Saturday, March 03, 2007

De-mask Us On the Road to God

Reader Brian asks, "You've alluded to this before -- and may have dealt with it in the comments when I wasn't looking -- but I am incredibly interested in your take on Saul of Tarsus becoming Paul. His mindset was quite hostile to Christ, yet he had an almost involuntary conversion. Or was it involuntary? So many who wish to serve their Creator fall short because of internal divisions, etc., but Saul absolutely wanted the opposite, yet he became the man who spread the Gospel more effectively than anybody. Did God reach out to him, or did he reach out to God, or is there even a difference?"

(As always, I have no idea if what follows is kosher Christianity. It's just one Coon's vision.)

As a matter of fact, I was thinking about this subject just yesterday. For in a certain way, the story of SaulPaul is as central to the Bible -- and to the arc of salvation -- as several other scriptural "centers," or "axes," all of which seem to parallel or reflect back and forth on each other. For example, one obvious center is in Genesis 1:1, with the creation of the cosmos -- or, to be perfectly accurate, the "withdrawal" of God and the polarization of beyond-being -- the Absolute -- into being and existence, or "heaven and earth." (In Vedanta, one would say "purusha" and "prakriti," or witness and activity; or saguna brahman [i.e., God as subject of the world] and maya [appearances].)

This scriptural center is deliberately paralleled in John 1:1, which even begins with the same three words, "In The Beginning." In both instances, "beginning" superficially refers to the "horizontal" beginning, as in the beginning of a sequence. But the deeper sense of the word has to do with the "vertical" beginning, which equates to the existential center. This center is not in space or time per se; rather, space and time are reflections of the center. "In the beginning was the Word" does not (just) mean "a long time ago," but in the center of each now. It is the "light that shines in the darkness," since light is precisely that which radiates from the center to the periphery.

Now, a man was sent by God -- i.e., the center -- "to bear witness of the Light" -- i.e., the radiation from the divine center. His name was John. He was required because, although the light shines in the dark, the dorks don't get it, so they need a pretty in-your-face kind of guy to point it out to them. John was just that man. As such, he represents another important center, a sort of "reflected center" who was not the light but who could see the light.

Jesus obviously represents the full embodiment of the center at the periphery. A couple of days ago we spoke of black holes, and how they pull everything into their vortex, so that nothing escapes. In a certain sense, Jesus might be thought of as the opposite, as a sort of "white hole" as it were, that pulls all of creation into its wake. You have heard of the esoteric tenet, "as above, so below," or, to be precise, "That which is below corresponds to that which is above, and that which is above corresponds to that which is below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing."

Another fundamental axiom is the greater the cause, the greater the effect. Thus, if Jesus is who he says he was, then it should be no surprise whatsoever that his effect continues to ripple through existence down through the centuries, like a depth charge dropped from heaven into the ocean of existence. It is not "speaking poetically" to say that we are surfing one of those little waves right now, no? If not, what are we doing? Just sitting here making s*** up at 5:00 in the morning? Er, I don't think so.

The Mystery of Golgotha represents an exact analogue of the mystery of creation itself. For if creation is God's kenosis, or self-emptying (and spontaneous self-giving) , then Jesus' work on the cross represents another central kenosis, a complete self-emptying, even into the "negative existence" of death. For Jesus does not merely die, but takes on the mantle of death in order to join ranks with the great "brotherhood of the dead." As Balthasar has written, when it is said that Jesus descended into hell on Holy Saturday, "descend" should not be understood in its active sense, but the strictly passive sense. He fell and fell and fell, just like humans, to the very periphery of existence, the furthest point from the light of the radiant cosmic center. Only when he hit rock bottom could the "fall" be reversed, the rock bottom nihil of dark death being "relatively absolute" separation from God.

Now this is all well and good for God, Son's of God, Light, Logoi, hand-selected apostles, and the like. Where do we fit in -- regular guys and gals, ordinary stumblebums, rank and foul earthlings?

Here I think that Saul serves as an archetypal illustration of the divine center as it manifests in fallen man. For just as Jesus represents the center crashing into the periphery, Saul ultimately represents the perpiphery making its way back to the center. In fact, Saul is not just an ordinary peripheral man who is ignorant of the Light. Rather, he is like the ACLU or the MSM or the Democrat party. He is specifically at war with the light. He is "breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord," perhaps sometimes even threatening lawsuits. He is the envy of the ACLU, since he didn't have to be a sneaky weasel with a brief case, but could directly make "havoc of the church, entering every house and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison."

Thus, Saul represents another kind of center, a perverse center, even the "center of perversity." He is the "center of (not at) the periphery," so to speak, at war with the true center. Paradoxically, he must obviously be quite full of himself, the opposite of the self-emptying, radiant center. But his fullness does not bring peace but persecution, just like anyone with too much self esteem.

As we have been reading lately, psychologists are finally catching up to the self-evident truth that "self esteem" is neutral at best, but usually destructive. Most of the problems in the world are caused by people with too much self esteem -- dictators, criminals, newspaper editors, etc. Because they are so full of themselves, there is no space for God, which requires self emptying of one's own (false) center. As Paul would later say -- I'm paraphrasing here from memory, "It is not I who live any longer, but Christ in me" -- i.e., the real center at his center, rather than the bogus center of the hypertrophied ego. One or the other must go.

Since the false center of the ego represents an ontological nothingness, its resultant darkness envies the light. This envy is the dreary joy of the joyless, who simply spend their petty lives grinding away at truth, beauty, and virtue, as do so many lie-roasted academia nuts. Nowadays they might call it "speaking truth to power" in order to elevate themselves in their own eyes. Or they might give each other academy awards, or Pulitzers, or Nobel prizes, or even Daytime Emmys. These external supports are all necessary to prop up peripheral man and disenable his consciousness of guilt. No doubt if Saul were alive today, he would have been given a Nobel Peace Prize for his important work in combating extreme Christianism. He would join the ranks of other recent winners -- men and institutions at war with the center such as Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Mohamed El Baradei, the U.N., etc.

But then, on the "road to Damascus," as the cliche goes, Paul has a profound experience that pulls him from the periphery to the center. In its own way, this event is as principial as its reverse, when the center emptied out to the periphery in Genesis I and on Holy Saturday. For suddenly, in an instance of "quantum change," someone who had been at war with the center snaps like a rubber band into its opposite. If you can imagine the big bang as an infinite point radiating outward to the periphery, this would represent the opposite of that movement: perhaps the gnab gib.

The first and last step on the spiritual path is "repentence," which actually comes from the Greek metanoia which is simply to "turn around." Instead of turning our back to the central sun, we look around and see it face-to-face. Instead of running away from it, or struggling against it, we embrace it, like flowers that naturally orient themselves to the sun and open up in its presence.

Saul "opened up." At once he was in the presence of the central light which "shone all around him" (for how could it not, if one's eyes are open?), and fell down, Saul t' the earth. 'Efall and 'ego boom! In fact, we all fall what seems like a long distance. But in reality, it's just back to the ground, the same ground you were crawling on to begin with.

"Saul, why are you persecuting me? You're acting like a freaking ACLU goon. What's up with that?"

"Homena-homena-homena.... I was scared about the imminent Christo-fascist takeover, like I read about on dailykos... But w-what do you want with me?

"Before getting into that, why don't you just assimilate what's happened so far? Go have a little clubhouse meeting with yourself. Walking on water wasn't built in a day."

"Mmmmm, but I'm blind. I can't see anything."

"Yes, I know that. This is not in the book I've been working on, so you'll have to read between the lines. The point is not that you are blind. Rather, the point is that you can no longer "see" your previous world. It no longer exists because it never really existed. You are now in the land of the Real, but you do not yet have the sensory organs to see it. You are like unto someone who is snow blind. The problem is not darkness, but too much light. Now get lost for a few days, unplug, chill, relux and call it a deity. And turn off your cell phone! If any Romans call, you're not home, got it?"

We are then told that Saul spent the subsequent three days without sight, without food, and without liquid, simply shut up in his existential darkness.

