Friday, May 01, 2015

Escaping the Cosmic Matrix for the Open Womb

That last post probably wasn't entirely clear, but neither is Corbin. But the first thought that occurs to my vulgar mind is that it's a bit like the Matrix, for our earthly task "is to free ourselves from a trap that we do not know we are in" (Cheetham).

Here we have to tread cautiously, because we want to avoid the whole Gnostic-Manichaean thing about a divided world and about superior people being saved through knowledge.

Then again, the whole Gnostic-Manichaean thing has -- as do all heresies -- an element of truth to it, only exaggerated, or partial, or out of proportion with the totality.

You might say -- heh -- that there is a good and an evil Manichaeism, in the sense that of course there there are two worlds (light and dark, good and evil, slack and conspiracy, etc.) and of course the truth sets us free from the endarkened one. The principal difference, I suppose, is that the orthoparadoxical Christian insists all the same that there is just one world and that it's a good one, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding.

You could say that there is a world of appearances because there is a world of reality. They are not radically separate, because an appearance is still an appearance of something real, or it couldn't appear at all.

Which goes to the idea that evil is not only parasitic on the good, but even a more or less perverse expression of it. The sexual instinct in itself is still a good, despite what pedophiles and rapists do with it.

So yes, we are "trapped" in a false reality; or, we are always situated in a world with degrees of reality, and we fall when we become attached and devoted to a false one -- or when it attaches itself to us.

Interestingly, in response to a comment a couple of posts back, I linked to this piece by James Taranto on the phenomenon of oikophobia, which is "fear of the familiar." It is "the disposition, in any conflict, to side with 'them' against 'us', and the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably 'ours.'"

Having spent so much time among the tenured, I was once a Manichaean oik myself. If I try to think back on what that was all about, it was more than a little like a form of intellectual Gnosticism, through which tenured conformists are rendered superior owing to our possession of the Secret and Forbidden knowledge of real political reality. As such, I would have known exactly what Obama means with his evocation of bitter clingers and his general contempt for all things American.

One doesn't have to speculate about Obama being a secret Muslim and all that. Rather, he is a garden variety left wing oikophobe. He can't help himself from signaling his membership in that elite horde of clueless mediocretins.

Taranto raises an interesting irony, which is that the flyover country yahoos for whom the elites have so much contempt are the real cosmic universalists, because we actually believe, for example, that all men are created equal, whereas the left is obsessed with appearances and contingencies such as race, gender, class, etc. So in reality, our cognitive elites are in, of, and for the Matrix, and they do not hesitate to punish people who try to escape from it -- like "don't you dare call a thug a thug!" (These crazies literally want us to say nigger when, no, we really mean thug.)

This also goes to my own little idea about mind parasites through which you might say we import the matrix into our own heads. Now, "matrix" literally comes from mother and from womb. In short, it begins with concrete images and experiences, and only subsequently takes on the more abstract contemporary meaning of "something within or from which something else originates, develops, or takes form."

The matrix is always a container for a contained. Bion symbolized these two ♀ and ♂, respectively. So the a matrix is a ♀.

Obviously, man cannot live without various kinds of ♀. Think, for example, of your skin. Where would we be without it? Or, think of the boundaries of a sovereign nation. Where would we be without those? That's right, in a permanent liberal majority due to the ceaseless influx of low IQ Democrats.

Now, one of the important insights of interpersonal neurobiology is that we form boundaries of various kinds during our earliest development. One potential problem is that boundaries simultaneously permit thought but simultaneously limit it. If one is not conscious of this, one will inevitably confuse the container and content, which is a good way to take up residence in a false reality.

For example, scientism is a way to think about the world. But if one confuses it with the actual world, then one is trapped in a self-reinforcing matrix. It's the same with Darwinism, Marxism, feminism, or any other manmade container.

The only way to really be free is to escape human containment altogether. How do we do that? Well, for Christians it has already been done: thus the most radical idea possible, that the uncontainable absolute actually takes up residence in a human container -- including in a quite literal matrix-womb.

On the one hand, Christ liberates us from the containment of the Law, not to mention other containers such as slave vs. free, race, class, nation, etc. But to paraphrase Schuon, this new (un)container is at once less "burdensome" but all the more demanding, if you know what I mean. For example, now we go from merely avoiding concrete adultery to the impossible standard of complete purification of the interior heart. That's like the uncontainable within the uncontained.

