Sunday, October 01, 2006

Meditation: Gracing the Skids with Assisted Cluelesscide (10.13.11)

We left off yesterday discussing the three modes of spiritual knowing: meditation, concentration and prayer. Why three modes? Because man is a being made of intellect (which relates to truth), will (which relates to virtue), and heart (which relates to love). Meditation addresses itself to the intellect (not the profane intellect of the worldly intellectual, but to the uncreated intelligence), while concentration (as we will be using the term) applies to the will, and prayer to the heart (not the physical heart, of course, but the integral being, or “mind in the heart”).

Each of the three modes is polarized into a duality. In the case of meditation, the duality is discernment <---> union (the former being objective, the latter subjective; in the first instance, we must differentiate between the Real and unreal, and then assimilate the Real). Another way of saying it is that meditation is the way we transform religious know-how into spiritual be-who.

Before we even start, I should probably emphasize that I am not a spiritual do-it-yourselfer, which brings an element of will into the discussion. I tried the “willful” approach for a number of years, but didn’t really get anywhere with it. This is what the Buddhists call jiriki, or “self power,” as opposed to tiriki, or “other power.” In our language it is a matter of grace vs. effort. Being that I didn't have any faith in a higher being, I couldn’t very well rely upon the assistance of that higher being, now could I? Also, being then of a rationalistic (in the limited sense of the word) strain, I was initially drawn to atheistic approaches such as Zen or Taoism. Left to my own efforts, I was simply unable to get nowhere fast enough.

It was only starting in 1995, when I made the decision to consciously surrender to some nonlocal assistance, that I started gaining some traction in hyperspace. You know, harvesting. Born again from above. Leaving my alter egos on the ego altar. Repossessed and amortized. Cashing in my chimp. Nilling mysoph to a blank. Getting the keys to my luxury corps. Blissting off from the errport on the higher planes. Departing in order to bewholed. All that stuff.

So bear in mind that all my advice must be understood in the context of a real relationship with an unlimited partner. For me--and I imagine for most westerners--a human partner is best (living or "dead," it doesn't matter), since our consciousness is infused with the principle that the logos may go so low that it glows in human form. Although one form may transcend and surpass the others--I don’t want to get into that argument right now--I know for a fact that there is more than one who is capable of transmitting a real grace and a real spiritual power and presence. Of this I have no doubt, because, for one thing, we are talking about a cosmic principle, not a one-time violation of a cosmic principle. In fact, Orthodoxy compels assent to this more general principle, what with the veneration of the saints, starets, and early fathers.

Also, bear in mind that it is almost always necessary to find this nonlocal assistance in an established orthodox tradition. This is why manmade, improvised new-age approaches wrenched from their sacred context do not work. Real traditions are protected by forces that guard against egoic vulgarians who wish to take heaven by storm. Outwardly this is called “dogma,” but there is an interior protection as well that ensures that the fruit of the usurper or false prophet will always be unsound. Once you get your bearings in the domain of spirit, it is easy to pick up most any new age book and play Spot the Heresy!, usually on the first page. It gets boring real quick.

According to Schuon, in meditation, “The contact between man and God becomes contact between the intelligence and Truth, or relative truths contemplated in view of the Absolute.” In other words, meditation acts upon the intelligence (in the deeper sense, as defined above) in order to awaken certain timeless “memories” (vertical memories, as it were) and to engage the higher imagination (as discussed in yesterday's post). This is how truth is metabolized and assimilated into the being--it is a very organic process which exactly mirrors mundane, horizontal learning.

That is, as I noted in my book, the process is identical, just applied to a different plane. In both cases, there is a knowing subject, a plane of phenomena, and a transformational space in between. In each case we are dealing with what Aquinas called adequation between subject and object. It is just that in spiritual knowing, we are working with knowledge that transcends the senses (although not always, and not forever, since the higher intellect is capable of seeing the material world as a “theophany” of God, a principle that we routinely rely upon in order to appreciate the noetic light that shines through a great work of art, or simply perceiving the naturally supernatural beauty of the Old Master Painter himself).

