Saturday, July 01, 2006

"If the Times Stops Helping the Terrorists, the Terrorists Will Have Won"

Our unelected Overlords at the New York Times have come out from under their cone of silence to reveal yet another secret, that is, When Do We Publish a Secret?

This ought to be rich. But what I really want to know is when the Times will publish a useful secret (useful to Americans, not terrorists), say, the exact deductions on your income tax returns that automatically trigger an audit? Nah, that might hurt the government’s war on your wallet.

“SINCE Sept. 11, 2001, newspaper editors have faced excruciating choices in covering the government's efforts to protect the country from terrorist agents.”

Oh yes, we can tell. They must weep every time they have to publish something damaging to the war effort. Weep, I tell you!

Liberals just can’t help playing the victim card. It’s in their bones. Every day is an excruciatingly painful choice: shall we merely undermine the war effort, or actually assist our enemy?

“Each of us has, on a number of occasions, withheld information because we were convinced that publishing it could put lives at risk.”

Sorry. You don't get credit for common decency. What about the many other occasions you purposely chose to put American lives at risk?

“Last week our newspapers disclosed a secret Bush administration program to monitor international banking transactions. We did so after appeals from senior administration officials to hold the story. Our reports--like earlier press disclosures of secret measures to combat terrorism--revived an emotional national debate, featuring angry calls of 'treason' and proposals that journalists be jailed along with much genuine concern and confusion about the role of the press in times like these.”

Liberals cannot help thinking in terms of feelings. It most certainly is “an emotional debate,” in that it centers entirely around the Times’ visceral hatred of President Bush. Remove that from the equation and we wouldn’t be having this debate.

The Times, of course, is not angered by treason. They're above that sort of thing.

“We agree, however, on some basics about the immense responsibility the press has been given by the inventors of the country.”

What a monstrously pompous inversion. The founders gave no such special responsibility to huge, self-serving media conglomerates. Rather, they created a government whose purpose was to protect the rights of individuals, not “the press” and certainly not “The Times.” The Times has no special rights that any ordinary citizen doesn’t possess, but they obviously consider themselves above the law, including the constitution. If I did what the Times had done, I would be arrested, tried and jailed as a spy, and rightfully so. There is no fourth branch of government called “the press.” There are only people with blogs, most of them idiots, a few of whom go to the trouble of printing and distributing their blathering, like the Times.

“Make no mistake, journalists have a large and personal stake in the country's security.”

That’s true. Right through the heart.

“We live and work in cities that have been tragically marked as terrorist targets.”

Liberal always call evil a “tragedy.” Then they call tragedies, like Katrina, “evil,” at least if they can blame it on a Republican.

“Reporters and photographers from both our papers braved the collapsing towers to convey the horror to the world.”

Special pleading. How come they haven’t conveyed the horror every day since? Why the blackout? How come they don’t show the horrifying beheadings on the front pages, instead of conveying the horrifying inconvenience of Gitmo or Abu Ghraib day after day after day?

“But the virulent hatred espoused by terrorists, judging by their literature, is directed not just against our people and our buildings. It is also aimed at our values, at our freedoms and at our faith in the self-government of an informed electorate.”

How convenient. This is a new twist. When President Bush says that they hate us because of our values and our freedoms, liberals, including the Times, always snicker. For the Times, it’s always something we did to inflame the terrorists.

“If the freedom of the press makes some Americans uneasy, it is anathema to the ideologists of terror.”

What dopes. The issue isn’t freedom of the press. The issue is fifth columnists (all five now available through Times Select) within the press misusing their freedom to help the terrorists. The terrorists love that kind of freedom of the press. I can assure the Times that none of them are complaining about the invaluable assistance they are receiving from the Times.

“Our job, especially in times like these, is to bring our readers information that will enable them to judge how well their elected leaders are fighting on their behalf, and at what price.”

Sounds like this program was doing a pretty good job at a small price until you needlessly blew their cover.

