Saturday, October 21, 2006

Living in the Light of the Absolute, or Time and How it Gets That Way (9.27.08)

In any attempt to bridge the domains of experience belonging to the spiritual and physical sides of our nature, time occupies the key position. --A. N. Whitehead

I forget. Have we discussed the nature of time yet, except in passing? It seems that we’ve been skirting around the topic for the last dozen or so posts, and you may have noticed that my Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement has made several cogent comments about it. Perhaps it is time to evade the issue head on.

Let us begin with a bobservation from a while back, when I wrote that:

“To beat this conundrum, you must understand the distinction between time and eternity. Eternity is not time everlasting, but timelessness. Time and eternity are actually aspects of one another--they are dialectically related. In one sense, time may be thought of as the serial deployment of something that lies outside time. Thus, eternity is not located in the past or future, because no matter how far you go, you are still dealing with chronological time. Rather, the only possible place it could be is now--not in a temporal now, but an eternal now. As it so happens, the mysterious now, so inexplicable in terms of any model physics has ever come up with, is the intersection of time and eternity, and human beings are the self-aware locus where this occurs--where the vertical meets the horizontal.

“So much trouble is caused by our reliance upon language, which, in its superficial sense, is geared to the problems of matter, not consciousness, much less the ground of consciousness. We often mistake a deficiency of language for a key to truth. In order to discuss these deeper ontological questions, language must be deployed in a special, nonlinear, non-dualistic and poetic way. I attempted to achieve this in my book, whether successfully or unsuccessfully I cannot say (at least for others--it works for me). The ground of existence may be ineffable, but not completely uneffin' believably so.”

Clearly, time is at the heart of the mystery of existence. In fact, time is indistinguishable from existence, which is one of the things that makes it so difficult to describe. And yet, to a certain extent, you must be outside or “above” time in order to perceive it, which in itself provides a key to the mystery. After all, animals are just as much entangled in time as we are, except that they don’t know it. Why? Because an animal is incapable of lifting itself above its own subjectivity, while humans are specifically capable of objectivity. We can “see” time “passing” so to speak, just as we can sit here on this bank of sand with Bob Dylan and watch the river flow. Except that we are also floating on the river we observe, and the river doesn’t run in a straight liner but in circles within circles.

As above, so below. Just as the cosmos contains circles within circles--the rotating earth circling around a star inside a galaxy that is also a revolving and rotating spheroid--our lives consist of circular days within weeks within years within a full trip around the block called a natural lifetime. Esoterists believe that our lives consist of fractal time cycles of varying length, each a reflection of the other; thus, a lifetime can also be thought of as a day, with the morning of childhood, the day of youth, the evening of maturity, the twilight of old age, and the night-womb of death. Or our lives can be thought of as a year: spring, summer, autumn and winter.

But the ancients believed only in the closed circle of eternal return, not the line of growth, which is to say the open spiral. Here again, what distinguishes man is not that we are immersed in the cycles of time, but that we may utilize time to experience endless cycles of growth, or what I call inward mobility. Doing so is the whole point of your existence, assuming you belong to the contemplative or sacerdotal caste to whom I address my blog (most of my detractors are simply innocent members of other castes, i.e., menial or intellectual laborers, shopkeepers, craftsmen, administrators, servants, etc.).

Now, if you are like me--an interior cosmonaut or adventurer of consciousness--you most certainly do not measure your life against some worldly standard, but in the light of the Absolute.

Let me back up a bit. A couple of weeks ago I made a rash statement to the effect that I had abandoned the monastic “ascending” approach that had guided my spiritual practice for some ten years, in favor of a “descending” bobhisattvic approach. That’s true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t really go very far in describing the sort of person I'm not. In fact, my Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement immediately corrected me--I forget what he said exactly--but it was something to the effect that we must always be grateful to the spiritual hermit who gives his life entirely to God and blazes a trail from time to eternity for the rest of us.

For I actually try, insofar as it is possible, to spend as much timelessness in eternity as I can, given the constraints of worldly existence. I was recently discussing this with a friend in a different context. I was trying to explain to him, without success, that there is no such thing as “quality time” with a child, only quantity time in which you will have randomly magical moments of quality timelessness, which is to say, eternity. It is my belief that the concept of quality time was simply invented by guilty parents to convince themselves that they do not have to put in the quantity of time it takes to nurture a deep and profound relationship with your child. It is really a statement about how people still deprive children of their innate dignity and stature. After all, assuming you love your spouse, you don’t just give them an hour of “quality time” here and there and hope for the best.

Well, it’s the same with the Divine, don’t you know. This, of course, is the limitation of churchianity, in which you spend 60-90 minutes per week of quality time with God, or even meditation, in which you spend 20 or 30 minutes a day with him. Doesn’t really work, in my opinion. You and God need some quantity time to really get to know one another.

Now, this is somewhat easy for me to say, because I long ago made a crucial decision that worldly success meant nothing to me if it would deprive me of the time and space I would require to embark on a feckless Adventure of Consciousness. Thus, as long ago as high school, I thought to myself, “I have no idea what I want to do in terms of a career, but whatever it is, it cannot be a normal nine to five full time job working for someone else. The Subgenius must have Slack." Believe it or not, I have kept to this vow. With a few exceptions, I have avoided full time work my entire life.

Or at least paid work. In fact, I am always working, except that those without eyes--say, my in-laws--can’t necessarily see it. For Bob is never doing so much as when it looks as if he is doing nothing. As I have had occasion to mention several times in the past, certain members of other castes might look at my life and conclude that old Head-in-Clouds has a pretty boring existence.

But nothing could be further from the truth. From where I sit, I am embarked on the adventure of a lifetime, except that it is an interior adventure whose progress is measured in light of the absolute, not by some relative external standard. A good day at the office is a day in which I have made progress towards that nonlocal goal, and shared the joy with others. A bad day is one in which I have been pulled away from the center and origin because of some worldly obligation or other exigency. But outward appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, I am always doing something: tilling the soil, planting seeds, fertilizing, pulling weeds, topping the leaves, smoking them, etc.

Now, broadly speaking, there are four kinds of men: pneumatic man, intellectual man, emotional or vital man, and the man of action. And there is an appropriate practice for each--or raja, jnana, bhakti, and karma yogas, which any full-service religion will offer. Each type of yoga, in its own way, tries to provide an appropriate means for experiencing eternity within time. To live “within” religion is to find a way to be, or think, or feel, or act within eternity.

Now, no one has been more shocked than I have about what happens when you begin “thinking” within religion, because to a certain extent, this blog is nothing more or less than that. Like so many people in the modern west, I started off in a place that pretty much equated religion and ignorance. But as it so happens, knowledge of religion is knowledge that is both fruitful and efficacious, not to say transformational. It is nothing at all like “book learning,” or mere mental knowledge. If we grasp religion only with the mind, it is not really "interior" knowledge to which we may validly lay claim.

