Friday, January 17, 2014

Living the Lie and Dying to Truth

"There is something in genuine myth that is analogous to our stories of what transpires between conception and the acquisition of language. Or in (m)other worlds, before living in language we are embodied in narratives -- a case of the word taking flesh -- a subject to which we will return tomorrow," he promised.

That's a little unclear, Bob, because what's the distinction between "living in language" and being "embodied in narratives"?

Fair question. My editor should have caught that. In order to explain what I mean, I think I will briefly reintroduce a little pedagogic device developed by Bion, which he simply called the "grid":

We've discussed the grid before. Let's see if I said anything helpful to our present concerns. "Basically, the vertical axis has to do with the evolution of thought, while the horizontal axis has to do with the uses to which the thought is put."

I'll just continue quoting from yesterBob until he outwrites his usefulness:

"Thus, for example, it is indeed possible to treat ideas as rocks, as the left proves every day. On the grid, the 'rock idea' would be at the intersection of 'concept' on the vertical axis and 'action' on the horizontal."

Note that the idea of a rock is naturally more evolved than the idea as a rock -- although it needs to be added that liberal elites consciously manipulate the language in this manner so as to influence their hordes of media-academic (and lower) LoFos into outrage and action -- or passion and bullying. An Obama or Clinton are masters at this, and pretty much nothing else. But where do they fall on the grid?

Notice the second column, Psi (Ψ). It essentially stands for the Lie, that is, "false formulations that are known to be false with the intention of counteracting the formulations which can generate anxiety or the developments which imply catastrophic change" (Grinberg, et al).

The first thing we need to notice is that the Lie exists on a separate axis from its potential evolution. Critically, the Lie is not necessarily on the stupid/intelligent continuum (although it can be).

Rather, the most brilliant person in the world can elaborate the Lie to the ends of thought, ad infinitum -- although in so doing, if the person were intellectually honest, he would realize that he has ended in a self-refuting absurdity, if you follow me, because the lie cannot go on "forever."

Doing so would represent an infinite regress, or a naughty infinity, which metaphysics will not allow. Thus, in the opinion of the Raccoon elders, the vertical axis not only ends in O, but everything prior to it is leading to -- or being attracted by -- O. That is indeed why thought "evolves" to begin with.

Recall what I said about rock-throwing leftists. A sincerely concerned reader has advised me to cut out the liberal bashing, because it instantly turns off readers who otherwise might benefit from the blog. He says that he has directed a number of liberal friends here, but that they were put off by what they would no doubt regard as my own primitive rock throwing.

But is that really what it is? Well, yes and no. We first need to ask whether the rocks are true or false. If they are true, then if you are hurt by one, then it is your own fault, because it is exposing a column 2 lie. What's the old saying about throwing a rock into a pigpen? The one who squeals is the one you hit. You have touched a nerve, as it were.

More to the point, if you've ever taken the trouble to read the masthead of the blog, it says right there LEFTWING RIDICULISM. And if you read ABOUT ME in the snidebar, it says that we take delight in providing fine insultainment for the ridicure of assouls.

Now, what is politics but the organization of hatreds? Problems only occur when there is organized hatred that has ventured into a parallel psiworld.

To render this extremely concrete, let's apply this principle to the Benghazi fiasco, about which the regime has been systematically lying for the past 16 months. Now, why would they want to lie about it, and pretend it was just a movie review taking place on column 6 of the grid, action? See above: in order to counteract formulations which imply catastrophic change -- i.e., losing the forthcoming election. Yes, Obama promised change, but that was then. Now, like any entrenched power toker, he wants to prevent it.

And when we see comically evasive mouthpiece Jim Carney either dancing around the subject or expressing anger at reporters who bring it up, we are of course witnessing the attempt to counteract "formulations which can generate anxiety." Anxiety itself can easily transform into -- or mask itself via -- anger, petulance, impatience, irritability, self-righteousness -- you know, finger-wagging I did not have sexual relations with that woman, or the pseudo-detached At this point, what difference does it make?

Which brings up another important point about politics. There's nothing wrong with passion, so long as it is in the service of truth. But too many people -- both left and right, but especially on the left -- are just addicted to the passion of self-righteousness. People always receive a secret charge when their self-righteousness is provoked, and this can take on a life of its own, entirely separate from question of truth or falsehood. People like to be in this fired up state, as it is preferable to feeling bored and empty.

