Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Abolition of Man by the Monster Next Door

At some point every morning while enjoying a steaming cup and waiting for my scattered bits to beam down from the dream transporter and coalesce into a recognizable version of me, I will hit the Technorati "blogs who link here" function in order to determine who hasn't linked to something I've written, which basically consists of "the internet," or "mankind at large," give or take. In short, no one pays any attention aside from the small number of you who do, for which I am grateful.

That we all know each other's names probably explains why I have never seen anything resembling the mythical "royalty check." Now, if I were a bitter man -- which I am not -- I might enviously gnash my teeth over the matter of my good friend, whose 20-something musician son landed one of his songs in a commercial, so that his toilsome work life consists of making the long trek to the mail box and back to the couch. But as I said, I am not bitter. Thanks to the Colonel's influence, I have more or less internalized "the code of the Beagleholes," which helps me to keep that last commandment -- you know, the one about coveting your neighbor's beastly mailbox.... or was it male ox? I forget....

But yesterday there was a link to someone who took me to tusk for treating the atheist Sam Harris like some kind of dumbo with nothing but a pachydermented junk in his trunk. Which in itself is interesting. It reminds me of working with patients, who, as often as not, ignore your most elephantine point about their psychic jungle and instead seize upon some tangential tail of a comment as being of earthshattering importance to the blind fellow holding it. You just never know what's going to happen to something once it leaves your piehole. Despite your best efforts at clarity, you have almost no control over how people will respond to what you say -- or what they may turn it into in order to justify a certain emotional reaction that "lies in wait." Sometimes this is referred to as "marriage."

In a way, it's a mirrorcle when communication succeeds at all, especially when one is dealing with highly abstract metaphysical concerns or with that expensive new phone she bought when the existing one was perfectly adequate. Sometimes a point is so subtle or tricky -- and I am well aware of this -- I must simultaneously "build" the receiver while I am sending the message. (Some of you readers out there have hinted that my writing has succeeded at this for you, helping you to uncover the part of yourself to which my writing is addressed.... While this is gratifying, I still can't help wondering if my book will ever earn back the tiny advance from my penurious publisher.... Stop it! The Code, lad, the blasted Code!)

Thank you, Colonel. As I was about to say, this is certainly true of therapy, where much of the groundwork consists of creating the conditions under which therapy may take place. I believe it was the great psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott who said words to the effect that our primary task as therapists is to try to cure the patient of their own attempts at self-cure. In other words, the patient's self-cure is the illness, so to speak, similar to how, say, inflammation is now understood as a more widespread disease process that represents one of the body's own healing mechanisms gone haywire.

In order to facilitate the healing process, the therapist must enter the closed system of the patient's psyche and, as ShrinkWrapped wrote the other day, "become a new and important object to the patient" so that he can begin to understand himself in the intimate context of a two-person system. In short, the task for the patient is to transition from "oneness" to "twoness." As the cryptic O-racle at Delphi might have put it, "Man is the beast who becomes One by becoming Two." (Or three, in that grace operates in the same way. As I have mentioned before, I didn't make much spiritual progress until I gave up my own efforts and instead surrendered to the nonlocal influence of anOther. I'm sure most of you gno the schtick.)

Now, where the hell was I ?

Yes, the link. This person -- who does not appear to be anti-Bob -- took some exception to my characterization of Harris as "intellectually banal," a "metaphysical yahoo," and "an adolescent drone" who "cannot raise his intellect to religion," but who, "in the American way, has turned his infirmity into a virtue and is no doubt making a small fortune in the process.”

Well now, look. One thing critics never take into consideration is that I do try to entertain, somtimes with colorful insults directed at our idiotilliogical opponents. I think that in order to have a successful blog, you have to be a bit entertaining -- you know, mach schau, Beatle!, as Herr Koschmider put it. But if I'm right about this, how come my readership is so small, while that punk Joey just walks to the damn mailbox once a month, just like Sam Harris?

That's not the point. That is not how a Beaglehole measures success. In any event, I meant what I said about Harris, who, let us be clear, wishes to destroy everything a Coon regards as sacred and holy. For he and Dennett and all of the other militant atheists are embarked upon a passionate mission aimed not just at the abolition of God, but the abolition of man, which would ineluctably follow from the former. Of this I am absolutely certain.

However -- and this is a big however -- Harris would no doubt be a perfectly decent fellow to have as your next door neighbor. It is not the neighborly Harris to whom my characterization applies. Rather, it specifically applies to the deicidal and therefore genocidal monster who speaks through him.