With the type of thinking I am describing, one is vaulted, so to speak, into a different space, the space from which the primordial mystery perpetually arises. What I have discovered, to my everlasting surprise, is that once in this space, one finds that it actually has its own very real characteristics and attributes. I know this because every day I receive confirmation from fellow explorers who see and experience the same thing. It's as if we are all setting voyage into an unknown sea but all returning with vaguely similar--sometimes strikingly so--descriptions of the flora and fauna on the other side. I can only reemphasize that this is most mysterious indeed.

Look at it this way. Europe only made its way westward to the New World in 1492. The westward exploration continued until the late nineteenth century, when the external frontier was closed. Thus the exploration began delving "within" matter and time with Einstein's revolution, outward into space, and back to the origins of the material universe with big bang cosmology. The detailed exploration of the unconscious only got underway with the publication of Freud's Interpretation of Dreams in 1900. 21st century spirituality will provide the opportunity for more people to embark on the interior journey, thus situating their lives within the grand evolutionary epic in which we are the central players. If that doesn't happen, then earth will be in for a very bumpy ride.

To summarise: time is not actually possible without eternity, but evolution is not possible without time. Therefore, there is a need to be saved from our apparent separation from the eternal, as we engage in our evolutionary sprint from monkey mind to divine mind. This salvolution perennially occurs in the eternal ground in which we participate at our deepest level. We may be sons of God "through adoption," and thereby be saved from the ravages of time, here and now. We may make the eternal present in us. But it must be "realized” in order to be effective.

The fully realized person has reversed the fall, or turned figure and ground (or time and eternity, absolute and relative) inside out and upside down. He has reversed the vector flow that misleadingly draws consciousness down and out to the terminal more and moraine of the senses. In short, he has realized that the cosmos is tree with its roots aloft, its branches down here below. And it is a Tree of Life for those whose wood beleaf. So don’t be an existential sap. Stop time before it stops you!

What is intelligibly diverse must be unified and whole, and only what is whole and unified can be intelligibly diverse. At the same time, only what is diversified can be intelligibly one.... The reality of time, therefore, establishes concurrently the reality of a whole which is nontemporal.... Time without eternity is strictly inconceivable. --Errol Harris

Time is the substance of which I am made. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which mangles me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges. --Jorge Luis Borges

The mysterious now is the universal ordering principle which embodies the "processual flow" of eternity into serial structure. It is in this sense that human observers give rise to the cosmos that spawned them, and are the irreducible unit of there being a cosmos at all. --Petey

I have escaped and the small self is dead;
I am immortal, alone, ineffable;
I have gone out from the universe I made,
And have grown nameless and immeasurable.

I have become what before Time I was.
My heart is a centre of infinity
A momentless immensity pure and bare,
I stretch to an eternal everywhere.
--Sri Aurobindo

Returning to the Oneself, borne again
To the mysterious mamamatrix of our birthdeath,
Our winding binding river of light
Reaches its deustinocean.
--L. Bob Gagdad


If you want to enjoy the springtime of Eternal Slack, you can't be ruled by the colander.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Adam & Evolution, Darwhiggian History, and Supernatural Election

A few posts back I promised to discuss the relationship between tradition, or orthodoxy, and progress, or evolution. It’s a very important point, because many cultures have died a wreck on this very dialectic. For if you veer too strongly toward tradition, you are essentially opting out of time in favor of eternity, which on this plane leads to stagnation and ultimately collapse. But if you veer too far in the other direction by abandoning tradition, you cut man off from his deepest metaphysical roots and create a society that is unfit for man as such.

The latter is what all radicals do. You will often hear radicals say that the word “radical” comes from the word “root,” and that they are merely the type of person who likes to seriously attack the problems of mankind at their root (I heard Bill Moyers say this just the other day). But what radicals always do instead is attack the root of mankind, which is how you end up with nightmare regimes such as the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, or North Korea. However, to a lesser extent, it is also how you end up with socialist Europe, which, if Mark Steyn is correct, will not survive its abandonment of tradition. Perhaps historians in a thousand years will lump all of these things together as different aspects of the same phenomenon: the abandonment of man qua man.

So on one side of broad pathway through of history we have the nightmares of the left, while on the other side we have the naughty Moors of the right, i.e., the Islamists who believe that time is a big mistake and that we need to undo it and return to the Golden Age of 1267. But that too is a caliphate worse than death, because you cannot undo time without destroying a lot of genies and the bottles they came in. Tenured clowns to the left of me, armed and dangerous jokers to the right, stuck in the middle are the Jews.

Yes, the Jews, because the Jewish prophets discovered history as we know it, which is to say linear history, which is to say irreversible time, which is to say evolution, which is to say the anti-entropic nature of the whole existentialada as the river of time flows toward its nonlocal deustinocean. And yet, at the same time, no human group has been more diligent about preserving and recollecting the primordial tradition that connects us to our source and makes us human, i.e., revelation. Perhaps a rabbi will correct me, but I believe it would not be treffling with scripture to say that, on a spiritual level, Torah is analogous to DNA, in that it represents not just our human blueprint, but the blueprint of creation itself.

However, I believe it is a postmodern superstition to say that DNA holds the secret of life. Rather, if we turn the cosmos back rightside up, we see that Life holds the secret of DNA. In other words, DNA is not anterior to life; rather, Life is anterior to DNA. In other other words, to the extent that God is alive--which he no doubt is--he most certainly cannot be reduced to biological life, any more than the Divine consciousness can be reduced to what a brain is capable of. Frankly, if the average brain were to experience an unfiltered influx of the divine light, it would fry like a computer struck by lightning and shatter into pieces. Which, according to the Jewish kabboomalists, is what happened when God created the universe and it shattered into so many little sparks of divine light, sparks that are preserved at the core of our being and the being of our luxury corps.

Now, back to the issue at hand, tradition vs. progress. It is a banality to point out that all of our amazing scientific and technological progress has done nothing to improve the moral stature of man. In fact, there are many traditionalists who argue--wrongly, I believe--that it has actually made us worse. Actually, in the absence of the guide rails of traditional morality, it is an independent variable, in that good people will use technology in a good way, while bad people will use it for bad ends. Nevertheless, there are many idiots who ask the question--I recently saw the idiot Wolf Blitzer ask it of President Bush--”Israel has a nuclear bomb. Why can’t Iran?” Good question, Wolf. Wolf Blitzer has a cable news show. Why can’t a morally insane sociopath have one? Oh, wait a minute.... Olbermann does have one.

But do we really want to have the dissemination of information in the hands of madmen? Well, we do. It’s called wackademia, or the leftist looniversity bin, where parodies of truth are disseminated by parodies of scholarship to a slackjawed but diverse flock of sheep. For the academic left, time stands still no less than it does for the Islamists, except that it is always 1967 instead of 1267.

