Monday, February 16, 2015

It Takes One(ness) to Know (the) One

Well, it's President's Day, a quintessentially postmodern helliday in which the federal government compels schoolchildren to conflate evolutionary cosmohistorical lightbringers such as Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan with smallminded and malevolent assouls such as Carter and Obama.

That is a perfect example of the very opposite of what we've been discussing for the past week or so: fusion as opposed to integration. The same proglodytes lump all religions together, as if Christianity and Islam "worship the same God."

Likewise, these vertically challenged spiritual dwarves conflate freedom and democracy, as if the latter somehow assures the former. (Remember when the press jumped all over Rumsfeld for suggesting that democracy is overrated?) But a Raccoon would much prefer to live in a monarchy with secure civil liberties than in a moonarchic 'batocracy in which our liberties exist at the pleasure and whims of the prince and the drooling mob that made him one.

Thus far we have covered the vertical integration of brainstem, midbrain, and frontal cortex; and the horizontal integration of left and right hemispheres. Siegel mentions several other biggies, such as memory, narrative, state (meaning temporary states of mind), interpersonal, temporal, and "transpirational" integration, the latter being the closest to what a Raccoon would regard as proper vertical integration, AKA the divine-human nexus.

We will get to all of these in due time, if ever, but over the weekend it occurred to me how compatible all of this is with one of our foundational texts, Meditations on the Tarot. Any Raccoon who hasn't read this book cover-to-cover at least twice probably isn't one. Why twice? Because by the end of the book you won't be the same person, so the second -- or third or fourth -- time around it will be a "new book" for this new man. Hello, noumena!

It's all as clear as day in Letter I, The Magician. Note that this arcanum is a fractal of all the others. In other words, while a "part" of the book, it contains the whole in essence. Therefore, the rest of the book will be a reworking of the same themes, just as in a symphony. I was just reading how old Beethoven would take "a piece of material, an idea," and transform it "into new passages that share an underlying essence but sound different." It "is a matter of contrast and diversity founded on unity and invention: fashioning many things from one thing."

Just so, we can say that the subsequent twenty one arcana are all "in" the first, for as our unKnown Friend says, the Magician is "the key to all the other Major Arcana."

First of all, what is an arcanum? It is a symbol -- an authentic symbol. Which is whatnow? Etymologically speaking, a symbol is something "thrown across." It is a means of getting from here to there -- in this case, a vertical there. As such, "they conceal and reveal their sense at one and the same time according to the depth of meditation." For which reason we invented the term reveil: any religious symbol reveils, meaning simply that it simultaneously veils and reveals (or, more to the point, veils so as to reveal).

This is similar, say, to a veil over a statue. But in the vertical world, without the veil we cannot perceive the underlying essence at all. You could say that we cannot "see" God, but we can certainly see his veils, more on which later. But there are two errors to avoid: trying to strip away the veils in order to see God directly, or elevating the veil to God. The former is barbarism (whether primitive or postmodern), the latter idolatry.

The arcana do not provide us with cutandry & wideawake answers, but rather, render "us fertile in our creative pursuits.... An arcanum, is a 'ferment' or an 'enzyme' whose presence stimulates the spiritual and the psychic life of man." As such, these symbols are what we call essential vertamins to aid in our spiritual metabolism.

In order to integrate and assimilate the influx of vertical forces, we must attain openness (o) and silence (---). Doing so involves being "one in oneself" so as to be "one with the spiritual world."

Now, to say "one" is to say integration. You could say that the spiritual life is essentially the exercise (or verticalisthenics) of practical unity, or of putting "unity into practice." That is, the Raccoon begins with "the basic unity of the natural world, the human world and the divine world." Indeed, without this prior unity, "no knowledge is conceivable." Period.

In short, "The tenet of the essential unity of all that exists precedes every act of knowledge, and every act of knowledge presupposes the tenet of the unity of the world." That latter is especially important, because to truly know anything is a key to the whole existentialada. Nothing would be knowable in the absence of this prior unity.

