articulate the cosmic principle behind the revelation. The principles are almost always there, with rare exceptions.

I think even the Trinity, which is supposed to be a kind of pure mystery that man could never have stumbled upon unaided, is intelligible. For me it has to do with the idea that ultimate reality is not a substance, but substance-in-relation, or perhaps "self-giving interiority."

This makes total sense to me on a very deep level, so the religious doctrine fits into my intellect like a key into a lock. I frankly can't imagine the alternatives, since they leave too much unexplained and unexplainable. The miracle is that the doctrine was developed way ahead of the explicit knowledge that came much later, e.g., intersubjectivity, or "mirror neurons," or nonlocality.

Recall the essay I mentioned the other day, Understanding and Believing. Schuon says that our legitimate intellectual needs "do not in any sense mean that the thinking man lacks faith."

Rather, they "merely show that [the fertile egghead's] receptivity [(o)] is sensitive to the most subtle and implicit aspects of the divine Message; now what is implicit is not the inexpressible but the esoteric, and this has a right to be expressed."

Intelligence, of course, cuts both ways -- i.e., up and down -- and can just as easily get us into trouble as save us from it. After all, most of the problems in the world are caused by the intelligent, not the stupid. Let us, for example, stipulate that Obama is of slightly above average intelligence. 'Nuff said.

How to guard the intelligence so that it doesn't run riot or even organize a community? In a sense, just as we must control our will, we must exert control over our intelligence, which is something we don't often hear.

But it is very similar to the idea that a woman should guard her beauty, so to speak, another unfashionable truth. But in each case, we are talking about a kind of modesty. To become immodest in any sense is to repeat one aspect of our Primordial Calamity, isn't it?

Now, what is the nature of this thing that must exert control over the intelligence? Is it just a higher form of intelligence? Is it custom? Culture? Common decency? Taste? Manners? A sense of proportion? A sense of irony?

Whatever it is, you won't get it in college. Rather, the opposite. Everything potentially pathological about human intelligence will be aggravated there.

How's that? Well, Schuon points out that a proper faith serves as "the stabilizing complement of the discerning and as it were explosive intelligence."

There are two ways to understand this observation. One way is to consider what happens when faith is absent. I don't have time to go into it, but just think of all the pathological philosophies, schizzy isms, and frank misosophies that have emerged in the post-Kantian intellectual climate. The list is endless.

It very much reminds me of what caused Dennis Prager to return to Judaism. When he entered Columbia he was veering toward a sophisticated atheism, rejecting the religion of his youth -- until he actually encountered these people and their wacky ideas. If one is not born conservative, then surely any sane person is propelled in that direction by contact with the sheer stupidity, perversity, immaturity, and shortsightedness of leftist thought.

I know that in my case, my mind was never so productive as when I learned to think "within the metacosmic faith," so to speak. For me, it is the difference between playing a musical instrument with scales vs. trying to play one without any rules at all -- as if one needs to invent music while playing it.

The problem is, the intellect is a miraculous thing: it is a miracle, full stop. But as Schuon says, "an intellectual qualification is not fully valid unless accompanied by an equivalent moral qualification," at least for any knowledge above physics and entomology, i.e., human knowledge.

Back to what the intellect must subordinate itself to. For starters, this would be a little thing we call reality. If the intellect is not conforming itself to the Real, then just what is it doing?

Yes, that is correct. The technical term is bullshitting.

Just as there is an "art for art's sake" that violates the canons of beauty and therefore purpose of art, there is, as Schuon suggests, a philosophy for philosophy's sake -- or science for science's sake -- "that believes it can attain to an absolute contact with Reality by means of analyses, syntheses, arrangements, filterings, polishings...

"[S]uch thought is mundane because of this very ignorance and because it ends up becoming a 'vicious circle,' which not only provides no escape from illusion but even reinforces it through the lure of progressive knowledge that is in fact nonexistent."

Nonexistent, that is, unless there is a prior Truth and a nonlocal Intellect that may conform to it.

Aaaaaaannnnd we're out of time. Have a nice weekend and GO PUIG!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Phall If You Will, Rise You Must

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. --Rev. 22:13

Again, down here in time -- in the horizontal -- Alpha and Omega appear distinct.

