Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Mythol-Gap Between Left, Right, and Wrong

I’m still thinking about the broken moral compass of the Left, and where it actually comes from. I think it’s very important to emphasize at the outset that the Left is not morally confused. Hardly. They are very sanctimonious and morally sure of themselves, as we discussed yesterday. They have a moral compass. It’s just that it points due south instead of north.

In other words, there is a deep structure of leftist morality that is the cause of moral choices made on the surface. Ironically, this deep structure is specifically Christian, even (or especially) for irreligious secular fundamentalists. It’s just that it is a twisted version of Christianity--literally a religious perversion. It is a perversion (please don’t get me wrong--I mean this literally, in the clinical and descriptive sense, not as an insult) that could only occur in a society that is thoroughly infused with Christian morality. (There is also a twisted version of Judaism that I don't have time to get into; suffice it to say that Karl Marx was the great anti-Moses with the reverse Sinai revelation.)

If one is going to engage in comparative religion, one needs to exit history and take a martian's-eye view of the situation. From that much wider trans-historical viewpoint, the Judeo-Christian tradition emerges not as religion, but the cure for religion--including the religion of atheism or “secularism.” Allow me to explain.

The default religion of human beings is the practice of human sacrifice. This pathological virus planted deep in the heart of the human species has been given insufficient attention by scholars. Virtually all primitive cultures and ancient civilizations engaged in it. For reasons I try to explain in my book--a book that I promise never to mention again once I rid myself of the dreaded 100 copies--there is something spontaneously but perversely "holy" or "sacred" in the taking of innocent human life.

Obviously, the foundation stone of Judaism is the injunction against human sacrifice, when God tells Abraham not to kill him a son out on highway 61. Superficially, Christianity may be seen as a resuscitation of the sacrificial motif, with the murder of the innocent Jesus, but in reality, this is clearly intended to convey the idea that when we murder innocence, we murder God. The crucifixion of Jesus is meant to be the last human sacrifice, with Jesus standing in for our own murdered innocence (and our own murderous selves). (I actually heard a leftist the other day on Err America argue that embryonic stem cell research is morally justified because the great lesson of Christianity is that it is good for fathers to kill their sons, and therefore, to destroy human embryos.)

Unfortunately, Islamism (if not Islam itself) clearly involves a reversion to the sacrificial impulse and a return to "mere" religion. If one reads the Koran, one is struck by how frequently Allah instructs his followers to murder in his name. While Christians have obviously behaved badly in the past, there is nothing in the actual Christian message that justifies it, i.e., witch hunts, pogroms, etc. As such, the Biblical text is ultimately "self-correcting" over time. Apparently not so with the Koran. Far from engaging in some kind of aberration, the Islamists are following the letter of the law. There is nothing in the Koran that categorically forbids them to do what they do, and much that encourages it. They can quote chapter and verse from the Koran much more effectively than any provincial liberal who naively believes “all religions are the same.”

Aztec religion centered around the sacrifice of something like 50,000 innocent human beings a year. As such, like many religions, it was the very disease it sought to cure. If Jesus had appeared there, he would have simply been told to "take a number" and get in line. Again, taking the martian's-eye view, humans are a sick and troubled species. They especially need a cure for their primordial religiosity.

Here is the point: what we call political correctness is a specifically Western perversion of Christianity, since Christianity is the religion that elevates the ultimate victim to the status of Godhood: God is the innocent victim and the innocent victim is God. (Perhaps I should note that these arguments are drawn from a wonderful book entitled Violence Unveiled, by Gil Bailie. Highly recommended. Ironically, Bailie is now engaged in trying to fend of the politically correct hijacking of his ideas.)

Therefore, improperly understood, this Christian cognitive template puts in place a sort of cultural "race to the bottom" in competition for who is more oppressed, and therefore, more godlike.

People who actually practice Christianity--real Christianity--don't generally have this confusion. Rather, it is only secular types who are nevertheless parasitic on the deep structure of a specifically Christian phenomenology (as well as horizontal "social justice" or "liberation theology" Christians who "immamentize the eschaton.")

Once victim status is secured, then any behavior is excused and sanctioned. This is how, say, the Palestinians (and the left in general), always get away with such bad behavior. Once you are the victim, you are virtually omnipotent and can do anything. Like O.J., you can murder someone, but if you can manage to depict yourself as the victim, you are innocent. Try reading your newspaper and looking for this prominent subtext on a daily basis. It won't be hard to find. Often the political battle on any given issue comes down to who can successfully depict themselves as the victim. For example, who is the victim: the aborted fetus or the woman who cannot abort her fetus? Whoever is the victim, wins.

Check out Dr. Sanity’s little moral Rorschach Test from yesterday. Just like the Left, the Islamists are parasitic on Christianity, knowing full well that we value their innocent children more than they do. They know that if they deliberately cause as much suffering among their own people as possible, then the perverse conscience of the international Left will award them the ultimate “Christian” prize of victim status and blame Israel.

In a sick way, it’s a beautiful strategy. But it’s all manipulation. Islamic culture prizes only the “strong man” and the oppressor, not the victim. They’re just playing a game with the deep Christian structure of the international Left, and get away with it every time.

Pacifism is another sinister meme that is a perversion of Christianity. This week, that king of all metaphysical hucksters, Deepak Chopra, wrote an idiotorial for the Chronically San Franciscan newspaper. As you may know, these primitive new-age folks automatically tilt way left and therefore tend to be deeply morally confused. For example, Chopra asks, “Did Christ teach love or is that just a liberal bias? In the current climate, it's hard to remember.... The reversal of Christianity from a religion of love to a religion of hate is the greatest religious tragedy of our time.”

This statement is so stupid on so many levels that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Chopra goes on to say that enlightened beings such as himself “can't join any sect that preaches intolerance, yet we can't fight it, either, because by definition fighting is a form of intolerance.” Do you see the perversion? Fighting of any kind is forbidden because it is automatically intolerant, and intolerance produces victims. Naturally, it is exactly this kind of sick morality that allows evil to flourish, while, at the same time, allowing Chopra and his ilk to feel superior to the brave and virtuous people who actually name and fight evil! Breathtaking, really. Like all pacifists, Chopra is actively and enthusiastically working for the other side: the side of evil.

As I wrote in a past post, Chopra “reminds me of no one so much as Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most overrated human beings in history. Gandhi also thought that it was evil to fight the great evil of his day, Hitler--in other words, Gandhi wasn't just morally confused, but morally deranged." Again, I mean this in a literal sense, because how else can you describe someone who passionately urged European Jews to surrender to Hitler and accept whatever fate Hitler had prepared for them? Likewise, Gandhi told Churchill and the British, "Let them take possession of your beautiful island with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these, but neither your souls, nor your minds."

Later, Gandhi wrote two letters directly to Hitler, addressing him as "My Friend," and fawning over him like Jimmy Carter might fawn over Kim Jung Il or Yasser Arafat: "That I address you as a friend is no formality. I own no foes. My business in life has been for the past 33 years to enlist the friendship of the whole of humanity by befriending mankind, irrespective of race, colour or creed." To Gandhi, British colonialism was no different than Nazi totalitarianism. He wrote that "If there ever could be a justifiable war in the name of and for humanity, a war against Germany, to prevent the wanton persecution of a whole race, would be completely justified. But I do not believe in any war."

As such, regarding the Holocaust, Gandhi wrote that if he were a Jew in Germany, he would challenge the nazis "to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this, I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end the rest are bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy which no number of resolutions of sympathy passed in the world outside Germany can. Indeed, even if Britain, France and America were to declare hostilities against Germany, they can bring no inner joy, no inner strength."

According to one scholar, "Even after the war, when the full extent of the Holocaust was revealed, Gandhi told one of his biographers, that the Jews died anyway, didn't they? They might as well have died significantly." This is sick.