By the way, as lowly readers, our job, in times like these, is to judge whether our unelected elites are fighting on our behalf or for the other side.

“If a war is being waged in America's name, shouldn't Americans understand how it is being waged?"

Er, no, not if the tactic in question it is perfectly legal, and if revealing it will undermine the effort and embolden the enemy. In any event, no one would ever accuse the Times of understanding how or even why this war is being waged.

“Government officials, understandably, want it both ways. They want us to protect their secrets, and they want us to trumpet their successes.’

It’s true. Strange as it may seem, Americans would prefer that you actually be on America’s side instead of revealing its secrets, trumpeting our failures, and exaggerating the successes of our enemies.

“How do we, as editors, reconcile the obligation to inform with the instinct to protect?’

Now you’re asking us? For starters, if a program is legal and effective, and congress is being fully briefed on it, why not overcome your perverse “obligation to inform?”

“Often the judgments are painfully hard. In those cases, we cool our competitive jets and begin an intensive deliberative process.”

Of course it's painful to needlessly reveal secrets that may result in the deaths of fellow citizens. Obviously you succeeded in overcoming the pain. Next time try respecting it.

“Finally, we weigh the merits of publishing against the risks of publishing. There is no magic formula, no neat metric for either the public's interest or the dangers of publishing sensitive information. We make our best judgment.”

In other words, we have no idea why we did it. We just did, knowing full well that it was a a legal and effective program and that disclosing it would assist the enemy and place American lives in jeopardy. Memo to the Times: that is a magic formula, in that it lacks all reason.

“We understand that honorable people may disagree with any of these choices... ”

Precicisely. That's what makes us honorable. We fail to detect the honor in your utterly self-serving position.

“But making those decisions is the responsibility that falls to editors, a corollary to the great gift of our independence.

The responsibility does not fall to a special breed of human beings called “editors.” Rather, it is a responsibility shared absolutely equally by all American citizens. In any event, you are trying to deflect responsibility for what you've done, or you would accept the consequences, including the legal ones.

“It is not a responsibility we take lightly. And it is not one we can surrender to the government.”

Then you are not an American, for this is a representative republic in which we routinely “surrender” power to our elected representatives. It is not up to dictatorial elites, to the New York Times “editocracy,” or to unelected judges to arrogate that power from the people and their elected representatives. This is a power that free people take very seriously, and we cannot surrender it to a bunch of journalistic perverts who will do anything to weaken President Bush, even if it means giving aid and comfort to those who wish to destroy us.

Oh, and after all that, what is the answer to the question "When Do We Publish a Secret?"

"We're the Times, the fourth branch of government above the other three. Therefore, When we f***ing feel like it."

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Agony and the Apostasy: On Pulitzer Prizes and Prize Putz Louses

Sick are they always; they vomit their bile and call it a newspaper. --Nietzsche

Van der Leun has written a a piece about our elite media that is so psychologically and spiritually astute that there’s almost nothing I can add. Maybe I’ll try anyway.

The Times is the very definition of an “elite,” having “self-selected itself as a vehicle worthy of wielding a power we normally reserve for those named by our citizens in elections,” specifically, “the right to say what is and what is not in our public interest” and “to knowingly risk the lives and well-being of the soldiers and citizens of this Republic at will.”

Obviously, nothing could be more illiberal and undemocratic than a couple of wealthy and insulated pinheads lost in the 1960s--Pinch "Me? I'm Dreaming" Sulzberger and Bill Keller--taking it upon themselves to arrogate power that is only properly vested in the people and their elected representatives.

But these men are not just driven by the usual ideological or venal motives, which is what makes them all the more dangerous and all the more able to live in denial of what they do. That is, they are perverts who enjoy the thrill of betrayal and the rush of stripping away the veil--any veil, whether it is the veil of decency or a veil of security. As Van der Leun writes, they “really enjoy how it feels. And they enjoy it, they revel in the pleasure of it, at the level of bodily sensations parallel to that of the orgasm. In common parlance, ‘they get off on it.’” The joy obviously doesn’t come from the journalistic aspect--which is dubious at best--but from the transgressive component. It is the transgression that creates the perverse pseudo-journalistc thrill.