But time moves, and it moves toward a transcendent goal that is implicit or immanent in each moment of time. Someday it will be common understanding that we inhabit an evolutionary cosmos that is fundamentally spiritual in nature. Until then, we cosmonauts will have to satisfy ourselves with being at the leading edge of this cosmic evolution, waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. We must be voices crying in the bewilderness of a spiritually blind scientific materialism on the one side, a religiously bland materialism on the other.

This is actually a very old problem. For example, it is the problem Thomas Aquinas confronted in his great Summa, in which he attempted to reconcile faith and reason. Yes, scripture is eternal. But our understanding of how the universe works is always changing and evolving. Therefore, it is always necessary to show how the uncreated wisdom of scripture is compatible with our shifting understanding of the things of time.

Consciousness evolved. Consciousness is evolving. End of story. Or, to be perfectly accurate, the beginning of the story, for the evolution of consciousness is the only story that is, and that story is not over. Therefore all religions must be compatible with that fact if they are to be vehicles of Truth.

I have no doubt that Christianity is compatible with the idea of an evolving cosmos that is ultimately the evolution of consciousness. Although perhaps never articulated in a straightforward way prior to Teilhard de Chardin, it is clearly implicit in Christian teachings. As noted above, it is thanks to the Judeo-Christian tradition that we even have the concepts of history and progress. The Hebrew prophets discovered the directionality of history and were the first to clearly understand that it was not cyclical or degenerative. Christianity teaches that history is salvation history--it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is not static. Rather, history is drawn to its transcendent end--the eschaton or telos--which it is man's birthright to intuit.

Consciousness is the container. Knowledge is the contained. Consciousness itself evolves as higher knowledge is metabolized to become understanding and thereby expand being. As being expands, we can bear more Truth. The first and last word of being--the Alpha and Omega--is I AM. Evolution is the ongoing, ever-deepening disclosure of that uncontainable ontological fact. It is what it means to constantly be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:1). After all, it is nothing to be transformed horizontally. That is like rearranging the furniture but remaining on the same floor of the high-rise. We want to be transformed vertically. We want to progress and deepen our understanding. We want to evolve and take the human eschatolator to the next floor. And we would like leftists to join us, instead of pulling on the other end of the R.O.P.

Gazing into the singularity at the end of time, bathed in the white radiance of ecstasy central, One Cosmos Under God, Indivisible, with Liberation and Joyousness for All:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Red Jesus Freaks are Green With Envy (updated)

Some of my detractors believe that I do a disservice to religion by reducing it to a “left-right” issue. Why, just yesterday a particularly laughty soul expressed the resentiment that “Methinks it's time for the cobbler to drop the blog, as once promised, and work on his own shoes. Practice what you preach, seeker. Stop preaching and start looking again. You're as lost as any of the rest of us, and a crowd of the similarly-bent lost gathered at your feet doesn't suddenly render you all found. It just increases the power of the mirror to delude. Ego will lead you to rancor, not peace. This whole blog is a testimony to the truth of that idea. God promises everlasting peace, everlasting joy.”

In other words, I am just as lost as this commenter or anyone else, a hypocritical, deluded, rancorous, joyless, and ego-driven preacher with unfashionable homemade footwear. But I somehow manage to obscure this fact by basking in the reflected glow of my half dozen regular commenters who are as bent and twisted as I am.

Could be. Except I would definitely take issue with the “joyless” characterization. I really do enjoy doing this, even before my adoring bobbleheaded clones lavish me with praise and give a boost to my flagging self-esteem.

In all seriousness, as I have had occasion to mention a jumble of tomes, I am not so much concerned with left vs. right as I am with up vs. down, i.e., the vertical. Any secondary political principles I espouse or embrace follow from my first principles, which are timeless, metaphysical, and I believe objectively true. If you want to attack me--which, of course, you are free to do--you cannot begin with my “conservatism” but with the principles from which my conservatism flows, for example, my belief in the absolute spiritual value of liberty over equality.

To the extent that I am a “Republican,” it is only insofar as the Republican party is subject to some small influence from the conservative intellectual movement. To the extent that I am part of that latter movement, it is only because I believe it best embodies the ideals of classical liberalism espoused by the American founders. And to the extent that I regard the American founders as political avatars charged with a divine mission, it is only because I believe they designed a system that is most compatible with the spiritual evolution that is my true concern. Everything actually starts with that: my politics follows from my metaphysics.

Along these lines, there is an interesting piece on on the new phenomenon of “Red Letter Christians”:

“Frustrated by the conservative tendencies of most religiously active Americans, a group of liberal religious activists have started ‘Red Letter Christians’ to espouse political themes of the left.

“Referring, of course, to the fact that words of Jesus in Bibles are often printed in red letters, these new ‘red-letter’ communicators and activists want to steer Christians away from concerns about marriage and abortion and towards antiwar activism and environmental causes.”

One of their founders describes the movement as follows: "We are evangelicals who are troubled by what is happening to poor people in America; who are disturbed over environmental policies that are contributing to global warming; who are dismayed over the increasing arrogance of power shown in our country’s militarism; who are outraged because government funding is being reduced for schools where students, often from impoverished and dysfunctional homes, are testing poorly; who are upset with the fact that of the 22 industrialized nations America is next to last in the proportion of its national budget (less than two-tenths of 1 percent) that is designated to help the poor of third-world countries; and who are brokenhearted over discrimination against women, people of color, and those who suffer because of their sexual orientation."

These Red Letter Christians clearly work in the opposite direction I do. They begin with their first principles of boilerplate leftism, and then seek to find confirmation for them in the literal words of Jesus, stripped of tradition, orthodoxy, context, symbolism, and spiritual gnosis. In so doing, they reduce the Word of God to the word of Marx, and with that, the vertical to the horizontal, thus defeating the very purpose of religion.

These self-deluded souls insist that they are neither left nor right, but simply following from a literal reading of the words of Jesus (talk about fundamentalism!). For example--who would have guessed--they conclude that God is against tax cuts and against the liberation of Iraq, but in favor of expanding the food stamp program, increasing the minimum wage, keeping all murderers alive, and "loving our enemies," meaning that we must surrender the war on global jihad. Oh, and Jesus also supports renewable energy and the redefinition of marriage.

In short, Jesus was not the word made flesh or the third person of the trinity--show me the red letters where he said any such things--but a 21st century moonbat.