Compare the morally confused Gandhi and Chopra to another Hindu who has had a profound influence on my own life, the morally lucid Sri Aurobindo. Aside from Winston Churchill, as far as I know, he was the most vociferous public opponent of Hitler in the 1930's, when few others recognized the nature and extent of his evil. Many in India were actually supportive of Hitler's aims, since they so hated the British. But Aurobindo wrote that such individuals "have no idea about the world and talk like little children. Hitler is the greatest menace the world has ever met." Later he wrote that the struggle against Hitler was not just war, but "a defense of civilization and its highest attained social, cultural and spiritual values and of the whole future of humanity."

What Sri Aurobindo wrote in the early 1940's could be equally applied today, with not one word altered: "You should not think of it as a fight for certain nations against others... It is a struggle for an ideal that has to establish itself on earth in the life of humanity, for a Truth that has yet to realize itself fully and against a darkness and falsehood that are trying to overwhelm the earth and mankind.... It is the forces behind the battle that have to be seen and not this or that superficial circumstance... It is a struggle for the liberty of mankind to develop, for conditions in which men have freedom and room to think and act according to the light in them, and to grow in the Truth, grow in the Spirit. There cannot be the slightest doubt that if one side wins, there will be an end of all such freedom and hope of light and truth, and the [spiritual] work that has to be done will be subjected to conditions which would make it humanly impossible; there will be a reign of falsehood and darkness, a cruel oppression and degradation for most of the human race such as people in this country do not dream of and cannot yet realize."

It may sound polemical to call someone like Chopra a moral idiot, but there are surely moral idiots, just as there are intellectual idiots. How could there not be? Half of mankind is, by definition, below average in whatever particular area one is assessing. Moral idiocy simply means that the person in question is unable to reason coherently within the realm of good and evil, and to make sound moral distinctions. In this regard, they might as well be working for the other side, because they are.



Many similar examples of insane leftist morality on LGF today. Note the utter cynicism and the frighteningly unbound moral fervor, as discussed yesterday; and the twisted "reframing" of who is the real victim:

"This is a declaration to fight ethnic clensing and genocide whenever and where ever it happens.

As painful as it is to point out, and as much of a bald faced abomination as it is, I would be nothing but a damned hypocrite if I did not speak out and say “Never Again” now.

The statement is without equivication or loophole.

It’s not:

“Never Again - unless there is communist threat”,
“Never Again - unless there is terrorist threat”,
“Never Again - to Jews”,
“Never Again - unless the U.S. President says it is within his authority to authorize”,
“Never Again - unless the victims are ’fill in with your favorite sub-human group“

So this is what I will continue to argue-

1. Palestine is an Israeli administered concentration camp.
2. Israel (with U.S. funding) is conducting ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
3. The Governments of the United States and Israel should be in front of the World Court in the Hague and (if convicted and given the harshest penalty) be executed."


"If the U.S. were just out blocking the passage of toothless U.N. ceasefire resolutions, you could ask the question “why do ‘they’ hate us?” But with the U.S. actively sending fuel and missiles to Israel in the midst of a shooting war, a war producing hundreds of victims..., we’ve moved way beyond that. The United States is now a legitimate military target in that war. That includes factories making the missiles or any parts or materials that go into them, refineries making aviation fuel, and trucks and railroads and ports and ships and planes being used to transport any of those things, not to mention any of the people involved in those activities."

MY COMMENT: You see? The morally omnipotent victims are now free to discharge their violence against the real victimizers, the U.S. and Israel! The complete Christian inversion. Sick, sick, sick.


More darkness visible at huffingandpissed. Beyond sick. (HT LGF)

Friday, July 21, 2006

What's With the Left's Broken Moral Compass?

As a courtesy to you leftists out there--both of you--I’m warning you not to read beyond this point. You literally won’t understand what we are talking about, and you’ll just overreact and be pissed off again at your poor old Gagdad. While you will undoubtedly disagree with what we say, you literally won’t understand what we (including the comments to come) are talking about. Folly to the Greeks, and all that. We’re not really talking about you anyway. Rather, we’re talking more about an impersonal spiritual movement on the earth-plane of consciousness that you and your thoughts are caught up in. You cannot see the plane for the same reason why the fish doesn’t know that it lives in water. Being that I and many readers used to swim there, we know all about those murky waters, and even Who fished us out.

Anyway, on Dennis Prager’s radio show yesterday, he asked an interesting question. Unfortunately, I arrived at my destination before I could hear the answer, but he was wondering why it is that the moral compass of the international Left is so fundamentally broken. Does socialist thought break the compass, or does one have to have a broken moral compass to begin with in order to embrace socialism?

Of course, the world is filled with moral ambiguity. But Prager was making specific reference to one of the most morally clear issues of our day, that is, the moral gulf between Israel and her diabolical enemies. Why are conservatives able to see so very clearly that Hizballah is evil and that Israel has every right to eliminate it from the face of the earth? Please, this is not an exercise in moral preening. I’m not patting myself on the back for being able to make such a rudimentary moral distinction. I'm just very thankful that someone is taking out the garbage for me and for the rest of mankind.

But the Left, as a whole, is absolutely unable to make this distinction--presumably because they genuinely do not see it. Because of America’s fundamental decency, our own anti-Semitic Left (which, ironically, includes many Semites, another riddle pointed out by Prager) is not nearly as bad as the international Left, but still, it’s here. Charles at LGF has been running a series he calls “Protocols of the Daily Kos,” with many choice examples of crude anti-Semitism from America’s most popular left-wing website--you know, the one that regards me as the Most Obnoxious Man In AmeriKKKa. To them I say: “Hey buddy, who are you calling Jewish?!”

Here are a few loathsome examples provided by Charles: “OK, so Israel has terrorized half a million people out of their homes to run for their lives, shooting them as they flee to other countries?”

“Israel has imprisoned people without ever charging them for decades at a time, and engage in torture and apartheid as state policy.... Israel ignores the UN’s attempts at peaceful resolution.... Israel consistently violates the sovereignty of it’s neighbors..... Why isn’t the American media and and administration talking about invading Israel?”

“Is Israel trying to give the US an excuse to invade Syria and Iran? To paraphrase, as Prof. Chomsky says--’Is Ford and Chrysler involved in a conspiracy to sell cars?’”

“Israel owns America lock, stock and barrel. They dictate what the United States will do and when it will do it. Our politicians are only too happy to do whatever is asked of them, no matter what the cost is to the United States or its people.”

In other words, we are controlled by.... THE JEWS!

Even as bland a mainstream liberal knucklehead as Richard Cohen of the Washington Post could write last week that the creation of Israel was a “historical mistake,” blaming it for “a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hizbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.” Wouldn’t it be a more interesting question to ask--if we are going to ask sweeping counterfactual and hypothetical historical questions--whether Islam was a mistake? Seriously, imagine what the world would be like if only Islam didn’t exist. Would it be a better or worse place? I'm just asking, Abdul, so keep those damn thoughts of yours out of my head. But what would happen if Cohen had asked this question in his column? Perhaps he would learn a valuable personal lesson in the moral gulf between Israel and her enemies.

If America only sides with Israel because it is controlled by the Jews, how does one account for the fact that conservatives in other parts of the world see the situation as clearly as we do, e.g., John Howard in Australia or Stephen Harper in Canada?

Yesterday a typically clueless reporter asked the great John Bolton, our ambassador to the Turtle Bay Crime Family, to break it all down for him (via powerline): “... It is more and more apparent now that many... are accusing the U.S. and the Security Council of being the obstacle to a real ceasefire immediately... Could you explain in a couple words what is really your position about this?”

Bolton’s priceless response: “Well look, I think we could have a cessation of hostilities immediately if Hizballah would stop terrorizing innocent civilians and give up the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. So that to the extent this crisis continues, the cause is Hizbollah. How you get a ceasefire between one entity, which is a government of a democratically elected state on the one hand, and another entity on the other which is a terrorist gang, no one has yet explained.... Are there any activities that Hizballah engages in, militarily that are legitimate? I don’t think so. All of its activities are terrorist and all of them are illegitimate, so I don’t see the balance or the parallelism between the two sides and therefore I think it’s a very fundamental question: how a terrorist group agrees to a ceasefire.... How do you hold a terrorist group accountable? Who runs the terrorist group? Who makes the commitment that a terrorist group will abide by a ceasefire? What does a terrorist group think a ceasefire is? These are--you can use the words ‘cessation of hostilities’ or ‘truce’ or ‘ceasefire.’ Nobody has yet explained how a terrorist group and a democratic state come to a mutual ceasefire.”