This kind of perversion doesn't qualify for a DSM diagnosis. It's worse than that. The DSM only deals with the mind, but this is a perversion of the soul. All perverts live for their perversion, and soul-perverts are no exception. Although they are enslaved by ther perversion, they rarely feel that way. Rather, they often feel superior to those who do not know the transcendent joys of their particular illicit pleasure. They might even feel sorry for those confined to the licit kind. Part of the purpose of the perversion is to transform shame into pride. But perverts often need the association of other perverts to accomplish this transformation--somewhat like the reverse of a 12 step program, a support group to support what is wrong in them and make them feel right about it. The first step is to acknowledge your helplessness before a power that is lower than yourself, but to elevate it to the Most High.

Thus, journalistic perverts everywhere are coming out of the woodwork to support their fellow perverts at the Times Two. The other day, I saw Tom Brokaw weigh in, assuring us that he didn’t know of a single person who actually thought that the terrorists didn’t know about the the SWIFT program anyway. If that is true, then why did Bill Keller say that he agonized over the decision to reveal the program? Why the agony if it wasn’t a secret anyway? Brokaw strikes me as more pretentiously (because stupid) stupid (because pretentious) than a pervert. In any event, he is denying Keller the very purpose of the story, which was the agony of journalistic longing followed by the ecstatic release of publication.

In truth, the non-pervert cannot understand the motives of the pervert, and the pervert long ago lost any ability to empathize with the lowly, bourgeois non-pervert. They live in two divergent worlds, with entirely different frames of reference. A couple of days ago I canceled my subscription to the L.A. Times, but in truth, I had canceled it long ago. I had only recently re-upped for the Sunday edition, after having not looked at the paper in years. Even before canceling it in the wake of the SWIFT story, I found the entire paper to be suffused with a palpable soul-creepiness--not just the editorial page, but the front page, the entertainment section (obviously), the book review, the business section, even the real estate and sports sections. All of it is colored by a strange world view that I and most normal Americans do not share.

Richard Weaver saw this coming. In his Ideas Have Consequences--which was published in 1948--he discussed the effect of the new journalistic cosmology on the soul. As the medieval peasant might have looked up and seen “a revolving dome of fixed stars,” today we see something similar in looking at the daily newspaper; we see "the events of the day refracted through a medium which colors them as effectively as the cosmology of the medieval scientist determined his view of the starry heavens. The newspaper is a man-made cosmos of the world of events around us in time. For the average reader it is a construct of significances which he no more thinks of examining than did his pious forebears in the thirteenth century...” It presents “a version of life quite as controlled as that taught by medieval religionists, though feeble in moral instruction...”

When you uncritically read a newspaper or passively watch television news, you are participating in someone else’s metaphysical dream, not your own. And it is generally a sick dream with horrifying, infrahuman assumptions about reality.

You can be absolutely certain that Keller and Sulzberger are not only unashamed of their treason against the Good. Rather, they are proud of it. And as Augustine taught, “all the other vices attach themselves to evil, that it may be done; only pride attaches itself to good, that it may perish.” A normal soul loves what is good and therefore despises evil. The abnormal soul does not love what is good, but “the place of a suppressed devotion never remains empty.” Thus, the essence of perversion, on the soul level, involves passion and pride. Passion, in its classical sense, means to flee from God, while pride is to “rise up against Him” (Schuon). The proud man has “the propensity to brook no humiliations while readily inflicting them, upon others,” especially if they are Richeorge Nixbush and their illegal war on Viet Saddam. But don't ever question the Times' pervatriotism. They're better than patriots--they're dissenters!