Again, I am not big on attempting to spiritually lift oneself by one's own jirikstrap. For one thing, it chafes. Here I agree with Schuon: “Contrary to what is too often stated, meditation cannot of itself provoke illumination; rather, its object is negative in the sense that it has to remove inner obstacles that stand in the way, not of a new, but of a preexistent and ‘innate’ knowledge of which it has to become aware. Thus meditation may be compared not so much to a light kindled in a dark room, as to an opening made in the wall of that room to allow the light to enter--a light which preexists outside and is in no way produced by the action of piercing the wall.... The role of meditation is thus to open the soul, firstly to the grace which separates it from the world, secondly to that which brings it nearer to God and thirdly to that which, so to speak, reintegrates it into God.”

While truth is truth, it must be realized in order to begin transforming the person. It is not like scientific knowledge which, once known, stays that way. Rather, the realm of spirituality involves truths that must be known and reknown repeatedly, in a spiraling process. There is no end to it on this side of manifestation.

Q. Is not an increasing effort of meditation needed and is it not true that the more hours you meditate the greater progress you make?

The Mother: The number of hours spent in meditation is no proof of spiritual progress. It is a proof of your progress when you no longer have to make an effort to meditate. Then you rather have to make an effort to stop meditating: it becomes difficult... to stop thinking of the Divine, difficult to come down to the ordinary consciousness. Then you are sure of progress... when concentration in the Divine is the necessity of your life, when you cannot do without it, when it continues naturally from morning to night whatever you may be engaged in doing...

Q: But is not sitting down to meditation an indispensable discipline, and does it not give a more intense and concentrated union with the Divine?

The Mother: That may be. But a discipline in itself is not what we are seeking. What we are seeking is to be concentrated on the Divine in all that we do, at all times...

There are some who, when they are sitting in meditation, get into a state which they think is very fine and delightful. They sit self-complacent in it and forget the world.... This is not a sign of spiritual progress.... There are some who act and seem to feel as if meditation were a debt they have to pay to the Divine; they are like men who go to church once a week and think they have paid what they owe God....

To enter the spiritual life means to take a plunge into the Divine, as you would jump into the sea. And that is not the end, but the beginning....


Squishy said...

You raise an interesting point regarding meditation and a larger point about spiritual pursuits towards the end. Many people would be familiar with the man who goes to church in a mechanical way, but few would appreciate the psuedo-spirituality of meditating mechanically.

But I think you do a disservice to those who shun tradition and seek out their own paths. There are mystical truths to be had everywhere, and it seems there are modes of knowing them as numerous as there are discernible bits of human culture to concentrate upon and unify with.

Such practices may include the graces of Halo
or the Tower of Babel story of Fusion Frenzy. In the case of the former, pixels become functional symbols that act upon our minds and inspire intimacy with truths otherwise unknown. They are as maps are in total darkness, their routes and rewards lit by neon bong-light and the orange glow of plants sacrificed by the ounce.

"Storming heaven" is not necessary, or even the goal. It is the careful observation of the world portrayed in these vivid dystopias, the studioous inhalation of spiritual accelerants and the patience for the Salvia Goddess and her Machine Elves to emerge from the fractal violence and gruesome digital misery saturating the molecular noise of the hazy 30" LCD altar room.

Sometimes she merely criticizes Deltron for his 3030 eschatological paranoia and other times she guides our aim, our hand eye coordination or soothes are burning lungs. Pizza itself becomes something grand and mysterious, emerging from behind our barred and locked door, bathed in the sober incandensence of the outside world. We know not its origins, only its phone number. They know not us but only our debit card number. And when the bong is passed round the pie, the truth of the awesome is revealed in a unified consensus, wherein man's dominion over the beast begins its metaphysical trek along the perilous routes of hunger, boredom and stresses of organic chemistry homework.

Gagdad Bob said...


It's been about 25 years since I last played a video game, but I think I know what you mean. It was on a Pacman machine after several pitchers of beer in a Strawhat Pizza in Malibu, and I concluded that the little gobbling mouth taught a deep truth about the left.

Van Harvey said...


Anonymous said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.





To read the complete article please follow either of these links :




Anonymous said...

Nice psychedelic rant.