This, of course, parallels the Jews' 40 years of wandering in the desert, Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the bewilderness, and ultimately the three days of the passion. In each case, "emptiness" at the periphery (i.e., "wilderness," "desert") is a prelude to "fullness" or "resurrection" at the center. Specifically, Saul's emptiness is filled with the Holy Spirit. He is charged with a mission, for if Jesus took care of the R & D, then Paul shall be the marketing department. He is to spread the good news of the center to the periphery, to "bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel."

Paul has a new name and new vocation (which means "calling"). His earth name is gone, as is his secular mission. Now he has a divine name and a divine mission. His sight is restored, but it's not like the old sight. Rather, he is granted his Coon Vision, as "the scales fall from his eyes." Then he arises back from the ground and stands as a truly Upright Man, an I-amissary of the center instead of a bipedal beast at the periphery.

Probably my favorite song is In the Garden by Van Morrison. I suppose if one must have a funeral, then I'd like it played at mine. Like Bob Dylan, he fools around with the pronouns, but I'm guessing it's autobiographical:

You wiped the teardrops from your eye in sorrow
As we watched the petals fall down to the ground
And as I sat beside you I felt the
Great sadness that day in the garden

And then one day you came back home
You were a creature all in rapture
You had the key to your soul
And you did open that day you came back to the garden

The olden summer breeze was blowin' on your face
The light of God was shinin' on your countenance divine
And you were a violet colour as you
Sat beside your father and your mother in the garden

The summer breeze was blowin' on your face
Within your violet you treasure your summery words
And as the shiver from my neck down to my spine
Ignited me in daylight and nature in the garden

And you went into a trance
Your childlike vision became so fine
And we heard the bells inside the church
We loved so much
And felt the presence of the youth of
Eternal summers in the garden

And as it touched your cheeks so lightly
Born again you were and blushed and we touched each other lightly
And we felt the presence of the Christ

And I turned to you and I said
No Guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the father in the garden

No Guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the Father and the
Son and the Holy Ghost
In the garden wet with rain

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Invisible Church of the Perpetual Raccoon

Are there collective psychospiritual weather patterns? Yesterday, most everyone commented on what a strange day it felt like, beginning with the strange absence of comments. As Cosanostradamus put it in his cosmic weather report, "birth [congrampalations, Nomo!--GB], death, rebirth, waves of light, black holes, wild weather." Tornadoes and stock market crashes... Ms. E. said it felt like a mixed atmosphere in which "the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold; when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." Will called it a "very quiet dream-like day, a liminal day." Another Bob observed that it was an eerily "quiet day," and ominously added, "I hope everybody's OK."

It was certainly a not-okay day for me. For whatever reason, I woke up with low blood sugar and had some difficulty getting it up into the normal range all day -- as if there were some kind of "metabolic fire" burning in me. I've certainly felt the fire in recent weeks, but this was too much. I was uncharacteristically under -- or was I in? -- the weather all day. Weird.

But this mutual perception of a "weird day" does bring up the issue of our "collectivity" and just where it resides, for although "interconnectedness" surely exists as a consequence of the principle of Wholeness that flows through every artery of the cosmos, there is no particular "place" where it can be located. You can't point at wholeness from the outside, only experience it from the inside (which is the secret of consciousness, which is a reflection of the Creator's unifying interior wholeness-amdist-diversity). This causes a lot of confusion for philosophers and metaphysicians who try to arrive at wholeness additively instead of beginning with it as an assumption, which one must do.

It seems that a group is a group by virtue of "tuning in," so to speak, to some sort of resonant field of consciousness. The essential point is that a group is not fundamentally externally related, or it's not really a group. Rather, it's just a "crowd" or a "mob." But a true group has an interior relationship, as if each of the members is literally tuned into the same frequency. What is so jarring, for example, in reading one of the crazy websites of the angry left, such as the dailykurse or huffingandpissed, is that they resonate on this horribly plangent and quite primitive frequency in whatever they write about. I am quite sure you all know what I mean, even if you've never thought of it this way before. The surface structure of the topic hardly matters -- they can be talking about economics, or the war, or science, or religion, but whatever it is, the main thing you will detect is the deep structure of this painfully dissonant energy.

Now, in fairness, someone will no doubt say to me, "Bob, that's not a vibration you're feeling. It's just the unpleasant sensation of your own disagreement." Could be, but I don't think so. For example, I work in forensic psychology, so I am accustomed to crafting sound and unassailable medico-legal arguments. Part of this involves taking the report written by the whore who works for the other side and reducing it to dust with facts, logic, and the law. In doing so, there is "passion" involved, but it is nothing like the feeling of wading into the left wing fever swamps.

For one thing, the latter is a hellish world in which facts and rudimentary logic generally do not apply. Rather, the first thing one notices is that this world is held together by "feeling" or "sentiment," not by logical coherence. Underneath the "political left" is a "psychological left," and latter is far more primitive and dangerous, for they literally inhabit a self-contained psychological space similar to the black holes discussed yesterday. No light escapes. These people really do want to see the Vice President murdered, as we witnessed at huffington the other day. They really do idealize a thug such as Hugo Chavez. They really do hate George Bush much more than Saddam Hussein.

A religion is very much a resonant worldspace in the sense described above. For example, this is what the Master means when he says that he is present when any two or more meet in his name. This is quite literally true. The logos is magically made present through the triangulation of two people, somewhat similar to the manner in which a holograph works. My technical description is probably lacking, but I believe the hologram results from the interference pattern of two different beans of light. In any event, that's certainly how it works spiritually.

For example, this is how our Unknown Friend in Meditations on the Tarot can speak to us so intimately from beyond the horizon of death. I realize that is a challenging book for kits, but once you allow yourself to enter its world, it is as if you have entered this incredibly beautiful spiritual cathedral that the two of you are leisurely investigating together. He is your congenial tour guide, showing you this or that, often dwelling on random little points of arcane interest. The point is that it is a world -- and a beautiful one at that. It too resonates at a frequency -- the frequency being love, but also truth and beauty.

This is obviously what the secular person does not -- cannot -- understand about leading a religious life. They accuse us of "escapism," of believing in strange myths to shield us from the harsh realities of existence, in particular, death and loss. However, the opposite is patently true, at least for the invisible brotherhood of Raccoons. For us, religion is an inscape into the most beautiful supraterranean cave art ever co-created by human beings.

I have mentioned before that I happened to marry into a family of secular Jews, some of whom are quite unapologetic "anti-Jews." For example, only a Jew (or maybe Jimmy Carter) could get away with writing Uncle Peter's book on how the Holocaust is just a big PR scam to advance Israel's political interests.

(Don't worry -- I'm not airing dirty laundry in public. I like him and he likes me, even though he charitably regards my views as "not even insane." It is fascinating to talk to him, for it is fair to say that we agree on nothing, from the essential to the trivial. People talk about what it would be like to encounter an alien from another planet with a completely different frame of reference. Ahem. How concrete does one have to be to believe it is necessary to leave earth in order to have a close encounter of the third kind? Most Coons don't have to even leave their own family. The bottom line is that there are not enough Coon families for all Coons, so many of us had to drop into a non-Coon habitat, to put it mildly. In the case of Mrs. G. and myself, we consciously prayed for a little kit to come down into our Coon den. It worked.)

Now, if I were a less congenial fellow, I could easily turn a conversation with Uncle Peter into an ireworks show, but what would be the point? He lives in one world, I live in another. Can't we all just get along? For him, the question never arises as to whether he lives in "a" world, only "the" world. People talk about how religious fundamentalists live in their own world, but I cannot think of anyone with so naively parochial, crimped, and predictable a world as academia and the liberal media -- or primitive New York Timesman. You give me the topic and I'll tell you what they think. But my world -- if I may say so -- is fundamentally a world of surprise and of inexhaustible novelty. I never know what metaphysical goodies are awaiting me in the morning, including this post, for example. Nor do I have any idea where it's leading. Rather, I'm just following this little creek that was here in the morning when I got up.

