Monday, September 04, 2006

One Cosmos Under a False God

Regarding yesterday’s post, Grant has graciously conceded that, as Will put it, “obnoxiousness in the defense of the Spirit is no vice" (it certainly can be, but it is clearly not always).

“However,” notes Grant, “there remains the sticking point of unity. In most credible spiritual systems, and as implied by the title of your own book and blog, everything that exists is of one piece, making Springsteen, moonbat that he is, contiguous with you, me, and everyone else. There is an appearance of division among people into separate beings but it seems clear that there is no actual division at all on a deeper level.

“The implication I am making is that everyone is the Self, and therefore it is logical to treat everyone as least as well as one would treat oneself. Following this line of thought, would you call yourself a moonbat or a spokeshole if you found yourself wrong about something? [Er, yes. I have many times made reference to my youthful jackassery.] Suppose you were mistaken about certain things, and you wanted to firmly correct your own behavior or beliefs--wouldn't you handle your self-correction with love, consideration and respect, even while being firm and severe? [Not really. In these matters there is no higher consideration than truth.]

“People are harsh on themselves sometimes--they may have inner dialogues that are terribly cruel. As rocker Graham Parker put it, ‘nobody hurts you harder than yourself. This self-inflicted pain is counterproductive. Therapists inculcate self-regard whenever possible, along with an ability to critique oneself honestly but without rancor or shame. [This is not true. Self-regard is worthless, if not harmful, if it is not based on an accurate view of reality, both internal and external. Both spirituality and good therapy aim at truth, not “self-regard.” Likewise, we should not treat others as they want to be treated, but as we--and by extension they---deserve to be treated. ]

“To finish my argument, I just have a lingering 10% suspicion that obnoxiousness, while effective for fostering changes, is unhealthy for the human corpus at large, the group Self, and the purposes that obnoxiousness serves could be accomplished in healthier ways. Could not Springsteen be seen as a mistaken friend rather than an alien entity to be belittled and discounted? Does Self love preclude severity and the ability to critique others?”

There are several points to be addressed here. First of all, you are confusing the meaning of “one,” something that new-age types generally do (although I have no idea whether you are in that category). As Coleridge put it, "two very different meanings lurk in the word, one."

As I wrote some time ago, “it cannot be forgotten that the positing of the One is not merely a dogma, but an experience--an experience vouchsafed to Moses on Sinai, as well as others before and since. In this regard, it is very similar to Vedanta, in that the Upanishads simply record direct encounters with the ultimate Mystery.”

“Allegorically, we enjoyed a continuous oneness with the Creator in Eden. However, this was not unity but oneness, something clearly not as lofty as unity, for unity requires our separateness from God, but then reconciliation at a higher, more complex and differentiated level, not a lower one of mere undifferentiated blending.... The name of God is the Name of the Unity of All Being. (Unity, not oneness.)”

The analogy with your body is exact. Your body, with all of its inconceivable complexity, is somehow a unity (in fact, disease, both physical and mental, may be thought of as a breakdown of this unity). If it were merely one, then it would simply be a pile of undifferentiated protoplasm.

In another post, I wrote that

“The difference between spiritual progressives and secular reactionaries is that they worship different gods--or more accurately, they have entirely incompatible understandings of the meaning of One. There is an antinomy between these two Ones: there is a left one and a right One--or more precisely, a higher One and a lower one.

“The Christian hermeticist Valentin Tomberg uses a visual image to conceptualize the problem. Imagine two cones placed base to base. At the top there is a point, in the middle an ‘equator’ where the bases meet, and at the bottom another point. Now imagine this as a sort of crystal. At the top is the white point where pure light, which is the synthesis of all colors, enters.

“As the light moves down toward the equator it becomes more and more differentiated into the various colors of the spectrum, until they reach their maximum degree of separation and intensity at the equator. Moving further down, the colors begin to merge until, at the bottom point, they once again lose all of their distinction and become black, which represents the blending and confusion of all colors. There is one sort of synthesis or Oneness above (the white point) and an entirely different kind of oneness below (the black point).

“The white point is analogous to wisdom, for it represents the underlying unity of all the different types of knowledge available at the equator, where all of the individual colors represent various disciplines and sciences.

“Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this, for it touches on the central point of my book and of this blog. The synthesis of all our seemingly contradictory truths lies ‘above,’ toward the white light of wisdom. If two seemingly contradictory things are true, say, the Book of Genesis and the theory of evolution, then their common source of truth must be found above, not below. There is a way to resolve the contradiction, but not by finding a compromise between the two at the "equator" or by simply confusing and blending them together below.