No doubt the Creator had a purpose for introducing plants like Salvia Divinorum into the grand mix of things.
I'm not sure if enhancing the thrill of blasting the shit out of alien zombies in a video game was part of that purpose, however spiritual it may have seemed at the time.


Anonymous said...


Then why is the environment the cleanest it's ever been?

And have you considered turning off the TV to solve the problem of your absence of slow feelings, the lack of gaps in your thinking, and your feeling like a machine?

Memo to Sushil: the Middle Ages were a fantastic time if you enjoy chronic pain, early death, plague, famine, oppression, illiteracy, infant mortality, cruelty, absence of liberty, and mindless toil.

Enter a supermarket and see before your eyes the fulfillment of what mankind spent its first 40,000 years dreaming about. I'll take modernity, thank you.

Van Harvey said...

Dear sushil yadav -
"Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment. "

Go Industrial Society! More Walmarts! Rah! Rah! Rah!

By the way, if you're experiencing gaps in your thinking and if you're truly worried about "Man becomes machine." and "SCIENTIFIC /INDUSTRIAL /FINANCIAL THINKING DESTROYS EMOTIONAL CIRCUITS", it probably has more to do with trying to think with "/"'s as part of your grammar. Take two commas and try thinking again in the morning.

Gagdad, Will, Stu, Lisa – did one of you leave the "psychedelic moonbat vacancy" sign on all night?

Anonymous said...

"Science, like the machine, has reversed the roles, turning its creators into its own creatures; it escapes the control of intelligence as such from the moment that it claims to define the nature of intelligence from the outside and from below. Our timeless cosmic environment has been deprived of its teaching function in being replaced with a "stage setting": the stellar vault has been turned into the extension of a laboratory, bodily beauty is reduced to the mechanism of natural selection.

People no longer sense the fact that the quantitative richness of a knowledge - of any kind of knowledge - necessarily entails an inward impoverishment, unless accompanied by a spiritual science that reestablishes unity and maintains equilibrium. The common man, if he were able to travel through interplanetary space, would come back to earth terribly impoverished - if his reason had not succumbed in terror.

In our day, it is the machine which tends to become the measure of man, and thereby it becomes something like the measure of God, though of course in a diabolically illusory manner; for the most "advanced" minds it is in fact the machine, technics, experimental science, which will henceforth dictate to man his nature, and it is these which create the truth - as is shamelessly admitted - or rather what usurps its place in man's consciousness. It is difficult for man to fall lower, to realize a greater mental perversion, a more complete abandonment of himself, a more perfect betrayal of his intelligent and free personality: in the name of "science" and of "human genius" man consents to become the creation of what he has created and to forget what he is, to the point of expecting the answer to this from machines and from the blind forces of nature; he has waited until he is no longer anything and now claims to be his own creator. Swept away by a torrent, he glories in his incapacity to resist it." F. Schuon

My father is fond of saying, "even a blind squirrel can find an acorn". It seems unnecessary to rush to the aid of causes, like Wal-Mart or modern machine culture, that are, in fact, not conservative in the slightest, just because moon-bats oppose them.

Gagdad Bob said...

I repeat: I love the modern world. There is no other time I would prefer to be alive. With all of its obvious problems (how could a human world not have problems?), it is infinitely superior to the premodern world, especially for the average soul. On that, Schuon (and you) and I will just have to agree to disagree.

Anonymous said...

Schuon and I would both agree, at least I do, and I am told he did as well, that we would far prefer to live now. I do think he would disagree that the modern world is better for the average man, and that being because the average man does not "think". Prior to the modern world, his religion thought for him, for better or worse. At least his soul was saved. Today, all manner of God-less influences think for him, to the detriment of his soul. Yes, he has indoor plumbing, but he has lost his insides.

As for me, this is one of those areas where I am in the middle, as it were. I prefer the modern world, but loathe many of its creations--like Wal-Mart, but not for the same reasons as those on the left, or at least from an entirely different context. My .02.

Anonymous said...

Some poignant thoughts on the modern world:
"Sanctuary" by Bill Whittle.


Anonymous said...

To prove my point (that I would prefer to live today rather than any other time--except maybe 1964)--the Cardinals clinched their division this afternoon:) It's a good day.

Anonymous said...