In my world, it is impossible to be cynical. Yes, I am cynical about their world below -- how could one not be? -- but the eternal regeneration of my world is the best possible ungnowculation against cyncism. Again, some might say that it is a "naive" world, but that is not quite right, for we are as wise as serpents around here. Rather it is an innocent world, and the fact that this world coexists with the other world is something of a miracle -- that one can recapture one's primordial innocence and live as man was intended in this fallen world.

I had never attended any Jewish services until I got married. Naturally, just because my in-laws are secular, it doesn't mean that they don't try to resurrect the dead ghost of their Jewish past on sacred occasions. So I've attended these functions -- weddings, bar mitzvahs, funerals, etc. While my relatives experience them as a social rituals, I remember on my very first visit to the synagogue, I realized that I was in contact with the sacred. In fact, I'm omitting my marriage, which was undoubtedly my first participation in a Jewish ritual. If the event had been presided over by a Christian holy man, then my relatives would have undoubtedly regarded his words as slightly sinister blah blah; if it had been a Vedantin priest, it would have been just goofy blah blah; but the fact that it was a rabbi made it just plain innocuous blah blah, the same old same old testament.

But not for me. First of all, the language was all new to me, so it was not saturated. Furthermore, I found the words of the rabbi so spiritually resonant and psychologically inspiring, that I knew I was in the presence of the sacred and the holy, and that my marriage was being blessed by this divine light. A resonant "world" was successfully invoked and tapped into, at least for me and for Mrs. G. For the rest, it was essentially a sentimental occasion, "sentimentality" being one of the most common replacements for religion among secular people. (Incidentally, I do not see now people who "write their own vows" could match the sacred potency of the words written by "no one" for "everyone.")

(By the way, until this very day, I had thought it was "Rabbi Kuhn." Only now do I realize it was "Rabbi Coon.")

Now, Rocky Raccoon asked a good question yesterday. He "was wondering today about the Arc of Salvation. Both Phase I and II were followed by a ‘book.' Do you think we have a new ‘book’ on the way for the 3rd Phase?"

No, I don't think so, although I suppose it would be a good hobby for me to try. But what will happen is that people will return to the original texts but understand them with "eyes made new" -- i.e., with Phase III Coon vision. They will "arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time."

And then perhaps each person will write their own book based upon their encounter with the Real -- sort of like how we can all respect giants like Beethoven but still "sing our own song." You know -- speaking of innocence -- something like this:

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song


Folks, I hope this admission doesn't reduce my esteem in your ears, but -- I'll say it -- I am a big Carpenters fan. At the time (the early 70's) no one was regarded as less hip, but in hindsight, we can see that no one was more courageously "counter culture." I certainly dismissed them. But their musical sophistication speaks for itself -- probably no one aside from Brian Wilson wrote more complex vocal harmonies than Richard Carpenter, not to mention the extraordinarily subtle instrumental arrangements and production standards that rival Steely Dan -- and the unique voice of Karen Carpenter aches with a sad innocence and depth of longing that went unappreciated at the time (at least artistically). She is the greatest female pop vocalist of her generation (her phrasing and technique are so much more subtle than Babs). If you can put away your preconceptions, their masterpiece, A Song For You, is an amazing headphone experience (sounds richer on good vinyl -- the transcendent Goodbye to Love is awesome on Dupree's turntable). Any musican who is studying arrranging could profit from the experience. Here's the AMG review.

And no, I'm not gay.

(For you beginners and young kits, this is probably the best introduction. It has versions of songs that were actually remixed by Richard Carpenter for the digital age, so they sound closer to contemporary production values and more full on a CD player.)

From On Top of the World, Lookin' Down on Creation to the Kit who Fell to Earth:

(Which reminds me, Sal: photo of sweater coming soon.)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Metaphysical Food Pyramid (3.15.09)

Reader Bob says, "I love what you're doing with the Arc of Salvation. I think we have a huge problem with the Arc remaining fossilized in geography though. As a technologist myself, I don't see how we survive what the non-Coons are about to do to us with our own coonkind's technology -- I do believe we all need to become Coons."

Another reader asked me what I thought about a book by an eminent physicist whose thesis is that time does not really exist. True, a number of reviewers felt the book was so boring that they thought it would never end, but endless time is not the same as timelessness.

Obviously this physicist has never heard of the Islamists, who are days away from the nuclear bomb but centuries from the nuclear age. That's a long time. In other words, it takes only one Islamist to disprove all of the quantum physicist's elegant theories about the non-existence of time. For time is not an empty and abstract category of mere duration, nor is it merely an illusory by-product of change. Rather, human time -- which is a distant echo and reflection of divine time -- is both full and directional.

Of all people, the scientist should be aware of the various developmental stages he had to have traversed in order to end up a scientist capable of detached, abstract cognition about the foundations of reality. A rock cannot do that. Nor an animal, a child, or a radical imam. The changes that occur on the way from child to man are not merely horizontal but vertical. As Ken Wilber has said, true development -- which is to say transcendence -- is not just a matter of rearranging the furniture on the floor of a building, but taking the elevator to the next floor.

Any materialist has failed the first test of spirituality -- or "temptation in the wilderness" -- which is to not try to turn stones into bread, or quantity into quality. For in so doing, the materialist inevitably reduces bread to stones, or life to death, spirit to matter. We are left with only stones, so there is "nothing left to eat," speaking metaphysically. And with nothing to eat, there is no way to grow. But if time is an illusion -- a mere "quantity" -- then growth cannot be real anyway. A man is just a large child.

Those of a materialistic bent like to say that religion is speculative, but in a very real sense, the opposite is true. When it comes to metaphysics -- the science of the absolute -- the scientist can only speculate, while the religiously informed person has access to a realm of perennial knowledge and truth that is as stable and secure as a rock, for it is the "axis of the Real." It reflects truths that cannot be untrue. For example, Paul's delineation of vertical levels of maturity along this vertical axis is a universal truth of spirituality: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

Thus, at its very heart, Christianity is clearly both evolutionary and developmental. No Christian could ever maintain that "time is an illusion," for time is of the essence of Christian life -- again, not the abstract quantitative duration of the physicist, but the explicitly qualitative time that distinguishes the spiritual child from the spiritual adult in the arc of salvation.

Elsewhere in the same epistle Paul proposes a three part schema of spiritual development: infant, child and man. Each requires a different kind of "food." In 1 Corinthians 3:3, he implies that the infant, or "babe," is equivalent to the carnal man, an ironic reversal of secular hubris, in that carnal man is but a spiritual babe in the woods. The infant can only be fed milk rather than solid food (which is for the child) or meat ( which is for the adult). Thus, as one moves up the developmental axis of spirituality, we eventually graduate to meat -- not only meat, of course, but as a supplement to the other foods. To try to live only on meat would be somewhat analogous to trying to live only on vitamin pills, which are highly potent but not necessarily nourishing if taken out of context. Metaphysics without religion is like the vitamins without the food, which "activates" the vitamins, so to speak.

Needless to say, a Raccoon is not just mdesxcarnivorous, but omnivorous. If you check out the library of a typical Coon, the first thing you will notice is that they'll eat almost anything -- literature, poetry, science, psychology, philosophy, scripture, theology, mysticism, the Baseball Encyclopedia -- but not in an indiscriminate manner. Rather, they respect the "food pyramid," which obviously has a top and a bottom. You've seen the Raccoon food pyramid on the back of any dollar bill -- it has that little eye at the top, radiating light.

An eye radiating light? How does that work? I thought the eye only receives light. How can it radiate light?

Don't worry. We'll get to that.

Not infrequently we have visitors in the Cosmos who are infants or children, which is why they find me indigestible if not frankly nauseating. I'm trying to think of a delicate way to put this, but those of you with babies of your own are certainly accustomed to dealing with the full spectrum of bodily fluids. Let us just say that Dupree's unenviable job is to clean up the projectile vomit these babies leave behind here.

Paul says to his audience -- which by now numbers in the billions, including you -- that there was a time when he could not speak to you as an adult -- not as a spiritual person but only as a carnal one. Furthermore, he "fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still very carnal." Why is that? Because, "where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?"

Well? What say you?