“For example, teaching intelligent design as an adjunct or alternative to natural selection is simply adding another color to the equator. Even worse, teaching it as the only truth would take both the Creator and science down to the black point, merging and blending science and theology in an unhealthy way. In fact, this is what is done in the Islamic world. Yes, they have intellectual and spiritual unity there, but it is the bad unity of the black point: One Nation Under God’s Boot Heel, so to speak. The identical thing happens in secular totalitarian states, or on leftist college campuses, where intellectual diversity is not permitted. What we want is to allow maximum diversity but to synthesize it on higher level, not eliminate it on a lower one: this is the meaning of One Cosmos Under God.

“Ironically, the secular left in America regard their fellow religious citizens as an incipient Taliban that wishes to enforce a black-point unity, when the opposite is true. That is, to the secular left, there is no white point above or black point below. Rather, there is only the equator, where we all live in our beautiful, diverse cultures and subcultures, none better than any other: multiculturalism, moral relativism, no objective or ‘privileged’ truth. And yet, multiculturalism and diversity are enforced from on high despite the fact that the left supposedly does not recognize the existence of morally superior cultural perspectives. What’s going on?

“In reality, the left is enforcing their absolute black point god, but simply denying it. They don't really care what culture you're from, so long as you are committed to diversity itself, and intolerant of any other view. This is nothing less than the unholy god of the black point flexing its muscle while pretending to be just another beautiful color in the reignbelow.

“In reality, there is no absolute system at the equator that can synthesize knowledge and explain our existence. There is only diversity and contradiction there, which is as it should be. Otherwise there would be no creation, nothing separate from the Creator. However, it is only the white light above that illuminates and unites everything below. We must maintain a commitment to that absolute white light that is reflected in all the relative truths at the equator, not to this or that relative truth enforced absolutely from below.

“Or we may simply affirm the trinitarian root of all goodness that is found on any coin: Liberty, In God We Trust, and E Pluribus Unum.”

On this Middle Earth plane we inhabit, God’s very purpose--or so we have heard from the wise--is to create a Unity starting from scratch, or from “bang,” if you will. Human beings are central to this task, as we embody the full spectrum of cosmic existence, and serve as the very link between above and below, the celestial and the mundane, the one and the many. There are forces opposed to this evolutionary progress, and it is our task to correct them, occasionally with divine severity. So yes, ultimately I am “one” with Bruce Springsteen and other moonbats, only on a level of reality that is inaccessible to them by virtue of their own benighted philosophies.

For it is written, "sometimes you have to crack on a bad egg to make an Om alight." Zen masters do it all the time. WHACK! Speaking of which, here's a koan: who's buried in Grant's duum?


ben usn (ret) said...

Eloquent, definitive, concise, ever truepoetic, Bob!

Thanks for conveying the Truth again, in such an uplifting and easy to grasp manner!

Happy Monday, my fellow and fellowette bobbleheads!

Will said...

My reference to Barry Goldwater aside, this is my idea of genuine obnoxiousness: a person who talks over the opposition, doesn't allow the opposition free play, belittles the opposition without meaningful qualification, and who constantly, boorishly demands the spotlight. You know, like Randi Rhodes. Or my cat, Fergus.

Obviously, Bob is none of these things.

Bob said...

Bob, I especially like that you believe in the need to correct, sometimes with divine severity. I do not hear that from Christian pulpits today. All I hear is turn the other cheek, be compassionate. I go to a multi-racial church where diversity is highly respected. But there is nary a word about those who wish us to submit or die. Have you noticed? It makes it so convenient for those who wish to incinerate us.

Gagdad Bob said...


You're right. The only way these perennial truths can be unknown is if political ideology is superimposed on them. In other words, the churches to which you refer are simply dealing in politics, not theology or metaphysics.

Interestingly if you look at the Kabbalah, one of the first dualities that occurs as you descend downward from the ain sof is mercy and severity (or grace and fear). Leftists emphasize half the duality, which means that the other half will return through the back door. Probably explains why leftists are such judgmental and totalitarian bullies.

Will said...

>>Leftists emphasize half the duality, which means that the other half will return through the back door. Probably explains why leftists are such judgmental and totalitarian bullies<<

And probably means the Severity is gonna fall on *them* someday like a wrecking ball from outer space. Just to say, hey - you've been ignoring me, and that's not proper.

MaxedOutMama said...

Regarding oneness - didn't someone still revered say "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out?" And don't we still follow that advice today if an eye becomes malignantly cancerous? We do so to save and not in order to destroy. An adherence to the greater life will sometimes result in a temporary, pinpoint elimination of someone or something set firmly on the course of destruction.

geckofeeder said...

Brilliant,funny,compelling,full of light, surprising, but where is Gagbaby? Happy Monday to you too Ben.

grant said...