For human beings, one thing that is contained by the container is "presence," and some containers allow us to be more present than others. Indeed, for the intuitive among us, this is quite experience-near, and can be felt in the... in the astral body, I guess. But we can all feel that dilation of space (or the painful opposite) that liberates us into a more expansive realm, like peeking through a hole in the wall and seeing the Grand Canyon. Wo, where have you been hiding?!

O, just a micron beyond that invisible wall you built.

As Cheetham describes, "The mode of presence is what situates us, what determines the quality of the space in which we live, and the nature of our relationship to the objects in our world, to what we can know. The mode of presence determines what can be understood..."

As we shall see, this very much goes to what we have recently written about personal idiom, for we recognize our idiom by virtue of the presence it evokes in us. And if God is really present in Jesus, well, that pretty much blows the ideological trains right off their existential tracks. And when Obama calls himself a "Christian," he actually means the opposite -- which is still a "form" of Christianity, only contained and perverted by ideology. In general, "liberal Christianity" is not so much an oxymoron as Christianity contained and more or less falsified by liberalism.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

On the Presence of the Past and Absence of the Present

Here is an orthoparadoxically correct formulation: "the Son of God, already 'feminine' (bearing a 'receptive womb') within himself, in turn generates the feminine in the created order, in order to be received in the created order, thus making possible his Incarnation" (Schindler).

Even so, I wonder if this is both too convoluted and too... I don't want to say "mythic" sounding, but is there a more abstract way of expressing it, such that it sounds more universal and less concrete? In other words, is there a way to think through or beyond the images?

Frankly, this is what I am always trying to do. I have no idea whether it is the right thing to do, but for me, the purpose of the words is to convey a truth, such that the truth and the words are separable, and the same truth can be conveyed in different terms. This was the whole idea behind trying to come up with "empty symbols" for the accumulation and storage of concrete spiritual experience and meaning. For clearly, the word "God" is -- or can be -- entirely different from the experience of God. After all, "Allah" just means "God." But does it really?

Think back to the first person who used the word (or a word for) God. Or better, think down. This is one of Corbin's points -- that "the past is not behind us but 'beneath our feet.'" Therefore, from a certain angle -- a 45˚ angle, to be precise -- human space "possesses all its fullness in every place," such that the past is "eternally present."

I give this statement zero pinocchios, because it is completely true. Time in this view becomes spatialized, because in reality, the soul is not so much in time as time is in the soul; or, it can be either way, depending upon whether we are outside-in or inside-out.

I can see this is going to get real convoluted real fast if I'm not careful. Unlike some Sufi mystics, I want to be very concrete and very clear. No mystagoguery here, just the cosmic facts.

It is humans who decide if there is a past at all, or rather, a present for the past. To take an obvious example, our Constitution is "in the past," but only if we allow liberals to triumph. In reality, it is right beneath our feet, so our task is to render it present so as to confer upon it a future. Ultimately, this is what prevents the past from determining the present. In the case of animals, this is the case, in that they are more or less enclosed in linear time. Only humans may "contain" the past.

Quintessentially one could say the same of God and religion. Tradition, one might say, is the presence of the past beneath our feet. The "me-and-Jesus" type who denies all continuity with the past is really a kind of mirror image of the scientific materialist who does the same thing.

How's that? See if the following makes sense, especially in light of our recent discussions about what happens when we split the world in two (matter and mind) and then wonder how the world got split in half.

If we travel back in time -- or rather, down below -- to before the Big Divorce, we see that being and thought are happily married. As we have expressed it before, it is not "I think therefore I am," but "Being Is (or I AM) therefore I think." As Cheetham puts it, "thought is an expression of a mode of being."

Indeed, we must posit this reality, on pain of a permanent restraining order between thought and being. Once you remove thought from being, there is no way to put it back, such that it becomes an absurd epiphenomenon, or just a kind of parasite on being. Any "alienated" person is coming at the world from this blunt angle. He is alienated because of a prior auto-alienation -- here again, not so much in the past as down below.