The two--pride and passion--go together and are generally insatiable, thus the need to repeat the drill again and again. There is a reason why God shuns the proud. Pride is related to smug self-satisfaction, while humility is linked to honest and accurate self-assessment. The self-satisfied soul “is one who is saturated with his own imaginary worth which he projects onto his scanty knowledge and mediocre authority.” This is why they must give Pulitzers every year, so the biggest offenders may honor themselves again and again to keep the illusion alive. They can put this one right next to Walter Duranty's.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bellyaching about the Heartsick

Cosmonaught Lisa has been studying the enteric nervous system and came across the concept of the “abdominal brain”: “Studies have shown a vast overlap in neuropeptides of the brain and gut. This is a secondary autonomic nervous system that operates independently of the cephalic brain. Possibly more connected to the unconscious, and maybe even more directly connected to the divine because it does not have to think/do so hard because it just being/is. Perhaps when we feel something just isn't right and we feel it deep in our gut our enteric brain is working/being connected to the divine. Does this ring true?”

My gut instinct tells me it is true, although I can’t really explain why. Just sort of a fulness in my tummy.

I’m much more familiar with the idea of the heart-intellect, which is a universal spiritual archetype, than I am with the belly brain, but I can google as well as the next guy, and here’s what I came up with:

“In mammals there exist two brains of almost equal importance.... One is the cranial brain, the instrument of volitions, of mental progress and physical protection.  The other is the abdominal brain, the instrument of vascular and visceral function.  It is the automatic, vegetative, the subconscious brain of physical existence.  In the cranial brain resides the consciousness of right and wrong.  Here is the seat of all progress, mental and moral... However, in the abdomen there exists a brain of wonderful power maintaining eternal, restless vigilance over its viscera.  It presides over organic life.  It dominates the rhythmical function of viscera.... The abdominal brain is a receiver, a reorganizer, an emitter of nerve forces.  It has the power of a brain.  It is a reflex center in health and disease.... The abdominal brain is not a mere agent of the [cerebral] brain and cord; it receives and generates nerve forces itself; it presides over nutrition.  It is the center of life itself.  In it are repeated all the physiologic and pathologic manifestations of visceral function (rhythm, absorption, secretion, and nutrition).”

The author goes on to say that “the abdominal brain is centered in the solar plexus" and "is the primary control center of an extensive peripheral nervous system containing a number of ‘little brains.’” This is consistent with the idea that consciousness does not just reside in “our heads,” so to to speak, but that our bodies are permeated with it. Of course this makes sense, because nature does not know the artificial divisions we make, say, between brain and nervous system. Everything in our bodies is interconnected--both subjectively and objectively--in an inconceivably complex manner. That, by the way, is one of the reasons it is such a pain in the a** to have diabetes. Even if perfectly controlled, as in my case, you just don’t feel the same. One hormone changes all the hormones and enzymes in an irreducibly complex manner.

Interesting that in Zen, contrary to most other traditions, practitioners are advised to locate consciousness in the belly and to live from that region. In his magisterial Zen and the Brain, author James Austin notes that “The Zen Way plumbs depths that code for our strongest convictions,” including even the sense of taste. Eventually this primitive gustatory network "coordinates with other sensory impulses arising from the viscera.... Do you take a strong ‘visceral’ dislike to some things, find some person’s actions distasteful or disgusting? The links of taste-related circuitries may be compounding over more networks than you realize.... It is not the wisps of a few abstract thoughts which make us feel delighted or disgusted. The visceral roots of longings and loathings start very deep, even though they go on later to have extensive upward ramifications.”

By now, most of us are familiar with the yogic chakra system, as debased as the concept has become in popular culture. In talking about this system, you have to bear in mind that it was worked out in a pre-scientific world, so that the writings often include a lot of frankly mythological and fanciful speculations. But just like the ancient physicians who talk about the “four humors,” the ancient “chakrologists” were careful observers who were noting something phenomenologically real, even if they didn't necessarily understand its basis.

Running our of time here.... This is like a "speed-posting" competition.... Forgive any incoherence....