When Paul refers to "divisions among you," he also means divisions within you -- which is to say, within oneself. For among other things, both the line of spiritual development and the arc of salvation are a function of increased integration -- which is to say wholeness, which is to say centration. If your eye [I] is single, then the whole body is full of radiant light; conversely, if it is divided, your I is full of darkness.

Full of darkness? Darkness does not actually exist in any positive sense. Rather, it is only the absence of light, a seemingly paradoxical fact, since the cosmos is made of light. So how can someone be "full" of "absence?" If it is the nature of light to radiate, how do we end up with all these non-radiating lacunae of darkness, both individually and collectively?

Before discussing how it happens, let us just stipulate that it only happens all the time. As a matter of fact, the human being is the only living thing that can be "filled with darkness." Light is knowledge just as love is its heat, which is why these individuals and cultures are filled with an absence of each -- which is to say envy and strife, just as Paul says.

For envy is both a cause and an effect of existential emptiness. It is truly "darkness visible," because it represents insatiable emptiness, exactly analogous to the black holes of quantum cosmology. The strife that accompanies these "hungry ghosts" is simply the "giant sucking sound" produced by their contact with the world. The perennial "class envy" of the left is simply the clattering noise produced by institutionalized darkness as it tries to pull down everything round it. This is why it is so indiscriminate and cannot just attack "wealth." Rather, you will have noticed that it also always pulls truth, beauty, and decency into its vortex -- the three "faces" of metaphysical light.

The black hole is an emptiness that pulls everything into it, including light, which becomes "inoperative" in its presence. The primordial property of light, like love, is to "radiate," and in fact, light is a property of radiation rather than vice versa. The envious, divided person is a black hole who will suck the light out of you to no purpose whatsoever-- no good purpose, anyway. The light simply disappears beyond the event horizon, into the darkness of their corrupted soul. Elsewhere in the cosmos, light radiates into darkness, but in the case of a black hole, light is surrounded and swallowed up.

Talk to the mullahs! Yes, why not? Why not talk to a black hole?

The U.N.? A black hole of darkness visible within the heart of light. If Turtle Bay were any closer to Washington D.C., perhaps the Shining City on A Hill would be pulled into the Valley of of the Shadow of Death. Understood metaphorically, this could actually happen, since it has already happened to most of the rest of the world, which has fallen into this night-cloaked principality ruled by the Cosmocrats of the Dark Aion.

Paul goes on to suggest that human beings may be the efficient or formal cause of their own evolution, but that the Creator is the final cause. In other words, you may cultivate the soil, plant the seeds, and water the garden -- in fact, it is your duty to do so -- but you are not responsible for the growth that results. Rather, as Paul says, "God gives the increase," which is another way of saying that we do not invent ourselves but become ourselves. We are God's "field" or "building," and the strength and resilience of your building will be tested by fire. If it is built on a foundation of reality it will endure, but otherwise it will be destroyed.

Again, time is not mere duration, but the time it takes for something to become what it is -- say, an acorn to become an oak tree or a milk-drinking infant to become an omnivorous Raccoon.

Now, a recent visitor suggested that I am "manichean" in my views. Manichaeism is a dualistic philosophy that divides the cosmos into good and evil in the manner of the Zoroastrians, who saw all of reality as a struggle between Ahriman, the god of darkness, and Ahura Mazda, the god of light.

I just checked out the wikipedia entry to brush up on my Manichaeism, which was an actual ancient religion. I believe the differences between it and the One True Doctrine are evident -- although there is probably every reason to believe that certain Manichean principles found their way into Judaism and therefore Christianity.

Manichaean theology postulates "two natures that existed from the beginning: light and darkness. The realm of light lived in peace, while the realm of darkness was in constant conflict with itself. The universe is the temporary result of an attack from the realm of darkness on the realm of light," so that the cosmos is literally said to be the result of a mixture of light and darkness. This is obviously quite different from the conception of the cosmos as the peripheral radiation of the central Sovereign Good.

In fact, "A key belief in Manichaeism is that there is no omnipotent good power. This claim addresses a theoretical part of the problem of evil by denying the infinite perfection of God and postulating the two equal and opposite powers mentioned previously. The human person is seen as a battleground for these powers: the good part is the soul (which is composed of light) and the bad part is the body (composed of dark earth). The soul defines the person and is incorruptible, but it is under the domination of a foreign power, which addressed the practical part of The Problem of Evil. Humans are said to be able to be saved from this power (matter) if they come to know who they are and identify themselves with their soul."

Here is a perfect example of what we were discussing yesterday, that is, the garbled interpretation of the Divine Message as a result of human impurity. For the truth is that existence is a battle between light and darkness, but with extremely important modifications. But at the moment, I am running short of time, so I suppose I'll have to continue this line of thought tomorrow, assuming anyone -- including me -- is interested. For now, just remember, Phase I: milk. Phase II: solid food. Phase III: meat.

Or, in the immortal words of Pink Floyd, How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

All Men are Coons

So, if Phase I is the selection of a human group for the vertical revelation, culminating in the preparation of a human body to bear the divine light; and Phase II is the horizontal propagation of the logos, culminating in the remaking of the external world, in particular, the development of science, economic freedom, and liberal democracy; then Phase III is the widespread interiorization of the descent on a more deeply personal basis.

As the world has been transformed, now so too must the individual, or the world's evolution cannot continue. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of our day and age is that, for the first time in history, we have everything in place for the widespread colonization of the spiritual dimension. And yet, people still frantically scatter from the center to the periphery, dispersing their very life substance untl "dying of miscellany."

In this regard, it is 1800 BC all over again, with the historical birth of the Jewish people; or perhaps 33 AD; or 1492; or 1776. In hindsight, we can see that each of these dates represented an evolutionary fork in the cosmic road for a purpose that could not possibly have been fully grasped at the time. It is "as if" we are in a time equally as revolutionary. Its signs are everywhere, and yet, few people know how to read them.

I emphasize the "as if," because at this point we are merely looking at things from a certain angle in order to see what it can illuminate. No need to reduce the Arc of Salvation to some sort of mangy dogma or domesticated catechism. But if a process can only be understood with reference to its end and not its origins, we must ask ourselves "what is the end of history?," in order to comprehend its purpose. Why history?

As I have discussed before -- including in the home version -- it is my firm coonviction, or inspired hunch anyway, that time and eternity cannot be understood without reference to each other. Unlike, say, a strict Platonist of Vedantin, I believe that time is both real and a necessary consequence of eternity -- and vice versa.

In order to understand what on earth Bob is talking about, let's use a spatial analogy. An organism is not a mere aggregate or collection of parts, but a true whole. As a result, each part of the whole is infused with the wholeness of the whole -- indeed, this is what makes a part a part and not its own autonomous whole. For example, each cell in your body contains the genetic blueprint of the entire organism, and each part of your body somehow knows how to perform its function for the benefit of the whole. Of course, organisms do occasionally have parts that are not part of the whole, but we call these "tumors" or "viruses" or "bacteria." In fact, it is no coincidence that "health" is etymologically related to "whole," and that there are countless mechanisms and functions within the body, all geared toward maintaining and returning to a state of dynamic wholeness.

Extending the analogy to time, time is to part as eternity is to whole. In a certain sense, this is just another way to reintroduce the idea of teleology, or "final causation" into metaphysics. One cannot actually think coherently in the absence of finality, which is one of the reasons why science -- or scientism, to be perfectly accurate -- is such an incoherent and unworkable metaphysic. Science relies upon teleology all the time, but merely denies the fact. It is the mysteress without whom the scientist cannot live, but is ashamed to be seen in public (to paraphrase someone).

There is an aspect of the divine reality that is both "present" and "future." If this were not true, then everything would be here now. This is simply another way of saying that, in order for there to be a creation separate from the creator, the creation must be deployed in time. But because time is necessarily "within" God, no matter how far it strays, it cannot help but eventually wend its way back to its source outside or "above" time. This "wending" is the area of our personal freedom. From another perspective, you might say that it is God's lila, or play: "the aion is a child playing with colored toys."