Back to the question before the Cosmos: why is the moral compass of the Left so broken? Why can they not see the obvious? I’ve written on this in the past, and to my mind, the philosopher Michael Polanyi has provided the most satisfactory answer. I remember the first time I read it, perspiring, trembling, and vigorously nodding in agreement at his metaphysical insight. (Real Truth is felt throughout the entire bodymind.)

People typically think that the Right represents the party of sanctimonious, judgmental morality police, while the Left is the hang-loose, live-and-let-live crowd. Not so. In fact, this is an exact reversal of the situation. The philosopher Michael Polanyi pointed out that what distinguishes leftist thought in all its forms is the dangerous combination of a ruthless contempt for traditional moral values with an unbounded moral passion for utopian perfection. (This is all explained very clearly in a nice introduction to Polanyi’s thought, entitled Everyman Revived.)

The first step in this process is a complete skepticism that rejects traditional ideals of moral authority and transcendent moral obligation. This materialistic skepticism is then combined with a boundless, utopian moral fervor to transform mankind. However, being that the moral impulse remains in place, there is no longer any boundary or channel for it. One sees this, for example, in college students (and those permanent college students known as professors) who, in attempting to individuate from parental authority and define their own identities, turn their intense skepticism against existing society, denouncing it as morally shoddy, artificial, hypocritical, and a mere mask for oppression and exploitation. In other words, as the philosopher Voegelin explained it, the religious hope for a better afterlife is “immamentized” into the present, expressing the same faith but in wholly horizontal and materialistic and terms.

What results is a moral hatred of existing society and the resultant alienation of the postmodern leftist intellectual. Having condemned the distinction between good and evil as dishonest, such an individual can at least find pride in the “honesty” of their condemnation. Since ordinary decent behavior can never be safe against suspicion of sheer conformity or downright hypocrisy, only an amoral meaningless act can assure complete authenticity. This is why, to a leftist, the worst thing you can call someone is a hypocrite, whereas authentic depravity is celebrated in art, music, film, and literature. It is why, for example, leftist leaders all over the world were eager to embrace a nihilistic mass murderer such as Yasser Arafat--literally. Yuck.

All emotionally mature people understand that sexuality, for example, can be a dangerous and destructive force when unhinged from any moral framework. But few people seem to understand that the same type of destruction can occur when the moral impulse is detached from its traditional framework. We can see the deadly combination of these two--“skepticism and moral passion,” or “burning moral fervor with hatred of existing society”--in every radical secular revolution since the French Revolution--from the Bolsheviks to nazi Germany to campus unrest in the 1960s. If society has no divine sanction but is made by man, men can and must perfect society now, while all opposition must be joyfully crushed--with moral sanction, of course.

Although Polanyi was describing communism and fascism, the same formulation equally applies to the Islamists, who detest everything about modernity and are convinced that the total destruction of existing society and the establishment of their own unlimited power will bring total happiness and harmony to humanity. Again, this must be sharply distinguished from the Judeo-Christian tradition, which holds that fallen mankind can never bring this transformation about on its own. Rather, this type of perfection is discussed only in eschatological or messianic terms, something each individual most work toward. The moral imperative to do this cannot be shifted to the collective.

You often hear it said (in the MSM) that suicide bombers are not immoral, that they are simply operating out of a different moral code. This only highlights the point that, just because you have a moral code, by no means does it mean that you are moral. In fact, the moral code may be entirely corrupt, in that it allows one to behave immorally, all the while being sanctioned by the code itself. This is similar to primitive societies that operate “logically” within a cognitive system that itself is illogical. These primitive individuals can reason perfectly well within the idiom of their beliefs, but they cannot reason outside or against their beliefs because they have no other idiom in which to express their thoughts. Logic doesn't help; it can prove anything, so long as the conclusion follows its premise. If the premise is faulty, then so too will be the conclusion. Likewise, if I believe that murdering infidels will gain me instant access to heaven, it is perversely logical and thoroughly “moral” under such a system to murder infidels.

One can be so enmeshed in the system that, for example, a woman might confess to having ruined her neighbor's crops through witchcraft, just as a a university administrator may confess to crimes against womankind for uttering a banal truth that is forbidden in the cognitively closed, tribal system of the contemporary feminist Ovary Tower. The intellect no longer serves Truth, but is in the service of the ideological superstructure, so that freedom of thought is bound by the confines of the system---by political or academic correctness.

For a while, civilization was able to withstand the skepticism unleashed by the enlightenment, by benefitting from the momentum of the traditional moral framework that gave rise to science to begin with (for example, the use of our God-given free will in pursuit of objective truth in a rational world made so by a beneficent creator who wished for us to know him through his works). But this could only go on for a few generations before it began detaching itself from the religious morality that underlie it. Since no Christian society can ever live up to its ideals, it wasn’t difficult for the skeptics to begin the process of hammering away at the foundations of tradition.

Similarly, for a while, America escaped this destruction because it had a very different intellectual genealogy, having been much more influenced by the skeptical enlightenment of Britain and Scotland rather than the radical enlightenment of France. In addition, America never lost touch with its Judeo-Christian ideals, which inspired individuals to to work to improve and humanize society without violent disruption of traditional ways or heavy-handed government intervention.

Since we see only “through a glass, darkly,” sometimes Truth is most conspicuous in its absence. With rare exceptions, we cannot see Truth “face to face” under the conditions of human existence. But we can see evil face to face, just as we can see the palpable consequences of the absence of Truth, both in individuals and institutions. I think about Polanyi’s simple formulation every time I wade into the left-wing blogosphere. The utterly sad and destructive cynicism. And the boundless moral fervor. Its mantra is “dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” For it is purely mindless and reactionary: no digestion at all, just chewing up and spitting out, repeated ad bulimeum. In short, one is not enough and a hundred is too many when you partake of the Satanic Eucharist of primordial envy.


UPDATE: You must see Dr. Sanity's simple moral Rorschach Test. Seriously, I believe a 10 year old would be able to easily pass the test, whereas the typical leftist professor would struggle mightily to comprehend its meaning, which speaks volumes about the moral corruption of academia.

While you're at it, another brilliantly lucid diagnosis by Dr. Sanity.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Postmodern Prometheus: A God of the Saps

As we were discussing yesterday, consciousness is not merely localized in brains, but is necessarily intersubjective. Without the anterior condition of intersubjecivity, subjectivity could not emerge. As infants, our consciousness is thoroughly entangled with that of our caretakers, and we only eventually--and to varying degrees--wrestle individuality from this primordial matrix of (un)consciousness.

You could almost think of this conscious/unconscious or individual/group duality as anlogous to the wave/particle complementarity in quantum physics. With normal “wideawake and cutandry” logic, something is either a wave or a particle, but cannot be both. The former is a collective phenomenon, the latter an individual one. But it is well understood in subatomic physics that the question of whether something is a wave or particle depends upon how you look at it.

This hardly means that reality is not objective. Both new-age errheads and postmodern solipsists take quantum indeterminacy to mean that, in one way or another, reality is created by observing it--that perception really is reality. This sinnerster meme has somehow trickled from the high country of middlebrow philosophers all the way down into the water supply below. Pick up most any new-age type book, and it will explain to you how, since quantum physics proves that reality is created by observing it, reality is only limited by your dreams!

Therefore, as Anthony Robbins teaches, you can AWAKEN THE GIANT WITHIN and TAKE IMMEDIATE CONTROL of your MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL and FINANCIAL DESTINY! Yes my friends, YOU TOO can be as MALIGNANTLY NARCISSISTIC as TONY ROBBINS or even DEEPAK CHOPRA! Just like a baby, you can have the UNLIMITED POWER of MANIPULATION. Robbins will teach you the SEVEN SECRETS to GETTING WHAT YOU WANT and WHEN YOU WANT IT, although my 15 MONTH OLD could probably teach him A THING OR TWO about THAT! Deepak will reveal to you the MAGICAL SECRETS of achieving SPONTANEOUS FULFILLMENT by harnessing the INFINITE POWER OF COINCIDENCE! Yes, during the $1,500 POWER WEEKEND SEMINAR, Deepak will show you the HIDDEN RELATIONSHIP between HUMAN GULLIBILITY and his powerful BANK ACCOUNT!

