Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Cosmic Struggle of Darkness and Light: What Else is New?

Went to bed thinking about the bad craziness in the world, but drifted off to sleep thinking about eternity with the help of Arvo Part, the great Russian Orthodox composer of contemporary sacred music. Woke up thinking about the intersection of time and eternity and about mankind’s 40,000 year struggle toward the light.

Part was born in Estonia in 1935. At the time it was free and independent, but became part of the Soviet Union after World War II. Like Jesus, he ran afoul of the imperial authorities, especially when his compositions began to openly express his Christian faith in 1968. This was an incredibly courageous thing to do, because one never knew how the Party might react. Shostakovich before him always kept a bag packed in case of the midnight knock on the door. Probably not as scary as it is for Bruce Springsteen or the Dixie Chicks to live under President Bush, but still...

Brilliant light amidst near total darkness. Here is where any kind of mere rationalism or materialism fails utterly as an adequate philosophy, for this metaphysical light and darkness are real, as real as anything you can touch, see, or taste. Or, to put it another way: if you cannot see the transpersonal light--and I'm speaking figuratively here, because many good but irreligious people experience that light without ever thinking about it--then you are likely either a subhuman or a monster, for you have specifically rejected that which makes you human and elevates you above the beasts. Those were real monsters that ran the Soviet Union, and it is monsters of depravity from the same infrahuman abyss that we are fighting today.

If we as a species ever lose our ability to intuit the divine light, then all hope--all reason for hope--is truly lost. The metaphysical light of which we are speaking can be demonstrated to exist, but only to those who are inclined to see it. As a matter of fact, our higher intellect knows no doubt as it pertains to this noetic light, but the intelligence can be so twisted by modern ideologies superimposed on mind parasites that it is reduced to a mere virtuality--a remnant of itself. Materialism and rationalism bring us a deceptive lucidity that is all artificial light.

As Schuon has said, when worldly intelligence---which is to say, unintelligence--”joins with passion to prostitute logic, it is impossible to escape a mental satanism which destroys the very bases of intelligence and truth.” People in the West who call themselves "atheists" are nevertheless usually capable of knowing the light--which is why they are not monsters (as a number of commenters mentioned yesterday, in the case of an Ayn Rand.)

Yesterday we discussed the miraculous appearance of a sliver of light in the midst of the darkness of antiquity: the Jewish people. Prior to their turning toward the light, they had nothing to recommend themselves. They were as barbarous as the next tribe, perhaps even more so. People routinely misunderstand the phrase “chosen people,” as if it means that G-d chose the ancient Hebrews because there was something special or virtuous about them. Quite the contrary. G-d first approached many other more “worthy” peoples, all of whom rejected Him. The Hebrews were simply the only group to take G-d up on his offer.

So the uncreated light was there, but no one was interested in it until the Hebrews decided to try to become a vehicle for it. If you are Christian, then the later appearance of Jesus cannot be comprehended outside the prior preparation of a people to bear that light. It is inconceivable that Jesus could have appeared as a Greek, a Roman, a native American. Where else was he supposed to appear? It had to be in some place that was at least receptive to the light.

It is absurd that contemporary scholars continue to convey flattering ideas about ancient Greece and Rome. Being that they are mostly secularized minds, they do not understand the real drama of history: the struggle between darkness visible and uncreated light. Yesterday we discussed some of the innovations in Jewish child-rearing practices that began to allow the light in. Actually, the key is simply not to deliberately do things to destroy the primordial light that every human being is born with. I see it in my son. It is so obvious--it just radiates. Other people see it. You can’t miss it.

But most people do, especially down through history. Whether it is because of some primordial envy of the innocent light, or a mere repetition of what happened in their own childhood, people pass on their darkness to their own children, generation after generation. There is a reason that there is so much focus on the baby Jesus and upon his relationship with Mary--all of those nativity scenes at Christmas time are conveying a truth and a light that is way beyond what mere words can communicate. It is a straight line from the altar of Abraham to the nativity--from sacrificing children to a dark god to cherishing and nurturing the light in them.

Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Quite the opposite. You are hopelessly historo-centric and ethnocentric if you fail to realize how rare this attitude toward children is. The monsters among us are attracted to children in an entirely different way. There is a deep psychological reason why child sacrifice was so ubiquitous in the ancient world, and why it is so pervasive, albeit in disguised form, among our enemies today.

The death-worshipping Palestinians--perhaps the most sick and evil culture since the Ancient Aztec--systematically poison the souls of their children with hatred of the light before sending them off to murder innocents on behalf of their sinister god. They use their children as “human” shields, for that is what they are: the little humans that the monsters hide behind, for some part of their twisted mind realizes that we value their children more than they do. And if one of them is accidentally killed, the monsters know how to play on our guilt. Although they cannot empathize with children, they intuit that we have a soft spot for them, and know that they can manipulate our sensibilities with the cooperation of the dupes of the Western media.