But to say "I am" Alpha and Omega means that the two are unified in the atemporal (vertical) ground of being, for "before Abraham was, I AM." In ether worlds, before time and history is the ahistorical being-ness of the Cosmic Person.

I think of Alpha and Omega as semantic containers, almost like algebraic variables -- in fact, let's call them α and Ω -- that express a complementary relationship.

Thus, as implied above, they signify first <--> last and beginning <--> end; to which I might add outer <--> inner, existence <--> essence, ego <--> self, letter <--> spirit, and perhaps even exoteric <--> esoteric.

Note also that it is only a linear "relationship" in the horizontal; in the vertical it must be a kind of circle, or spiral, or maybe just a kind of generative play.

Here again, think of the yin/yang symbol. I wonder what this symbol would logolike in three, four, or more dimensions? Let's find out.

Hmm. Here is a fractal version:

This I like: reflects the old ghagavad the cosmos being a tree, its nonlocal roots aloft, its local branches down below:

This is good: ♀, ♂, and †:

This too:

Funny. I thought I was just a crank, not a nerd.

I searched "four-dimensional yin yang" and came up with these. No time to check them out, however.

So, as Davie says, "we must always be able to understand first as last and last as first." He notes that in the extra-canonical Gospel of Thomas, "the extenstion of the Kingdom is the 'making outer' of that which is 'inner.'"

Now, this sounds very much like "thy will be done, on earth (i.e., horizontal) as it is in heaven (vertical)."

In the upper reaches of the vertical, it must be the case that the "divine intention" is already realized. "But clearly the realization cannot be earthly as yet," and the making inner what is outer -- or celestial what is terrestrial -- must be none other than the eschaton.

Thus, we're really talking about the cosmic eschalator, teloscape, or attractor at the end -- which is to say, fulfillment -- of history.

Looked at this way, history really is the shadow of the Cross, where "it" -- whatever "it" is -- is already accomplished. I think I'll just quote Davie here, because he seems to know what he's talking about:

"Hence the divine intention has a protological [meaning the antonym of eschatological, i.e., the beginning of things] realization that is coextensive with its earthly realization, and by 'heaven' we mean no less than a universe transfigured by divine energies, a universe to which the miraculous [what I call a vertical ingression] in human experience gives us momentary access."

This sounds to me like what I reefered to in the book as cosmotheosis -- and no, you can't buy any -- whereby the cosmos is fulfilled whenever a single person shares in, or communes with, or dwells in, this realization. You might call it (?!) on stilts.

At any rate, if you have made it this far, all the way to the beginning, then you understand how the "congruence of heaven and earth is the destination towards which history moves," but "also the origin from which history moves" (Davie).

Fall and Redemption. Same as it ever was. Or in joyceful author words,

The fall... of a once wallstrait oldparr is retaled early in bed and later on life down through all christian minstrelsy.

And the oaks of ald now they lie in peat yet elms leap where askes lay.

So don't sweat it, because just as Gricks may rise and Troysirs fall, Phall if you but will, rise you must!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Obama and Anti-American Personality Disorder

Alpha and Omega: while these two are more or less distant in time -- in the horizontal -- in vertical space they must not only be proximate but ultimately two aspects of one being. With this in mind, Davie makes the orthoparadoxically correct 〇bservation that "we must always be able to understand first as last and last as first."

But this highlights a more general principle, to the effect that our intellect must adhere to our faith, and vice versa.

Which reminds me of a particularly cluminous essay in a new collection thereof called Splendor of the True: A Frithjof Schuon Reader. For me, the Schuon scale of luminosity runs from bright to blinding, but in this piece nearly every sentence is highlylighted or wonderlined.

The essay is called Understanding and Believing (it originally appeared in his forcibly raccoomended Logic and Transcendence).

Schuon begins with the truism that it is possible for a man to believe without understanding. At the looooow end this is just bovine stupidity, but at the high end this is mature faith, which is quintessentially an intuitive perception of an unfathomable truth experienced subjectively as a generative mystery (i.e., as an active presence, not a mere absence).

But what people generally don't realize is that the opposite is equally true, "that one can understand without believing" (Schuon).

How can this be so? Didn't Blake say that "truth cannot be told so as to be understood and not believed"?