I realize that all of this sounds rather abstract, but it is not meant to. Or if so, the purpose of the abstraction is to illuminate the concrete. Animal man, to whom the initial descent was addressed, was absolutely incapable of comprehending abstract metaphysics, any more than a child could do so. This is why much of the Old Testament is so outwardly concrete, often presented in the form of history.

But clearly, thousands of years of rabbinical exegesis demonstrates that an extraordinarily sophisticated metaphysical abstractness was embedded in the outwardly concrete images and stories. In short, this divine descent was addressed to exterior and interior men of all levels, including levels that did not yet exist in the world. You try writing a book capable of that, and perhaps you'll appreciate its miraculous provenance. Frankly, my book would sell a lot more copies -- or even any copies -- if it were accessible to species of men other than the ring-tailed "mighty little beast" with "a spirit strong of mind."

So, just as an organism seeks wholeness, time is the unfolding spiral of cosmic destiny: "history moves to heal the wounds it has made," in the words of Charles Taylor.

Frithjoh Schuon expresses the doctrine quite clearly when he says, "Eschatology is a part of cosmology, and cosmology is a prolongation of metaphysics, which in turn is essentially the same as the sophia perennis," or universal wisdom. Thus, while intellection reveals timeless principles, one of the principles is that existence has a destiny that can only be revealed, or "unveiled" -- which is the literal meaning of apocalypse -- in time.

Here again, this is a universal intuition that is available to all men, even -- or shall we say, especially! -- to men of the left. For just as the material scientist cannot think fruitfully or coherently in the absence of teleology, the leftist cannot think about politics without the immamentization of Sugar Candy Mountain, or forced paradise.

Again, the divine message, or descent, is available to all men, but becomes garbled as a result of various impurities in the human receptacle. For example, the Jewish concept of Tikkun olam, or "repairing the world," is turned inside out and upside down by "anti-rabbis" such as Michael Lerner, just as the Christian descent is lowjacked by leftists and transmogrified into so-called "liberation theology," a cancer in the body of Christ (so to speak) if ever there was one. There are specifically Christian pathologies (the cult of victimology being one of them), Jewish pathologies, Hindu pathologies, and quite obviously Islamic pathologies.

Perhaps you may have also noticed that these pneuma-pathologies unify members across these diverse groups much more than membership in the particular group. This explains the weird alliance between, say, leftist anti-Jews such as Lerner and Chomsky and Islamo-nazis, just as it explains the grotesque alliance between the National Council of Churches and monsters such as Castro, Arafat and other enemies of mankind.

Likewise, it explains the natural alliance that cuts across and unifies proper Christians, Jews, and members of other faiths. It explains the deep reverence a Meister Eckart had for a Moses Maimonides, or Ramakrishna for Jesus, or Valentin Tomberg for Sri Aurobindo, etc. These men meet in the interior vertical, or "Coonland," just as the inferior sort of religious men meet down below in the exterior horizontal.

Now, Schuon says something that would apply to everything I have laid out above: "All our preceding considerations may seem arbitrary and imaginative in the highest degree to one who clings to that immense simplification which is the scientistic perspective." However, my cosmic omusings will become plausible if "one knows how to draw from human subjectivity all the immediate and distant consequences it implies." For it is precisely this "dazzlingly evident mystery" of subjectivity -- the interior microcosm within the macrocosm -- that "offers the key to metaphysical truths as well as mystical experiences, the one like the other requiring all that we are."

In other words, to become what you are is nothing less than for the cosmos to know who it is from the inside out, which is to say, the purpose of creation, as it were. In ether worlds, time takes time, let alone eternity. It is the great privilege of the human state to know this. I do not mean to imply that this knowledge was unknown to men in Phases I and II. Clearly that was not the case. However, never before has it become so potentially accessible and available to all men.

When I think of Al Gore -- which naturally, one tries to avoid -- I think of someone who is clearly sensitive to the Message, but who is just as clearly distorting it in a rather breathtaking manner, for he is literally turning it upside down and inside out, as if the evolutionary crisis of mankind is within the environment and not the soul. Much of the "hysteria of the age" results from exactly this type of distortion, just as a sexual perversion involves distortion of "energy from below," so to speak.

For want of a less loaded term, let us just say that the hail of shakti or "universal k" is coming down the size of grapefruits, pelting everyone below: "the sun shines on both the wicked and righteous," and all that. Some people strap on a suicide bomb while others hallucinate about a "Christo-fascist takeover," but everyone gets hit and tries to figure out why we have hail on earth.

A great many primordial conflicts are rising to the surface and being worked out in the field of time. Mankind's future evolution hinges on their outcome, no less than it hinged on the earlier preparation of a human group and a human body. For now, the only viable human future will have to involve all of mankind, not in some twisted left-hand exterior version enforced by elites from on high, but in a truly interior-vertical sense. One way or another, all men must become Coons, even if they don't yet have a public school diploma or can't come up with the $1.50 initiation fee.

I have a dream that one day the horizontal world will rise up and live out the true meaning of Bob's screed: "One Cosmos Under God." I have a dream that my little kit will one day live in a cosmos where he will not be judged by the color of his coat but the content of his cap.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

You Have Omail: The End is Near!

The earth is in a crisis.

What a cliché. Start over.

My friends, today we find ourselves at a crossroads.

Please. This sounds like an 8th grade graduation speech -- which is better than Al Gore, but still. Say something kooky, something more in the Gagdad style. Something that makes no sense but sounds like it ought to.

My fellow Coons, I keep getting these vertical messages in my inbox about the final act in the arc of salvation. In fact, it is what got me to thinking about this whole topic to begin with. Of course, one of the problems in being a... a whatever it is I am, is that you never know whether these memos are spam from various levels of consciousness, both high and low, or the real vertical deal. After all, to think at all -- even in the horizontal sense -- is to ignore and delete 99% of what comes into your brainbox. A stupid or confused person doesn't know how to filter out all the garbage. There are also plenty of spiritually sensitive people who are open to the vertical, but who, for a variety of reasons, distort the message.

The reason for this is that the message, regardless of its "purity," must nevertheless be filtered through the crooked timber with which the material human is composed. This is why every step in genuine gnosis (not the heretical kind) must be accompanied by two -- maybe even three, to be on the safe side -- steps in virtue. In other words, the True cannot evolve too far in advance of the Good; nor can it get out too far ahead of Beauty, but that's a subject for a different post. Let's just say that a perusal of the new age section of your local bookstore brings to mind the title of one of Thelonious Monk's compositions: Ugly Beauty.

But debased books of the Tony Robbins/Deepak Chopra/Wayne Dyer variety (the men with the secret!) could also be called "False Truth" or "Bad Virtue." These genuine profits are in a spiritual "catch 22," because if they were to actually become more spiritually attuned, they would never stop being ashamed of what they had written -- of how they had trivialized the Divine Message and rendered it as ugly as an email solicitation for boner pills, as Lileks calls them, so don't blame me. Such writers (not Lileks, the other ones) will remain in a closed circle and keep writing the same spiritually barren self-help book over and over. There is no true divine creativity, no real vertical spark.

One of the purposes of religion -- properly understood -- is to act as a filter -- that is, to help one distinguish between the Real and the unreal, so as to align oneself with the Real. This is why a sophisticated yahoo such as Bill Maher can make fun of religion all day and therefore never understand why America's founders had to have been deeply inspired by Judeo-Christian metaphysics. Such a person must either ignore that truly Inconvenient Truth or imagine that our founders were cynical secular men, just like him. To someone within the Judeo-Christian stream, the connection is obvious, but to someone trying to swim on the dry land outside of it, it makes no sense that such freakishly clear-thinking men were deeply devout, so they must "attack the link," as Bion would say. But this is also to attack God, which is always a bad move.

Anyway, the omail I keep receiving has to do with the nature of the times in which we are living, and how they relate to Phase III in the Arc of Salvation. Now, it should go without saying that if one is totally immersed in the horizontal, one has no perspective on the now. At best, one will superimpose some idiosyncratic, egocentric meaning on the now, derived from limited personal experience. This is why virtually all secular leftist boneheads look at Iraq and see Vietnam. This is as far in the historical vertical they can rise, which isn't very far at all, to say the least. Thus, they interpret all matters of race in terms of Alabama in 1950, or all questions of "class" as if it were 1850, or all questions of "gender" as if it were 1750. Progressives are always temporally frozen in amber, looking at history through a rear-view mirage.