For make no mistake, we are talking here about soul murder -- not just the murder of this or that soul, but the soul of mankind, ipso facto, mankind. Nothing -- nothing -- could be less human than the monstrosity of secular humanism, for it robs man of his humanness in the name of fulfilling it. Should these intellectual quacktivists succeed in their pondsy scam, or should we fail to duck, it would be the creation of hell on earth, a truly daffy dystopia unfit for Donalds everywhere. We can't just let this roll off our ruffled feathers in back, as God is our wetness.

I am sure that to some, this sounds polemical, perhaps even like hysterical rejoycing. I don't know what to say except that this blog is not for you. There's really no middle ground here in middle earth. Either you will know exactly what I'm talking about, or you will have no earthly idea what I'm talking about. In short, you are either with us or with the metaphysical errorists (who will also grease the skids for the terrorists).

Yesterday Lisa asked what I meant by the term "bi-cosmic." It refers to the ontological orientation of the Raccoon, who lives crucified at the crossroads of verticality and horizontality. This is our home. It is our environment. It always amazes a Raccoon that the leftist environmental extremist concerns himself with the external environment of this or that snail or worm.

But what about the environment of man, which is not an exterior environment -- after all, any one will do, from Miami to Anchorage -- but an interior one, a home fit for the soul? Man can only thrive -- can only become man -- if given the proper human environment. They want to give animals a human environment and humans an animal one. How could it not be so, once you have destroyed our sensitive vertical ecology?

Yesterday I spoke of how biology only takes us to the threshold of humanness, after which it is up to us to colonize as much consciousness as we can in this life -- you know, building a sturdy astral body or luxury corps and all that. But if the secular fundamentalists succeed in their unsane jihad, it would mean a disavowal of all the great spiritual omsteaders and fleshlights who have blazed a path into that wonderful verdant territory, and a life condemned to living at the shoreline, right back where we startled after first opening our third eyes.

Thus, I make no apologies for calling Harris a beast in human form, even though I would probably let him babysit Future Leader. For that, too, is a part of being bi-cosmic. Coons live with the unsettling realization that our own predators might very well be our good neighbors next door.

How does this differ from, say, crazy leftists who think that George Bush or Dick Cheney or Condoleezza Rice are evil? For one thing, they would never let them babysit their children, for to do so would be to recognize their essential humanity, which is to say, divinity.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Heh! Me first!
Now to read Bob's post.
No envy siree!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Bob said:
"Despite your best efforts at clarity, you have almost no control over how people will respond to what you say -- or what they may turn it into in order to justify a certain emotional reaction that "lies in wait.""

Is this reaction formation?
How much of it is unconscious?

Sooo...the more of a control freak a person is, the stronger the emotional reaction that "lies in wait?"

Phenomenal post, Bob! I'll link it.
I just learned how recently.
I think.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Let me know if the Technorati thingy works.
Because if it does...

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hey! It worked! The link thing worked!
Now I feel smart...sort of.

Another Bob said...

"It is the recipient of the message that determines
the meaning of the message." -John Gall, "The
Systems Bible."

Much to our consternation.

-Another Bob

Gagdad Bob said...

Good point, other Bob.

See how atheists distort the meaning in the messages of DNA, or of quantum cosmology, or of human subjectivity.

Another Bob said...

Regarding money (royalty checks, etc.).

Yes, money is nice to have when things are
going well, or even when things are only
going badly enough that money can still help.

But money doesn't seem to have any ability to
prevent your loved ones from suddenly
falling ill and dying from something as
simple as an infection.

Also, Envy can get ahold of you in such a way
that your wealth becomes the cause of your
emotional malfunction.

That said, I cannot put aside for long the urge
to get more money.

-Another Bob

gandalf said...

This is a great post, Bob. You have dropped some of your formality and now address us in a more conversational (and personally revealing) style. I like it.

One thing that stands out for me in you post: the wrestling with the "fruits of labor" (or lack thereof). I know how you feel, as my music and writing endeavors have not paid well, and although I yearn for a mass audience, I have never had one.

It's enough to drive one up a mountain, or down on the knees, or to wherever one goes to talk closely to "0" and ask "What the hey? Why imbue me with talent and ambition only to keep my impact on my fellows so small? I feel like I am not serving you well, Master. What part of me is failing You?"

The fact that some others DO get money and mass-audience is galling, and even more so when we realize that our envy is in itelf a spiritual failure. A toxic circle of failure reinforcing shame is built up.