Ironic that the most pretentious and self-important thinkers are the ones who implicitly render human thought entirely trivial -- you know, atheists, Darwinians, neo-Marxists, community organizers, etc. Only the properly religious person puts a kind of ultimate value on human thought, not for its own sake, but because it is the cosmic membrane between us and Truth.

So, as we've been saying, the whole modern project is founded upon this dissociation of thought and being, resulting in a denial of the human [vertical] adventure.

Now, real thinking changes us. How could it not? To say that "I once thought that but I now think this" is to say "I have changed." But there are countless forms of pseudo-thought that leave the thinker unchanged, which goes back to what was said above in paragraph three, about the difference between the experience of God and the word God.

In order to experience God, we must be present to his Presence. Obviously, if we are present but God isn't, then our own presence is not only "empty," but really inexplicable. And if God is present but we aren't... well, that's another way of saying tenure.

Allow Cheetham to explain what I think I mean, nice and easy, one point at a time. First, "the objectivity of all the sciences is based on an impersonal, abstract, and distanced relation with the knower and known," in accordance with the Cartesian dualism.

BUT, when you do this, you unwittingly bypass the present, or rather, frame it in terms of something already known. This can be done in both microscopic and macroscopically aggressive ways. In the case of the latter, this is the function of ideology, which really ends up murdering experience -- the encounter with reality -- in the crib. All of the obnoxious "narratives" of the left are of this nature, which is why they render themselves incapable of contact with reality.

But worse, in the ultimate sense, the present is understood via something that is not there and which is absent. Therefore, absence becomes the new presence, which in turn explains why the leftist is always bitter, always alienated, and always insatiable. And frankly, always stupid. No amount of rioting will fill an immaterial emptiness, just as no amount of tenure will make you wise.

Ironically, the progressive is always living in the past -- not the past beneath our feet, but the abstract past that is the efficient cause of the present. Hence the whole category of victimhood, since victims are first and foremost automated consequences of the past they have constructed for themselves. In order to "set them free," they must exit that horizontal structure and enter the vertical. But to think as a victim is to forever live in the past and to render oneself absent to the Presence, both God's and one's own.

This will become clearer as we proceed out of the present, one eternal moment at a time. Or in other words, to be continued.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

When Your Outside is In and Your Inside is Out

Following up with yesterday's post, it reminds me of what the Raccoon Fathers used to say: if a miracle can happen in your head, of all places, then one can happen anywhere. But since man specializes in transforming the miraculous into the mundane, he ends up with the opposite: as above, so below, and as inside, so outside. In other words, the vertical is first flattened and then projected, so man is imprisoned in his own mayateriality.

Therefore, if your inside is, say, quantitative, or hysterical, or predictable, or liberal, don't be surprised if your outside is too. Likewise, if you don't acknowledge God, don't be surprised if he doesn't acknowledge you. I can understand being stupid, but why be so proud of it? Then your stupidity goes from being treatable to fatal.

Look at Obama, trying to blame the riots (the exterior) on "Republicans" (the obsessively hated fantasy object of his impoverished interior life). I don't know if it's fatal stupidity or fatal cynicism, but either way, it renders him dead from the neck up and the skull in. And it just reinforces the pathological mindset of such baltimorons, who will do whatever liberals tell them -- implicitly or explicitly -- to do.

Odd that the soulless Obama should tell us we need to do some soul searching. And when I say "soulless," I am again referring to his turning his world inside out and then calling his crystalized delusions "reality." But this is what liberals do. Which I wouldn't mind if they didn't try to force the rest of us to live amidst their ruinous delusions and negotiate through their nasty psychopolitical dreamscape.

Hmm. I wonder if I'm already falling under the influence of Henry Corbin, about whom I am reading a book called World Turned Inside Out? He was a Sufi mystic and scholar, but -- similar to Schuon -- much more than that.

From what I've read thus far, he's uncategorizable, and apparently, often incomprehensible. I don't yet know what to think -- for which reason I have removed him from the sidebar list of coming attractors -- and yet, there is much that is ringing the old interior bell.

In fact, when the bell rings, it is often because the thought occurs to me: "Aha! So this is what I've been doing for the past two decades! Or maybe Corbin was just doing what I am doing, but calling it something else. In other words, maybe he's a Raccoon and not a Sufi.