Maxedoutmama, you've hit upon an analogy that really snaps the issue of spiritual severity or combativeness into focus for me; how, in the case of the cancerous eyeball that you mention, the organ is destroyed that a larger entity be saved. The organ is not hated, feared, or despised--rather, it is "sacrificed" in a spirit of regret. It has become dangerous or unhealthy to the unit as a whole and so must go.
I see now that when going into ideological battle against leftists, Gagdad Bob means to sacrifice them and their creed, (consign them to destruction) not because he hates, fears, or despises them, but for the good of humanity at large, so they do not fatallyi infect the culture. In this combat, he must be severe to prevail. This I did not grasp at first, which caused me some concern because I thought initially that I was reading an anti-spiritual subscript embedded in GDB's tone and rhetoric. I was mistaken.
Bob gives us his blog as a free gift (which he works hard to provide) and I did not take the gift in a spirit of gratitude but rather in a spirit of guarded judgement and suspicion. This wrong attitude I now let drop away.
Bob, if you are taking requests at this point, I would like to hear your take on emotions and the spiritual life. Aurobindo discounted any credible use for anger, hate, envy or lust by the god-lover. Do you agree with his absolutism, or does you philosophy admit to some uses for these emotional states? I go back and forth over this issue.

M. Simon said...

If a whack on the head won't do may I suggest drugs?

Is Addiction Real?

ben usn (ret) said...

Sacrifice must be worthy, to be any good.
The Jews never sacrificed a diseased donkey for instance.
I see the left akin to an illusionholic.
You can't begin to help an illusionholic until he wants help.
Those on the left have created their own version of reality, delusional
at the very least, and at the very worst... well, to make a long story short, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Michael Moore, Jimmy Carter, Cindy Sheehan, Barbra gets ugly, twisted and hideous.
For more detailed and outstanding info., see the archives Of Dr. Sanity, Shrinkwrapped and of course, Bob.
And speaking of the left, Re: envy and lust,
you should peruse Bob's outstanding Bobservations of the 10 Commandments, last month.
As for hate and anger-
There is one use.
Evil should anger us. That's righteous anger, without any smugness.
We should hate evil, and what it does.

grant said...

ben usn, I agree with your assessment of the only proper use of anger and hate is to respond to evil. But, I assert that an effective response to evil can also be mounted free of these emotions. It's a question of utility and efficiency. Should one expunge these (mostly useless)emotions out of oneself, or retain them for their last single justified use? Do they help or harm the cause of spiritual combat?I don't think this question has been adequetely settled.
As for lust and envy, I did read most of Bob's tract on the ten commandments, and I think envy is a dead issue, but lust is another matter. If one isn't lusty to some degree, how does one maintain a marriage? Sexual energy has to be shoehorned into the spiritual life somehow. Yet, spiritual leaders seem to put out virtual fatwas on lust at times. It's a spiritual grey zone in which many struggle.

Sal said...

There's sexual desire and then there's lust. Just like there's hunger, and gluttony.

Being designated a mortal (deadly) sin always means there's a disproportion involved.
This can be wrong object, wrong time, wrong amount - but something's wrong, not in balance, serving the self rather than others.

Curiously, after Mass on Sunday, a woman I've known for 30 years, but haven't seen in about a decade slipped into my pew, to see if it was actually me.
We had both belonged to the same Anglo-catholic Episcopal parish here, but I had converted to Catholicism 20+ years ago, and had eventually lost touch with most of those folk.

(A-C's have an odd love/hate relationship with 'Roman' Catholicism - you become kind of the spectre at the feast once you pope it.)

She then told me not only her conversion story, but also that of the P's, the S's, the B's, the C's etc. etc. - a whole slew of people had left, over the unChristian sexual shenanigans of the Episcopal Church heirarchy. A worse example of leftist agenda driven wreckage would be hard to find.

MaxedOutMama said...

Grant - I'm somewhat autistic myself, so I see your point about anger. But Dr. Sanity has written very well about the uses and misuses of emotional instincts (subordinated and checked by rational thinking). I think you should refer to her.

As the "sacrifice", I disagree with your chacterization. I very much like Ben's comment, but I would like to take it further. Let's go back to the analogy of malignantly cancerous eye. It cannot sustain its own life, and its further existence will destroy what life it has, by destroying the body that supports it. So in removing the eye, we do not sacrifice or destroy anything. We only preserve.

And the truth is that leftists need not be destroyed, and that combatting their ideas with argument is in no way an attempt to destroy them. The malignant leftism of our times seems bent on destroying the society which sustains it. If Bob succeeds, they live. This is the very opposite of sacifice.

MaxedOutMama said...

Sal - as a renegade Episcopalian myself, I must agree.