Speaking for myself, an addict and a not-so-successful writer (so far), the pain is the point. The Lord means to say to me (I paraphrase)

"Be small. Be self-contained. Feel deeply the ache of your foiled desires in the world. Right now, don't reach for a drink, a drug, another human being, your word-processor, your guitar. Not even a cup of tea. Right now, just be nothing and feel that ache fade into Me. Be Mine. It is enough. That is mostly what I want from you."

For awhile, I feel consoled. Then I sit down and write some more, but without feeling an urgency that it must sell, it must be read. (Of course, I still try to sell it).

Bob, I say this to you--one good message deeply felt by even a single fellow being is worth a lot. It is enough to secure your rightful crown as a poet/sage. Be humbly in awe of your accomplishments. They are already large.

Anonymous said...

While it's no match for the cube game, I propose another game: "20 Coon Questions." Who knows, maybe Petey will come out to play.

1) Why do I exist?

2) What is my purpose in the herebelow?

3) Where was my consciousness before my birth?

4) Where will it go after I die?

5) How do I reconcile my multiplicity with God's inherent unity?

6) Why would ultimate perfection choose to manifest at all, let alone in fallen, shattered souls?

7) Is Integralist a true manifestation of The Adversary, or is he just a misguided kid, or is he perhaps both?

8) Is the physical world a "dream garment" worthy of our respect and attention while we are here, or is it merely a veil to be scorned and cast aside as soon as possible?

9) Does anybody else actually exist or am I just a waking dreamer, dreaming the world and all of its inhabitants into existence in order to actualize my fractured consciousness?

10) For that matter, do I even exist or am I just a scripted player in a wider dream?

11) If God Always Already Is All, then why the elaborate process of involution and evolutionary return?

12) How can I "meet" God on His own transcendental plane, when the bulk of my knowledge and understanding comes from my interaction with the horizontal plane?

13) And conversely, how do I maintain a stable, balanced life in the material plane when my thoughts are constantly drifting towards intellection of the higher realms?

14) Did God cast me out of the Heavenly realms or did I choose to leave of my own volition? Or am I still there and merely blind to it?

15) Why do metaphysical truths always seem so profound before they are realized, but so simple and obvious afterwards?

16) Why do I always feel like I'm on the verge of a profound metaphysical breakthrough? Why does history always seem to be at a crossroads?

17) Why is individual and collective existence so fleeting? Why is this somehow comforting?

18) If God is All, and if all of time is merely an instaneous flash in the eternity of God, then why bother living in time at all?

19) How come, at a certain level, everything always seems to work out? No matter how bad things get, why am I unable to shake the feeling that everything will be OK?

20) What next? What am I becoming?When will the mystery be revealed? Where are you?

Petey said...

Good questions all. Perhaps I will try to tackle some of them tomorrow, assuming the transporter is functioning. Of course, the bi-cosmic Deputy's assistance will be welcome.

will said...

>>we are talking here about soul murder -- not just the murder of this or that soul, but the soul of mankind, ipso facto, mankind<<

I think of it as Deicide.

Re: the relatively small number of OC readers - I like to think when we pass from this world, we will at some point be able to perceive earth's "real history", which is to say her spiritual history, the stuff that really mattered, that held things together. Actually, that's something I think many can intuit now, namely, that those few places that anchor the Light have an influence on the affairs of this world far beyond what the material mind reckons.

And, no matter the smallish numbers of Light-anchorers, I would think it a growing influence, considering that the anti-spirit forces (as represented by the atheists) seem to be on a countering offensive.

Van said...

Good questions, but since they all seem to point outwards, I've got just One in return:
- what will You do to BE You here and now?

P.S. Gagdad - I like the new picture at the bottom of the posts. (hopefully its not like the 4' tall vase my wife bought which sat in our livingroom several weeks before I displayed my observation powers by asking "Ooh, nice Vase, where'd that come from?")

Van said...

(hmm substitute BEcome for BE. darned computers)

Anonymous said...

"what will You do to BE You here and now?"

Van, I only see two choices in the "here and now."

Embracing my being and watching where it leads, or turning back and fighting.

I choose the first path.

But I am nonetheless curious about how the story unfolds.

My questions were not targeted, as you noted, at "the here and now."

I know what I am now. I am a man. A good and decent man.

But I do not know what I am becoming. I am transforming into something more than I am now.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the fact that metaphysical questions, even if they point outwards, are just plain fun to talk about with others.

Van said...

MikeZ's comment the other day caused me to pull my C.S. Lewis's "The Abolition of Man" off the shelf and reread 'Men without chests'.