Having said that, we are again talking about a circular movement that begins in unity (or better, fusion), proceeds to differentiation, and returns to unity, only on a higher level (or in a higher key). It is precisely what the Poet means with that crack about rearriving to where we started and knowing it for the first time, or that metamagical transition from p. 266 to p. 6, AKA the endless riverrun to and from evenadam & backagain.

Think about that one once again: it takes one to know One. Or, it requires integration in order to approach the Source of integration. This implies, among other things, that our vision of God is a qualitative matter that varies with the integral width and depth of the subject.

How could this not be the case? Any perception or knowledge of God must be inflected through the human subject. An unintegrated subject is going to have a more or less narrow and/or shallow conception of God.

Think of the Islamists. How do they have such a dis-integrated conception of God? In a way, it is a perverse mirror image of Obama's undifferentiated, fusionist God. Both are primitive, but in different ways. For postmodernists such as Obama, they invert the words of the Poet by arriving where man started and not knowing it for the first time ever (since man has always known of God); this represents omnipotent ignorance upon omniscient stupidity, or tenure².

Our unKnown friend says some things that sound very much like what we said in the previous post about the integration of left and right hemispheres. In fact, he is saying the identical thing, only with a different vocabulary:

"The Magician [i.e., integrated person] represents the man who has attained harmony and equilibrium between the spontaneity of the unconscious [read: right hemisphere]... and the deliberate action of the conscious [left hemisphere]." Thus, "His state of consciousness is the synthesis of the conscious and unconscious" -- except to emphasize that this latter is not really "un-," but rather, quite oneconscious.

To be continued...


Blogger julie said...

Yes, of course - I don't know how we got this far talking about integration without bringing UF into the mix.

Must be time to read MotT again...

2/16/2015 09:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

"The arcana do not provide us with cutandry & wideawake answers, but rather, render "us fertile in our creative pursuits.... An arcanum, is a 'ferment' or an 'enzyme' whose presence stimulates the spiritual and the psychic life of man." As such, these symbols are what we call essential vertamins to aid in our spiritual metabolism."

Sort of like beer for the mind.

2/16/2015 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Spiritual grog. It will deLiver us.

2/16/2015 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I always thought the word "unconscious" to be inadequate, to say the least.

2/16/2015 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think we have to differentiate between a functional unconscious where conflicts & traumas are "forced" from consciousness, vs. the vertical ocean of being which spans the infra- to supraconscious.

2/16/2015 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

True, so many words have been debased, denatured, or deracinated.

MOTT is a desk companion. I love that thing. I've also been wondering whether Jung is something I've been missing. Anyone have good experience there?

2/16/2015 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just as we need time so everything doesn't happen at once, we need an unconscious so that everything isn't in the same space of consciousness.

2/16/2015 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ben, when you put it that way I'm not sure I want to be deLivered. My liver is working just fine as it is... ;)

2/16/2015 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Jung is pretty dispensable. Wilber is correct that he didn't so much elevate the psychological as reduce the divine to the psychic. He's a gnostic in the bad sense.

2/16/2015 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As Wilber says, Jung conflates the prepersonal and transpersonal. As such, it is another case of dis-integration and re-fusion.

2/16/2015 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

However, it would be possible to take some of Jung's ideas and properly differentiate them.

2/16/2015 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Thanks, Bob, I'll keep on with Tomberg's Lazarus, Come Forth.

2/16/2015 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I have MOTT open today. It is essential.

2/16/2015 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Julie, what I meant was you can drink all the spiritual grog you want and you don't even need a liver, since it's not toxic...unless it's not of God.

2/16/2015 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Just as we need time so everything doesn't happen at once, we need an unconscious so that everything isn't in the same space of consciousness."

Aye, it would be a nightmare if we didn't have an unconscious.

2/16/2015 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's like a basement for your stuff.

2/16/2015 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

MotT was definitely more integrated after the 2nd read. I mean, I was.

Really enjoying the book on Origen by Balthasar, speaking of well-integrated.

2/17/2015 11:32:00 AM  

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