Now, back to the question at hand -- about how the space between ape and man is filled by myth. Note that on the grid, this appears in row 3, "dream thoughts, dreams, myths." This stage of thought comes after what Bion calls "alpha elements" and "beta elements," and before preconceptions, conceptions, scientific deductive systems, etc.

Some of our most important -- if not the most important -- myths appear in Genesis. Again, at the horizon of history is myth. This is inevitable, since there is only so far conceptual thought can go before hitting a wall. Think of how physics doesn't really account for creation. Rather, it simply hits a wall at the end of its equations.

Any five year-old can (and will) ask what happened before the big bang, to which we can only sensibly respond with myth -- and the operational word here is sensibly, for this is where myth is infused with a truth that surpasses our ability to exhaust it conceptually. When we hear it, it bangs an interior gong, at least if we are still living in a place where truth is embodied and not just entertained in the head.

Which means that God is not a concept -- although God can of course be expressed conceptually. Again, I would situate God at the extreme end of the vertical axis, always drawing us toward him in thought, action, and passion-emotion. There is a kind of metabolism that goes on, which is grounded in the first two rows, beta and alpha elements.

In the book, I talked about that very first bit of matter that wrapped around itself and decided to go on being, and how every development subsequent to this is built upon that first outrageous act of rebellion.

For Bion, it is the same with the development of thought. He distinguishes thoughts from the thinker. Clearly, thoughts must have preceded the first man who started thinking them, instead of thoughts thinking him; instead of being subject to thoughts, he became the subject of them, AKA a thinker.

In other words, imagine what it must be like for an animal. Thoughts come and thoughts go, but there is no thinker to organize and reflect upon them. To do this requires what Bion calls "alpha function," which you might think of as the metabolism of thought.

Which brings us back to how we got started on this whole discussion, the practice of communion, which seems to be a concrete expression of metabolizing O -- of being nourished by logos-language and embodied in the God-given narrative.


Blogger julie said...

People always receive a secret charge when their self-righteousness is provoked, and this can take on a life of its own, entirely separate from question of truth or falsehood. People like to be in this fired up state, as it is preferable to feeling bored and empty.

Also, in my experience, it makes them feel important. If there's no drama revolving around them, they don't quite feel as though they exist.

Anxiety itself can easily transform into -- or mask itself via -- anger, petulance, impatience, irritability, self-righteousness -- you know, finger-wagging...

I don't know if you read McCain at all, but he's been following another good (if more prurient) example in the clash between radical feminists and transwomen. I think he's called it correctly: the radfems are bound to lose this version of the victimhood game, simply because they have a true point ("transwomen" are not women, no matter how much they want to be), and of course in leftopia truth equals hate. Also, without the validating drama they wouldn't be sure they exist...

1/17/2014 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just because you bitch, it doesn't mean you are one. That's concrete thinking.

1/17/2014 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

A sincerely concerned reader has advised me to cut out the liberal bashing, because it instantly turns off readers who otherwise might benefit from the blog. He says that he has directed a number of liberal friends here, but that they were put off by what they would no doubt regard as my own primitive rock throwing.

Ha! I could relate to this. I've pointed a few integralists/evolutionaries this way, and boy did I take heat. One gay person, who I like, immediately dismissed Bob as homophobic. Which was interesting because there was no recent post that even alluded to this topic. Apparently he went back digging in the search query just to see where Bob stood on this. And found some things not to his liking. That stone hurt badly.

These days I'm partly a closet Raccoon, although much more vocal about some of needed correctives to leftist thinking with my friends. The old me would never have recognized this guy.

1/17/2014 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

@ Bob: lol - exactly.

He says that he has directed a number of liberal friends here, but that they were put off by what they would no doubt regard as my own primitive rock throwing.

In addition to the insultainment factor, it strikes me as fundamentally dishonest if one will not trancelight higher truths to lived reality, simply in order to protect the delicate sensibilities of potential leftist readers. Would Schuon have shied away from plainly stating just how awful the idea of gay marriage is, if the issue had come up? Of course not. Who would be served by the omission?

1/17/2014 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"People like to be in this fired up state, as it is preferable to feeling bored and empty."

Not just people. If a deer comes in our yard, the dog goes wild. Ever seen a yellow lab fired from a cannon? Wear a deer suit when you visit.
Simultaneously, he is in his happiest state. I'm almost certain he dreams about the next trespass.

This is nothing compared to the time we were ambushed on the beach by some people on horses.