One of the reasons why psychoanalysis is so profound, is that it takes seriously the idea that we live and develop in a primate body. In other words, our consciousness is thoroughly entangled with our body. Immature babies interact with their mothers in such a way as to use them as an “auxiliary cortex” for the purpose of downloading programs from her brain into theirs. Interestingly,the latest research in attachment theory demonstrates that the right brain develops considerably ahead of the left brain during our first few years of life. Furthermore, the right brain has deep connections with the emotional limbic system, so that it is fairly clear that what we call the “unconscious” is located in the right brain. And this explains why most forms of psychotherapy are so ineffective, since they deal only with surface cognitions, when what you really need to do is “interrogate” the right brain and put its nonverbal reality into words. This is the basis of “free association” in psychoanalysis, which attempts to use language to bypass language. Our deepest traumas are literally encoded in the bodymind.

The Katha Upanishad states that “Radiating from the lotus in the heart there are a hundred and one nerves. The mortal in whose heart the knots of ignorance are untied becomes immortal.” By “a hundred and one,” the Vedic seers merely mean “a whole bunch,” which turns out to be true. In his book The Biology of Transcendence, Joseph Chilton Pearce cites research indicating how the heart “maintains an intricate dialogue with our brain, body and world at large.” He notes that half or more of the cells of the heart are neural cells like those that make up the brain. Furthermore, “the same neurotransmitters that function in the brain also function in the heart ganglia.” Pearce can sometimes be a little bit beyond the cutting edge, but he even cites research suggesting that heart transplant recipients occasionally pick up traits and idiosyncrasies from their donors.

In all esoteric traditions, the brain is felt to be an instrument of the heart, and the deepest aspect of our intellect is actually located in the left side of the chest. There is a constant dialogue going on between heart and head, likely mediated through the right brain. Which means that if you are sick “in the right brain,” you are likely to be heartsick as well.

Yesterday I was particularly heartsick upon learning of the fate of that beautiful Israeli boy who was kidnapped and butchered by bloodthirsty Palestinian savages. Naturally I thought of my own beautiful son, and the inconceivable depravity of a mind that would harm a hair on his head. And yet, such people exist. They exist in the millions. Like me, they are heartsick as well, but in a rather different way. They enjoy torturing our G.I.’s, cutting off heads, blowing up women and children. One can only wonder what sorts of parasites and psychotoxins, hidden away in the right brain and extending their tentacles into their cancerous hearts, make them enjoy the murder of children, including their own.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fourth Estate Fifth Column Deep Sixed

That felt good. I cancelled my subscription to the L.A. Times for, I don't know, the eighth or ninth (and now final time). The operator on the other end asked why I wanted to cancel the paper, and I said "because I'd like to drive over and make a citizens arrest of your editors for treason. Absent that, this is the next best option, although I'm not ruling out the former."

I was trying to think of something that would get her off the script. I think I succeeded. She seemed pretty rattled.

Interestingly, while waiting on hold, a voice came on, letting me know that my phone call might be monitored by Times management. But of course, that's for a higher purpose. It's been a very effective counter-subscriber program. It will allow them to come up with a new line in the script for when subscribers call in threatening to arrest their editors for treason.

The Infectiousness of the Morally Unrepressed

[Once again, “I” intended for this post to go in one direction, but “it” careened off course into another direction. It’s pretty much unedited free association, but it is free, for what it’s worth. It is possible that the post will strike me as trivial later in the day, when I am fully awake.... If you feel the same way, just attribute it to my charismatic lack of repression, or aesthetic “brake failure.”]

Woke up this morning, jinx all around my bed.

That’s the question, isn’t it? Is the jinx only inside our head or can it really be around our bed, in the air, the environment?

If you take the time to pay attention to subtle shifts in your own consciousness, you will notice that you are not just conscious of this or that. Rather, consciousness is a state that has “many mansions,” so to speak. Often, what we call stability of character is merely being stuck in one of these mansions.