As usual, this post is veering into unintended directions. I had wanted to discuss the barbarity of ancient Rome and the miracle of Jesus’ light appearing in such a dark and detestable world. Gladiators mutilating Christians to the roar of the crowd, grotesque animal sacrifices, mass slaughter of prisoners on the battlefield as an offering to their bloodthirsty gods. Rampant child rape and abuse. Starvation of children, boy brothels in every major city in the Empire, slave boys kept for sexual pleasure, children sold into concubinage.

The literature of antiquity abounds with details of how it was necessary to beat children in order to drive the demons out of their minds. One book notes that “When the Emperor Diocletian became ill in 303 AD, the state required a general sacrifice. Anyone who did not sacrifice a child during the Emperor’s illness would be immediately executed.” When he was 22, Nero murdered his own mother out of fear that she would kill him first. Nero and Caligula inaugurated so many grotesque cruelties that I don't think I want to even mention them. It will ruin your day.

Crucifixion was the product of the most lingering and painful death the Romans were capable of imagining in their sadistic minds. Although they didn't invent it, they perfected the process, making it as slow and agonizing as possible. The length of survival on the cross might go on for as long as four days, with insects burrowing into open wounds and birds of prey tearing at the victim. I could go on, but I won’t. You’ve probably seen the Passion of the Christ anyway.

“Thou shall not murder” made no sense whatsoever to the Romans. Nor did “I am the light, the way, the truth.” Has anything really changed? Same evil, new axis. Some people need to see the darkness before they can appreciate the light. If so, be sure and read LGF every day for dispatches from the front, where light does battle with the absolute darkness of our enemies--enemies of humanity, enemies of God, enemies of the light, enemies of progress, and enemies of all that is decent and holy.


michael andreyakovich said...

The problem is that, unlike the crusaders, the Inquisition, and the masterminds of pogroms, the Palestinians are a threat to the Jews RIGHT NOW.

The Bunnies said...

Furthermore, the multi-cultis continue making excuses for whatever depravity the Palestinians can come up with, as opposed to those you listed.

You see, the difference is that those you listed are Western, and the Palestinians are not.

karrde said...

Bob--With your comments about the chosen people, I am reminded of Tevye in the musical Fiddler on the Roof.

He is talking to himself and God about the troubles of being a member of the Chosen People, when he suddenly looks up to the heavens.

"You know, sometimes I wonder why You couldn't choose someone else every once in awhile?"

Being the Chosen People was not easy, nor was it much of a sign of the good nature of the people chosen.

The prophets of Israel fulminated long and hard against the people for their stiff necks and rebellious attitude towards G-d. Many times they inveighed against religious patterns that included burning children on an altar to Moloch.

Yet that long history of the unfolding of the light in the minds and hearts of the Children of Israel is now part of the Christian Scriptures. It is a valuable part of the vertical literature of history.

jonathon rosen:

It is true that the spiritual descendents of the Chosen People (the Christians) often did not remember their debt to the Jews.

It is also true that such persecution would go in fits and starts. (Did you know that Germany was the friendliest place for Jews in Europe during the 19th Century? That is one of the things that made the Holocaust so shocking in the 20th Century.)

It is equally true that during the short period of history when certain leaders of the Jews had more influence with the Imperial authorities than any Christian did, that those Jewish leaders tried to destroy the nascent Christianity.

Plainly put, it has taken several millennia for the two parts of the same spiritual family to learn that they should respect each other. If neither side had claimed that its understandig of the vertical world was important, and that everyone needed to have the right understanding of the vertical world, then we would not have received the light that they had received.

It is sad, but true, that if neither side was willing to kill (or die) for the Truth, then they wouldn't have had a firm grip on Truth.

In the modern world, America is probably much more friendly to Jews than Europe. One of the causes of this is probably because the American believers still have some memory of religious dissidents who were uprooted from the Old World due to persecution. This nation has an inherently friendly attitude towards most minority religious groups for that very reason.

And now we see that old darkness, the old hatred of Jews and the Children of the Light, manifest among the Islamists of the Middle East--Palestinians not the least among them.

Charlz said...

Mr. Rosen,
I fear you may have missed the point. I think the crusaders, the inquisitors, and the perps of pogroms did not use their children as the Palestinians do.

And, your antagonism is showing . . . what is the origin of that?

Petey said...

More than his antagonism is showing.

Tamara said...

I believe that Judaism was quantum leap forward in humanity's spiritual and moral evolution. Likewise, Christianity was absolutely essential in enabling Western civilization to break free from the dead end of the pagan outlook.