Yes, but the operative word there is truth. Evidently, one of the hallmarks of falsehood is that it can indeed be understood (so to speak) but not actually believed -- for it is written, who would believe that shit?

There appears to be something paradoxical here, because why would one need faith if one has understanding? Isn't faith just a kind of booby prize for those who lack understanding, a glorified fig leaf over our naked ignorance?

That's one way of looking at it.

Schuon goes on to say that a form of hypocrisy arises whenever there is a disjunction between certainty and behavior, and here is where we see the gulf between understanding and faith. This is because genuine belief -- or faith -- involves "identifying oneself with the truth one accepts" -- and then waiting for the truth to be realized or actualized within.

When I read this passage, the first thing that occurred to me is that secular materialists of all kinds -- proglodyte liberals, assorted purveyors of blind scientism, kosher darwienies, atheistic sales reptiles -- do not actually believe what they understand, or their behavior would be entirely different.

In short, materialists are devoid of real faith, for they do not put into practice what they screech, nor do they exhibit the courage of their concrocktions.

Consider: if I understand myself to be nothing more than a wild animal who has no possible contact with anything transcending matter -- e.g., truth, morality, beauty, wisdom, etc. -- then my behavior should comport with my understanding.

Such an animal will frankly meet the diagnostic criteria for a Sociopathic Personality Disorder, except they would not be ill. Rather, they would be "awakened" or "enlightened," like a reverse Buddha, or an inscapee to Plato's mancave.

Let's look at those criteria, and see if the shoe fits up their ass.

"A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years."

Well, sure. But why 15? Isn't that a little arbitrary? Why not birth? Rights are for suckers -- Christians, constitutional conservatives, "civil" libertarians, homos.

"Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest."

I know. Give Obama credit. There's a leftist whose faith is in conformity to his understanding.

"Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead."

One word: Obamacare. Okay, two more: Arab spring. Three? Fast and Furious. Four? I will close Gitmo. Five? That idiotic reset button gift.

"Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying."

Yeah, I see your point. Maybe the left isn't so hypocritical after all, because the media-academic complex certainly embraces such hopenlie antisocial behavior:

"The new Western media, products of the fully propagandized Western university, have broadly succumbed to the sympathy with totalitarian ethics and intentions that Revel warned was the West's imminent danger, and the communists' long-term strategy....

"Having morally weakened the West by exploiting the legitimate free press to their clever advantage, and at last having converted that press itself into a de facto ally, the enemies of freedom could begin their work on the inside of the Western establishment in earnest. It was now time to bring the ideological war home."

Meanwhile, "The Western media has been factionalized into the totalitarian propagandist majority and the searching, skeptical minority which forms the last remnant of the true calling of that free press which was once supposed to be a bulwark of liberty" (Jonescu).

But in the inverted world of the sociopath, we are the sick folks, for which reason those regular folkers sic the IRS on us.

Yes, the left directly attacks what freedom they haven't yet eroded. But at this point, what difference does it make? What's good for the state is good for you. You don't know that?

The next criterion: "consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to honor financial obligations."

Too easy. Let's move on.

"Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another."

At this point, what difference does it make?

"Irritability and aggressiveness."


Okay, you got me. But at least this proves that I can keep an open mind. I hereby withdraw my charge of leftist hypocrisy.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Borne Again Man of Dustinction

Don't know if I have time to spell- or even basic sensecheck, so you're on your own...

To say there is a human nature is to say there is an archetype of our humanness, a "cosmic man." It has to be cosmic, because everything about the cosmos has to be tweaked just so in order for us to existentiate the archetype.

For example, imagine if I have the idea for a palm tree. If I live, say, in a subarctic zone, no matter how perfect the idea, the palm tree cannot take root there outside the archetype.

Both Kabbalah and Vedanta posit a Cosmic Man from whom we are descended: Adam Kadmon and Purusha, respectively.