One of the attractions of drugs--including legal ones such as alcohol and antidepressants--is that they serve the purpose of bumping us out of one mansion and into another. If you think of consciousness as a field in phase space, a particular state of consciousness is like an “attractor,” or indentation in the field. Some personalities are quite rigid, and seemingly live their entire lives in one attractor state from which they cannot escape--like a ball at the bottom of a deep valley. The subjective experience of being in the presence of one of these people is that of boredom. In other words, because of what is called counter-transference, you can feel what it’s like to be them.

There are people who have the opposite problem. In psychology, they generally fall under the heading of having “borderline personality structure,” which means that they are prone to rapid changes from one attractor to another. These people are not boring, but they are wearying. They can even be exciting, especially to the complementary type who is stuck in a rigid attractor. Often they seek each other out--one for stability, the other for excitement--usually with disastrous results.

Borderline personalities can be immensely appealing, because they give us a vicarious sense of danger and unpredictability. They can exude a kind of palpable charisma, an infectiousness that results from a pathological absence of repression. You never know what they might say or do.

In fact, this is the basis of the appeal of many musicians and movie stars. It is no coincidence that a fair number of these people are quite dysfunctional and would not be capable of dealing with the demands and responsibilities of day-to-day life. Think of a Marlon Brando, whose clearly borderline personality made him literally radiate a kind af animal intensity. I can think of any number of artists, celebrities, and stars who exude this kind of charsima, but whose personal lives are an absolute wreck. The two are not unrelated.

I just recently read the new biography of the Beatles, by Bob Spitz, and John Lennon clearly falls into this category. When you read about just how dysfunctional he was, you realize that he quite literally could not have functioned in society. When he wasn’t making music, he was dysfunctional in every way, with no inner stability at all. And yet, there is no question that he was the leader of the Beatles, at least until he began taking LSD on a daily basis for weeks on end in ‘66-’67. In the early days, the other members looked up to him as a sort of god because of what one person called his pure fuck all attitude. Without that defiant attitude, the Beatles would have gone nowhere.

When I was younger, I have to admit that I enjoyed being around people like that. I’m thinking of one friend in particular who was every bit as crazy as John Lennon. Something always happened in his presence because he would make it happen. Not only was he crazy, but his infectiousness made everyone around him crazy as well. He was like a reverse guru: he radiated a palpable vibration that could awaken something similar in the receptive follower. He crackled with impulsive, beer-fueled insanity. It even felt like a kind of salvation to be around him, because it was an escape from the mundane and routine--the tyranny of the normal. (Sometimes I wonder if Van der Leun wasn't one of these charismatic wholly men, only alive to tell the tale from the other side of it... )

Great leaders often have a bit of this insanity as well. For example, Winston Churchill was extraordinarily reckless and impulsive as a young man. Yes, you could call it courage, but it was clearly something else as well. One of the reasons he wasn’t trusted or listened to in the 1930’s is that everyone knew full well about his impetuousness and recklessness. And yet, it was exactly this “madness” that was required to rally civilization against an equally charismatic madman whose absence of repression was apparently intensely intoxicating. Don’t get me wrong--I am not equating Churchill and Hitler. It’s just that we required a sort of characterological “mirror image” of Hitler in order to defeat him.

Clearly, this is one of the problems we seem to be facing in our present war. Evidently, Osama bin Laden is an immensely charismatic fellow to great numbers of his fellow Muslims. Why is this? Probably--in its own perverse way--for the same reason the other Beatles were attracted to John Lennon and I was attracted to my friend. One of the reasons John Lennon was so attractive--and in a way, served a very functional purpose--was because of the deadness and oppressiveness of British culture at the time. Your life was completely planned out ahead of time, with virtually no chance to escape your destiny or express your individuality. Therefore, it took someone as ungovernable and irrepressible as John Lennon to break through that thick barrier.