Bubba K said...

part of your post brought to mind:

"...Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, 60
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 65
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows, 70
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended; 75
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day...

from the Ode, Intimations of Immortality from the Recollections of Early Childhood

HV said...

Mr. Rosen seems to be unaware that it is possible to be critical and polite at the same time.

Petey said...

Yes, but probably not insane and polite. That would be asking too much.

jwm said...

I just came back from checking a few threads over on LGF. I've been watching all day; it's scary. Several people I correspond with believe we are heading for the End Times; that current events are corresponding to prophecy, and we are headed for the showdown. Not like a hideous full blown world war couldn't happen. And the enemy is almost a cartoon charicature of Evil. We're fighting this evil by increments now. In a way we're looking at the Cuban Missile showdown again. It feels that serious.
What fascinates me is the appeal of End Times thinking. There's a weird comfort in thinking it's all going to spiral out of control, but then God comes to the rescue at the end. There's that feeling that if you're going to die anyway, you might as well go out with a lot of company, and what the hell- seeing the end of the world would be kind of cool. I'm only half way joking, here. As it is we acknowledge the danger, but something in us us shields us from the immanence- the same way you only get a true notion of your mortality when you have to jam on the brake pedal, or jump to get out of the way of a car. Say a prayer for Isreal.


jwm said...

Dang, I just had a whole post disappear, and now I don't want to write it all over. Maybe that was a cosmic cue to get to the point. I've been watching The Blogosphere on and off all day.
It's scary. Some people I know believe we are heading for the End Times. There is something strangely appealing about the end of the world. It's almost an escape valve of sorts. But then again, it's appealing because you don't really believe it, just like you don't believe in your own mortality until you have to jam on the brake pedal.
This is starting to look like the Cuban Missile showdown. It feels that serious. Pray for Israel.


Gagdad Bob said...


Your posts didn't disappear--we just have a couple of insanely obsessive trolls, so I had to institute comment moderation until they get a life.

If nothing else, these maniacs demonstrate how light attracts the darkness.

Gagdad Bob said...

And while you're praying for Israel, don't forget the Christians of Lebanon:

Jimmy J. said...

It is difficult for me to understand people who don't love their children more than life itself.

When I became a father I felt such a deep love and connection for our son. It seemed that it was only then that I finally understood the depth of God's love for humanity.

When we see our children make mistakes, get ill, or hurt themselves it is so painful. I often imagine how God must sometimes weep over all the insanity He sees on this chaotic Blue Marble.

I think you're on to something about the way cultures, nations, or races regard their children. It is a key to finding a path toward the light.

Thanks for the lesson.

Aquila said...

Bob & everyone else,

I left this post on the LGF thread about Lebanon. It seems especially appropriate now:

Psalm 91 - Yoshev B'Seter

"You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Omnipotent,
I say [to you] of the Lord who is my refuge and my stronghold, my G-d in Whom I trust,
that He will save you from the ensnaring trap, from the destructive pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions and you will find refuge under His wings; His truth is a shield and an armor.
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
the pestilence that prowls in the darkness, nor the destruction that ravages at noon.
A thousand may fall, at your [left] side, and ten thousand at your right, but it shall not reach you.
You need only look with your eyes, and you will see the retribution of the wicked.
Because you [have said,] "The Lord is my shelter," and you have made the Most High your haven,
no evil will befall you, no plague will come near your tent.
For He will instruct His angels in your behalf, to guard you in all your ways."

Ben USN (Ret) said...

Great post, Bob.
Would you please explain how children who are raised in darkness, still manage to see the light?
I know it is rare, but it does happen.
The Iraqi boy, a tenager, who turns his own insurgent-terrorist father in, disowned by his own family who want him dead.
And yet, he still did the right thing.
The Afghan man who converted to Christianity, turned in by his own family, and would not renounce his faith, under penalty of death, forsaking his family for
A girl in America, beaten and raped repeatedly as a child by her father, addicted to drugs half her life, finds the Light of Jesus.
The examples are more prevalent in America, because good is more prevalent.
The Iraqi boy saw the good in the Soldiers, they were nice to him and his friends. They didn't beat him, or say mean words.
The man from Afghanistan saw the love and caring of Christian relief workers in Pakistan, and he saw how dialectically opposed it was to Islam.
There are many such examples throughout the world, and though they are rare in the darkest cultures and regimes, they will not be snuffed out by evil.
Hope is ever present, and Light will never succumb to darkness.
One day, maybe soon, maybe far in the future, no human knows, Light will scatter the darkness, and Good will overcome evil.
In fact, it is already finished.
I felt kind of down before I wrote this.
Bob's post did something to me, and this is part of the result.
I feel up now. :^)
G-d is always in control.