Than again, as Schuon says, maybe you need the clothing -- the exterior form -- to manifest the formless, just as, say, in the pathological sense, the liberal needs angry and miserable rioters in order to manifest and justify his liberalism. Likewise, no one needs racism more than the race pimps of the left, just as no one needs "rape culture" more than shrill and unattractive women.

Hold on, sharp turn. What is the liberal projecting -- what is he seeing -- when he hallucinates this thing called "homosexual marriage," a thing which has never existed and which cannot exist? This is not a knock on homosexuals, mind you. They exist, to be sure, and for more reasons than one. It is just that they cannot enter a state of marriage. They can no doubt enter other states, and I will even stipulate that they can enter states from which heterosexuals are excluded. But why pretend they are the same?

As it so happens, our next chapter in Schindler is on the subject of theology, gender, and the future or western civilization. For if civilization is the exteriorization of an interior, then we've already lost it, for it is just a matter of time before the exterior matches the interior of perhaps the most spiritually impoverished generation(s) in American history. Millennials are poised to impose the benefits of their abject spiritual vacuity on the rest of us by overturning the order of the trimodal soul.

For this question "cut(s) to the very heart of Christian faith and to the very foundations of human civilization." Note again that the civilization we have built -- the exterior -- is only the projection of an interior. This naturally involves the meaning of gender, "for gender implicates... our basic view of the world (ontology), and indeed our entire way of life (spirituality)."

Ironic, isn't it, that the left treats gender as the Most Important Thing In The World (along with race), and yet, utterly trivializes it. We agree on the importance, except the importance is a consequence of anterior principles as opposed to posterior ideology.

As we have discussed in the past, God creates human beings in his image, and (therefore) simultaneously male-and-female. Male-and-female "is" the (or an) image of God; in particular it is an icon of the Trinity, which redounds to the sanctity of marriage -- the very sanctity homosexuals wish to misappropriate.

Sanctity involves a flow of energies from one world to the next -- like the sunrise discussed in yesterday's post, someone has to be there to receive it. Any sacrament is like a window, or a transparency, between this world and the one(s) above.

Just as God's radical relativity (i.e., his tripersonal life) is not a deficit but a perfection, "the gender difference is thus a perfection, and this perfection is somehow inscribed in the very being of man and woman as created."

Deny this ontological fact, and you are setting yourself up for misery, because it is miserable to live at odds with reality. You will either be miserable, like a self-disempowered liberal, or create misery, like a liberal with power.

I don't know, perhaps "tradition" is partly to blame for regarding the feminine as some sort of deficit, or like "masculinity minus x." However, I think it is more due to fallen human nature, which infects everything, including religion. But it is also partly due to the exigencies of human development, in which the male, in order to be one, must declare his independence from Mother, even while having to return to the realm of the feminine in order to find mature love. There are glandmines everywhere!

As a consequence, the subterranean world of Mother Love can be more or less conflated with the realm of Sexual Love, resulting in a whole rainbow of pathology. Back before it was against the law to say so, homosexual impulses could often be illuminated in this developmental context. I mean, if heterosexuals can be sexually neurotic, why can't homosexuals be? Duh! For the same reason blacks can't be racist.

In reality, both masculinity and femininity are "perfections" in the platonic sense. When we tell a boy to "be a man," we mean that quite literally. And when we tell a woman to act like one, we are not being figurative, let alone sexist.

And critically, male and female can only achieve their perfection in union with each other (we will leave to the side people who for one reason or another are "solitaries" and who must achieve this same union on an interior basis). This goes to John Paul II's theology of the gift, whereby "love in all of its purity is not only a pouring forth but a receiving and giving back," in a metacosmic spiral of exteriorization and interiorization.

We could say that this goes to receptivity (feminine) and activity (masculine), so long as we stipulate that (as alluded to in yesterday's post) there is an active passivity at one end, and receptive activity at the other, and that these always interpenetrate; like the Trinity, they can be separated but not divided, or they could never be brought together. In other words, there is a deep interior unity beneath the fruitful and generative "polarity," symbolized of course by the (divine) child.

Note that there is nothing "passive" about the Son, even though (or especially because) he is the quintessence of receptivity. Furthermore, "the Father, who allows himself to be conditioned in return in his begetting and spirating, himself has a (supra-)feminine dimension."