I wonder if many Muslims don’t get the same vicarious thrill out of bin Laden’s exploits? Please, don’t get me wrong--I’m not trying to sympathize per se, just putting myself in their sandals and under their turbans. I wonder if I looked around and saw nothing but futility and hopelessness and repression, whether I would be in awe of an Islamic nihilist with an absolutely fuck all attitude? After all, there’s no middle ground in most of the Muslim world--there aren’t small degrees of rebellion built into the system, as there now are in the West. In the West, perpetual adolescent rebellion is now commodity and end-state lifestyle for millions of so-called adults. John Lennon’s very real and very desperate fuck all can now be purchased off the shelf.

But how does one express the primordial fuck all in the Muslim world? For many, it must feel like an “all or none” proposition. Why not blow up the whole system and take everyone with you? What difference does it make? Rock on!

So in the Palestinian terrortories, they treat suicide bombers as pop icons. When they chant “I hope I die before I get old,” they really mean it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

"Worlds There Are, Without Suns"

It is impossible to begin a discussion of ontological evil without first describing the vertical structure of the cosmos. That was the purpose of yesterday’s post. For the non-religious, my account will undoubtedly be irrelevant or worse, while for the faithful it might seem “gnostic” or overly mystical. I can assure you that it is not, and that in the absence of a similar metaphysic you will not be able to simultaneously account for both evil and God’s goodness, and thus avoid theidiocy.

In order to understand ontological evil we must first draw a distinction between God as the supreme absolute and the degrees of being that result from the inner logic of God’s creative activity. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, we may think of creation as a “ray” of involution that descends from the absolute reality into degrees of increasing relativity below. What is unique about man is that we are situated roughly halfway between the absolute and relative domains, so that we partake of both. This is why human beings are able to know that they are composed of both spirit and matter. But it also helps to explain a lot of our perpetual conflict and trouble.

The soul is actually a point of divine light thrown off like a spark from the divine center. In reality, it is more like a line than a point, and, given our free will, it can either move closer or further away from its source. The visions of revelation are ways of describing in human terms the abstract spiritual reality in which the soul moves and has its being. Revelation is required for human beings, because it deals in archetypal truths that are buried deep within the heart-intellect, but which we cannot necessarily see with our natural reason. This is because as one descends through the degrees of being, the greater distance from God results in greater awareness of separateness and independence, as the universal “I” that undergirds our subjectivity becomes all of the individual “me’s” of relative existence.

There is natural, “structural” evil, and human evil, the latter of which is far worse. The structural evil is simply a consequence of the inevitable structure of vertical existence. Again, you can look at it as a “ray of creation” or in the Kabbalistic sense of God “withdrawing” in order to create a space for the separate existence of other sentient beings. Either way, there are going to be dark “worlds” where God is apparently absent.

Have you ever touched or been caught up in one of these worlds? If so, you might have felt the hair stick up on the back of your neck. In the novel Demian, Herman Hesse vividly describes the discovery of one of these dark worlds by the protagonist, Emil, as he finds himself losing his childhood innocence and being entangled in darkness. In general, innocence and light are opposed to darkness and a certain kind of forbidden knowledge, as exemplified in the Garden of Eden story. Humans, being what they are, are nevertheless going to choose the forbidden fruit. Frankly, I wouldn’t even trust someone who hadn’t given it a taste.

Just as there are regions in horizontal space where you wouldn’t want to live--Antarctica, Equatorial Africa, Berkeley--there are vertical regions that are unfit for human habitation. Nevertheless, just as there are humans who choose to live in Berkeley, there are rebellious humans who are drawn to these dark regions of the vertical. Again, on their own, these regions don’t pose much of a threat. But when a human being--or a group of human beings, an entire movement or culture--enters one, then we have trouble.

There are different realms of evil, each representing the privation and sometimes reversal, or counterfeit expression, of some divine quality. Thus, as Will mentioned a couple of days ago, the Soviet Union may have represented “the satanic inversion of the universal brotherhood concept that was (is) communism.” Likewise, one can find in contemporary Islam many similar “inversions” of religious truths. One can certainly see it in secular leftism, which is deeply parasitic on Judeo-Christian truth and virtue, almost like a man-made “shadow.”