A universal spiritual truth is that one of the gifts, or "charisms," of the Holy Spirit is the ability to read the "signs of the times." One does not know the third person of the trinity "objectively" but only subjectively. It is not that aspect of God which one looks at, but that with which one looks with inspiration, or with "eyes made new," so to speak. Bear this point in mind for later, since if Phase III is the age of the Holy Spirit (Phase I having been the age of the Father, Phase II the age of the Son), then certain important implications follow. This is getting ahead of ourselves a bit, but as Frederick Turner puts it in his Natural Religion,

"The Christian Gospels contain an enormously important implication that is both clear and curiously ignored or muted in the teachings of most of the churches. Jesus leaves us with the promise of sending the Paraclete -- literally, in Greek, 'the one called to help.' Yet in most Christian liturgy the Holy Spirit is tacked on, as it were, as an afterthought, after passages celebrating at length the glory of the Father and the Son. 'Oh, and by the way, let's not forget the good old Holy Ghost' seems to be the general tenor....

"Yet if we analyze the style and characteristic 'plotting' of God's story of the world as Christians see it, it would be entirely out of character for him to have arranged a big anticlimax after the ascension of Christ. The redemption outdoes in drama and even importance the earlier creation and fall; if this is the third age, the era of the Paraclete, then surely it must be more marvellous still, and marked by a personal style not entirely the same as that of the Father and the Son. It would behoove us to pay more attention to the divine person who is with us now, as present among us as Jesus was, if we believe what Jesus says" (emphasis mine).

More on that later. Anyway, to read the "signs of the times" is to peer deeply into the now and perceive a more overarching pattern. However, one is not actually looking more "deeply," so to speak, but from a higher vantage point. Or let us say that the "depth" is a result of the "height," as the addition of a third dimension allows one to see the greater whole. For example, let us say that you are a passenger on a train. There is another train on the same track coming at you in the opposite direction. From your vantage point within the train, you can't see what's up ahead. To be perfectly accurate, you can see ahead a little ways, but for the most part you will be taking in the passing horizontal scenery.

But someone standing on a hilltop, even though he is still in space (i.e., not "time traveling"), would be able to "see the future," or at least a possible future. That is, he could see one train down below and the other train off in the distance, and be aware of the danger. There is really nothing magical about it. To a certain extent, it's as simple as adding 2 + 2. Frankly, psychotherapists do it all the time. They can see the "train wreck" up ahead, but it rarely does any good to explicitly warn the patient. Rather, you have to help lift them up, so they too can see it and react appropriately. Foresight is forewarned.

Now, all humans have this innate ability. A "prophet" is someone who has the same ability, only in a highly developed or more purified form. Like Michael Jordan, he just has a higher vertical leap. Again, this is one of the "infinite distinctions" between man and animal. Of course, one of the "signs of the times" is that it is actually controversial to say that the gap between man and animal is infinite, but this is a fine example of where the radical Darwinians are wrong. An animal knows nothing of the future, only the now. In fact, it would even be incorrect to say that they know the now in any human sense, as a quasi-magical ingression of eternity into time. For animals it is more of a two-dimensional, "in your face" now, whereas for humans it has an additional dimension of "distance" and therefore depth. (One of the purposes of meditation is to increase this depth of the now.)

As mentioned yesterday, humans are only able to know history at all because they have a built in sense of absolute history -- in the same way that we are only able to judge any beauty at all in light of an innate sense of absolute beauty. This is why we all have the ability to judge beauty on a relative scale but why perfect Beauty cannot surpass itself. The same can be said of Truth and Virtue. What is true is true. If two things are truly true, one is not more true than the other, since they each reflect the Absolute. This is common sense to humans, to such an extent that they don't even think about it consciously.

Due to the inevitable temporo-centrism of fallen man, humans are always tempted to believe that they are living in a "special" time. This may or may not be true, but some times are clearly more special than others in a cosmic sense -- in terms of the Arc of Salvation. From the point of view of the Arc of Salvation, mankind is pretty close to a hopeless case that has only survived this long due to a number of extremely potent "vertical interventions," some in the form of a divine smack-down, others a smack-up -- but always a smack. Many metaphysical dullards -- I saw a Hot Air video clip of Bill Maher blowing hot air about it just yesterday -- object to the Old Testament on the grounds that it depicts a "psychotic" or "bloodthirsty" God who is constantly killing people. This is like someone seeing -- I don't know, let's say, Saving Private Ryan -- and saying, "what a stupid film. Just a bunch of sociopathic killers shooting at each other."

To be immersed in the horizontal is by definition to be barred from any transcendent meaning. Transcendent meaning can only be found in the vertical, so it goes without saying that horizontal man cannot understand scripture by converting it into mere horizontal information to comport with his fallen state. This is to do exactly what an animal does to history. Again, animals have no knowledge of history because they do not have access to it. But the difference between vertical man and horizontal man is hardly less extreme, in the sense that horizontal man does not understand religion because he cannot understand religion -- and then has the narcissism -- always the narcissism -- to "hubristically" elevate himself above the vertical man.

By this insane logic, the greatest men who have ever lived -- including America's founders -- must either be nut cases or just plain ignorant. If Bill Maher had been there at the constitutional convention, he would have set them straight. He would have courageously spoken politically incorrect truth to power:

"What's this nonsense about 'endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights?' Please. You're not going to ground our rights in that psychopathic killer God, are you? I have this idea -- I've been corresponding with this brilliant fellow over in France -- Robespierre's the name. He says we have to put the kibosh on all this religious BS altogether and get a fresh start. Forget about re-enacting the exodus from Egypt. That's a stupid myth anyway. We have to go back to the real beginning and reinvent man on totally logical grounds. C'mon people, let's be unsentimental about this. As Max says 'virtue without terror is destructive, and terror without virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible.' Doesn't that make more sense than saying the purpose of government is to protect rights granted by a quote-unquote God whom -- let's be honest, people -- we all know doesn't exist? Arianna, you agree with me, right?"

I apologize for rambling, but I suppose I'm laying a foundation. Work on the foundation is finished for today, as it needs to settle and harden a bit. Please stay away from the soft spots. I'll just leave you with another provocative quote from Turner:

"If in Christian terms this is truly the era of the Paraclete, it means that the history of the world since the redemption must itself contain a message, a message that cannot be less than equal to the Gospel of Christ -- if the Holy Ghost is indeed equal to the other two persons of God. If we look at that history from the vantage point of today, we notice one huge development: the astonishing progress of science, technology, and the human arts in general. That progress occurred chiefly in the parts of the world devoted to the Book and influenced by the life of Christ, while other civilizations lagged, or caught up only when exposed to the Gospel. The implication is that in Christian terms we might see progress in human art and science as the direct sign, the gospel, the very metabolism, of the Paraclete, the Helper."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Planet of the Apes of God: The Subhuman Agenda of the Stick-Wielding Kosmonkeys (2.28.09)

I have a feeling that we'll be staying with this arc of salvation business for a while. However, like the course of exterior history -- which is the arc's shadow in the herebelow -- we may jump around a bit, up and down, back and forth, in and out. For one thing, I can only write things as they occur to me, as none of this has been thought out in advance. Furthermore, dwelling within it simultaneously brings it into being.

Not to spark another debate about the Trinity, but another universal trinity as it pertains to man's spiritual development is that of purification, realization, and union. Whatever your basketball tradition, this is the form of the path to the bucket (as Big Chief Triangle might say).

Perhaps these three phases can also tell us something about our collective history, which -- let's face it -- is either a process that is leading somewhere, or complete horizontal chaos onto which we simply superimpose fanciful patterns. Obviously I believe the former is true; and in fact, one of man's prerogatives -- one of the things that defines him as man -- is the ability to think historically. In other words, prior to this or that particular history is the intuition of absolute history itself.