This little exercise proves once again the axiom that the left is animated by feelings, not by thought. Every decent person wishes to help the poor, but these boneheads do not understand that we disagree precisely on the means of accomplishing that. In their minds, they literally believe that a liberal simply wants to help the poor, whereas a conservative wants to harm them. It never occurs to them that a conservative wishes to help the poor every bit as much as they do, but believes that liberal programs, in most cases, demonstrably do more harm than good. I am convinced that nothing in history has helped more people rise above poverty than the discovery of the principles of how wealth is created. Detracting from these principles only ends with less for everyone, especially the poor, as socialism proves time and again.

For example, the billions of dollars that have been given to Africa have overwhelmingly served the purpose of funding corrupt regimes, which only further postpones the day that the nations of Africa will have to address the true source of their poverty, which is in the realm of bad values--i.e., weak property rights, corruption, magical, animistic spiritual beliefs, rampant sexism, and paranoia fueled by unregulated envy. The application of neo-Marxist ideas has only made all of these things worse, not better.

As Dennis Prager noted yesterday, the Biblical injunction to feed the hungry and clothe the poor did not in any way envision the people we now call “poor” in the United States. For one thing, most of these people would be called “middle class” by the standards of Europe, “wealthy” by the standards of Africa, and “royalty” by the standards of the authors of the Bible. I can assure you that they were not thinking of the average “poor” American, who has a house of his own, a car, a cell phone, cable TV, air conditioning, and many expensive tattoos. Nor does he have to cobble his own Nikes, as I do.

Amazingly, some 48% of Americans feel--and the operative word here is feel--that they are worse off than their parents were, which is demonstrably untrue. I mean, it’s just flat out wrong. But it does show you how liberals “think,” because, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, most of our problems are existential, not a result of this or that circumstance. But because circumstances on earth always more or less suck--to be perfectly accurate, the glass is, and always will be, exactly half full, and therefore half empty--the world becomes a convenient field into which we may project problems that are properly internal, spiritual, psychological, and existential. And this is the perennial appeal of the revolutionary left: your problems are magically shifted outside yourself, even though it necessarily means that their solution never comes.

This externalization is a spiritually disastrous act, for the moment you judge your fortunes by comparing yourself to others, you have opened the door to envy, which is infinite and insatiable. You will always be miserable, because you will always--always--find someone who is better off than you are.

Because we have it so good in this country, the new meme of the left is that the gap is too wide between the wealthy and the rest of us. Personally, I do not compare myself to CEOs, to actors or to rock stars. Rather, I compare myself to my needs, which are quite modest, and to my desires, which are quite limited. Measured in this way, I am aware of existential--not monetary--wealth on a moment by moment basis.

I look at things like my diabetes, which is so much easier to control today than it was for my mother just a generation ago. God bless the profit motive and the greedy pharamceutical companies for that. I look at mundanely miraculous things like a DVD player through which I have instant access to the greatest films of all time, in a way that only the wealthiest person could have dreamt of when I was in film school in the early 80s. I remember a girlfriend I had at the time--it must have been around 1978. Her family was rather well to do, and owned one of the first Betamax video recorders. It was a huge, bulky thing, incredibly expensive, certainly beyond my means. And although my parents could have “afforded” one, I cannot imagine them ever splurging on something so impractical.

But what poor person today--just a quarter century later--would ever settle for a bulky old video recorder? Blue state red letter Jesus would positively freak out at the unfairness of it.

Likewise, a cheap home computer gives one access to a world undreamt of a decade or two ago, at least by me. I am very slow to catch up with technology, so I am acutely aware of how the internet has utterly changed my life. Because of it, I am living a life I couldn’t have lived before; I am sitting here right now taking advantage of a technology that allows me to actualize a part of myself and to bask in the narcissistic glow of my fawning readers who gather at my feet with those ugly homemade shoes on them. The joy of creation and communication is so intense that I am astounded by it every day.

That is my idea of progress. The very idea of reverting to a time when one’s view of the world was limited by the horizons of the spiritual and intellectual pygmies of the New York Times or L.A. Times is absolutely appalling to me. To return to those days would literally feel like being imprisoned in a psycho-spiritual gulag without light or heat. It would be like being forced to read Pravda or watch CNN, with no alternatives and no way to locate, much less instantly connect with, Our Kind of bent and rancorous seekers.

Life is such an amazing gift when you have a little gratitude instead of a grrr attitude.

It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. --Matthew 13:11-13


One more thing. While reflecting back on those old film school days, I remember that at my lowdown-downdest (as Francis Albert would put it), I lived for awhile in a small, unfurnished single apartment near Cal State Northridge, which is the Harvard of the North San Fernando Valley. I had a bed, a good stereo, an outstanding record collection, an ice box full of beer (no refrigerator), and no TV. Plus I drove a 1973 Ford Pinto Wagon. I was happily toiling away as a retail clerk (never full time, mind you, which would have interfered with my sacred Slack), which I did from 1976-1988, the same year that I completed my Ph.D.

In any event, at no point did it ever cross my mind that I was "poor" or that Red Jesus would have taken pity on me for the rude circumstances of my otherwise happy and inebriated existence. Referring back to that girlfriend with the wealthy stepfather, it never occurred to me to envy him. For one thing, I knew that he might have all the money, but that I was having all the fun. Still am.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Soul Pathology of the Beast With Red Cheeks

One of the things that a conservative realizes that a liberal doesn’t is that human beings are the problem. And this is why the classical liberalism embodied in the conservative intellectual movement will always be a tougher sell than leftism, because people naturally don’t want to believe that they are the problem, but that there is some simplistic political solution that will cure the disease of man.

I realize that characterization sounds harsh, but there is a sense in which you can think of human beings as a weird disease of the biosphere. However, you can also think of life as a sort of runaway cancer on the body of matter, and existence itself as a blight on the body of nothingness. After all, if there were no existence, there would be no problems either. To exist is to have a problem, if only because existence implies separation from the Source of our being. And that’s a big problem--a problem that it is the purpose of religion to redress.

The local manifestations of life and mind are relatively recent phenomena in the cosmos. The cosmos is at least 13.7 billion years old, meaning that it did just fine, thank you, for about 10 billion years without any creepy living things slithering about and mucking things up. And after that, the cosmos went another 3.84 billion years or so without any of these animals getting a big head and thinking that they knew better than the cosmos that had bearthed them. Although modern human beings have been genetically complete for as long as 200,000 years, we really don’t see any evidence of what we call humanness until its sudden emergence about 40,000 years ago, for example, in the beautiful and fully realized cave paintings at Alta Mira and Lascaux.

As I pointed out in One Cosmos, once you have these new modes of locally concentrated Life and Mind, you also have the entirely new existential category of pathology. In other words, prior to the emergence of life 3.85 billion years ago, there were literally no problems in the universe. Nothing could go wrong because nothing had to go right. But every biological entity is composed of various functions that must achieve their end in order for the organism to survive. In a human being, there are thousands of large- and small-scale things that have to go right in order for us to be free of pathology. Our lungs must exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the environment; our heart must circulate blood; our pancreas must produce insulin (d’oh!), etc. All of these things have to go right for life to continue. Anything that interferes with the ability of an organ to accomplish its end is called “pathology.”