Squishy wrote:
"But I think you do a disservice to those who shun tradition and seek out their own paths. There are mystical truths to be had everywhere, and it seems there are modes of knowing them as numerous as there are discernible bits of human culture to concentrate upon and unify with."

With all due respect Squishy, I disagree - quite vehemently in fact - the historico-spiritual record flatly contradicts your thesis. I do not think there are one in a million people remotely capable of being a free-spirit and actually achieving theoria of an elevated kind without the support of a singular tradition. St. Anthony the Great had to escape Alexandria and spent 30 years alone in the desert before he finally 'got it' on his own - 30 years of private struggle! And this in a time when hardship was the norm. And let's not forget Buddha spending all those years looking for his middle-way. What age did he finally achieve his satori? Do not think you can re-invent the wheel so easily.

No, those who claim that just anyone can go off on their own and enter spiritual warfare without the support and guidance of an active and knowledgeable community, a tradition with experience in fighting those battles, is almost certain to only find delusion rather than theosis. Too many earnest monks (Christian, Buddhist, and others) have discovered that to their dismay.

So Squishy, you have no idea of what you speak. The very idea is an invitation to failure from the start, since it begins with the assumption of individual autonomy, and a severe lack of humility - these are the very things that have to be fought before theoria can occur. It is like a boy-child thinking he can step into the ring with Rocky Balboa and prevail rather than being reduced to a bloody pulp - not pretty.

If you, or anyone, is truly serious about this stuff, do what all those who have actually 'been there done that' advise - commit to a tradition which has a heavy emphasis on and support for ascetic disipline (I recommend Orthodox Christianity), find a spiritual mentor, and really really listen to what he says, and really really DO what he tells you. Enlightenment, theoria, and theosis begin with obedience and humility - all traditions agree on that.

Sincerely In Christ,

Anonymous said...

Diddo Brian in Christ.

Van Harvey said...

Joseph said..."It seems unnecessary to rush to the aid of causes, like Wal-Mart or modern machine culture, that are, in fact, not conservative in the slightest, just because moon-bats oppose them."

Joseph, it's not the Wal-Marts or modern machine culture that are a problem, or a cause I rush to aid, it is the opposition to what they represent that I rail against.

The main difference between today and any time in the past is just that today people are more free to enact themselves than they ever have been in the past. Previously people were not free to choose, and whatever you may think if a 'spiritual culture' was imposed on them, it never made it deeper than the flesh enslaved under it.

The world today presents more opportunities than ever before for people to live out their secreted convictions - and to undergo the testing of reality lickety split. Unless supported by the Gov't, someone who wishes to 'live' their life in a drug induced haze such as Squishy purports to, will likely soon find themselves barely keeping their heads up at the physical margins of existence, and internally they will soon fade away, a potential lesson if not to themselves, at least to those about them.

I'm with Matthew Arnold who decried the lack of beauty in modern cities, but nowhere else in time have people been more able to put beauty into their lives with Art, Sculpture, Music - no emperor ever had the possibilities open to a single college student today. But none of those possibilities are possible, if a person isn't free to choose it - or reject it, as best determined by their own lights; and what may be just as important, they must be free to experience the consequences of their choices, for good or ill, any outside (read Gov't, always Gov't) intervention between their choices and their effects in reality, is going to lessen the lesson they might have otherwise learned.

Any of these organizations or movements or causes, moonbat, liberal or conservative that seek to regulate what should properly be decided by individuals, can mark me down in the enemies column.

But either way, Go Cards! (You must be out in my neck of the woods, Joseph)

Gagdad Bob said...

Bad matchup for the Cards.... Padres have been very hot...

Anonymous said...

I was raised two hours south of St. Louis, and my father was a huge fan, and then my brother and I. I teethed on one of my father's old ball gloves. My 11 year old son has a fine fastball and is a dead pull hitter.

Anonymous said...

This year's Cards may be the worst team ever to make the playoffs. Unless Carpenter can pitch all 9 innings of every game, they will have a difficult time.

Van Harvey said...

Yeah... but it's still Baseball!