If there are higher worlds--which there obviously are--then there are lower worlds. And if there are inhabitants of higher worlds--again, an obvious proposition--then there are inhabitants of lower ones. The difference is that the higher worlds are real, while the lower ones are contingent, reactionary, and ultimately “empty.” Since they are realms of privation, the humans that inhabit them have a sort of “empty fulness” that they must repeatedly recharge. Furthermore, since they live in a sort of existential “wrongness,” they must induct others into their world in order to extinguish their conscience (which remains annoyingly linked to God, like the “line of light” alluded to above).

Thus, evil movements tend to be inherently rebellious and expansionary. On the other hand, for most of its existence, the most good and decent nation that has ever existed was fully content to let the rest of the world go to hell in a handbasket. Indeed, we would still do so if it weren’t for the fact that the world wants to bring its hell to our shores. Thus, we have to travel to hell and fight demons.

Although the people of Kosland would undoubtedly regard our kind as “reactionary,” anyone with spiritual vision can see that the reverse is true, that they inhabit a false and empty world that is filled with anger, intoxication, inflation, and rebellion. If you are remotely sensitive--even if you are one of those on “the other side”--you may recognize that you actually receive your vital power not from within, but through an intoxicating “charge” you receive through the drama of your anger and rebellion. You actually enjoy "politics" and you like having enemies. It helps make up for the fact that, in your rebellion, you are punished by the closing of the cosmic circle, like a noose around your neck. Your struggle only tightens the noose, but at least there is a certain perverse thrill in the asphyxiation that ensues.

Evil has a role in the world, at least for the uncorrupted soul. For such an individual, evil is its own punishment, because it cuts you off from your transcendent source. Therefore, it is self-correcting in a way. But one can fall so far--one can be so intoxicated with rebellion--that one supports and nurtures an entire parallel world of evil that then becomes parasitic on man.

In other words, it is not just that human beings are afflicted with “mind parasites,” which every cosmonaught should know. Rather, these parasites can then go on to create the very worlds required to allow them to flourish. Such a pathological world is the Muslim Middle East, which perpetually recreates its own evil world, especially through the barbaric treatment of women and girls. The parasites also prevent them from seeing the problem. Like a mentally ill individual, they will externalize blame and look everywhere but at the source, which is, of course, within.

Obviously, “the West," much less tiny Israel, has nothing whatsoever to do with this spiritual sickness that pervades the Middle East. And yet, these parasites now have full control of the host, not just in individuals, but entire cultures that would rather murder and torture Americans and Jews than stop torturing their own women and children. This is how evil can become an end in itself, which it clearly is in the case of Islamaniacs. They live in a hell that they have created, and then blame us for it. But they also want to impose it on us. Very odd.

To a lesser degree, the "progressive left" represents another entirely contingent existence that is incapable of knowing spiritual happiness, so it escapes this fact by trying to feel the rush of righteous rebellion along one’s keel, so to speak. The moment one realizes that one actually enjoys the misery of this pathetic and illusionary existence, one has begun to wake up from the leftist dream. It is a painful realization though, for it means going from the question, “why is the world so messed up and miserable?,” to “why am I so messed up and miserable?” There are impersonal, ontological reasons why conservatives are so much happier than leftists.

Now, please don’t get me wrong--this doesn’t mean that “Republicans” are the saviors of the world. Far from it. What it means is that there are spiritual interstices in the murky world of politics where the light can enter and have an influence. One of them is not the illiberal left. Nor is it necessarily the “right,” at least not in its conventional sense. But at least the right has an “up,” whereas the left has only a “forward,” which is actually a backward and regressive flight from transcendence and its replacement with false, spiritually deluded, and ultimately destructive visions of utopia. Someone else always has to die or be killed to maintain these delusions.

As usual, this post has rambled into unanticipated areas. I’ll try to regroup and refocus tomorrow. If there’s any interest in this topic.

Worlds there are without suns, covered up with darkness. To these after death go the ignorant, slayers of the Self. --Isha Upanishad

Theme Song

Theme Song