But this leads to an interesting question, for what is the proper end of human consciousness? Because of we don’t know what consciousness is for, we can’t very well say that this or that individual is pathological, can we?

Now, if you adopt a strictly Darwinian, materialistic view, then the answer to this question is obvious: a healthy person is simply one who survives, because that is the whole point of natural selection. Thus, Stalin was more healthy than the 20 to 40 million people he murdered, just as Hitler was clearly more healthy than the 6 million Jews he slaughtered. Survival of the fittest is the final arbiter in nature. You may think that I am being a bit polemical, but this was the philosophy of one of the forerunners of postmodernity, Nietzsche, who believed that the whole idea of “God” was a pathological meme that simply protected the weak and infirm from the harsh judgment of nature.

No matter who you are, you will have something inside of you that makes a judgment between psychological health and pathology. A lay person generally does not make their criteria explicit, but clearly, you cannot say what is pathological unless you have some idea of what a human being is for, and what the pathology is preventing it from accomplishing.

For example, without ever deeply considering the reason why, most people would say that a pedophile is a sick individual. But why, really? If you are a materialist, you would have to say that the sex drive has a purpose, and it is clearly a deviation from that purpose to direct it towards children. But what is the actual purpose of the sex drive? Is it only to reproduce? If that is the case, then any non-reproductive sex would have to be deemed equally pathological, because reproduction is the only concern of natural selection. If we draw our lessons from nature, then the strongest man with the most wives and children would be the healthiest one, even if he had a few child brides in the harem.

But back to our original question: what is a human being actually for? Is there a reason for our existence? If you are any kind of materialist or secularist, you must be intellectually honest and affirm that there is no such reason aside from those that we simply make up. And this is precisely what the secular left does. The doctrines of “diversity,” multiculturalism and moral relativism all insist that there is no proper way for a human being to “be,” and that any judgment we make about other people and cultures is not only wrong, but probably racist as well.

Completely lost on the postmodern left is the irony that this itself is a very strong statement about the ultimate purpose of human beings, which is to not make judgments unless it is to harshly judge those who judge. This is what we call a sophisticated “postmodern” belief, which is to say that it is a limb on the tree of western civilization that its inhabitants have cut from the trunk, so that they mysteriously hang suspended in thin, irony-poor acadanemic air with no visible means of philosophical support. It makes no sense at all--certainly less sense than the religious traditions they deride and dismiss--but that’s an intellectual for you. They always believe that their abstractions are more real than reality, and that reality itself is a diseased deviation from their beautiful ideas. It’s one of the reasons they detest liberty, because they cannot accept the idea that the robust “bottom up” order produced by chaotic liberty surpasses their own beautiful ideas of how the good society should be imposed by leftist elites from on high.

I do not derive my ideas of human health and pathology from nature. Nor do I derive them from culture. Rather, I do so from religious tradition, which I believe speaks to Universal Man--not to such and such a man, but to man as such--to all men at all times and in all cultures, without exception. The man who fails to achieve these ends is more or less sick in the soul, psyche or brain, while the culture that fails to produce these kinds of men is a sick society.

Man was created in the image of God, so he therefore has an uncreated intellect that may know truth, and know it absolutely. He may distinguish between the Real and the unreal, between the transient and the eternal, and between principles and their manifestation. No mere animal can do any of these things, nor can any materialist philosophy account for them in a manner that is not logically self-refuting.

Man has an uncreated conscience that may distinguish between objective good and evil, and do so reliably. This is not to say that I do not believe in situational ethics. Rather, it is to say that in each situation there is an objectively good choice, even if we must struggle to discern it.

And man has an aesthetic eye that may distinguish between beauty and ugliness, and therefore pursue degrees of material perfection that are measured in light of the Absolute. Aesthetic perfection does exist, and cannot surpass itself. Postmodern art makes a virtue of its failure to even acknowledge these transcendent degrees of perfection.

In short, man is man because he may know the True, the Good and the Beautiful, and act upon that knowledge with a will that is free. Any man who does not achieve these ends is a sick man, and any culture that does not produce such men is a sick society.

Judged by these criteria, academia is by and large a very sick place, at least as it pertains to the humanities (we are naturally excluding those noble and truly liberal universities such as Hillsdale College whose very mission is to preserve the ideals of which we speak). On what elite campus do the professors speak of timeless truth, or objective morality, or of transcendentally real beauty? To the extent that they do, we have no quarrel with them.

Our enemies in the Muslim world are our enemies precisely because they are sick men from sick societies who wish to spread their disease to the rest of the world. But in our own world, approximately half of the population suffers from a soul pathology that prevents them from making judgments on, or even perceiving, the soul pathology of our external enemies. Thus, there are no feminist groups who have rallied behind George Bush, who has liberated more Muslim women than perhaps any other human being in history. Likewise, I know of no leftists who celebrate the achievements of the great liberator Ronald Reagan, who gave millions of victims of a satanic ideology the opportunity to become human again. For if leftists were to acknowledge these achievements, they would no longer be leftists. They would be cured.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Triumph of the Will and the Reign of Nothingness

Mankind’s deepest problems are universal and existential. But solutions to these will problems vary from person to person and culture to culture, based upon insight, maturity, intelligence, and revelation.

It is a truism that ideas have consequences, but even ideas must take a back seat to the values that shape the ideas one is capable of thinking. One of the greatest benefits of a proper religious grounding is that very early on you internalize the value that your problems are your fault and that it is essentially a sin to externalize blame onto others. This is one of the sharpest divides between classical liberals and leftists, the latter of whom propagate the doctrine of victimology, i.e., the systematic shifting of blame to others. For the leftist mind, to the extent that your life is a failure, it is not your fault, but because of racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, white European maleism, whatever.

The point of this exercise is not to identify any real entity but to create a locus of blame, so that one’s existential problems may be externalized and spuriously relieved. The more mature culture is the one that produces individuals who locate existential problems within, and can both tolerate and transcend them--for example, tolerating the constitutional envy we discussed yesterday. There is no way to eliminate envy “from the outside,” which, after all, is why it is one of the commandments. The commandment does not say, “you shall try to eliminate envy by empowering a huge collective to give to each envious person according to his insatiable needs.”

The envious person unconsciously says, “if I can’t have it, then no one can. I will destroy the object of my envy.” Thus we can see how unhinged envy is at the basis of pure nihilism, and why our enemies are so frightening. Think of Hitler’s scorched earth policy of destroying every square inch of land as his armies retreated. If he could not rule the world, then he would take the world down with him. This is what is so frightening about the prospect of nihilsts with weapons of mass destruction, for they truly do not care about the world so long as the world does not comport with their fantasies of how it ought to be.