Speaking of which, Dupree alerted me to the most appallingly fatuous piece of scientistic gobshite on dailykos the other day. If anyone wants to know why I so despise the secular left -- why it is the mortal enemy of the Coon way of life -- perusing this infrahuman dispatch from the bowels of metaphysical ignorance would serve as well as any, for it reveals the ultimate premise and goal of the left in all its hideously naked barbarity, which is to turn man into a beast. Entitled Science Friday: You Are Not That Special, it reads,

"a pair of recent articles point up the folly of making tool use the test of humanity. It appears that chimpanzees had their own 'stone age.' Around the same time the pyramids were being constructed in Egypt, Chimps in West Africa were using stone tools to get at hard-shelled nuts. It's not only chimpanzees of the past who use tools. It's long been known that some bands of modern chimps use sticks to tease insects from their hives."

There, you see? This ignoramus looks at the vast panorama of creation and concludes that one of the seven wonders of the world is indistinguishible from a hungry monkey cracking open a nut. By this adamantine logic, Kos himself is nothing more than a grubby chimp poking his joystick into a cyberhole to satisfy his animal impulses. Which, of course, is entirely true.

The self-confessed monkey in question then asks,

duh, "how can you draw the line between us and them? Emotions? Language? The answer is that you can't. There are no lines. Deeply unsatisfying as it is to the desire to group items into black and white (a tendency also not limited to humans), all the answers of science are grey."

Oh, really? What could be more black and white than suggesting that there is absolutely no distinction between animals and human beings? For example, even my dog knows better than this. Frankly she is in awe of Dear Leader and his magical powers -- indeed, even of Future Leader and the mysterious Trail of Food he leaves in his wake.

The stick-wielding kosmonkey then presumes to inform humans -- but how would he know? -- that "Your species is not that special. Reading the text of paleontology and history, there is no bold message of certainty. Winding back the clock reveals no inexorable march in our direction, or even the triumph of 'better' over 'worse'.... [H]uman history has been defined as much by fortuitous placement of natural resources as it has been by human action. You're the tail end of the tail end of a process that much more closely resembles random chance than progress toward an objective."

Furtherless, "Your world is not that special. Your planet is not located at the center of the universe. Neither is your star, or your galaxy. Perhaps most disturbing at all, as telescopes have revealed to us the enormity of space, both astronomy and geology have revealed the breathless expanse (sic) of time. We are not just insignificantly small items living in a vast ocean of space; we're living in a moment so brief that it's barely a single tick of a clock that's already run through millennia without us, and will not pause when we are gone."

I don't mean to dwell on this moronic diatribe, but it is important. Don't worry, we're almost done. The beast finishes poking his verbal stick into the dirt by saying,

"No, you are not that special. And yet, you are a wonder, absolutely unique and irreplaceable. Your species is a wonder, gifted with physical and mental resources that provide boundless opportunity. Your planet is a wonder, swarming with life in infinite variety and complexity. Your universe is a wonder, based on laws so precisely balanced that the slightest variation in any of them might have caused everything -- space, time, and everything that moves through both -- to never have appeared."

Let's de-deconstruct this vacuous elegy to nothingness for just a moment, since it does such a good job of articulating the satanic agenda of the left, and presents such a perfect mirror image of the Coon view of creation -- the arc of salvation.

According to Valentin Tomberg, all evolutionary progress in the vertical is accompanied by a sort of shadow version in the lower vertical. (Catholics know full well, for example, that the shadow of evil unavoidably entered the church with its inception; likewise, it is not a coincidence that Marx was the son -- or grandson, anyway -- of a rabbi, being that he crafted what can only be called the ultimate "reverse-sinai revelation"; similarly, most of the "new age" is a perverse reflection of certain primordial truths that are only now coming into full flower in the collective vertical.)

Will has referrred to this as the "ape of God" -- not "ape" in the animal sense, but in terms of aping, or imitating. It would be perfectly accurate to say -- and all true theologians know this -- that leftism itself is the ape of the primordial doctrine. It is not analogous to, say, paganism, which, as Will has pointed out, had its role in the arc of salvation. After all, religion had to start somewhere, as does any developmental process. It only becomes pathological if the developmental process becomes arrested, if there is a regression to the earlier mode, or if there is a "fixation" or a "complex" -- a proscribed area that does not enter the stream of development, but becomes "stuck" in exactly the manner of a mind parasite.

In other words, a human being can be quite developed in certain areas but completely fixated in others. For some reason Alan Watts comes to mind. On the one hand he could speak eloquently and charismatically about matters of spirit, while on the other hand he was a pathetic alcoholic with a masochistic spanking fixation. He was a fairly typical Phase II man, but would never do in Phase III, which will require a much higher level of purity, integration, and actualization.

You will note, for example, how deeply flawed were certain heroes of the Old Testament -- David comes to mind, or even a secular hero such as Alexander the Great. These men had a critical civilizing mission to accomplish, and behavior that was perfectly acceptable in Phase I would be entirely unacceptable in Phases II or III. We are called to a much higher moral standard, but let us never forget that the gulf between animal-man and Phase I man was probably even greater than the distance between Phases II and III. In his context, David is as great a man as any who has ever lived. Unfortunately, it is possible that the same may be said of Mohammed, whose mission involved the evolution of the nomadic animal-men of the Arab world into Phase I. Islam began moving into Phase II some 700 years ago, but then pulled back for a variety of reasons. Now they wish to re-impose Phase I on the rest of the world, completely halting its evolutionary progress.

Back to leftism. It is not not a fixation, a regression, or an arrested mode of development. Rather, it is in every respect a parallel, or "shadow" of principial truth. Let us review the main conclusions of the kosmonkey referenced above:

1) Man is an animal, fundamentally no different than any other.

2) Values are an illusion; nothing is actually any better than anything else (e.g., the Giza Pyramid is a stick in an ant hole and Shakespeare is Maureen Dowd).

3) Emotion and language -- or heart and head, meaning and truth -- cannot actually exist in any human sense. My dog knowing where to poop or when it's time for a walk is no different than the theory of relativity.

4) Nothing can be known with certainty, which is simply another way of saying that nothing may be known except falsehood -- which is no knowledge at all.

5) Ironic though it may be for a "progressive" to say, there is actually no direction in history, no objective standard of measurement, no better or worse. Our unique Western values have nothing whatsoever to do with our extraordinary "success." As the Big Baboon, Jared Diamond, has argued, it's just a matter of geography, disease, and fortuitous placement of natural resources.

6) There is no intrinsic meaning in the cosmos, much less in your life -- which is simply the tail end of the tail end of a random process leading from nowhere to nothing.

7) The secular leftist takes an appallingly violent wrecking ball to the entire realm of the vertical, in that not only are you not special, but you are insignificantly small. Furthermore, the world is not special -- which of course makes us wonder -- but not really -- why all these leftists cheer the fanatical message of Al Gore, which is obviously premised on the doctrinal truth that the earth is of infinite importance; here again, a fine example of the "ape of God."

8) Neither human beings nor the planet are at the center of the universe, since there is by definition no center once the vertical has been demolished by academic monkeys with sticks. Again, the correct doctrine is that of course human beings are at the very center of the cosmic drama if viewed vertically. The center of a three-dimensional cone is a line that descends from the point to the base, not anything located along the base. Reduced from three to two dimensions, we are left with only a circle at the base. This is the self-imposed "circle of hell" inhabited by the the secular left which they -- no different than the Islamists -- would like to impose upon the rest of us.

No, we're not done, because once the leftist has annihilated the vertical -- which is definitional for them -- he performs a bait and switch, inserting the horizontal values of the left into the hole he has created with his monkey stick. This is where the "ape of God" comes into play. Some are more slick and subtle than others -- i.e., Obama or the Clintons -- but the kosmonkey is not subtle, to say the least. In one sentence he declares,

1) No, you are not that special.

And then, in the very next sentence, 2) Yes, you are a wonder, absolutely unique and irreplaceable.

As you folks with a rudimentary grasp of logic will have noticed, there is no way to derive (2) from (1), the eternal yes of life, hope, meaning and value from the NO! of abject nihilism.