Ben USN (Ret) said...

Posts by my fellow Bobbleheads helped, also, I must add.
G-d's Word gives peace in times of trouble.

Kerry said...

The Annus Dei from Part's Berlinner Mass is a personal favorite of mine. Also his Canon Pokajanen. It pleases me to hear of another Part admirer. Veni Sanctus Spiritus.

Gagdad Bob said...


If you can make your point without being sarcastic, I'll be happy to publish it.

Van said...

I've been reading this series of post with great interest, but I suspect that you may be overplaying both the Pro's of the Jew's and the Con's of the Greco-Roman's.
Recall that both cultures (Jew's & Greeks) were the first to begin to step out of the darkness, the Greeks with Reason, and the Jew's with the poetic idea of Goodness being one, what eventually became monotheism - keep in mind though, that the early Jew's weren't monotheists - they believed there were many God's, they just chose to keep it simple and attach themselves to just one (pardon the cheek).
While the Greeks, and later Roman's acceptance of pederasty is indeed strange, I think if you check deeper into your sources, you'll find that that was more of an aberration of the elite's, sort of like our current elite's adoration of all things "Will & Grace" swishy-ness gone wild. It may get approval in some parts of the city’s but step into the 'burbs and it gets a whole different kind of attention. Still though, it did exist, and accelerated as civilization grew, and that, as well as the norm of making women virtual shut-in's (more among the Greeks, lessening among the Roman's) couldn’t help but have a warpening affect upon their cultures.
I would argue that it was a bit of a vicious circle, in that the Greeks having raised Reason to the center of their admiration, found little of it being evident among their closeted women. I think Men are naturally drawn to femininity, and if the truly feminine - woman - who having been shut-in, demonstrated little or no evidence of their central focus of admiration, Reason, they out of necessity sought substitutes for the idealized mind & body femininity elsewhere, which left children as their hapless and sickening focus.
But cut them some slack, they were the first to step from the darkness and towards "Sweetness & Light"; the practices you mention were EVERYWHERE the norm.
History gathers momentum so slowly, it takes a great deal of time to pick up speed. The Greeks, beginning with the philosophers & playwrights of the Periclean age were beginning to question why Woman was thought to be inferior, and in time I think they would have corrected themselves through the implacability of Reason as it continued to question all.
The Jews, on the other hand, may have been the first to value the children (I applaud your post's insight here, I hadn't thought of Abraham & Issac from that perspective before, or the idea of where else would Love thy Neighbor be heard, but among the Jews?), but if you've read the old testament lately, there's a whole lot of darkness persisted there, towards women, children & all else.
But please cut the Greeks & Romans some slack, take another look at Plato, Aristotle, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Cicero, and remember that they were the first of their kind to begin trying to shrug off the darkness of thousands of years, and your style of writing and analysis (not to mention the science that made Blogs possible) owes far more to them than to the Old Testament.
(I’m trying to dash this off before being late for work – ooh, too late - and it looks more antagonistic than intended, sorry GOTTA GO!, I really enjoy your site)

Gagdad Bob said...


Temperament counts for a lot. There are just some very robust children who can undergo the worst abuse and turn out fine. Others can have all the advantages and turn out to be bad people. There's also an x-factor, an element of grace, that is well beyond any psychoanalytic explanation.

Gagdad Bob said...


Yes, we are necessarily speaking in large generalizations. And yet, there was a time that virtually all children had what we would call an abusive childhood. True, primitive and barbaric people were primitive and barbaric, including the ancient Hebrews. And yet, we clearly see the dawn of a new concern for children and women, that sliver of light I'm talkign about.

You are correct that men are naturally drawn to femininity, but not without ambivalence. Likewise, almost all parents love their children, but not without ambivalence. It seems that the further back in history you go, the more ambivalence there is and the more it is acted out rather than internalized as a neurosis.

And there is no doubt that some of the Greek philosophers intuited the light, especially, of course, Plato. But his ideas did not trickle down to the masses.

Anonymous said...

GB -
Your article says that the Light first became apparent to/among the ancient Jews. However, I think the ancient persian Zoroastrians are generally credited with being the first religion which was concerned with what we call "ethics" - vs. trying to make crops grow, defeat enemies, prevent disease, and so on.

Would not the Zoroastrians count as the first group to get en-Lightened?

Anonymous said...

Israel is the heart of the planet. If we pray and focus our love there, light will prevail. It is this darkness that the whole World is in that is giving us a chance to reawaken the light forces--within ourselves, within others and beyond. Blame must be removed. We all originate from the heart. Those things that we hate most in others are those same things that we fear in our own potential for darkness. There is only one answer and it will remain… LOVE

Yahweh said...

That and hating evil.