Lewis is talking about the infamous 'Green Book', an educationistic textbook that seemingly seeks to excise imagination and reverence from students and their reading of literature. He has a couple lines in there which strikes me as applicable here :

“For every one pupil who needs to be guarded from a weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened from the slumber of cold vulgarity. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. By starving the sensibility of our pupils we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes. For famished nature will be avenged and a hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head”

The fully sanitized and acid washed minds of those like Sam Harris are very legalistic, crisp and clean - and utterly lacking depth and color - life. Rattling loosely about, they seem to believe that because they have rejected religion explicitly, they won’t be susceptible to another implicitly.

They learned one use of words, but are oblivious to the other. Words for specifics and details they can masterfully wield and reference, but the wider imaginative purposes, the general, the poetic, the reaching towards what lays beyond specifics – they are devoid of, they seem to not only lack it, but actively ward it off.

And they are easy prey for the cynical propagandist who knows how to mask his own generalities so that his tools will think their specifics are his – until it is too late.

I’ve seen a couple of Harris lectures on C-SPAN and read both of his books. He is a very effective speaker and writer. His message is very clear and to the point… and ready made to be used for other purposes.

GLASR said...

"often-brilliant proprietor", that would make you infrequently-?????. Personally would have used oft, pesky adverbs, can never decide. Oh, in case yoons missed it, Thomas Lifson, AT today, "Learned Idiocy" opens with Robert Godwin ........ I do not know Thomas Lifson, really appreciate his "stuff", would have used Dr. That's just me

I'm pretty much the definition of broke.

Van said...

Anonymous said... "Not to mention the fact that metaphysical questions, even if they point outwards, are just plain fun to talk about with others."

No worries then, I think you've got the right idea - enjoy!

will said...

Anonymous, I agree, good questions. We shall deal with them all manfully-like.

Yet - here's something I think worth considering. Quoting the poet Rilke . . .

" . . . have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer . . . "

tillUrDizzy said...

Please resist the urge Raccoons. I know it's hard.

GeorgeD said...

The book came through the mail slot just as I was reading the comments to this post. I have now read a few pages and to say that I am blown away is to put it mildly.

I think I will be buying a few copies for friends.

GeorgeD said...

Enjoyed your passge on self-cure in today's post. I think that it is one of the problems of sin. There i a Christ-cure but no self cure.

Van said...

Rilke from Will "...Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer . . . "

tillUrDizzy said ""... Please resist the urge Raccoons. I know it's hard."

The trick is to, as Newton did when asked to explain the source of Gravity, to say "I don't know." Respect the question and don't try to fudge an answer you don't have, yet seek it all the same.

ms. E said...

Yes Bob, I "gno the schtick". I impaled myself more times than I can count, until I decided to give up the pain of self inflicted soul anquish otherwise known as my need to be rightously right all the time.

Rilke held my hand through many a dark night. Thank you for acknowledging an old friend.

River Cocytus said...

will: This is similar, I think, to when wise Saints advise against striving.

The striving that is advised against is not physical effort, but spiritual effort. I think it is because our idea of 'effort' which is mostly doing the same thing over and over again-- doesn't work in the world of the spirit.

I think Bob said something about the reversal of the figure and plane--

Its almost as though achievement in the material is more or less guaranteed by hard work and perseverance -- and in the spiritual the opposite; just going with the flow.

Since Humans live in really a bicosmic existence, the most successful people are those who both can do the material perseverance thing and the spiritual slacking.

But I guess, it also moulds our understanding of success--

I try to remind myself that there are men both great and small, which is not a reflection of quality of character, but of just that-- bigness. There was a time when men confused the two-- to many, when Jesus said 'It would be easier for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven...'

It was more or less assumed a priori by many that wealth, fame, virtue, weren't just connected, but instead were one and the same thing.

I would probably claim it had a lot to do with language. There may have not been words to separate 'virtues of wealth building' from 'virtues of spiritual morality' from 'virtues of bigness' etc. 'Greatness' was the word-- and the fact that there was only one word for it effected and reflected people's thinking about the subject.

So, maybe it ain't the Lord's plan for you to be 'huge'. After all, if you have all you need, what is there to be worrying about?

I only enjoy my slack after hard work... discipline for the body, fellowship for the soul.

River Cocytus said...

I wanted to say, and didn't (got sidetracked on my own) that bicomsic-ness does not guarantee what the world views as success. For one, since there are men and women of various sizes; so the apparent size of their 'territory' in the physical.

Anyway, so being bicosmic wouldn't make you a millionaire, unless you really were a millionaire. And in that case, it would be make you a happy millionaire-- which is probably a good place to be.

Jacob C. said...

River: "Not striving" is a good translation of "Wu wei", the term Lao Tzu used to describe the frame of mind that allows one to live in accordance with the Tao.