The secret is to employ RIDICULOUSLY OVERBLOWN RHETORIC, just like ROBBINS and CHOPRA and make INSANE PROMISES that cannot possibly have any BASIS IN REALITY, quantum or otherwise. Then you can have a BESTSELLER on, while books like ONE COSMOS that GUARANTEE ETERNAL LIFE WHILE YOU WAIT just LANGUISH at NUMBER 354,009! IT’S FUNNY because some of my new-age CRITICS think that I am some kind of budding CULT LEADER with a bunch of fawning BOBBLEHEADS! HA HA HA!

{inhale and let out another} HA HA HA HA HA! {you know, the HOLLOW and BITTER kind}

Where were we? Yes, the complementarily between our conscious and unconscious selves. In fact, in my view, this is how best to understand the idea of the unconscious mind. We tend to visualize the mind like an iceberg or archaeological dig, with the conscious ego “above” and the unconscious “below.” I would suggest that this is a rather unsophisticated view that mirrors the linear way we perceive the material world.

In my view, there is an element of unconsciousness in most every conscious act or thought, and vice versa. In other words, consciousness is not linear but holographic; the conscious and unconscious minds are complementary and indespensable to one another. Furthermore, consciousness is a spectrum, like a rainbow. You might imagine it as a sort of pure white light that is refracted through our evolved primate prismhouse. It is all one light, but we can discern many different shades and colors. While there is a hierarchy of color, the hierarchy is only possible because it presupposes the unity of the white light.

Thus there is infrahuman consciousness and what Aurobindo called “supramental” consciousness running along a continuum. There is no one who can become “fully conscious” under human conditions, although it is certainly possible to let in more or less of the light.

If we apply this principle to spiritual gnosis, it means that consciousness of God could not occur unless, so to speak, we were in God and God were in us--not equally, of course, for if that were the case, then we would be identical to God. Here again, because of the inexorable conditions that make human existence possible, any knowledge is necessarily going to be relative. But not only relative, and certainly not equally relative.

As a matter of fact, there is even knowledge that is relatively absolute, although there can never be knowledge that is absolutely relative, otherwise it is not knowledge at all. In other words, the entire concept of “knowledge” presupposes that it is possible to possess it, and knowledge is not synonymous with error, otherwise knowledge truly would be circular and meaningless, as it is in leftist academia. Listen carefully here, folks, Petey is speaking: this is precisely why the literally diabolical philosophy of deconstruction inevitably leads to the destruction of thought--no, the destruction of man--because it specifically destroys the hierarchy of consciousness that we are discussing here: no hierarchy, no knowledge. Period.

At the top of the hierarchy of knowledge lies revelation, the “relatively absolute.” The error of fundamentalists is to regard revelation as the absolutely absolute, which also makes no sense. If revelation were absolutely absolute, it would be inaccessible to us. The whole point of revelation is that it is the absolute presented to us in human, and therefore relative, terms. But again, being relative, it cannot be the absolute. But it is as close to the absolute as the human mind is capable of knowing (leaving aside nondual mystical states, which are more in the realm of being than knowing).

And even then, as with everything else, there are degrees of knowing. This is where authentic gnosis enters the picture. Many people object to the idea of gnosis, as if it connotes some “secret” knowledge that is separate from, or “higher than,” revelation. No. Gnosis simply involves depth of understanding, which tends toward the infinite. That is, our necessarily relative understanding of the absolute lies on a vertical plane with degrees of depth, and therefore, height. The saints are better than you and I because they are deeper and higher than we are. But they are only deeper and higher because they are much lower, which is to say, more humble than we are. Always mindful of the hierarchy of being, they are aware of the infinite gap between the absolute and the relative. The cosmically narcissistic postmodernist eliminates this gap, and therefore, in his exaltation of relativity, makes himself an absolute god: all hail the Awakened Giant, the Postmodern Prometheus, Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, and the rest of the New Age Traveling Salvation Show!

In reality, any genuine expertise--spiritual or otherwise--involves some kind of “esoteric” knowledge that allows the person to see and experience things that the uninitiated cannot. Theoretically, there is no limit to this deepening process. In my opinion, any genuine growth--especially spiritual growth--involves an ever-deepening extension of our interior horizon. This horizon extends in four directions, up and down, inside and out. Subjective growth involves "colonizing" more and more of what is, in the final analysis, the Great Within.

In the absence of this hierarchical and evolutionary view, the world is ultimately nothing, just a brute object that confronts us. Even the most materialistic science is a special “relatively absolute” language that allows, say, a physicist, to project his mind and peer more deeply within the realm of matter. This is never something the scientist sees with his physical eyes. Rather, the equations of quantum physics are a probe, analogous to the stick that the blind person uses to navigate while walking. The blind person deploys the stick forward into darkness, and it sends messages up his arm and into his brain, allowing him to form a picture of the space around him. It is no different with physics. Physics is just a stick in the dark, like reaching around for your shoes in the back of a dark closet.

Which brings us back to the very special language of revelation. For revelation is also a probe that we, in our metaphysical blindness, may use to illuminate the space around and within us. In fact, if your religion is “working” for you, this is what is happening. Naive secularists always think that the primary purpose of religion is faith or comfort or morality. Yes, it is all of those things, but it is also a way of knowing. By immersing oneself in it, it extends into regions that are otherwise inaccessible to the psyche--for example, into the realm of the sacred or holy. The realm of the sacred that is illuminated by religion is every bit as real as the weird quantum realm that is illuminated by modern physics. Except that it is more real. Indeed, the conviction of the ontological priority of the sacred is one of the things that accompanies the experience of it.

In certain respects, the invocations in the Book of Genesis and the Gospel of John are parallel commentaries on one another. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The former statement has to do with ontology, the latter with epistemology. For the separation of the heavens and the earth forms the deep structure of all being; it is the separation of the horizontal and vertical, thereby making the experience of experience possible. Without this primary duality, there is only God. But with this bifurcation, the world is split down the middle into object-subject, quantity-quality, eternity-time, form-substance, wave-particle, conscious-unconscious, Lennon-McCartney, and other primordial complementarities.

But the divide between these complementarities is not unbridgeable, although the one between Paul and Yoko is close. This is because the the Word is anterior to that primordial creative act of God (it was "with God" and "was God"), and is therefore present in each of the complementarities. The world is intelligible because it is thoroughly infused with the same Word that inheres in our consciousness. Thus, the world is structured as a pair of mirrors reflecting back upon themselves through a deepening relationship to language.

This is what is meant when it is said that we are “made in the image of God.” This is the anthropology that inevitably follows from the above ontology and epistemology. This is why the more human we become, the more divine, and the more divine, the more human--and humble. And it all happens in the magical space between the two mirrors, where language carries messages back and forth, in an ever deepening and ascending spiral. We don’t evolve. The Word does.

And the Word is God. Speaking relatively. If you gno what I meme.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Yo, Abdul, Keep Your Thoughts out of My Brain!

Oy vey, if only the mind were confined to the head, so much trouble could be avoided in the world. Ah, but then it wouldn’t be possible for us to become human or subhuman, would it? Nor would we even be “subjects” properly so-called, for human subjectivity is irreducibly intersubjective.

This is why, among other reasons, Descartes' pseudo-brilliant wisecrack “I think therefore I am” is such pompous frogwash. No you don’t and no you’re not, René, at least for the reason so-stated. Your mind thinks and you exist because other minds do, because from birth you were immersed in a matrix of thought and language that antedated your being here. This anterior structure of thought is what ushers us from mere animality into the realm of the truly human--if we are lucky.

That is, we can be born into a deviant and oppressive cognitive, familial, and cultural structure that actually prevents our humanness from emerging, or presents us with a bizarre and twisted model to emulate, as in the Muslim Middle East. There, you are often not allowed to become a human being on penalty of dea.... Huh? What the....