I'm not much of a sports fan, I rarely catch games other than my kids, and since my oldest left baseball for football, I don't see it very often... but there's something about watching a Baseball game... the atmosphere, the announcer, the crowd & bullpens, snacks, the batter facing the pitcher, then the team coming into play as the ball connects with the bat... there's something... American in there, that doesn't come together in the same way anywhere else. My In-Laws are out this weekend, and my wife's Dad & I sat & watched part of the game, and even through the TV... it's Baseball.

Gotta love it.

Anonymous said...

"the studioous inhalation of spiritual accelerants"

Heh, that's a good one, give it a few years and tell us how it all turns out. It'll own you.

PSGInfinity said...


I'd love to see you succeed. But, I'm not optimistic. From the sound of it, a spiritual journey starts out as an apprenticeship, wherein you learn the ropes from more experienced (inner)spacefarers.

Most human endeavors requiring an apprenticeship do so precisely because the apprenticeship process shortens an error-filled learning curve.

So good luck, and beware the pitfalls of addiction...

Anonymous said...

Kol Nidre Reflections

I close my eyes and the darkness expands into an infinite world, more substantial than anything my eyes can see.

Sometimes I see the infinite beyond layered on top of my visual field.

The vision of darkness and the sound of silence. Something remains, and sees, and hears, and feels, despite the absence of stimulus.

Every event and thought and feeling, fills in the puzzle of my life. Every day I find another lost piece and fit it into the puzzle.

The mystery is unfolding and the hidden is being revealed.

Ever so slowly.

There is quite obviously something big going on here beyond the world of perception.

My first step towards clarity. After 25 years of darkness.

How can I live like this? Every person is a mirror. Every event and thought and feeling is a symbol. I find meaning EVERYWHERE.

Too many thoughts, too many connections. It's a lot for the human brain to handle.

Balance the Absolute and the Relative. That's the answer.

Rest in the bliss of the Abolute. Rest in the ignorant misery of the Relative. But when they come together. Bang!!

Just too damn smart for my own good maybe. Mapping and catetgorizing and trying to figure it all out.

But how do you map the infinite? Not intelligent enough to realize the futility, I guess.

What a marvelous an intriguing experience it is to be alive. And know it.

Alan said...

Stu said: "What a marvelous an intriguing experience it is to be alive. And know it."


Jesus said: Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

The first step is to realize you are really asleep and not alive.

The second is to work on remaining awake - knowing that you are.

Everything flows from those two steps.

Most people never even get to first base, as it were....even many who think they are spiritual, religious, enlightened, etc.

Jesus said: The thief comes but to steal, and kill, and destroy. I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.

Lisa said...

Hey Van - You weren't kidding and I am afraid it is all my fault! I went to a Grateful Dead cover band last night in Agoura Hills! It was freakin hilarious! Middle aged plus bald men in tye-dyes doing really bad (white guy)Dead dancing! I sort of felt bad for these poor people stuck in the past. The band was actually pretty good if you closed your eyes and remembered what it was like back in high school! I am afraid that most people there have continued to live their lives with their eyes closed. I apologize and will not let it happen again! :0)

Gagdad Bob said...

Sounds like music by the dead, for the dead.

Anonymous said...

Let's see . .where did the Chicago Cubs finish . . . checking . . . .ah . . . . dead effing last . . . worst record in the NL . . . for which we can be thankful . . . NO, not for top draft picks . . . because Armageddon has been forestalled for at least another year.

Anonymous said...

(SCENE - court of heaven. God and Satan are conversing)

SATAN: Well, of course, Job is gonna be praising you 24/7. I mean, c'mon! He's got it all going for him, doesn't even get indigestion.

GOD: So you're saying?

SATAN: I'm saying send him some dark clouds and the praise is gonna dry up like that.

GOD: Ya think?

SATAN: Like that. (SATAN snaps his fingers, little sparks fly)

GOD: OK, goat legs, you're on.

SATAN: What, we got a bet?

GOD: It's down.

SATAN: We're doing this?

GOD: In motion as we speak.

SATAN: Ha. Okay then. So . . . .

GOD: Hmm?

SATAN: Like I can do the pestilence, disease, poverty thing on him, right? And you're not gonna get all righteous whirlwindy on me, right?

GOD: On him maybe, not you. And you can't touch him personally.

