Friday, February 29, 2008

Obama and the Lure of the False Vertical: Worshiping a Groovin' Image

Regardless of whether or not you believe human beings are in need of salvation, they inevitably seek it in one form or another. Some of these forms are both "authorized" and therefore operative (i.e., vehicles of grace, the only real means of salvation), while others are sham versions that -- at risk of conjuring a disturbing image -- may send a tingle up Chris Matthews' pasty and dimpled thigh, but leave you back down on the launch pad in some rancid dimension of hell -- which you soon realize when you look to your left and are assaulted by the beastly image of Keith Olbermann.

Now, among the ten commandments there is one in particular that leftists always poke fun at, and that is the injunction against worshiping graven images. Why would the Author of Creation care about that? And what relevance could it possibly have for contemporary people?

The purpose of this commandment is to check the human tendency to worship the relative, the ubiquitous tendency to "bow down and serve" manmade gods, whether secular or religious. Idolatry occurs whenever one holds a value higher than God, or let us say the Absolute, or One.

Thus it is actually possible to turn one’s religion -- or irreligion -- into a false god, and to value it above all else. Certainly in the Muslim Middle East, it would appear that the worship of God has been completely eclipsed by the worship of Islam. But it is also soph-evident that the secular left displaces the need for religion and salvation to the plane of politics -- i.e., they horizontalize the vertical, and imagine that, with enough coercion, manipulation, and thought control, they can recreate paradise on earth.

The archetype of "messiah" does not belong to the horizontal plane -- or the realm of manifestation -- but to the vertical world, i.e., the principial order. Schuon uses the analogy of the colorless essence of white light, which breaks into manifestation in terms of a particular color. Naturally, the archetypal ideas of the celestial realm must be clothed in human thought; to put it another way, we must use forms to inwardly "recollect" what is actually beyond the local form. Schuon expresses the idea of what might be called the "cosmic Christ" as follows:

"The Redemption is an eternal act which cannot be situated either in time or space, and the sacrifice of Christ is a particular manifestation or realization of it on the human plane; men were able to benefit from the Redemption as well before the coming of Jesus Christ as after it, and outside the visible Church as well as within it.

"If Christ had been the only manifestation of the Word, supposing such uniqueness of manifestation be possible, the effect of His birth would have been the instantaneous reduction of the universe to ashes."

The point is, the plane of manifestation could not possibly "contain" the archeytpe of the Messiah in its fulness. It would rip reality to shreds.

Elsewhere Schuon wrote that "Christ is the Heart of the macrocosm, as the Intellect is the Christ of the microcosm." As such, "He is then the Intellect in us as well as the Intellect in the Universe and a fortiori in God; in this sense, it can be said that there is no truth nor wisdom that does not come from Christ, and this is evidently independent of all consideration of time and place. Just as ‘the Light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not,' so too the Intellect shines in the darkness of passions and illusions."

Now, where does the latest messiah, Obama, fit into this scheme? Clearly -- often in a shockingly naive and undisguised manner -- Obama draws upon (or, to be precise, his enthusiasts draw upon) the universal hunger for messianic redemption, for a cosmic-historical figure who will shatter the existing corrupt order and make us "whole" again, which is to say, at one with God.

Now the fact that even secularized flatlanders sense the need for a messianic redemption speaks to unconscious awareness of our fallen situation. But naturally, the leftist understands the Fall in an unorthodox -- to say the least -- way. In fact, it would be an interesting exercise to "reverse engineer" their outward passion for the Obamessiah, to try to discern their unconscious understanding of what he is here to accomplish, or "undo." In short, exactly what is Obama's divine mission?

I think Julie is on the right track with a comment from yesterday. Obama

"embodies (at least outwardly) everything that leftists wish they were themselves: he's black, but also white; he's American, but also a 'citizen of the world'; he pushes for everything the leftiest of lefties desires, but somehow he also has social skills and charisma, so he makes it all look cool and appealing (as opposed to a Cindy Sheehan, or Code Pinkos, or Hillary, or any of the nutjobs who tend to flock to protests). He doesn't screech, whine or nag (he leaves that to the wife, I guess); instead, he cajoles and (anti)inspires. He absolves them of the sin of being white. He's like a great big mirror, showing them exactly what they want to see; they see their dream selves in him. Which would be all well and good, if what they fervently desired were not the most deadly, self-destructive governmental policies man has ever conceived -- socialism, multi-culturalism, pacifism, etc."

Therefore, our first guess is that Obama is indeed a messiah, only a messiah of the lower vertical, the projection of faux wholeness -- i.e., the healing of spiritual brokenness -- only in a circular, narcissistic, and ultimately "infertile" way. It is the creation and projection of a just and healing god to compensate for the absence of God. In essence, he is a groovin' image for the spiritually grooveless secular masses.

Reminds me this line by Samuel Johnson, quoted today in Peggy Noonan's tribute to Buckley: "How small of all that human hearts endure / That part which laws or kings can cause or cure."

Obama's finest speeches.... elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. --Ezra Klein


Anonymous said...