A google search for the two yields some arresting images, although I didn't spend any time looking for the best ones. For example, here is Adam Kadmon and his holo-hoops, the one below descending from the one above:

And here (see below ↓) is Adam Kadmon bifurcating into Adam-and-Eve, the archetypal terrestrial parents (recall that in Judaism, the proper unit of mankind is not man or woman, but man-and-woman, 1 and 0):

Down here (↓) is another shot of the cosmic man, as if emerging out of O (or vice versa):

Here's a shot of Purusha, kicking back and enjoying his cosmic slack. Note that the world seems to be a product of his creative imagination:

Here's another that captures the relationship with O -- a humandala, as it were:

Ultimately, the positing of the Cosmic Man helps us to unvert the cosmos, and to understand the nature -- which is to say, end -- of evolution. The Cosmic Man is both alpha and omega, and thus, both the ground and destiny of evolution. In between is this little nightmirror we call "history." In the night it is hard to see the image, which is precisely what Finnegans Wake is allabout. Yes, Obama is an uncommonly lightless loafer, but it's always the Dark Pages down here. You can look it up. With a little light.

I want to shift gears momentarily, because for the past two weeks I have been flooded with Baader-Meinhof phenomena revolving around the Cosmic Man -- as if he's dropping hints everywhere. Look out below!

For example, in Bouyer's The Christian Mystery, he discusses the idea of "Christ as the Second Adam, or rather the last Adam, that is, the heavenly man whose radiant image, as First Corinthians tells us, we have to put on," because "we have borne for too long the disfigured image of the first man."

Also, the neophyte Raccoon cultist or even advanced stalker will be reminded of the obscure references on pages 254/f. 17; 261/47; and 264/58. I know. They're funny because they're true!

Now, this is intriguing. "Son of man" appears in the the Hebrew Bible over 100 times, so it is a very common construction, and one that would have been familiar to Jesus (in other words, he obviously didn't coin the term, except of course he did). But what does it mean, exactly?

Here is Kabbalist interpretation, which may or may not be kosher: "the essential meaning of Ezekiel's vision, then, is that the son of man, the human son of God, is he who has achieved the mystical capacity to see the divine nature of his own higher self."

This comports with what Bouyer says about the matter. He adds that in his letters, Paul rewords the concept in order to get away from Jewish esoterism, and make it "more accessible to non-Jews." Thus, the phrase "Son of Man... disappears from a preaching to the Gentiles, in spite of its central place in the preaching of Jesus. All its content" is "now transfered into the figure of the heavenly Man, which Paul introduces when he contrasts with the first man another man, who is not just a second Adam, but the final Man."

This gets very dense, and I'm running out of time. But Bouyer quotes Paul who wrote of a "psychical body" and a spiritual one: "the first man, Adam, became a living soul; the last Adam a life-giving Spirit." And "the first man was from the earth, a man of dust, the second man is from heaven." Therefore, "Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven."

But there's an additional twist here, because it was a common belief in antiquity that "the primordial man was a quasi-divine being and that man as he is now only a degenerate form of this being, fallen into matter and multiplicity..."

However, this is not the Jewish understanding; rather, it is unalloyed Gnosticism, for if you will note the image above of Adam and Eve, they do not represent an a priori fall from Adam Kadmon. In short, the fall occurs to Adam & Eve, not in them.

And again, "humanity" is both source and goal for human beings. We must "become reintegrated into the second Adam" in such a way "that it becomes more than a second beginning -- for Humanity is its final goal" (Bouyer). The Body of Christ? Yes, you could say that, because that would seem to represent the real instantiation, or existentiation, of Adam Kadmon/Purusha herebelow: body of Christ, mind of Slack.

Monday, June 17, 2013

I Am. Not Myself. But Maybe Somedeity...

Continuing with Davie's thesis that Christianity represents a synthesis of Judaism and Vedanta, he writes that under Christianity (C), the two different views of God -- continuous (V) and discontinuous (J), immanent (V) and transcendent (J), "are placed together in the perception of identity-in-difference."

This particular orthoparadox "informs the entire theology of C: thus, Christ is God and man; the bread is the body; One God is three persons, etc. In short, the boundary relations of absolute identity, on the one hand, and infinite difference, on the other, combine to yield identity-in-difference..."

And as mentioned a couple of posts ago, it is as if C embodies a balance between predominantly left (J) and right (V) cerebral hemispheric approaches to the divine.

Again, one doesn't want to oversimplify or push the analysis too far, but I think it is fair to say that a law-based approach is more exterior/objective, whereas the experiential approach of Vedanta (or Zen, or Mahayana Buddhism) is more subjective/interior.