Therefore, "God, precisely in the 'masculine' activity whereby he creates the world, allows himself to be 'affected by' the world; and he remains present within the world he creates. It is for this reason that Balthasar says that 'God's relation to the world is not only masculine... but womb-like and feminine...'" There is a fullness of both generativity and receptivity, and if it's good enough for them three, it should be good enough for us.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Miracles and Openings

In religious circles time tends to get a bad rap, no doubt due to that whole aging and dying thingy. As a consequence, there is a disproportionate valuation of eternity, as if time isn't in eternity and vice versa.

Or at least that's what I suspect, so I was pleased to read in Schindler how Balthasar "insists that the trinitarian life of God contains the 'original idea' of time." In short, if "something is happening" in the Trinity, then something analogous occurs in our experience of time.

Of this High Time, Schindler suggests that "The 'present' of the eternal begetting of the Son by the Father is an 'always-already having been' from the Father which is inclusive of an 'eternal future' for the Father."

To demythologize this somewhat, the present is always a kind of creative begetting from the source or ground. But this creative begetting has never not been, thus the "past." And it will never end, thus the "future." The vector of time is something like conception -> birth -> fulfillment, in a circular movement very much at odds with the idea of the "motionless mover."

For Schindler, this triple movement is "infinitely intensified in God." Instead of an eternal stasis in which God is the ultimate flatliner, the picture emerges of "eternal motion or 'movingness.' Rather than saying there is no becoming in God, one should speak instead of the 'super-becoming of the innerly-divine event.'"

Easy for me to say, since I cannot comprehend God in any other way. If "life within God" were "eternally the same," this "would imply a kind of everlasting boredom," or an eternal snoozefest. That's not slack, that's just unconsciousness.

Thus, I couldn't agree more that "God's trinitarian life is a 'liveliness' characterized by the always new and by 'surprise.'" Indeed, it is "a 'communion of surprise' (in the sense of an infinite ever-flowing fulfillment)."

You know, this is precisely what jazz is supposed to be, at least the kind I enjoy: a communion of musical surprise. I can't imagine the boredom of a musician having to play the same songs in the same way in every performance, night after night.

Demythologizing -- or just abstracting -- again, if the Father is "active action," then the Son is "passive action." The latter is by no means mere passivity, but rather, active receptiveness to the outflowing presence of the other.

I can relate to this somewhat, because this is what one does as a psychotherapist: one listens to the patient -- or attends to his or her presence -- in an actively passive way. "Listening with the third ear," as one psychoanalyst put it.

Similarly, Bion recommended suspending memory, desire, and understanding so as to be able to fully attend to the moment in a creatively open manner. Isn't this also the appropriate attitude for approaching scripture? For there the idea is not to superimpose a grid of predigested meaning, but rather, to have a real encounter with another Wording Presence.

"Activity and passivity in God are thus always-already different because of their relation to each other: activity is not 'merely' active, nor is passivity 'merely' passive." Rather, each is conditioned by, or in the context of, a love that really comes down to a mutual gift-giving.

Returning to the main theme, the divine movement described above is not some kind of defect "to be eliminated by eternity," but rather, a positive resulting in "an infinite deepening and intensification in eternity." Again, this is not the absolute negation of time, but rather, its very basis.

Otherwise neither time nor eternity make any human sense at all. Time becomes pointless and absurd, while eternity becomes... well, it doesn't become at all. The former is endless nothingness, while the latter is a nothingness forever.

But assuming the old formula of the Fathers, that "God becomes man so that man might become God," in more practical terms we might say that eternity becomes time so that time might become eternal. And it does so through God's mighty memory.

"Theory or contemplation become vacancy or boredom, or again, interiority becomes emptiness, for the person whose time has not been filled with eternity, and the form of whose life has not been invested 'with lucid stillness.'"

I'm thinking... this may help make sense of a provocative Schuonism I've been puzzling over for the last several days. Won't know unless I try.

It is in the context of a discussion of the miraculous in the book From the Divine to the Human, in which he says that "A miracle is like a sunrise: it pre-exists in the divine order and it manifests only in conjunction with a human opening."

In other words, the earth is always rotating, so the sun is always "rising" somewhere, depending upon the "human opening." Indeed, there is no such thing as a "sunrise" in the absence of a human observer, for in reality, "the sun is fixed in relation to the earth."