SATAN: Yeah, yeah.

GOD: Don't "yeah yeah" me. You can make his life as miserable as you want . . .

SATAN: Oh, bank on it.

GOD: . . . but you don't touch him personally, period, paragraph, end of story.

SATAN: He's still going down.

GOD: Not.


GOD: Nope.

SATAN: Down.

GOD: Keep dreaming.

SATAN: (starts for the door) When I get back, look for me, I'll be the guy yelling "I told you so".

GOD: Whatever.

SATAN: Hey, how about you let me make him a Cubs fan?

GOD: Don't push it, Brimstone Breath.

SATAN: Yeah, OK, OK. That would be going too far. Right. Gotcha.

(SATAN exits. Gabriel enters, starts sniffing the air)

GABRIEL: Some burning in here?

GOD: Hey Gabe, hypothetically speaking, would you ever be a Cubs fan?

GABRIEL: NO! What is this, some kind of test?

GOD: Don't worry about it. Hey, is the handball court finished yet?

Squishy said...

I want to clarify/expand on what i was saying before that might not have been clear.

I understand the value of a tradition. What I wonder is how long must a community of apprentices and masters exist before that open source spiritual pursuit becomes branded or categorized by its methods and assertions?

How much different is the learning curve in spirituality from, say, quantum mechanics or molecular biolgy?

If it is "longer" by nature of the precariousness of communication among those who reason about the spiritual, how much longer, and can not a determined community of spirit-nauts forge a path anew? Concepts such as God are accessible along the paths of numerous appreciations, wonder and awe.

Developing one's spiritual wetware depends at least upon the questions and observations of the seeker as to popular or well-established models used therein, right? I wasn't proposing that one seize his or her own solipsism try to combust that.

Anonymous said...

Life was never good in the past.

Life will never be good in future.

Life can never be good.

Suffering is a part of life - an inherent feature of life. Suffering can never be eliminated.

There is Physical suffering. There is Mental suffering.

In pre-industrial society there were physical diseases caused by virus and bacteria.
In modern society there are hundreds of lifestyle related physical diseases.

Mental suffering will always exist. It exists in agrarian society. It exists in industrial society. As soon as we stop working we experience mental suffering.

We avoid mental suffering by working ceaselessly.

There is no higher purpose behind work.

People do not work because they want to work.
People work because they cannot stop working.

The energy generated by the food we eat forces us to work ceaselessly.

Energy = Energy[Physical Work] + Energy[Mental Work] + Energy[Suffering/ Subjective Experience]

All three energies on the right side are inversely proportional to one another.

When we do hard physical work or hard mental work or a combination of physical work and mental work almost all energy is used up in doing work.

When we stop physical work and mental work the unused energy is experienced as suffering/ anxiety/ discomfort. This suffering is so intense - so unbearable - that most people cannot stop physical activity and mental activity simultaneously for even 2 minutes.

People do not work because they want to work.
People do not work for their family.
People do not work for their nation.
People do not work for any reason.

People work because they cannot stop working.

It does not matter what kind of work we do - whether it is physical work or any kind of mental work. As soon as we stop working we suffer from restlessness, anxiety, uneasiness and discomfort.

[ In Yoga and Meditation the goal is to stop Physical Activity and Mental Activity simultaneously - and then transform the subjective-experience of restlessness/ anxiety/ suffering into peace. This requires ability and years of effort ]

For most people it is a choice between physical and mental work.
The switch-over from physical work to mental work is disastrous for the planet.

Man can do the same physical work every day.
Man cannot do the same mental work every day.

When man used to do physical work ( farming and related activities ) he could do the same repetitive work day after day- generation after generation.

After the Industrial Revolution when man switched-over to mental work he
began a never ending process of making new machines / things / products--
a process which can only end with the complete destruction of environment ( planet ).

When society switches over from physical work to mental work it starts making thousands of consumer goods. People start calling them necessities. They are not necessities at all - 90% of consumer goods that we see today did not exist 50 years ago. Food, Water, Air, Little clothing, Little Shelter - these are necessities.