Clearly, the Islamists operate by this principle, and one naturally worries about the extent to which normative Islam is informed by the same toxic attitude. For even if we were to disregard all of the hideous violence that emanates from the religion of peace, we would still conclude that this is a religion of perpetual outrage based upon the behavior of its most visible spokesholes, such as CAIR or Juan Cole.

The constant perception of victimization--even amidst the outrageous and widespread victimization of others--must come from something deep within Islam itself, unless this is merely a modern deviation. Despite it all, I am still open to that possibility, although I haven’t been able to find a single example of a truly interior Islam outside Sufism (which in my view is more Vedanta than Islam). In proportion to the billion or so normative Muslims, there are only a handful of Sufis, and frankly, even many of them tilt toward the dark side.

Still, if forced to choose, I would prefer to live in a world of interiorized Sufism than exteriorized Christianity, which, let us be honest, did once exist in the form of pogroms, inquisitions, witch hunts, and the like. The problem was clearly not with Christianity--which is perfect in its reflection of timeless truth, subject as always, to limitations in one's capactity to receive--but within the psyches of the flawed humans who exteriorized it. Furthermore, the sort of inner Christianity I value is compatible with Sufism, whereas it would be regarded with great suspicion in a world of exteriorized Christians. In such a climate I would probably be regarded as a conjuror or witch. Who knows what they would think of Petey.

The gospel of nihilism is in fact a war against truth and therefore a war against God, even though it is fair to say that few nihilists are aware of this fact. But the only reason we have a word called “truth” is because it is a reality that is vouchsafed by God. Being that we are in the image of God, we are informed by an intellect that may know truth, a will that may choose the good, and an interior “eye” that may perceive beauty. The leftist attacks and undermines all of these things, and in so doing, destroys both man and God. Leftism is ultimately a program of radical immanence that cuts us off from our roots--which, as expressed in the Upanishads, are aloft, not below.

For to say that absolute truth does not exist is to say precisely that human intelligence does not exist. To say that morality is relative is to say that anything is permitted and that man is therefore nothing, for he has no essence. And to create new forms of merely human “art” that celebrate ugliness, depravity, and naturalism is to sever mankind from the higher planes that distinguish us from the beasts and make us human. It is to reduce man to his animal nature--except he becomes a pathetic animal with no nature, truly a nothing.

In this regard, the existentialists were correct in drawing out the implications of their philosophy of stupidity. To return to our original point about values, every man is faced with two, and only two, choices that will determine everything else: essence or existence. For the religious man, essence is prior to existence and determines existence. God knew you before you were bearthed and begaialed and keeps a running count of every hair on your head.

For the leftist, existence determines essence. You are an accident. You have no a priori transcendent essence, but your essence is determined by accidental factors such as race, class and gender.

It is probably no coincidence that the largest constituents of the left always include the young and unmarried. As one matures, gets married, and has children, one naturally evolves away from leftist ideas, obviously not everyone, but a clear majority. This is because concrete reality has a way of clearing aside so much abstract intellectual theory. There is a reason why Marxism only exists in universities, and that you will never find a businessman who operates his business along the lines of Marxist doctrine.

Likewise, as a parent, it has been very obvious to me from the moment he arrived here that my son has his own unique essence. He is not a reflection of me, let alone “my flesh.” Rather, just as each face is unique, his essence has been palpably present from the start. I could no more believe that his being was determined by race, class and gender than I could believe that he came from a pumpkin patch. But that is what the left would have you believe.

It is one thing for an adult to believe such leftist claptrap. If they want to ruin their lives in their adolescent rebellion against God, that’s fine by me. But to ruin a child’s life by inculcating him with these dysfunctional values is an unforgivable sin. For example, to raise a black child in contemporary America by telling him that this is a racist country, that white people hate him, that he is a victim from the start, and that his efforts will be for naught, is soul murder pure and simple.

Likewise, to brainwash an Arab child into believing that 15 million Jews in the entire world are the cause of a single problem among the world's billion Muslims--let alone all their problems--is a heinous form of abuse, because when you create a victim, you create a nihilist. Why? Because once victim status is secured, then you are no longer burdened by a conscience. You may destroy and kill plentifully, because the order of the cosmos is unfair and illegitimate, and anything you do to set things right is inherently moral, no matter how immoral. One is sanctioned to abandon oneself to one’s most primitive instincts. And the violence will not end until the Old Order is overthrown and the New Man is created, free of the existential categories that define man to begin with.

Meaning has been vanquished. Man is liberated from himself. The Triumph of the Will and the Reign of Nothingness are complete. God and man are dead. Long live the Beast!

And whoever must be a creator in good and evil, verily, he must be an annihilator and break values. Thus the highest evil belongs to the highest goodness: but this is creative. --Nietzsche

Nothing makes me more certain of the victory of our ideas than our success in the universities. --Adolf Hitler

When our liberty is lost we are compelled to serve sin: that is, we will sin and evil, we speak sin and evil, and we do sin and evil. --Martin Luther

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Left-Handed Fall into Nihilistic Destruction (10.04.08)

Our four-part fall from grace is nearly complete, having plunged from liberalism to realism to vitalism. All that remains is our last leg of the journey into destructive nihilism.

One wonders what, aside from sheer ignorance, animates people to adopt doctrinaire leftist ideas when they have proven time and again to not only be ineffective, but to generally make matters worse. At a certain point, you have to begin wondering whether there is actually an unconscious desire to do just that--perhaps something reflecting Freud’s idea of a death instinct in human beings.

In taking the long view of history, it is almost necessary to posit such an anti-divine force in the world, if for no other reason than to have an explanatory “place holder” until we discover what this force actually is. It’s the same with the notion of satan, or the old Zoroastrian idea that cosmic history is a battle between Ahura Mazda and Ahriman, or light and dark respectively. If it’s not, then it might as well be, no?

(Name the true man who said it: “God has created [the United States] and brought us to our present position of power and strength” in order to defend “spiritual values--the moral code--against the vast forces of evil that seek to destroy them.” Answer* at bottom.)

You can put any fancy spin on it that you wish, but no one can convince me that our struggle with Iran or with North Korea is anything other than a struggle against pure, unalloyed evil. But what if you are too sophisticated to believe in the primitive idea of evil? Then I’m afraid you may be too sophisticated to survive your own magical ideology. In naively embracing “peace” you are ensuring your own doom, which frankly wouldn’t bother me if I and my friends and family and beloved cosmonauts didn’t have to go down with you.

