Blogging Under the Influence
As you can see from the sidebar, I've been reading Robert Spitzer's trilogy -- soon to be a tetralogy -- on happiness, suffering and transcendence. Right now I'm in the middle of volume 2, The Soul's Upward Yearning: Clues to Our Transcendent Nature from Experience and Reason. The whole structure of the series is a bit like One Cosmos (the book), except it is much more sprawling and sometimes repetitive, taking him four books to carefully convey what I recklessly packed into one eccentric flight of fancy.
For example, in my book there is a very brief passage on What It's Like to write under the influence of the Holy Spirit. I didn't put it exactly that way, but there is something in there vis-a-vis having one's language conditioned from above, as opposed to coming out in a mechanical or precogitated way -- about truly speaking instead of being spoken by language.
As an aside, the One Cosmos book -- very much like the blog -- was simultaneously written and discovered. It is by no means a work of "scholarship," although I naturally brought in scholarly support when and where I could.
You could say that the book is both experiential and phenomenological. If read in the proper spirit of discovery, it is as if we can take a cosmic adventure together, starting at zero and ending in O. It's a whatchamacallit... a journey from innocence to experience, only on a metaphysical plane. I couldn't write the same naive book today, because I "know" too much. Now I have proper names for all the experiences.
As I've mentioned before, one of the shocks of my life is that the names for all these experiences already existed in Christianity. Thus, nowadays I deploy Christian words, symbols, and concepts for the experiences, but the experiences came first.
Which goes back to the subject of today's post, alluded to above with the remark about language and the Holy Spirit. Again, in my case, I made an independent discovery that my writing could be conditioned from above by some nonlocal force. Now I call it the Holy Spirit, but at the time it was just a seemingly disorganized raid on the wild godhead.
Anyway, in Spitzer's Book One there is a whole chapter devoted to Divine Inspiration and Guidance, with a subsection on The Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and I've never read anything that so closely parallels my experience. For example,
"Every time I write a book or an article, I begin with a vague or general idea that suddenly turns into a very clear, detailed tractate, expressing ideas and wisdom far beyond my own."
At one point "I tried to flatter myself by thinking that, well, perhaps I was being incredibly and spontaneously insightful in the writing process..." This was around the time I was struggling with what I was going to call the cult.
"[B]ut then it occurred to me that I had never really thought about most of the fine points I was making -- not even for a moment." And "after literally dozens of occurrences of this kind of inspiration," he concluded that "while I did play some role in the writing, another wiser and more subtle agent was also integral to the process." Yes, that's right -- Petey.
"Jesus intended to give the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to all believers," such that we should call upon its in-spiration "whenever we need spiritual wisdom or want to communicate that wisdom to others." Which is pretty much all the time. Thus, you should call upon the Holy Spirit to read these posts just as much as I do to write them. Among other things, this will help you discern when I am full of it.
Which is always possible, being that I never know what I am talking about. Spitzer has the identical experience when writing on a subject that is relatively new to him. It would be accompanied by a distinct sort of excitement which is "part of the Holy Spirit's encouragement -- and if I seized the moment, I would begin speaking or writing about the subject as if it had been a product of long reflection."
In the book I refer to it as being drawn into the Great Attractor. Likewise, Spitzer says it is as if one is "drawn into ideas and ideals about which you were not previously thinking. You will probably be startled by these new ideas [?!] and wonder how they popped into your imagination..." However, "if you go with the inspiration into the new domain, you might notice how your thinking becomes expansive, and in some cases, explosive" -- what we call depth charges.
Something similar occurs to me when reading Deep Truth. Spitzer talks about this experience as well, for it must come from the same source that "guides us to all truth." "I kept thinking, 'Wow! That's right.' I didn't know why it was right (yet); I just knew that it was 'spot on.' I had an inner conviction... about truth that I could not yet justify. I... wondered how I could be so sure about something for which I had not yet mastered the rationale."
That's exactly how it is for me: there are certain truths that, when I hear them, it is as if a key fits perfectly into the lock. My mind says "case closed," such that there is no reason to spend any more time pondering the question. The gnosis is settled!
One can also experience the other side of this via our coon-scent. It is "the opposite experience of feeling a conviction about falsity" which is communicated through a feeling of emptiness or negativity or alienation or darkness. It's that feeling you get -- or that sulfuric odor you detect -- when Obama, or Pelosi, or Hillary, or Harry Reid, or Josh Earnest open their mouths.