Thank you! As societies slip into another epoch of "death to the superego," it's great to read someone who brings a depth to their thesis - it's the best antidote to sloppy, artificial synthesis.

On BO: your post coupled with what I just read about "Oprah's Big Give" makes me think of the '57 film "A Face in the Crowd" -- unfortunetly, we don't have a character in our real life play who's willing to throw the switch on this guy from the inside, yet. Until then, I'm very thankful for posts like yours and the many astute comments here.


Anonymous said...

>>our first guess is that Obama is indeed a messiah, only a messiah of the lower vertical, the projection of faux wholeness . . . It is the creation and projection of a just and healing god to compensate for the absence of God<<

And so I have to wonder just the appearance of such a figure says to our time, to this juncture on the historical/spiritual continuum - even if he is not elected president, though I suspect he will be.

Just on the personal observation level, I have noticed that a great many people are complaining of a feeling of oppression, malaise. I can feel it, it's "in the air." People do tend to personalize this feeling - the fault is in a restricting job or relationship or even in a perceived lack of motivation to exercise, things of that sort - but when I question them at some length, the problem becomes more abstract. It's just a "feeling" of gray limitation, one they hope to overcome by taking some specified action or another. In many cases, I think, the proposed actions might lead to something genuinely helpful or needed, but I also think reliance on material action alone to counter this abstract oppression is merely a delaying maneuver . . .

This isn't Obamania per se, but I think it's a tributary of the same river. The only genuine course of action, if "action" is the right word, in response to this feeling of oppression is, I think, to face it inwardly, sans all personal exteriorizations and projections. And part of this response should be the simple *acceptance* that we on the fallen earth have to pass through at least a certain set of ordeals and trials, that we may just have to suffer for time because we are indeed fallen creatures.

I think that whole Obamania phenom underscores this - that if there was ever a time to accept and conform to spiritual reality, it is now. Along with the oppression in the air, there is also a certain amount of urgency.

Anonymous said...

Obama was formerly an Egyptian prince of great ambition. He was noted for his skill in the chariot and led many daring raids to the North and West of the Lower Kingdom. He was one of the reactionaries who came just after the rule of Ahkenaten (Amenhotep the 4th), and was against monotheism.
His political ambitions were thwarted by his early death in battle. Since then he has bided his time for another incarnation (the curent one).

War and expansion are still on the agenda for Obama. He is by far the most hawkish and warlike U.S President ever to ascend to power.
His appearance as an anti-war President is no sham, however; he believes it. However, his natural Ka will resurface after he has the reins of power and he will again go after the Akkadians (Syrians). He wants control of that piece of land, having lusted for it for eons.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere a drum circle is missing its most fervent beater.

Anonymous said...

Proverbs 26:4-5: Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I've been missing those Stargate reruns. Thanks for the reminder, Anon.

Anonymous said...

* No, anonymous, you've got him mixed up with me, the true former raider of the North and South of the Lower Kingdom.

*text courtesy CatSmart

Anonymous said...

"Stargate reruns."


Anonymous said...


Have you contacted Art Bell on this?

Anonymous said...


What about the Iranians? If we get a two-fer along with the Syrians, I'm on board and will begin mixing the Kool-Aid pronto.

Anonymous said...

Even I won't touch that.

Anonymous said...

Irony: An american black man driving towards slavery in its socialist form.... and the whites (and others) are signing up to be slaves.

Anonymous said...

okay, I'm in...

C Dupree - can't stop laughing!

anon - you missed the incarnation when he was a little girl with a daddy complex.

Anonymous said...

. . . on the other hand . . . if Schuon's "possibility of the impossible", floating wave probability perspective is correct - anonymous right be right. BHO just might very be the former raider of, etc., etc. scourge of the Akkadians . . .

Anonymous said...

Geez, not even.

*text courtesy CatSmart

Anonymous said...

Boys and girls, can you say, "reparations"?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of which, Arabs took far more white European slaves than white Europeans took black African slaves. Maybe B. Hussein Obama will have a little pull in that region, and can swing some reparations for American people of pallor, like free gas for life or something.

Anonymous said...

You're to be congratulated on managing to locate CatSmart! Does wonders for your intelligibility - finally, you're comprehensible.

Say.... does the same outfit, by chance,
have TrollSmart too?

Ya gotta admit there's a real need for it out there.... what a boon to human-kind... could keep lots of thinking people from losing their minds over trying to decipher endless rantings.....

Ummm....if R & D funding for development is an issue, I'm sure we could work on a RaccoonSuperfund... or better yet, we can hit Smoov up... he's mentioned a desire to back worthwhile improvement projects that make a real difference in the world.

julie said...

McCain's Freudian slip

Anonymous said...

Will says he suspects BO will be elected president. Don't count out old Rooster Cogburn (a/k/a Sen. McCain) so fast.
"Do you mean to tell me that you are prepared to use brute force?"
RC: "That is exactly what I mean to tell you."

Anonymous said...

>> . . . reparations for American people of pallor, like free gas for life or something<<

I'll settle for my 40 sand dunes and a camel.

julie said...