Lao Tzu, now that I think of it, tended to preach a pan-entheism which sounded startlingly Christian even as mystical as it was: The Tao is not everything, but it is IN everything and everything COMES from it.

River Cocytus said...

jacob: I tell people that God speaks so loudly that the only way to NOT hear him is to be NOT listening.

That's how I can explain that you hear a lot of the same wisdom (but not all the same) emanating from impossibly distant sources.

It doesn't make the religions equal, or equivalent other than that they often occupy the same 'space' in the mind.

In Spirituality it seems that it is always best to let things be what they are; if they are good, let them be good and know them; if they are evil, don't try to make them good- just stay the hell away.

Joey said...

As a faithful daily reader and a self-proclaimed Bobblehead I was thouroughly flattered to be called out by name today, even if I did have to be grouped with Sam Harris and referred to as a punk, playfully I'm sure. For some reason (which I am actively trying to uncover) I was recently granted a good deal of horizontal slack. I'm doing my best to use it for vertical purposes, largely with the help of a little Godwinian wisdom every morning. Your posts are indeed entertaining, and your work is very much appreciated. It gives me a lot of clarity, as well as the tools to credibly explain my own beliefs and understanding to very, very skeptical peers of mine.

Jamie Irons said...

I very much enjoy Bob's musings....

Jamie Irons

Jamie Irons said...

That point about allowing Mr. Harris to babysit your child is a very deep one; I hope you follow on with more.

I would never in a million years have thought of it, but that particular difference between you and a leftist ideologue is a critical and profound one.

Jamie Irons

River Cocytus said...

jamie: at first I was going to take him to task about it, but then I really thought about it, and realised that it was a very deep point that I missed when I first read it.

It was indeed profound, Bob.

walt said...

Bob, I suspect that a lot of what OC generates is actually invisible to you, going on in the lives and in the nerves of your readers, where you can't see. For instance, I spent MOST of today chewing on today's post, re-reading it, and running across ideas in Schuon that seemed to cross-reference it. But, nothing specific or truly relevant to your post occurred to me, that I thought warranted a comment; so how would you know that your words had "an affect"? But the "effect" for me was very useful. Don't worry: you are "moving product" just by showing up.

robinstarfish said...

long term gestation
please let me be (understood)
1 day in 1k

NoMo said...

If there were a church I'd want to attend, it would be filled with people like these.

The music would be there, but not there.

The words would be there, but not.

The inside would be outside would be inside.

God would be our midst.

sawdust said...

I have spent some time in the past as one to be trusted with the children, but not to be trusted in other ways. I look back on those days and wonder why, posts like this one seem to lift the veil a bit, for which I thank you.

But then I get to wondering: am I giving myself too much credit for today? Probably so. So many questions, most start with Why?. I also find myself with more slack time now, hope I can avoid being too slack in the wrong ways. A long way to go and a short time to get there, as the song goes.

Jenny said...

The Bible does say that there will come a time when it will be almost impossible to believe in God, and humanity will be so tormented that all they wish for is death (paraphrasing). And I can see this beginning to come true in the atheist/secular movement.

MikeZ said...

(Since it takes me a least two days to read and digest each day's contribution by GB and the Learned Colleagues, I can only briefly pop through the door.)

Starting with 'anonymous's 2nd question, "2) What is my purpose in the herebelow?": Can we stipulate that the question is equivalent to "What's the meaning of life?", usually posed by ennui-laden young philosophers, with the hidden subtext, "What's the meaning of my life?". That second we can dismiss, and leave as an exercize for the seeker.

The "meaning of life" question has no answer, because the question itself may be meaningless.

Consider the 99.9999% of Terran life: insects, fish, Snow Leopards, great whales, extinct Auks, ..., namely, the "Other Than Man". What's the purpose of their lives? They're born, eat, sleep, reproduce, and die. Go back to step One and repeat ad infinitum.

Man seems to be different, mainly in that he (or some of us) wonders what it's all about.

I think it's true that even for us, life has no meaning - that is, simple life itself. Only we, the livers (sorry about that), can give a life a meaning. Sometimes our own, sometimes a few others, sometimes both. So the question becomes, "How can I give my life meaning?"

Q3: "Where was my consciousness before my birth?" A flip answer is, much the same place a TV picture was, before you turned the set on. Or, before the set was built.

Some deep metaphysical questons help us get closer to the Light, some don't. "How many angels can dance upon the head of a pin" is one that didn't. One of our jobs in this grand amusement park that we call Life is to try to distinguish the two kinds of questions, and to concentrate on the Light-finding ones.