Well now, if that don’t put the wink in co-inky-dink. My email just alerted me that a comment was left on One Cosmos. It’s from reader Van, who--speaking of nonlocal cosmic intersubjectivity--was thinking the exact same thought I was thinking at the very same moment. Van writes that “What the world of Islam has never had, because of the allah-encompassing nature of its religion--which dictates right action in all areas of life--is freedom. The freedom to choose, for well or ill, and to suffer the rewards or consequences of their actions. The people of Islam don't have the luxury even of deciding whether or not to shave, or what to put on in the morning, because some aspect of the Koran, or of Sharia, has already made that decision for them. There will be very little adult behavior where adult decisions are never given the freedom to be made.

Exactly, Van. We are two minds that bleat as one.

This touches on the reason why “artificial intelligence” will always remain artificial, because 1) computers will never be capable of being intersubjective members of one another, and 2) while it is possible for computers to be horizontally open systems, a computer can never be a vertically open system, which is precisely where we gain access to humanness--Love, Truth, Beauty, and all that other divine stuff.

The difference between humans and apes is not merely genetic. Nor is it based merely upon brain size or complexity--as if the brain simply got big enough one day and human consciousness just suddenly popped out. Frankly, that is a childishly scientistic sentiment worthy only of atheistic pneumapaths like Richard "White Chocolate Thunder" Dawkins. For humanness did not, and could not have, emerged in thatta way. For example, say human beings somehow become extinct, and the evolutionary field is left open to lizards and other LGFers. The non-LGF reptiles, regardless of what changes occur with their brains, will never become “human.” I don’t just mean morphologically human. Rather, they will never gain access to the human realm of consciousness.

Why? Because the conditions of their development will not allow it. As I wrote in One Cosmos, human consciousness specifically emerged--and only could have emerged--in the transitional space (in Winnicott’s sense) between our incomplete brain neurology and devoted caretakers and/or scaregivers.

To review the situation for newcomers, human babies are born many months “premature,” because otherwise mothers would not have been able to survive the ordeal of giving birth. And only a helpless, instinct-poor and neurologically incomplete primate is capable of leaping over the chasm that separates animal from man or baby gnats from adult Lileks--or man from God, for that matter. (There is also the matter of hands, without which we could not become human, but we don’t have time to get into that. Suffice it to say that we must possess a means of abstraction in our own body structure before we can discover the symbolic realm as such.)

As icky as it sounds, as human subjects we are unavoidably members of one another, in a spooky manner that mirrors the nonlocal structure of the cosmos itself. (This gets into another separate issue, for if the cosmos itself were not internally related, consciousness could not be. But that is a topic for another post.)

Here is another so-called coincidence, for our beloved Dr. Sanity has also chosen this day to write about intersubjectivity. Perhaps after reading my post, you may want to mosey on over to her blog, because she and I have a complementary way of thinking about thinking. (As you read it, note how she essentially monitors the intersubjective space between her and Steve in order to deduce what is going on inside of Steve. Note as well that a computer will never be able to replace Dr. Sanity, although the defense attorney did--a very telling point. I know the feeling of a lawyer wanting to hire a fellow machine, not a human.)

“Projective identification” is one of the most important concepts in psychoanalysis. Whereas projection is a defense mechanism through which we unconsciously project something from ourselves into someone else, projective identification goes deeper. It involves first projecting into someone else, and then forcing the other person to actually take on the quality that has been projected into them. While projection is generally considered a neurotic defense mechanism, projective identification is much more primitive and troublesome (although it also has an absolutely vital adaptive function, in that it is how preverbal infants communicate with their parents; indeed, that is the reason for its existence).

It is actually not difficult to tell when one is on the receiving end of projective identification. That is, you suddenly feel is if you are unwillingly being enlisted into someone else's psychodrama, and being forced to play a part. The person acts toward you as if you have the qualities they have projected into you, and may well goad you into responding in ways that confirm to the projector that you actually have those qualities--that they aren't projections at all. If any of my readers are married, you probably don't need any further explanation. (Mrs. G--I didn't say that. That was Petey.)

Psychologists see this process all the time in more primitive "borderline" patients, who may suddenly experience the therapist as, say, an abusive or withholding parent. It also happens to be the primary mechanism of the Islamists. (I might add that this process is transparently present in my perversely devoted trolls, which is why I am leaving the comments up from yesterday. As always, they reveal nothing about me, but speak volumes about the impoverished and/or conflicted interior life of the troll. Note the anger, the projection, the bitterness, the envy, the devaluation, the attempt to “spoil” me for God knows what obsessive reason. I never ask for whom the troll bawls, because sadly, he always bawls for himself.)

Although he doesn't use the term, Lee Harris's excellent book Civilization and Its Enemies describes the phenomenon perfectly. First, he points out why the process is invisible to us. That is, people who have gone through the "civilizing process" forget that this took millennia, and have no understanding of those who have not completed the human journey. They "forget how much work it is to not kill one's neighbors, simply because this work was all done by our ancestors so that it could be willed to us as an heirloom.”

Just because we as a nation no longer have enemies that we need to primitively project our bad qualities into, we are fooled into thinking that we actually have no enemies, or that if we do, there is some rational, logical, "root cause" that can explain it--that if we are only nice enough, or compassionate enough, they will come around. But as Dr. Sanity or ShrinkWrapped will confirm, this is completely ineffective with projective identification, because the projector emotionally needs you to have the qualities they are projecting. Just as the Islamists need Israel or America to be the source of all evil in the world, my frischky trolls need me to be “His Assholiness.” Please don’t feel compelled to defend me from them. Like Dr. Sanity, I don’t actually mind. For my own idio-socratic reasons, I am also amused by them.

In reality, an enemy is someone who regards you as an enemy, whether or not you deserve the title. We clearly had an enemy for twenty or thirty or seven hundred years before 9-11, not because Islamists were our enemy, but because we were their enemy. We couldn't see it because it was a completely irrational process, based on projective identification. But with sufficient provocation, we have finally been enlisted into the Islamists’ psychodrama, taking on the role so vital to their psychological equilibrium. In other words, we are not their enemy because we are evil--because we have done anything in the real world, such as placing our soldiers on Saudi territory, or supporting Israel. Rather, as Harris points out, we are evil because we are their enemy.

If we do not realize the extent to which we are the enemy of the Islamists, it is almost a sort of condescending insult to them, just as it would be to a patient in therapy if the therapist dismissed their hostile transference as deluded or immature. As a therapist, you have to actually tolerate the projections and allow yourself to be, in the arresting image of Melanie Klein, their “toilet breast.”

First, there is an obvious psychological need for the projective fantasy, or it wouldn't be there to begin with. As Harris explains, a fantasy ideology such as Islamism is not a rational response to the world arrived at in a logical, sober manner. Rather, like "Leftism," it is a transformative belief, meaning that its primary purpose is to psychologically transform the person who believes the fantasy. And believing the fantasy is an end in itself--it has no purpose other than to make the fantasy seem like reality. Therefore, the real reason for 9-11 wasn't actually to bring down western civilization. Rather, it was to further the fantasy by getting us to play along with it. There's no way to reason with these psychologically unsophisticated abduling banjo-pickers and nonlocal yokels.

Iranically, what this means is that, even though we have no real enemy and the Islamists have only a make believe one, because of projective identification we end up with a real enemy. However, underneath it all is a fantasy that we must nevertheless eradicate, and the only way to do that is to bring a little thing called reality to the Islamic world. In the coming days, let us pray that the Jews, who have long been instrumental to the cause of human post-biological evolution (”three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax,” in the words of Walter Sobchak), will successfully introduce a little reality to the psychotically evil fantasists that surround them. Oddly enough, it's what they're begging for. Why not give it to them, good and hard? It's the empathic thing to do.


These synchronicities are starting to give me a psibrain herdache. ShrinkWrapped also wrote about paranoia, projection, and psychotic anti-Semitism today.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Islamists, Leftists, and Failure to Launch: It's a Peter Pandemic

Failure to launch is a big problem for humans. Not just on an individual basis--as in the case of the adolescent in an adult body who is still living with his parents, trying to figure out what to do with his life--but with mankind as a whole. Why are human beings--who have such incredible potential--such persistent underachievers, to put it smiledly?