At this point, I wish we could have two separate countries, Red America and Blue America. Then, once and for all, we could have a true test of which ideas are the more functional and create more economic prosperity and moral goodness. In Blue America they would have high taxes, a huge, intrusive federal government, marriage for any two or more people who wished to do so, socialized medicine, economically crippling Kyoto-style restrictions, government enforced racial discrimination, open borders (except into our country--to preserve the integrity of the experiment we’d have to have a big fence to keep them from escaping into our beautiful Red America), a permanent ban on vouchers to ensure the stranglehold the Teachers Union has on education, a religious test to keep people of faith out of public life, no guns, no smoking, lots of abortions, even more special rights and protections for criminals and terrorists, a ban on evil places like Walmart which provide vital goods to people of modest means at rock bottom prices, free college for everyone no matter how stupid, and a high minimum wage to suppress employment, spur inflation, and keep tax revenues down.

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, if your conception of human nature is faulty, then your political philosophy is going to be dysfunctional. One of the reasons leftism is so inherently dysfunctional is that it revolves around the appeasement of perhaps the single most spiritually destructive human emotion of them all, constitutional envy. In the formulation of the brilliant psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, envy is the primary mode of expression of the death instinct. It is present in everyone, but can be exacerbated by early childhood experiences so that later in life it becomes a crippling barrier to psychological health and happiness. For envy prevents one from appreciating what one has. It can only attack the person or system believed to possess what one lacks. In this regard, it is the polar opposite of gratitude, which is one of the prerequisites of human happiness. As a matter of fact, Klein’s most famous book is entitled Envy and Gratitude.

At the heart of leftism is envy. Now, I am not a libertarian. I do not believe we should rid ourselves of all leftist ideas even if we could. But this is not because I believe leftist ideas work. Rather, it is because I believe that the force of envy is so strong in human beings, that the culture absolutely must have some means to channel it in an officially sanctioned way, or the society will explode from within. But the question is, how much should we appease envy? Because if you go too far, as they have in Europe, then you will reach that tipping point where the society begins to spiritually rot from within, because envy is a sick and unhealthy beast that can never be made healthy.

In America we try to appease envy by tolerating such odious things as trial lawyers, overtaxing the wealthy and productive, lottery tickets, racial quotas, and a general relaxing of standards in every arena so that people might feel “special.” The problem is, none of these things work to eliminate envy, for the simple reason that you cannot eliminate envy. The leftist thinks that the solution is to further appease envy, which simply leads to a vicious cycle of more and more envy, until no one is allowed to have any more than anyone else.

This, of course, was the ideal of communism, which ended up creating the most petty and envious population you could imagine. It wasn’t just in the Soviet Union, but even in the idealistic socialist experiments of the early Zionists. They had the idea--contrary to all scripture and all understanding of human nature--that the kibbutzim would eliminate the problem of envy and create heaven on earth. But the opposite happened. Envy could not be appeased, and found ever more minute and petty ways to express itself. Today very few kibbutzim remain, as Israel eventually adopted American ideals of free market capitalism which unleashed tremendous creativity, innovation and economic growth because it tapped into its most critical natural resource: Jewish culture.

Since leftism is a magical belief system that is no more effective in the long run than a kooky religion that keeps predicting the second coming or the landing of aliens, one must conclude that its benefits are mainly psychological and emotional. Based on my past flirtation with leftism, I think this is pretty much on the mark. It is also no coincidence that I wasn’t religious back then, so it obviously tapped into that archetypal dimension that was going unused at the time. In other words, leftism rides piggyback on properly religious impulses from which it derives so much of its energy and fervor. Leftist ideas may be ineffective in the world, but they are highly effective (in a perverse way) in transforming the psyche of the person who believes them, and that is the point.

A religious person knows that the world is corrupt and fallen. In fact, this banality falls under the heading of something one cannot not know. However, depending upon whether or not one is religious, one will respond very differently to this realization. For the leftist, it means that the present social arrangement is corrupt to the core and must be torn down--with extreme revolutionary prejudice if necessary.

It is no accident that leftists believe that there is some unique “culture of corruption” among conservatives, when the most generous analysis will demonstrate that the corruption is spread about equally between left and right, because the problem is within the human heart, not with ideology per se. But I’m pretty sure that if you conducted just a little investigative research, you would find that the corruption is much more common and pervasive on the left. People must have very short memories, because the Clinton administration was one of the most corrupt in history.

Let’s look at a recent example of corruption, Mark Foley, who was instantly denounced by Republicans and forced into retirement as soon as the naughty IMs became known. But Democrat Gerry Studds, who actually homosexually raped (assuming the age of consent was 18) an underage page? Here’s how the liberal media eulogized him yesterday. See if you notice any difference in treatment of the two cases:

“Gerry Studds, the first openly gay member of Congress and a demanding advocate for New England fishermen and for gay rights, died early Saturday at Boston University Medical Center, his husband (sic sic) said....

“[H]e was also a leading critic of President Ronald Reagan's clandestine support of the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. He staunchly opposed the Strategic Defense Initiative, which Studds once described as ‘the Edsel of the 1980s’ -- overpriced and oversold.

“His homosexuality was revealed through scandal. In 1983, he was censured by the House of Representatives for having had an affair 10 years earlier with a 17-year-old congressional page. For Mr. Studds, formal and dignified, a model of old New England reserve, the discovery sparked intense anguish, friends said.

“Once outed, however, Mr. Studds refused to buckle to conservative pressure to resign.... [H]e never apologized. He defended the relationship as consensual and condemned the investigation, saying it had invaded his privacy....

“And in addition to speaking on the House floor on behalf of same-sex marriage, he set an example. In 2004, he and his longtime partner, Dean Hara, became one of the first couples to marry under a Massachusetts law allowing same-sex marriage.

“Though his name had barely been mentioned in Washington since he retired, the resignation late last month of Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., revived interest in Mr. Studds' dalliance with a teenage page in 1983.”

So let’s get this right. Foley is a vicious homosexual pervert and child predator that corrupt Republicans knew about and condoned merely because they wanted to hold on to political power. But Studds was a courageous openly gay congressman who was outed and persecuted by Sandinista-hating conservatives who invaded his privacy merely because of a dalliance with an underage page.

I think I get it. If a Republican homosexual asks a page for a photograph, he’s a pervert and a pedophile. But if a Democratic homosexual rapes an underage page, he’s a champion of gay rights. Any questions?

Let’s give these people the congress!

To be continued tomorrow.


*Harry Truman, back before the left ran all the liberals out of the Democratic party.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Free of God, Animalized Intellect, Encased in Mud (10.03.08)

When we were young as a babe’s I AM and our world was fresh and new, Heaven touched the earth and angels whispered their secrets to us through the wind, rivers, mountains and stars. But as we lose our naiveté and innocence, the world is increasingly demystified and we become subject to the brutal “reign of quantity” inside the prison of the senses.