1/17/2014 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ha - yes. Behind our new house, there's a park where people love to walk, let their dogs run, and ride horses. I'm pretty sure my dog has gotten a new lease on life from all the opportunities to run back and forth in a barking froth, especially when the horses pass by. In Arizona, she never had it so good.

1/17/2014 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Even if I were homosexual I would be against the redefinition of marriage. To suggest that this viewpoint -- which nearly all humans for all of history have believed -- is rooted in fear or animus is transparent projection -- a clear case of a rock masquerading as an idea.

1/17/2014 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Does your dog wag its tail while in this "state"? Mine does.

1/17/2014 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Islamophobia" is another crock of rocks. Better to be a Palestinian and just throw actual rocks.

1/17/2014 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

My dogs just LOVE getting all fired up that way. Must be like a drug to them, an altered state of consciousness.

1/17/2014 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You could probably look at vulgar politics as just territoriality on a more abstract plane.

1/17/2014 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I think my dog would knock over a meal and a girl dog to get to a deer.

1/17/2014 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ha - mine might try, but she's a coward. She wouldn't know what to do with a deer if she had one cornered.

1/17/2014 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Now, what is politics but the organization of hatreds? Problems only occur when there is organized hatred that has ventured into a parallel psiworld.

You probably saw Greenfield's brilliant post Tuesday, but if not ...

1/17/2014 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

RE the heart of this post, I kept expecting you to explain what you mean by "myth" or rather, explain what you don't mean.
I mean in the present state of our culture it seems if you say "myth", John Q thinks "non-fact" which is akin to "not true". The very opposite of the purpose of myth (the expression of Truth).

1/17/2014 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Julie, my dog is the cowardly lion.
"Hold me back..HOLD me baaack.."

1/17/2014 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Re the meaning of myth, I suppose we'll have to get into that in a futurepost. But it is very much like what someone said of great art: a lie that expresses the truth, or something like that. For example, Shakespeare's plays never happened in real life, but people will never stop mining them for nuggets of truth.

1/17/2014 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Our modern militant atheists consider themselves Myth Busters of a sort.

t'which I say: Way to mith the point!

1/17/2014 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Since it's Open Joke Friday:

Leno in Car Drinking Coffee with Seinfeld.

Or something like that. Anyway, pretty good anvil joke in there by Leno.

1/17/2014 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Myth-busting, it's all fun and games until somebody loses an Aye!

1/17/2014 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...


1/17/2014 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

I thought it wasn't funny until somebody loses an eye.

Rick -clever and subtle.

All this thought talk reminds me what I was reading in MOTT this morning. It had to to with the levels of thought that occur in gnosis. Starting with the "divine touch" to experiencing it to forming concepts about your experience to writing the concepts down.

(or something like that).

1/17/2014 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Speaking of myths and mystery, I just stumbled across a beautiful little documentary called Searching for Sugar Man. Not such a small world after all. Amazing.

1/17/2014 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


On further review, I think most sophisticated people understand the nature of myth, especially since Joseph Campbell became a cultural sensation after the Bill Moyers special on PBS. Indeed, they probably understand it all too well, in the same way, say, Freud became the subject of cocktail party chatter of cultural sophisticates.

George Lucas supposedly modeled Star Wars on Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces. Star Wars never appealed to me, probably for that very reason, for to imagine one can create an imitation myth on demand is to not know what a genuine myth is, which is to say, a certain kind of revelation. It is an act of hubris, a la L. Ron Hubbard. Or Obama, for that matter. Real art spontaneously aligns itself with mythic structures in a non-manipulative way. To attempt to do so "knowingly" is to spoil the process.

I see myth as a form of vertical recollection, only from the bottom up, so to speak, as opposed to revelation proper, which is from the top down.

1/18/2014 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's like trying to write a hit song by analyzing the elements of hit songs. People do that of course, but it always sounds derivative.

1/18/2014 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I was refering to John Q. Public and that his understand of myth (or lack of it) was on the rise. Just a hunch. Since no one seems bothered say by the common label of "urban myth" to events devoid of Truth but full of fantastic, and the title of the popular show Myth Busters for the same reason.
I think revelation is a dirty word in school these days. It's certainly a word a never heard there.

Would you say that myth (proper) is a way to understand or express revelation?