To a certain extent, people remain stuck in adolescence because they can. It’s amazing what human beings can achieve when they don’t have a choice. Thankfully, when my father emigrated to the United States in 1948 after being discharged from the British Army at the age of 21, he didn’t really have any choice but to be an adult. (Interestingly, he was actually stationed in Palestine, trying to prevent Arabs from doing what they do best, which is failure to launch anything but attacks on innocent Jews.)

Failure to launch was not an option for my father. Although he had only an 8th grade education, he eventually, by the age of 40 or so, became a midlevel corporate executive and sent all four sons to college. (Of course, this was in the days before the university had become its present-day ovary tower looniverstiy bin.) My father was not wealthy by any means, but it certainly never occurred to him that someone else should bail him out of life. Nor, in fact, did he bail me out of paying for graduate school myself. He was perceptive enough to realize that my primary motivation in attending graduate school was to extend my own adolescence, at least at the outset. Fortunately for me, things changed when I realized I actually had a knack for human pslackology and advanced psychobobblery.

It is bad enough that leftist thought is so emotion-driven, irrational, and mired in hopelessly obsolete ecognostic theories. But my main objection to it is on the moral/psychological/spiritual plane, specifically, for its corrosive effect on character. That is, it disrupts the developmental arc toward maturity and replaces it with selfishness, entitlement, and dependency--all under the sanctimonious guise of altruism. This is one of the great bait-and-switches in history, for what could be more selfish than to vote to raise someone else's taxes so you can get a lot of free stuff? The left always talks about “free medical care,” as if someone won't have to foot the bill. And to paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke, “if you think healthcare is expensive now, just wait until it’s free.”

Likewise, promoting the goal of making college accessible to everyone can only have two effects: college will become a mediocrity enabler, full of people who don’t belong there; or it will become a stupid factory, an outcome it is well on its way to achieving already. And, shielded from market discipline, it will only become more and more expensive. Eventually, the ability to attend college and become stupid will be financially beyond the reach of most Americans.

Someone--maybe Petey but possibly Theodore Dalrymple--once said that misery rises to the level of the means available to alleviate it. This is one of the reasons why most liberal programs don’t work. No matter how much better off people are, if they are unhappy and envious at their core, they will find a way to express their bitterness and resentment. And envy is ubiquitous. It cannot be eliminated in the collective, as the history of leftist collectivism vividly demonstrates time and time again. Rather, leftist policies fuel envy because they detach effort from outcome and nurture a cosmic sense of entitlement--wanting becomes confused with deserving, as in a child.

Envy can only be transcended on an individual basis. One must consciously cultivate gratitude, which is the polar opposite of our envy (envy being both innate and unconscious).

A corollary to the maxim of rising misery would be that “immaturity rises to the level of the means available to nurture it.” In this regard, historians now understand that adolescence is culturally constructed to begin with. You don’t have to go too far back in history to see that there was only childhood and adulthood, with nothing in between. Only when societies become relatively affluent can they afford a period of adolescence, during which time young adults toy with different identities and enjoy a life of leisure and extended learning before committing to an adult identity. But only when cultures become extremely prosperous is there no compelling reason for adolescence to end at all. You really can "die before you get old."

Today the transition to adulthood can be delayed indefinitely. In fact, children are not even taught that there is a self-transcending destination or goal to life. Imagine, for example, a sex education class that taught children that human beings are not merely instinct-driven horizontal animals, or that marriage was not the only, but the most appropriate outlet and goal of sexuality--in other words, that sexuality had a transcendent meaning and an objective vertical direction toward personal wholeness and social utility.

Of course, once you have chosen one option in life, all of the others are forever foreclosed. If you choose one career, it means all the other possibilities are ended, at least temporarily. If you marry one woman, you are really denying yourself the rest of womankind, and who would want to do that? It seems that many people would prefer to live in the realm of infinite (but unrealized) potential rather than finite, but real, existence.

Because America is so affluent, it can tolerate an unusual amount of foolishness, but not an infinite amount and not forever. In my lifetime I have witnessed the corrosive effect of leftist thought on our culture, as it insinuates itself into, and begins to weaken, the uniquely American character. But I am actually more interested in the more general failure to launch that afflicts mankind at large. What is the cause of this? For example, there is no question that this is the problem we face in the bulk of the Arab Muslim world. Something in their cultural DNA has left them mired in an historical and developmental eddy, sitting on the launch pad below, just where we left them 700 years ago. What happened? Why didn't they grow up? Why didn’t they launch? And why do they want us to join them on the launch pad?

As we have discussed in a variety of contexts, humans inhabit a horizontal and a vertical world. Among other things, the vertical world is the world of psychological and emotional development. We are the only animal that comes into the world with an almost infinite potential that may or may not be fulfilled in this lifetime (actually, being infinite, it is never completely fulfilled). Other animals--assuming that they aren’t eaten or die prematurely for some other reason--inevitably reach their developmental goal and achieve maturity as defined by their species. But not humans. Yes, barring some kind of unusual disease, all humans grow to physical maturity. But it is fair to say that the vast majority of human beings down through history--right through to the present day--do not make it to psychological maturity: they do not come close to fulfilling their developmental potential.

This is a question that has always intrigued me, because it goes directly against the grain of any facile Darwinian explanation. That is, I believe that human development is guided by a telos or an end state that we are supposed to achieve. But unlike other animals, there is no way this end state can be accounted for by natural selection, because it never existed in the material world--it remains latent unless or until it is realized. Only human beings can "not be themselves."

In short, while we certainly have our genetic blueprint, we also have some sort of nonlocal “archetypal blueprint” that draws us toward it. But any number of personal, cultural and historical conditions can conspire to prevent us from realizing this blueprint. For example, if you are a woman in Saudi Arabia, what are the chances you will have the opportunity to become who you are? Approximately zero. But if women can't become who they are, neither can men--which is why there are so few developmentally adult men and in the Arab Muslim world. Likewise, if you are a tenured radical in an American university--say Noam Chomsky or Juan "Osama's Pawn" Cole--what are the chances that you will ever grow up and know reality, much less live in it? Probably zilch.

Another way of saying this is that human beings alone among the animals are somehow built for transcendence. Not only do human beings have the capacity to rise beyond and surpass themselves, but this is our essential nature. No one looks at a pig and says, “Why don’t you grow up and start acting like a proper pig?” But we ask this of humans all the time. In fact, it is the question that answers the question of what a human being is.

Failure to launch is ultimately failure to transcend. As Meister Eckhart wrote, “When the higher incorporates the lower into its service, the nature of the lower is transformed into that of the higher.” But it also works the other way around: when we fail to transcend, the higher is incorporated into the lower, creating a perverse version of itself. Thus, we have the counterfeit transcendence represented by everything from the narcissistic and infantile "new age" movement (what a breathtakingly idiotic deepack of lies from this wholly manboy) to radical Islam, which thoroughly conflates the higher and lower, so that the most bestial acts are celebrated as divinely inspired.

Likewise, here in the United States we have an entire political party that has been hijacked by children suffering from FTL syndrome, and thus replaces transcendence with selfish visions of utopia: dailykos, huffingtonpost, the Hollywood crowd, Air America, Howard Dean, Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy, Cindy Sheehan, the perpetual adultolescents of leftist academia--all are in one way or another living in the bubble of immaturity that our affluent society provides. They are failures to launch, and they hate the symbolic parents that remind them that it’s time to move out of their childhood room, get a real job, and grow up.

They certainly hate me, which is a bit embarassing. That is, being a humble individual, they lavish upon me an encomium of which I am unworthy, for, as ever, the fool's reproach is a kingly title. Charles Johnson is a king. The Powerline guys are kings. I am but a mere foot soldier.