Now, if we jump up a cosmic octave, it is as if Nature is "a moving veil before an immutable supernature." As this veil of nature moves before supernature, all sorts of interesting things flow down and in.

Most importantly, the miracle as such "is prefigured by the eruption of life into matter, and all the more so by the eruption of intelligence both into matter and into life," to say nothing of "the eruption of Revelation" into intelligence.

Thus, there are outward miracles and inward miracles, but the former are always for the sake of the latter, which is ultimately "the divine Presence in the soul." However, here again, this divine presence is like the "eternal sunrise" which is only present for a human opening. But I still think it moves, in the same sense that the sun actually "moves," if only via its benevolent radiation of light.

Monday, April 27, 2015

From Foolish Knowledge to Learned Ignorance

Here's an orthoparadoxical thought to start your week with a headache: "The more the persons differentiate themselves in God, the greater is their unity" (Adrienne von Speyr, in Schindler). In etherworlds, "Unity and difference within the Trinity... are not inversely but directly related," such that it is a kind of eternally inspiraling -- and fortunately for us, outspiraling -- "evermore."

That is soooo different from any static and unchanging conception of God. This goes to the difference between orthoparadox and plain old paradox. An example of the latter is to define God as unchanging, and then go on to say that he cares about us, or suffers with us, or hates evil, or even "creates," creation being inconceivable in the absence of change.

We've circled this goround before, but why not just say that God is always All and yet allwise Evermore? This doesn't imply any deficit or "lack"; to the contrary, it implies an excess of love, of light, of creativity.

This is pretty much what Raccoon emeritus professor of orthoparadoxical studies, Meister Eckhart, says. Around here we give great deference to Professor Eckhart, because that guy was nuts! In fact, he was nuts enough to believe that "philosophy and theology did not contradict each other" -- however, not in such a way that theology is dragged down to the level of profane philosophy, but rather, that theology goes positively nuts:

"[E]verything that is true, whether in being or in knowing, in scripture or in nature, proceeds from one source and one root of truth." Or again, "All knowers know God implicitly in all they know" (Jean Leclercq). You can't know without re-membering a bit of God, no matter how hard you try to forget.

However, at the same time, Eckhart could affirm his amazement "that scripture is so rich that no one has ever penetrated to the ground of the least word of it."

Hear again, understanding cannot be reduced on the one hand to any kind of bonehead positivism or scientism, or on the other, to any kind of theological literalism. As if infinite truth can be so easily contained by finite man! Rather, both Bible and World -- each being a creative revelation -- contain "an inexhaustible fecundity of truths."

This is why the Raccoon is the most modest of all self-aggrandizing gnosis-alls, in that he is simply a lover of wisdom and seeker after truth. He is in love with Love -- the love of truth -- whereas far more laughty souls than ours are in love with eternal tenure.

Thus the eternally self-surpassing orthoparadox that "the only way to gain God is by constant unfulfilled pursuit" (McGinn). Looked at this way, the Raccoon is a much bigger atheist than any so-called atheist! For "it is of the very nature of the Divine Word to be hidden in its revelation and revealed in its hiddenness" (ibid.).

It's like any other game, wherein the point of the game is... the game. If you should "win," then it just means the game is over and then so too is the fun.

This, I think, explains the essential grimness of the left. They not only possess the truth, but it is a very unpleasant truth. They can try to make it funny, but they just come off as tasteless or clueless or mean-spirited, like the Jew-bashing humor of the Muslim world.

The systematic unKnowing of God, although it is "an uncomprehending, it still has more within it than in all knowing and comprehending outside it, for this unknowing lures and draws you from all that is known, and also from yourself" (Eckhart, in McGinn).

Think about it: any animal can and does merely know. But only a man can unKnow. There is of course an "ignorance" beneath knowledge, but there is also transknowing above, or we would be too stupid to know nothing.

I was actually looking for a passage that goes to what was said above about the "evermore" of the Trinity, and how this must be reflected in man. The following comes close, that "The eternal birth occurs in the soul precisely as it does in eternity... for it is one birth, and this birth occurs in the essence of and ground of the soul." Thus, like the Son, we are born again... and again, and again, and again...

For "The Father's speaking is his giving birth; the Son's hearing is his being born."

So, glory to the nowborn king.