1/18/2014 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Absolutely -- this was always the understanding prior to the emergence of "fundamentalism" in the 20th century. There is nothing fundamental about fundamentalism. Rather, it is a modern counter-reaction to the literalism of scientistic rationalism -- one literalism giving rise to another.

1/18/2014 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

The part about Lucas reminds of that joke you told once about the Iranians having discovered the number zero. The problem being they haven't stopped discovering it since.

1/18/2014 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The effect of Star Wars is interesting, however, as a cultural phenomenon. I met a person a few weeks ago-- a grown up person -- who said that it was a religious experience for him when it originally came out, and still is. He spoke of others of his acquaintance who feel the same way. Obviously, it fills a kind of religious void in such people. So Lucas did indeed discover O, and filled it with the Star Wars myth.

As to a mythological approach to scripture, the Catechism mentions the various ways it can be approached. e.g., the literal, spiritual, moral, allegorical, and anagogical.

1/18/2014 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I'd be interested in knowing how the person you met felt it was like a religious experience. "In what way was it" I mean. I'd like to hear his description.

1/18/2014 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Probably like the first time to Disneyland as a kid. IN fact, that was his religion before converting to Lucasian.

This was a literal Comic Book Guy, mind you. My son wanted a certain action figure, so we wandered in the store, and the old proprietor cornered me while the boy was browsing. He didn't look like he'd ever kissed a girl.

1/18/2014 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Probably because no one in real life could ever match Princess Leia.

1/18/2014 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No jokes about "han' solo" please.

1/18/2014 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Too late!

1/18/2014 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

For real hilarity, you should see what happens when an actual girl walks in to one of those places. They don't even know what to do with themselves; half will sit in a cluster in the corner and start doing a lot of loud, obnoxious posturing with each other in the hope that you'll wander over to see what all the fuss is about, another third of them will just kind of stare from around the stacks like there's some sort of female invasion afoot, and then you get cornered by Comic Book Guy supreme, who will go out of his way to show off his superior knowledge of whatever it is he thinks you're in there for. And yes, with that approach I'm pretty sure most of them are involuntarily celibate.

1/18/2014 11:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Comic Book Guy said...

Worst. Comment. Ever.

1/18/2014 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...


1/18/2014 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

Now you did it Bob: first leftists, then gays & feminists, then atheists, and now comic con nerds! War has been declared by some pimply faced Xbox owner.

1/18/2014 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And now, for something that will make you laugh until you cry, I give you Haribo Sugar-Free Gummy Bears. Well, not really, because that would be a cruelty bordering on demonic, but the reviews... just read 'em.

1/18/2014 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Merrill: ...this crop stuff is just about a bunch of nerds who never had a girlfriend their whole lives. They're like thirty now. They make up secret codes and analyze Greek mythology and make secret societies where other guys who never had girlfriends can join in. They do stupid crap like this to feel special. It's a scam. Nerds were doin' it twenty five years ago and new nerds are doing it again.

Bo: Why can't they get girlfriends?

~ Signs

1/18/2014 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Comic Book Guy said...

Oh no, I am *devastated* by your clever barbs. I shall retreat to my store, where I dispense the insults rather than receive them.

1/18/2014 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - speaking of Comic Book Guy, Pawn Stars is playing in the background and there was a guy on earlier who had a couple of comic books and doodles signed by Stan Lee. He honestly thought they should be worth $15,000, and of course he was planning on using the money to go to Comic Con and buy more comics. They offered him a grand. Reality can be a bitch...


Going back to the dog discussion, we've been giving ours rawhide chews lately. She likes them, but they apparently don't taste quite right until they're seasoned by the envy of other creatures: she won't chew them unless someone tries to steal them from her, then suddenly they are delicious.

1/18/2014 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Julie, re your dog, sounds like "mimetic desire".

1/19/2014 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"That's a little unclear, Bob, because what's the distinction between "living in language" and being "embodied in narratives"?"

Actually, I think that is clear... but maybe you can clear me on my clarity:

When we hear the myth... ehhh... hear isn't good enough, neither is believe... when we resonate with the myth, we are embodied in the narrative, our lives have meaning in it.

When you have been embodied in the narrative, your language doesn't just reflect how you are living, or what you do to make a living, your language being as yet unsaturated, means what it says, and lacking (or should I say: in addition to not having...?) the ironic separation between what is spoken and what is understood, you are living in your language.

Your words are a means of communicating you into the world, integrative, rather than disintegrative.


1/19/2014 09:35:00 PM  

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