Life at the center is exchanged for life at the periphery. It is as if we are trapped below a sheet of ice: “Mistaking the ice that imprisons us for Reality, we do not acknowledge what it excludes and experience no desire for deliverance; we try to compel the ice to be happiness” (Schuon). A strange new world is created, built from the bottom up rather than the top down. But since this barren world contains no real Truth, it cannot satisfy the exiled soul, which begins its endless quest for greater thrills and excitement to fill the void. New. More. Faster. Rage Against the Machine--not up, but further down and out, where only one last barrier remains: blasphemy and destruction.

Press release: “Slayer, the fastest, heaviest and darkest band on earth retakes its unholy throne with their first studio album in six years, Christ Illusion, its first studio effort with the original lineup since 1990’s Seasons In The Abyss. The album will be available on June 6, 2006—that’s right, 6/6/06.”

Can music adversely affect the soul? That's a stupid question. Can beautiful music elevate the soul? When I give my son his nightly “big sendoff” into dreamland, I sing him lullabies, the music of choice usually being angelic Beach Boy songs that spontaneously pop into my head, such as In My Room or the beautiful Hushabye:

Hushabye, hushabye
Oh my darlin' don't you cry
Guardian angels up above
Take care of the one I love

Lullabye and goodnight
In your dreams I hold you tight
Lullabye and goodnight
Til the dawn's early light

Pillows lying on your bed
Oh my darling rest your head
Sandman will be coming soon
Singing you a slumber tune

Bear in mind that this song was recorded by grown men without irony just a couple of generations ago. It might as well have been 1,000 years ago, for such unguarded innocence is almost unthinkable in today’s musical climate.


The Vital Beings are the ones who do not wish to recover their humanity and who are fully at home in this fallen world. Breaking through the ice would involve surpassing themselves, the one thing the vital man is loath to do. For he loves the world with all his heart, all his soul, and all his mind--which is precisely to lack heart, soul and mind, or at least to deny their provenance. It is to be “born again from below.”

Lately the news has focussed on some of the increasingly routine horrors being perpetrated against children in our schools and elsewhere. Father Rose, who wrote his piece on nihilism in the late fifties, prior to the vast explosion in crime caused by lenient liberal social policies and a forgiving attitude toward evil, predicted all of this. As he writes, “Crime in most previous ages had been a localized phenomenon and had apparent and comprehensible causes in the human passions of greed, lust, envy, jealousy, and the like; never has there been anything more than a faint prefiguration of the crime that has become typical of our own century, crime for which the only name is one the avant-garde today is fond of using in another Nihilist context: ‘absurd.’”

That is an excellent point, for the absurd sadism of so many of our crimes--far too many to chronicle here--matches the absurdity of an art that celebrates ugliness or “authenticity” and an educational system that promulgates the lie that truth does not exist. When your elites spend several generations creating an absurd world, don’t be surprised if you end up with absurd people and meaningless crimes.

“When questioned, those apprehended for such crimes explain their behavior in the same way: it was an ‘impulse’ or an ‘urge’ that drove them, or it was a sadistic pleasure in committing the crime, or there was some totally irrelevant pretext, such as boredom, confusion, or resentment. In a word, they cannot explain their behavior at all, there is no readily comprehensible motive for it, and in consequence... there is no remorse.”

I just flipped on the news today, oh boy, while giving a bottle to His Majesty. A 22 year-old man arrested in Iowa for murdering his parents and three sisters. Family of four in Florida murdered. High school football players remove their helmets and use them as weapons to beat their opponents.

As a brief aside, I remember studying film noir back in film school. The professor divided it into several sub-genres that evolved--or devolved--over the years, and which seemed to reflect the societal degeneration of which Father Rose speaks. I won’t get into a whole dissertation here, but early film noir such as Double Indemnity depicts a man who is pulled down into circumstances beyond his control due either to bad luck or some identifiable motive such as greed or lust. But in late film noir, the entire world has become corrupt, both the criminals and law enforcement. In fact, every human institution has become corrupt. In such a world, the antihero or outlaw becomes the hero with whom we identify. The corruption extends even into the family, which becomes a breeding ground for psychopaths, as in White Heat (starring James Cagney) or The Godfather saga. In these films, evil merely fights evil, so we inevitably find ourselves identifying with evil. There is no “good.” There are only hypocrites.

In the Real world, Spirit is substance, matter is accident. Spirit precedes matter, the latter of which is the final deustination of God’s involution into time and space. A corresponding world of the senses arises, but this shifting realm is hardly the world of reality. Rather, the uncorrupted intellect knows objective reality as the Spirit.

As mentioned in a previous post, a counter-religious movement gained steam in the 1950’s, led by the “Beats,” by confused psychoanalysts such as N.O. Brown, and by charming rogues such as Timothy Leary and Alan Watts, for whom transcendence was the last thing on their minds. Just as N.O. Brown wrote that repression was the essence of pathology and that we would live in a sort of eden if we would merely express our lower instincts in an unmediated way, the new age teachers created bastardized forms of zen and taoism to exalt “spontaneity” and “naturalism” so as to obscure the deeper desire to stay high and sleep with coeds under a veneer of spiritualism. (Ironically, Rose was a student of Watts at the Academy of Asian Arts in San Francisco in 1955.)

The human being has an animal nature which is not by definition beneath him. It only becomes so “when man renounces his humanity and fails to humanize what he shares with the animals” (Schuon). To humanize is to spiritualize, which is to “open the natural to the supernatural whence it proceeds ontologically.” In other words, this hardly represents repression, but a recovery of our true being. If anything, the uninhibited and shameless vital man represses his humanness, for one can just as easily repress what is higher as what is lower.

Interestingly, just as sexuality, in order to be properly human, must be spiritualized, Schuon notes that intellectual (i.e., spiritual) knowledge has an ecstatic dimension to it, if for no other reason that it is known with the heart (or mind in the heart, the “location” of the higher mind): “There is a spiritualization of sexuality just as there is, conversely, an animalization of intelligence [what we are calling the vital mind]; in the first case, what can be the occasion of a fall becomes a means of elevation; in the second case, intelligence is dehumanized and gives rise to materialism, even existentialism, hence to ‘thinking’ which is human only in its mode and of which the content is properly subhuman.”

But then, these subhuman philosophies become the justification to fall further into vital animality. Postmodern philosophies use the spirit to deny the spirit, leaving us with a wholly horizontal wasteland of matter and instinct. This intellectual operation is a complete success, even though the patient--the human qua human--does not survive it. A new kind of infrahuman is born, forgetful of his fall and “at ease in a world that presents itself as an end in itself, and which exempts man from the effort of transcending himself”--which is to have shunned and bypassed our reason for being here.

The fall is nearly complete. But not before we drag this whole despiritualized existentialada down with us, which we will do tomorrow in discussing the final stage of the nihilist dialectic: destruction.

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