Today people are making thousands of consumer goods - not because they are necessities - but because they cannot stop making them. People cannot stop doing work - After switching over to mental work they will keep on making thousands of unnecessary consumer goods. This is the reason why the switch-over from physical work to mental work is so destructive. This is the point of no-return - once this is crossed the destruction of Environment/ Nature is inevitable.

If we live a simple life there is individual suffering - but no largescale destruction of Environment.

If we live a consumerist life there is individual suffering - plus largescale destruction of Environment.

The nature of mental work is such that man has to do new mental work every day- in fact he has to do new mental work every moment- Man cannot repeat in the next moment the mental work that he has already done in the previous moment.

A mathematician cannot solve the same problem of mathematics every day- once he has solved it he will be forced to take up a new( unsolved) problem. Even when he is solving one particular problem he has to move from one step to another - there is a continuous change involved -- there is no constancy at any stage.

An engineer cannot design the same machine again and again –once he has made a machine he will try to make changes/ design a new one.

A writer cannot write the same article every day- he will be forced to write something new every day/ every moment (This is also the reason behind endless discussions/ debates/ arguments).


Anonymous said...

Dear Squishy,

Fair questions all, I thank you for your sincerity and candor. I'll try to give some perspective. Please excuse my bluntness at times, it is offered in love.

Squishy wrote:
"How much different is the learning curve in spirituality from, say, quantum mechanics or molecular biolgy?"

Category error. What's the learning curve for YOU? How do you graph a curve that is infinite and increasing in all dimensions? The area under the spiritual learning curve is > 1. Limit calculus does not apply.

There is a paradox in spiritual learning. The further you advance on the path, the more you realize how far you are from the goal. This has been the most humbling realization for me, the knowledge that I can never graduate and get my sheepskin from the "U. of the Most Holy".

You can never stop and enjoy the view, because the moment you do, you fall into pride, and the fall is all that much greater the more you have actually progressed - one mistake can be literally (and eternally) fatal. So I say to you, you know not of what you speak. Spirituality is a life and death game, the teacher is not books and universities but rather life and death themselves. It's a hard lesson, especially for those who are most intellectually talented.

Squishy wrote:
"If it is "longer" by nature of the precariousness of communication among those who reason about the spiritual, how much longer, and can not a determined community of spirit-nauts forge a path anew? Concepts such as God are accessible along the paths of numerous appreciations, wonder and awe."

"Concepts such as God"? "Reason(ing) about the spiritual?" The Logos that can be named is not the true Logos. Squishy, with all due respect, your wish-fullfillment fantasy is to make the spiritual intellectual, because then the endeavor seems manageable, achievable, something you can do on your own in the privacy of your own home. I know this because I've been where you are (as have many many others), and even now there is always a strong temptation to reduction, just as scientists constantly battle their temptation to reduce everything to physics. That is your block (and perhaps your permanent cross to bear), the temptation to reductionism, and your pride in thinking you can do that without consequence.

Listen, the history of spirituality is that transmission of teachings is easy, like any human discipline. However, realization of Truth and then living that Truth is a wholly different matter. The followers of Christ and Buddha, for example, were invariably blockheads, no matter how many ways they received the teaching. The Apostles, for example, didn't get it until Pentecost, until after Christ had shown the way by His life. You are called to follow and abandon blockheadedness - we all are.

Squishy wrote:
"can not a determined community of spirit-nauts forge a path anew?"

Blockheadedness. There is an absolute and divine Truth. It is a necessary precondition for all logic, morality, and intelligibility - it is Logos. An aspect of this truth is that we are all blockheads who keep thinking we can "forge a path anew" and expect to arrive at the same place - this is the hubris of the philosophers. There is no bootstrap solution - we are fallen creatures in desperate need of outside assistance. The good news is that we have received that assistance. Descartes was all wrong when he started with himself cogitating. God is precogital.

Squishy wrote:
"Developing one's spiritual wetware depends at least upon the questions and observations of the seeker as to popular or well-established models used therein, right? I wasn't proposing that one seize his or her own solipsism try to combust that."

Part of the problem is your habit of thought exhibited by attachment to terms such as "wetware". We are not reducible to computer algorithms, even of the quantum variety. We are not a formal system. Let me repeat that, "We are not a formal system." I know you are not arguing for solipsism, but so long as you cling to the notion that you are autonomous, that you and a few chosen friends can forge your own religion (this is the goal of the New Age, is it not?), you are in fact living according solipsistic precepts.