Just as there is no monastic tradition in Judaism -- radical withdrawal from the world being considered mishuggah (except on the Sabbath, and even then the slaccent is on being with the world more intimately) -- Vedanta is in many ways a lawless religion, so to speak.

Or in other words, remove all of the laws from the cosmos -- which are ultimately spun from maya's web -- and what you are left with is God.

Along these lines, Davie goes on to suggest that Judaism's "main concern" lies with "finding an answer to the question, Who? (who is this God revealed to Abraham, Moses, and the prophets?...)," whereas the central concern of Vedanta "is identity-with" the ultimate principle. In Judaism there can be no identity with God, just as in Vedanta our apparent separation is only a stubborn illusion.

As it so happens, if we dig a little deeper, we see that the same dialectic obtains within Hinduism, between the rival ganges of Shankara and Ramanuja, or nondualism vs. qualified nondualism.

And Davie points out that in the Old Testament there are numerous references to the godmensch. Still, there is a certain line one cannot cross in Judaism, for which reason (among others) Jesus-as-God is a non-starter, and more generally, "what H takes to be saving truth, J regards as blasphemous."

Another interesting contrast between Judaism and Vedanta has to do with creation. J is famous for taking a lot of pointless speculation out of the grubby hands of the tenured, and insisting that creation has a beginning, so deal with it.

Conversely, Vedanta maintains that creation has no beginning, and that this particular cosmos is just one in an endless series of emanations.

Likewise, with J, creation involves divine choice, whereas with V it is somewhat "automatic," in the sense that Brahman cannot not create, because this would violate its own nature.

Because of this, it seems that Judaism cannot help but be eschatological, or future-oriented, most particularly, with regard to the messiah or savior. But in Vedanta there can be no end, because any end will just be a new beginning. To be perfectly accurate, beginning and end are always now.

Davie reminds us that Jesus is called Alpha and Omega, first and last, beginning and end, which permits of two perspectives which are unified in the one person.

The whole thing becomes a little confusing because of our immersion in time. Because God is in eternity, beginning and end must by definition be the same in him; or, what we call beginning and end are the serial instantiation -- the "moving image" -- of eternity in time.

As we have said on a number of occasions, herebelow eternity takes time, whereas thereabove it takes all day to get nothing done. But nobody minds, because you've got forever to do it.

Now, a religion provides the cure for the particular spiritual disease it diagnoses. The cure is what we call redemption in Christianity, or holiness in Judaism, or moksha in Vedanta. But is there a way we can see these three as different symptoms of the same underlying disease?

At least superficially, it appears not. For what is the disease? In Judaism, identity with God would be a fatal spiritual sickness, whereas in Vedanta the very same thing is the cure!

But we need to make some more subtle linguistic distinctions, or at least find a way to bullshit our way out of this metaphysical nul-de-slack.

For example, in Vedanta the point is not to elevate the local ego to godhood. Rather, there is a lower self (jivatman, [•]) and a higher self (atman, [¶]), and we dis-identify with the former in order to identify with the latter. And for Davie, the lower self "approximates to the Hebrew nephesh," while ruah does duty for the higher, more subtle being. (And as always, we are happy to be corrected by brother Gandalin for our hamhanded analysis.)

There is also the distinction between local image and nonlocal likeness that is emphasized by both Judaism and (Eastern) Orthodox Christianity. Thus, our "fallenness" is essentially a measure of the distance between image and likeness, lower self and higher self, jivatman and atman, nephesh and ruah, slack and conspiracy, etc.

In each case, redemption, or sanctity, or liberation, or slack, is an eschatological movement from the one toward the other. There is an "immaculate manhood" (Davie), so to speak, at the end of our seeking, which "draws us on by offering glimpses of ourselves in our ideal nature."

And in the case of C, "the likeness which was lost through Adam is fully restored in Jesus," who is uniquely image and likeness; whereas for the subgenius, we would measure the same distance on a logarithmic scale of 1 to Bob.

In fact, I believe it was Schuon who said something to the effect that Jesus is both man's icon of God and God's icon of man (man-as-such).

And what -- or who -- is man-as-such?

Ah, that leads us into a deuscussion of this purusha character, more on whom tomorrow.