In short, there are three essential causes of error; lack of intelligence, lack of information, and lack of virtue, that is to say of beauty, in the receptacle.... The problems of our times are either the results of abnormal situations or the fruits of accumulated errors, and it is these latter which must first be corrected before even raising the question of whether objectively possible solutions exist.... Man poses as a victim when faced with the fruit of his sin, but without giving the latter its name, indeed quite the contrary. --Frithjof Schuon

Monday, July 17, 2006

Monday Morning Metaphysical Joyread

Intellectual intuition involves the direct perception of Truth. Logic, on the other hand, is merely a mental operation that can lead to true or false conclusions, depending on the data provided it. Logic is particularly useless--even dangerous, as reader Van pointed out a couple of days ago--without the a priori intuition of Truth, without which logic alone eventually leads one over the abyss. The most important truths are indeed "self evident," that is, evident to the higher self. Clearly they are not necessarily evident to the lower self, which is why liberty and human dignity are a tough sell in the Middle East, which awaits the day that its progress is not thwarted by the infrahuman majority in its midst.

In fact, the application of pure logic would dismiss as silly superstition those transcendent truths that are known directly by the higher mind. This is why you cannot prove the existence of God to such a logic-bound individual, any more than you could prove it to a dog--even a very good dog, like mine. Religious truths are conveyed through symbolism and analogy (with the assistance of grace), more like a great work of art than a mathematical equation. Although not logical, it would be a grave error to suggest that the great revelations are illogical, any more than a Shakespearean sonnet or one of Beethoven’s symphonies are illogical.

In the case of those latter two modes, poetical and musical truth are conveyed directly to something analogous to the senses, only on level that obviously transcends them. Those who demand “proof” of God are almost always coming from a place where the transcendent truth is simply unavailable to them. It involves a kind of invincible ignorance disguised as healthy skepticism. It reminds me of Bion’s description of the psychotic mind, which, he said, combined the characteristics of arrogance, stupidity, and curiosity. When you put those three together, you end up with a kind of arrogant, omnipotent ignorance that is inordinately proud of its own stupidity.

Then there is the “cultured” man of the European variety who is too sophisticated and knows too much to ever consider the possibility of truths that lie on plane higher than his own exalted mind. These people too are “impenetrable.” They suffer from a distorting mental hypertrophy that is to the mind what those musclebound bodybuilding freaks are to the physique. Only the delusional members of the cult believe that they actually look good.

On the scientific plane, we are dealing with truths that provide causal explanations for various material processes. As such, science is obviously entirely appropriate to the horizontal plane to which it is addressed. But religious truths do not have to do with horizontal causation. Rather, they are intended to provide the higher mind with a means to realize vertical truth. There is nothing that can be provided by mere logic alone that can help one ascend this vertical hierarchy.

Again, religious truths are seen directly, in the very same way that your eyes see directly in the material plane. When you see something directly before your eyes, only a fool would ask you to prove that vision exists. When you hear the obvious beauty in a work of music, to such an extent that it moves you to tears, no one asks you to first prove to them that hearing exists--as if the existence of mere hearing could explain musical truth anyway. Frankly, you wouldn’t even know how to respond to such an individual. What, prove to you the truths that are furnished by my own senses? How about proving to me that your mind exists and that it can discriminate between truth and error, then we’ll talk. Because I’m not sure it does or can.

While the lower mind is active, or “male,” it has always been understood that the higher mind is passive, or “female” in relation to Truth. The lower mind is an acquisitive mind, a grasping mind, even a restless and greedy mind. Part of the reason it is restless and greedy is that it can never be satisfied with what it is capable of acquiring, what with its own inherent limitations. The mind cannot rest until it has found its proper home, and that home is only found in the transcendent metaphysical truths to which it is conformed. There are certain things that the human mind is designed to know, and once it knows them, it settles down, as in marriage. In fact, it is a marriage--a metaphysical union.

Likewise, there are certain things human beings were not necessarily meant to know. It is not that we should not or cannot know them, only that these things are “accidental” and not essential. Someone who rejects the divine in favor of the material plane has rejected what is essential in favor of what is accidental and contingent. Therefore, their soul will suffer proportionately. They will “think,” but the thinking really won’t get anywhere, at least philosophically. Any end to their thinking will, as Schopenhaur recognized, be arbitrary. Even the greatest philosopher simply stops asking “why” at a certain arbitrary juncture and thus founds a school.

On the secular philosophical plane, there is nothing you can prove that you cannot equally disprove. It is “a journey of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing,” a "systematic abuse of language designed for that purpose." If a man doesn’t realize this by the age of 40 or so, he hasn’t learned much in his life's journey. He doesn't necessarily have to do anything about it, but he should at least realize that the intellectual game is up, that it’s all for show--for vanity and amusement.

The secular philosopher doesn’t only end his thinking at an arbitrary point. The truth of the matter is that he also begins it at an arbitrary point that can never be justified by his own philosophy. Postmodern philosophers like to congratulate themselves on the idea that they begin with “ignorance” or total skepticism, but it is an odd philosophy that begins by declaring to people that they cannot know what they most certainly do know.

These thinkers take great pride in living in darkness, and ridicule those of us who simply enjoy the sun’s rays, which both warm and illuminate. In the final unalysis, I don’t really care where those rays come from, and I certainly don’t care if some boneheaded secular philosopher tells me that the sun doesn’t exist. That’s fine. We have no quarrel. I know where you’re coming from, because I’ve seen the darkness. But you can’t know where I’m coming from until you step outside into the inner Light.

The higher mind is truly a mirrorcle of the absolute. In fact, its very existence establishes its own proof of the absolute, just as eyes prove the existence of material objects that can be seen. If truth exists, then surely it is accessible to us. If it doesn’t exist, then there is no point in pursuing it or even speaking of it. We should banish it from our vocabulary as sort of persistent illusion to which the fallible human mind is subject. Of course, the academic left is already hard at work on this diabolical project of “deconstruction,” but the fact of the matter is, the Left as such--whatever you wish to call it--has always been with us, and always will be.

For the deep structure of the Left may be traced all the way back to the first appearance of humanity in its horizontal manifestation. It is not so much that relativism is incorrect as such. Obviously, our own existence proves that relativism is real, otherwise there would only be God. But by the same token, relativism cannot be absolute. Rather, the absolute is precisely that which makes hierarchical relativity possible to begin with. By definition, there is no such thing as an incomplete hierarchy. To paraphrase Richard Weaver, if a series is hierarchically ordered it is conditioned from top to bottom and so cannot be infinite. If it is infinite, it cannot be conditioned top to bottom, and there is no higher or lower.

Clearly, our own existence proves beyond the doubt of a shadow that we inhabit a hierarchical cosmos with degrees of being--atoms, molecules, cells, animals, Man. Man is an arrow that points beyond himself to his source above, not below or behind. So before you even think about caterpultering your buddhafly, make sure you depart and bewholed and always aim your eros for the heart of the world.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lay Down All Thought, Surrender to That!

The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. --John 3:8

Many postmodern sophisticates think that religion is not empirical, but this fellow “John” was obviously a careful observer of spiritual reality. Nor is his language vague or inexact. It’s just that human language--at least at this point in our evolution--is somewhat poorly adapted to supersensible facts that lie above the material domain. As such, it has always been understood by the spiritually adequate that the Law of Analogy holds when discussing higher realities: “as above, so below.” Analogy is the link between created and uncreated things, which is why, in relying upon parable and other seemingly rustic literary forms, Jesus could not have been more vague or more precise. He always speaks perfect nonsense.

I don’t know where the Spirit comes from. And yet, it comes. And goes. I’ve already gone through several phases in my attitude toward blogging, but my current attitude is that it is basically a windsock to try to catch the Spirit as it blows by in the morning. It’s like damming a river so as to create electrical power. If I don’t take the trouble to sit here and catch it as it blows by, it’s as if it never existed. You might say that I am attempting to dam the Spirit, something my critics aleady know.

As I touched upon in One Cosmos, in order to talk about Spirit, we must change our relationship to language, for we cannot really speak it. Rather, we must allow ourselves to be spoken by the Spirit. Perhaps you may have noticed that most people, even as it is, do not really speak language. Rather, to a troubling degree, they are merely passively spoken by it. This is why most people really have nothing to say--why they are so boring. Perhaps the only sensible thing that William Burroughs ever said is that language is a virus. Certainly for most people it is--just something that has gotten into the brain and reproduces itself.