Begin with humility - pray for it - empty yourself of pride, this is the spiritual method at its core. Only then will there be space for the spirit to begin working within you. This is the first step, and the second, and the third, until the day you die, and beyond...

Lord have mercy. I pray I have given a good account.

Sincerely in Christ,

Anonymous said...

"Life was never good in the past.
Life will never be good in future.
Life can never be good."

Please stop projecting your hopelessness and depression on to the world.

My life is pretty damn good at times.

Anonymous said...

"People do not work because they want to work. People do not work for their family. People do not work for their nation. People do not work for any reason."

Actually, I do want to work. I love my job. I find economics and finance facinating, and every day I learn something interesting.

I don't work for my family because I don't have any right now. But I'm looking forward to supporting my kids. That whole thing about investing in the next generation, you know?

Since, I don't have a governement job or hold public office, I'll have to agree with you on this one. Nope, I don't work for my nation. I work for a consulting firm. But in a time of crisis, I certainly wouldn't hesistate to.

I work for a lot reasons. To support myself, to experience the pleasure of accomplishemnt, to learn.

If you want run off to the jungle or eat out of dumpsters, suit yourself. But try not to pull everyone else down with you into fantasy land.

Anonymous said...

So much talk about this inferior National League. I almost forgot the NL existed.

The Tigers are the real deal, baby.

Gagdad Bob said...


I award you with a Cosmic Raccoon tail for your comments. I know you will wear it humbly.

Anonymous said...

Your comments regarding the National League are totally out of bounds and filled with meanness. And, unfortunately, accurate.

Van Harvey said...

basd'aball ab bin berry goode do mee
Play ball!

Note: Cubs fans take heart, there is finally someone out there loonier and obviously more chronically depressed than you - sushil yadav take a bow.

Anonymous said...

RE: Brian's post
"God is pre-cogital."
"The Logos that can be named is not the true Logos."

Nice! I've always felt that if I could fully comprehend God, he would be rendered worthless to me. He must be bigger than the Cosmos, for anything less, I can almost imagine.

If the mind is boggling, you're possibly on the right path!

Anonymous said...

your thesis that the switching over from physical work to mental work is the reason for the demise of the environment is ludicrous, almost to the point of being childish, on several levels:

1. Plenty of environmental destruction is wrought by slash & burn farmers in the tropics, and by people gathering firewood in semi-arid areas; these are all people living "simple lives" and doing "physical work". It's not all big bad corporations doing the damage.

2. It is because of people doing mental work, and lots of it, that we have recycling, scrubbers for smokestacks, cleaner-burning car engines, urban public transit, cleaner rivers and lakes, organic farms, and on and on and on; all things that help the environment.

3. Retreating into a primitivist, Rousseauist utopia and chanting mantras will not solve our environmental problems; good old fashioned nuts and bolts technology coupled with education and bipartisan political effort will.

4. Your "Energy Equation" is way, way out in left field. You state that our food consumption, and the energy it generates, forces us to keep working. This is childish. It is our need to keep ourselves fed, clothed, and housed that forces us to work. This was true even before a money economy emerged; hunting and gathering is work, the same as mining for coal or clicking a mouse all day. The fact that I am even having to explain this is astounding.

As for your take on work, I find that it, like many aspects of this life, has moments that shine and moments that suck. But the reason I do it is that it is part of being a mature and responsible adult by providing for myself and making a contribution to society at large, as well as to our country's economy (and keeping myself off the public dole contributes to the economy and the well-being of others as well). And work gives me a chance to interact with my fellow working humans in a positive way, hence our terms such as "water cooler conversations". Honestly, all this stuff should be self-evident to anyone who works for a living. Surely you can understand this if you'r not a time traveler from the 13th century or an alien.

Actually, I agree with you that suffering is always with us. It helps build our character, strength and resilience.Both the Old and New Testaments speak at length about it. Trouble is, you seem to be stuck in it. That is an unhealthy place to be. Even Jesus was able to see beyond the cross to his resurrection. You need to connect with positive people and with a positive God.