But here your troubles have only just begun, because -- to paraphase someone -- hell is the place where logic is rendered null and void, as in a Kafka novel. I will just end with something I wrote a while back, and let you draw your own conclusion:

"The philosopher Michael Polanyi pointed out that what distinguishes leftist thought in all its forms is the dangerous combination of a ruthless contempt for traditional moral values with an unbounded moral passion for utopian perfection.

"The first step in this process is a complete skepticism that rejects traditional ideals of moral authority and transcendent moral obligation. This materialistic skepticism is then combined with a boundless, utopian moral fervor to transform mankind.

"However, being that the moral impulse remains in place, there is no longer any boundary or channel for it. One sees this, for example, in college students (and those permanent college students known as professors) who, in attempting to individuate from parental authority and define their own identities, turn their intense skepticism against existing society, denouncing it as morally shoddy, artificial, hypocritical, and a mere mask for oppression and exploitation. In other words, as the philosopher Voegelin explained it, the vertical is 'immamentized' into the present, expressing the same religious faith but in wholly horizontal and materialistic and terms.

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

Let us stipulate that we are engaged in a cosmic struggle between human beings and monkeys with sticks, newspapers, academy awards, suicide bombs, and tenure. Choose sides wisely. It's up to you, but my advice is to choose the side in which the possiblity of wisdom exists, and to steer clear of the side that thrashes wisdom to dust with so many monkey sticks.


Check out Her Badness, Dr. Sanity, who looks through the cosmic colliderescape and sees almost the same beastly pattern.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday Driving on the Innerstate

The Trinity is an idea that seems to baffle many Christians, let alone non-Christians -- the notion that God is the mutual and co-eternal indwelling of three persons in one, one of whom is paradoxically fully human yet fully divine. Although it sounds complex, at the same time, we are assured that God is intrinsically simple (i.e., not an aggregate), so there must be something about this formulation that is as logically clear and necessary as any rule of geometry -- say, "a line consists of two points." Not to entirely demystify it -- mystery being an important mode of knowing -- but there must be some way to cut through the centuries of speculation and see through to the beautiful simplicity of it.

As always, I am driving while intoxicated -- which is to say writing while coontemplating -- so you will forgive me if I careen off the road and end up on Route 666. This can happen when traveling the innerstate, especially if one uses an excessively freeway. I will leave it to you to decide whether that's a fully deployed windbag in front of you or a hot-air balloony trying to lift you by your buddhastraps into the pneumatosphere.

In his Theo-Drama, Balthasar -- who was apparently Pope John Paul's favorite theologian -- say, did you know that JPII also had a copy of Meditations on the Tarot sitting right smack dab on his surprisingly little desk, for which Balthasar wrote the epilogue? -- which only goes to show you that this wonderful man might have worn an imposing pointy hat in public, but a soft and inviting coonskin cap in private... say, where was I? Let's just start over.

In the Theo-Drama, Balthasar likens what we in Coonland are calling "the arc of salvation" to a stage play that reconciles the problem of divine and human freedom -- which is to say the paradox of infinite and finite freedom. For if the soul is created, how then can it actually be truly free?

For example, "facing forward," it always looks like we have a more or less radical existential freedom -- at least those of us privileged to live in the West.

But "facing backward," we can often see that our freedom was more or less of an illusion. To cite one obvious example, psychoanalysis deals with the study of the unmetabolized past-in-the-present, otherwise known as the unconscious. As we explore the unconscious and its repository of mind parasites, we can see how these entities limited our freedom -- not to say fulfillment -- due to agendas all their own -- agendas we can only detect in hindsight. Although a mind parasite exists, so to speak, in the "space" of the mind, it is only by surveying our past and looking at certain dysfunctional patterns in time that we can see the workings of the little buggers.

But at the same time, if you are on any kind of spiritual path and survey your past, a different kind of pattern will emerge. In fact, for most people -- and for Coons by definition -- it will appear coontrived, which is to say that it will look as if it were guided by the workings of a sort of predestination. On the one hand, we can all be relieved that we have arrived at this happy deustination. But on the other hand, it can be a little unsettling to realize that the freedom you perceived at the time was not as free as it looked, in the sense that your life was being dreamt by a "supraconscious dreamer" of which you were unaware at the time.

What this suggests is that the "ontology of the moment" contains two streams of karma, as it were, one of which is pushing you forward into the past (the mind parasites), the other of which is pulling you back to the future -- in other words, this latter karmic stream beckons you to paradoxically "become what you already are."

Yesterday we discussed the idea of spatial, "geometrical" truth vs. temporal, "musical" truth. Our lives are a combination of geometry and music, of adventure and law, of harmony and melody, of freedom within the constraints of some kind of hidden necessity. Our "life" consists of the more or less winding road we take to re-arrive where we startled and even jumped into our skin. In the words of the Poet,

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

Now, Balthasar has a very interesting take on the Trinity and its relation to the cosmic theo-drama. Jesus, because he was all-man, had to be no different than the rest of us in this respect. As such, just like us, he could not fully know or understand the nature of the drama in which he was situated. If he had known, then his passion would have been something less than that -- more of a detached "dispassion," as he simply "played out the clock" -- as in a one-sided basketball game. Not to sound blasphemous, but it would have been much more like the Life of Brian than the Passion of the Christ. Jesus could have been on the cross glancing at his watch, knowing that, outward appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, there was nothing to sweat about -- let alone blood. "I'm cool. It's all good."

Thus, just like our lives, Jesus had an element of horizontal freedom -- which is to say existential nothingness -- within the constraints of a much larger drama in which he was taking part. While he obviously had "hints" of a larger purpose -- as indeed we all do -- the human Jesus could not have been privy to the whole script. And in fact, Balthasar uses the metaphor of playwright, director, and actor to conceptualize the situation. The Father is "playwright"; the Son is "actor"; and the Holy Spirit is "director" (one is reminded that JPII was an actor). As Edward Oakes explains,

"a successful theatrical production always depends on the harmonious cooperation of three freedoms, which are not however equal: for the director must serve the script and the actor must serve both; yet the actor cannot simply afford to be an automaton if the production is to be successful: some unnamed element... must be engaged if the play is to emerge before the audience as playwright and director intended it."

As Sachs (quoted in Oakes) writes, "The fact that the actor-Son has the responsibility to play the role given him by the author-Father, as 'whispered' to him in each moment by the prompter-Spirit, does not exclude the actor-Son's interpretive freedom. On the contrary, it assumes it and provides the material in which his freedom as an actor can become concrete. Therefore, although the author has a definite primacy with regard to the actor and the prompter (or director), it is by no means a tyrannical relationship. The author continues to be present in his work but as one who opens up the creative 'space' of the part."

Thus, even Jesus struggles with the two "streams of karma": a literally infinite gap -- the gap of God's absence or withdrawal from creation -- exists between the O, my father, let this cup pass from me, and the it is accomplished.

Back to our own lives, in which there is a curious freedom that accompanies surrendering to that which we are and He Who Is. Looking back at our lives, we can see that we were least free when we thought we had the most freedom, and most free when we finally gave up the faux freedom. Balthasar compares it to the artist who moves from the persecutory space of being tormented by indecision and infinite possibility, until he is finally "possessed by the idea inspiring him and surrenders himself completely to its imperious and peremptory demands." This feeling of being "seized" and "surrendering" describes exactly what it felt like to write my book, and increasingly, to write these posts. Or to live my life, for that martyr.

So history -- both personal and collective -- is a God-given space of freedom in which we are free to choose the path back to ourselves and to God. All roads lead to the same place, but some get there faster than others. And some routes are much more scenic and beautiful.

If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dreams
Where immobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop
Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again
To be born again

From the far side of the ocean
If I put the wheels in motion
And I stand with my arms behind me
And I'm pushin' on the door
Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again
To be born again....

In another world
In another time
Got a home on high
Ain't nothing but a stranger in this world
I'm nothing but a stranger in this world
I got a home on high
In another land
So far away
So far away
Way up in the heaven

In another time
In another place
In another face.... --Van Morrison, Astral Weeks

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