In short, many people are shockingly bereft, in other words, of the Other's word. Traditional cosmology holds that we live in a linguistic cosmos, that everyone and everything is infused with the Word. Therefore, language is not something that sprung up de novo in sophisticated primates. Rather, it is an anterior reality that we merely “tap into” or “piggyback” upon. And yet, language can become as frozen and dead as a stone, like Keith Richards or Brian Jones. For most people--and I’m not just talking about the grazing multitudes, but about so-called sophisticated elites--their minds consist of a few ruling memes that determine everything else.

I can think of so many examples that it’s hard to pick just one, so I’ll just use the first one that pops into my head. The other night, I sat down at beer o’clock PST and turned on the TV. It was the Larry King show, and the guest was Dan Rather. Now, I suppose one could concede that these two people possess “adequate” human intelligence. In other words, they are not neurologically damaged or diminished in some way. But two stupider people you could not find--two people who are simply spoken by language and have probably never had a creative thought in their lives.

I am sure there are people out there who think I’m being harsh or insulting here. But I am also quite sure there are others who know precisely what I’m talking about. Boredom is real. I personally do not suffer from it unless I am being bored by someone. As it so happens, the brilliant and subtle psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott wrote that the experience of boredom provided valuable information about a patient. As a psychoanalytically trained therapist, you do not merely “listen” to a patient. Rather, you also listen to yourself listening. In other words, you listen for your own emotional reaction, or watch for your own images or fantasies that are being provoked by the patient. This is called the analyst’s “counter-transference.” It is a source of subjectively objective information about others.

Winnicott maintained that the counter-transferential reaction of boredom was prima facie evidence of psychopathology in a patient. Normally we think of pathology in terms of “positive” symptoms--anxiety, depression, self-recrimination, etc. But boredom is a “negative” symptom. Something is missing. The mind, for whatever reason, has circled the drain and gone dead. The problem is not so much boredom as deadness. (There are many developmental reasons why this deadness can overtake the psyche, but I don’t have time to get into them all.)

When you watch as a child first acquires language, it is a delightful thing to behold. I’m experiencing it right now, in my son. It is very obvious that, as limited as he is, he is nothing at all like those dead people who are spoken by language. He is very much alive, and he is speaking language. He really only knows one word--that!--and yet, he is much funnier, more interesting, and more creative than Larry King or Dan Rather. Frankly, it’s not even close.

But as we are “educated,” something often happens in our relationship to language. Again, it can become as dead and frozen as any material object. Ironically, this is especially common for many people who call themselves “writers.” One reason I enjoy, say, Lileks or Van der Leun so much, is that they do not have this problem. Whatever they happen to be writing about, the language is very much alive, but not for its own sake. There are many well known writers whose writing is simply in service of writing, as opposed to the reality or idea that writing is meant to convey. This kind of stylized writing has its place, but it is often a narcissistic vehicle to conceal the inner vacuity of the person employing it. It is the literary equivalent of someone who is exceptionally good looking but as empty as your typical Hollywood liberal.

I have found that a key to spiritual development is to loosen the grip that the material world exerts on words--on the Word--and to allow language to become more fluid, mercurial, and receptive to higher things.

Obviously, this is something that the great poets have always known. And yet, great poets are not necessarily dealing with higher things, especially nowadays. While they may be alive, and may well have a more vibrant relationship to language, many of them simply use language to give voice to the infrahuman, not the suprahuman. So much contemporary art has descended in this direction, into a subjective swamp of “personal expression.” It creates another kind of boredom--the tedium of Madonna, or of rap, or of other forms of infrahuman barbarism. Frankly, the list is endless.

The real point of art--if art is to have any value except as a sort of pressure valve for the personal unconscious--is to give expression to higher things. And if you do not aim for those higher things, it is a sure bet that you will hit your mark. This is why, in the spiritually debased time in which we live, any subhuman with or without talent can call themselves an artist. For to be an artist merely means to “sing a song of myself,” no matter how ignorant or spiritually degraded that self happens to be.

For art to have real value, it must involve, as Schuon puts it, “the crystallization of archetypal values." Art is “the quest for--and the revelation of--the center, within us as well as around us,” an activity that “depends by definition on a knowledge that transcends it and gives it order; apart from such knowledge, art has no justification: it is knowledge which determines action, manifestation, form, and not the reverse.”

So where does this leave us? I had intended to write about one thing, but the Spirit overtook me and led me in a different direction. If I recall correctly, I had wanted to say something about the relationship between personal effort and spiritual reality. The key, according to Valentin Tomberg, is to first learn “concentration without effort,” and second, to “transform work into play.” I guess that’s what blogging has become for me: I just relax, turn off my mind, and float upstream. And never forget to bring a bucket. Or crock, depending on your point of view.

The essential function of sacred art is to transfer Substance, which is both one and inexhaustible, into the world of accident and to bring the accidental consciousness back to Substance. One could say also that sacred art transposes Being to the world of existence, of action or of becoming, or that it transposes the Infinite to the world of the finite, or Essence to the world of forms.... The Principle becomes manifestation so that manifestation might re-become the Principle, or so that the “I” might return to the Self; or simply, so that the human soul might, through given phenomena, make contact with the heavenly archetypes, and thereby with its own archetype. --Frithjof Schuon


The great Mark Steyn obviously feels the same way as I do about the zombie king and his wacksworks of the living braindead:

"I was on the road the other night and so found myself watching CNN's coverage of Israel, Lebanon, Gaza, etc. It was "Larry King Live," and it was one of those shows where Larry interviews great men about what needs to be done and the great men all agree that what needs to be done is that the president needs to get other great men involved to "broker" a "deal." Sen. Chuck Hagel proposed that Bush appoint Colin Powell or Jim Baker as his Special Envoy; Sen. Barbara Boxer proposed that Bush appoint Madeleine Albright as his Even More Special Envoy. Sen. George Mitchell, who himself served as Extra-Special Super-Duper Envoy a few years back, proposed that Bush involve the European Union. And someone else proposed the G-8. And Larry suggested Putin. Oh, and some smooth-talking apologist in Savile Row pinstripes proposed Chirac, because he and Bush had agreed a U.N. resolution on something or other a year or two back.

"Aside from Larry's closing tribute to Red Buttons, I've never heard more rubbish in a single hour since . . . well, come to think of it, since the last time I saw "Larry King Live." But at least that was a special with Heather Mills (Paul McCartney's missus), with which subject Larry seemed rather more engaged, at least after Lady McCartney plunked her artificial leg up on the desk and invited Larry to feel its lifelike texture, which is more than one can say for Larry these days. But the point is that Larry and his Friars' Club Roast approach to geopolitics is about as irrelevant to what's going on there as could be devised, short of Sen. Hagel proposing Heather Mills as his Special Envoy, which may be just what Hamas and Hezbollah deserve."

A dog named That!

A baby-sitter named That!

All This is That, the Beach Boys:

I am that, thou art that, all this is that
I am that, thou art that, all this is that
This is that
This is that

Daybreak and I take a glide
Into the pool of peace inside
To waves and I both travel by
And that makes all the difference to me

Life supporting waves of bliss
Mother Divine's precious kiss
Brings with love the light of wisdom
And the gift of eternal freedom

To waves and I both travel by
And that makes all the difference to me

I am that, thou art that, all this is that
I am that, thou art that, all this is that
This is that
This is that

Dusk time the shadows fall
Into the timeless time of all

To waves and I both travel by

Golden auras glow around you
Omnipresent love surrounds you
Wisdom warming as the sun
You and I are truly one

To waves and I both travel by
And that makes all the difference to me

I am that, thou art that, all this is that
I am that, thou art that, all this is that
I am that, thou art that, all this is that
I am that, thou art that, all this is that

Jai guru dev
(I am that, thou art that, all this is that)
Jai guru dev
(I am that, thou art that, all this is that)
Jai guru dev

(Funny, I always thought it was "two waves and I," but all the lyric sites say "to waves and I," whatever that means)

Theme Song

Theme Song