Thus, while mystical experience is intrinsically unitive, "the death of [a] tradition manifests itself in the degeneration of its constituent elements, which become separated." This is because tradition is more like an organism, a dynamic whole. Just as in the case of a human being, when the soul departs, the body disintegrates.
Contemporary liberalism is a quintessential example of the disintegrated parts of a more integrated tradition living on as detached parasites. Like any ideology, it is "a parasitic system of autonomous thought" which "bewitches or enslaves human consciousness and deprives it of its liberty." Which we wouldn't really mind if they weren't so adamant about depriving us of ours.
A person under such a spell -- our president being a prime example -- "can no longer see the world, or people, or historic events as they are." Rather, "he sees everything only through the distorting prism of the system by which he is possessed." As such, "a Marxist today is incapable of seeing anything else in the history of mankind other than the 'class struggle.'"
Which is why the Obama administration thinks the problem of ISIS can be solved by a job fair and maybe a little counseling on how to get that résumé in shape. Like, don't say "spent two years decapitating infidels in the desert." Rather, something like "two year program of medieval studies with subspecialty in penal justice."
Ideologies, or philosophical systems, or even theologies "separated from the living body of tradition [become] parasitic structures, which seize the thought, feeling and finally the will of human beings." They "play a role comparable to the psycho-pathological complexes of neurosis or other psychic maladies of obsession."
This is absolutely the case. Why? Because back off man, I'm a psychologist.
I would say that a successful ideology is a kind of readymade, or "off the rack" mental illness. An all around ideology will have various compartments in which to "plug in" one's complexes, drives, and conflicts, e.g., rage, envy, greed, the will to power, sexual confusion, desire to control others, inferiority, meaninglessness, etc. No matter how crazy you are, liberalism has a place for you. It's a big tent!
The bad news: its "physical analogy is cancer." Why cancer? Because cancer involves a revolutionary part that declares independence from the whole, and presumes to be the whole. 'Til death do you part. A cancer is ultimately suicidal. As is liberalism. It is unsustainable -- fiscally, morally, economically, spiritually, educationally, environmentally, aesthetically, demographically, etc.
A whole tradition requires whole persons to embody and vivify it. It doesn't really matter how integrated the system if the system fails to reproduce itself via integrated beings. The whole person, for VF, "is religious, contemplative, artistic and intelligent." Or, he must think truth (inwardly and outwardly), be creative, and "do" virtue. This unified wholeness exists in each of us in potential, but the (magical) trick is to actualize it.
How does one go about accomplishing this? VF highlights a couple of methods, the cultivation of silence and vertical openness, or what I symbolize (---) and (o), respectively. This facilitates vertical recollection, as it is difficult to integrate what has been forgotten. In any event, it is this "empty silence which serves to mirror the revelation from above."
Interestingly, in the Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiololgy, Siegel has a chapter on some of the necessary conditions of psychological integration and actualization. Being that these are necessary and not sufficient, they don't guarantee integrated wholeness. It is more the case that their absence will more or less engender fragmentation, dis-integration, and dissipation.
He lists seven mental activities (and perhaps "nonactivities") that need to take place on a daily basis: Focus Time, Play Time, Connecting, Physical Time, Time-In, Down Time, and Sleep Time. To exclude or overemphasize one or another will result in an imbalance, like lifting weights with only one side of your body.
Focus Time is closely paying attention. I am reminded of those studies showing that people who strenuously exercise their brains on a daily basis avoid the cognitive deterioration that comes with age.
This is an example of the brain's neuroplasticity, in that we can engage the will to actually change the structure of the brain: "When we focus on one thing at a time with interest and energy, we engage circuits in the brain that enable neurochemical releases locally and globally to initiate neuroplastic changes in the brain" (Siegel).
Maybe you haven't noticed, but these posts require a kind of sustained attention in order to understand what they are about. They cannot be skimmed, not necessarily because they are difficult, but because they are intensely focussed, and I want you to see what I am seeing.
Focus Time also allows you to grab the reins of your genome. Yes, really. True, you can't make yourself taller or grow a third eye. It's better than that! Via neurochemical mediation, Focus Time "supports the activation of genes necessary to create protein production and structural changes that underlie memory encoding and learning." It also "supports gene activation and synapse formation among the neurons that are activated with attention."
And if you fail?
We've all seen them: "After they complete formal schooling, many individuals stop closely paying attention. This may be a risk factor for developing dementia..."
Which is why "low information" and "liberal" are synonymous terms. Or maybe you haven't seen Watters' World on the Factor.