Vanderleun has a sobering post up this afternoon. It touches on what I was wondering about last week - what happens when the worshipers learn that the object of their adoration is just a man?

I hate being this gloomy about the coming year. It's springtime, the weather's gorgeous, my own life is great... I should be annoyingly happy right now, but it seems like there are a lot of dark clouds lurking on the horizon, and there's nothing to be done about them besides watch them roll ominously closer. I don't know if I can handle nine more months of election coverage.

wv: pfeah

Anonymous said...

Ximeze, the CatSmart keyboard (tm) can translate from one language - catspeak in this case - to humanspeak, but there does not exist nor will there ever exist the keyboard that can translate total bullshi* into sense. Sorry.

Please ask Beaky if he likes the sketches, thanks.

*text courtesy CatSmart

Anonymous said...

It's really a shame that the president cannot be a simple figurehead with no effect as outlined that dusty old document, the constitution. If it were so, we would not even need to worry about who was elected, but could concentrate on where politics is supposed to matter--locally.
I wonder how this may have happened?

Anonymous said...

I'm so damn tired I can barely post, cranky, too, so this might turn into a rant, but I must add this. I'm surrounded with moonbats and leftoids of all descriptions. My wife, her family, and two of the few people at the local Starbucks who are worth talking to are all just to the left of Berkeley. It's depressing. I mean- these guys read The Nation, Huffington post, and the New York Times like scipture. Worse, they're not stupid, they're not lunatics, and they're really nice folks. I just sat and listened to a conversation that would have gagged me- what am I talking about. It did. From the evil, stupidity, and incompetence of Bush, to the heroism of Daniel Ellsburg for "speaking truth to power" to unmitigated adulation for the Big0:the next John F Kennedy, the man who will finally pull America back in the right direction, and get us out of Iraq, and end the conservative stranglehold on Liberty, etc. *GAK* It's like hearing that obama supporter character, only live. I don't engage them. I don't really like to argue, and besides- nothing I could say would change anyone's mind. Usually, I wait and change the topic to neutral ground, or I just leave. Today I just left.
But here's the point- they are animated, and enthusiastic (in the theological sense of the word). They believe in the inevitability of a Big0 victory, and they await it like the coming of messiah.
Meanwhile, the two people I can actually talk to (both Believers, and conservatives) seem to sniff out the brimstone in the wind. And unlike the libs, it has very little to do with the election, or politics at all. It bears out Will's observation to a 't'. Like it or not, I'm afraid we're going to get all the change we can stand, and then some. And soon.
I'm turning in.


Anonymous said...

Consider needling them with the latest LA Times poll, which has McCain beating Obama nationally.

Gecko said...

You are my hero - I am so glad you are posting again

Great post and comments in this little oasis in the Cosmos.

Anonymous said...

Fergus, my cat can just sorta talk.
Not good like me duz.


Anonymous said...

Beaky, have you checked out Einstein the Grey on U Tub?


Anonymous said...

For anyone who heard or saw the ad Hillary is running with the phone ringing and the question, who would you rather have answer it?; the first name that came to me of the possibilities was McCain.
But I do wish Hillary would win Texas and Ohio and keep this thing going on the Dem side. Keep sucking those donors dry. It's just too much fun and I don't want it to end just yet. I'd like to see it go to the convention and watch what horrors manifest from the active promotion of 40 years of divisive feminism and race baiting when the two balkanized camps of hysterics meet in one place to duke it out. Priceless.
So pray with me. ;*)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Gecko.

Always good to hear from you, too.

I disappear for a while at times, but I always return. This blog is unique, really is.

vogz said...

Interesting thread going on at Belmont Club: Rousseau vs. Locke. Van should certainly enjoy it.

Nova said...

This article in the New Yorker:

Numbers Guy
Are our brains wired for math?

pretty much sums up the sort of thinking prevalent among smart people today. For those with activated cOOnvision, it serves as a sort of catalog of fallacies. The blinkered materialism and point blank refusal to acknowledge the elephant in the living room speaks volumes as to just how lost the Western intelligentsia truly is.

julie said...

Smoov - interesting article. It has a blend of pragmatic usefulness and amazingly bad assumptions:

“The idea that all children are different, and that they need to discover things their own way—I don’t buy it at all,” he said. “I believe there is one brain organization. We see it in babies, we see it in adults. Basically, with a few variations, we’re all travelling on the same road.”

Maybe I'm wrong, but that strikes me as being akin to noticing that we all have the same DNA, and therefore we must all be pretty much the same with a few variations. From a mechanical point of view, certainly there are important and useful things to be learned (the language factor in learning math is obviously relevant), yet it seems as though he's reducing everything about the brain and about thought to merely mechanics.

Van Harvey said...

Will said "... but I always return. This blog is unique, really is."

Yes indeed.

Good discussion and links. Thanks Vogz, I am.

ruth said...

When the masses say "look here or look there, it is the messiah". I immediatley think antichrist..

There have been 2 other men who had a visitation from lucifer the angel of light and immediately afterward thought they were messiahs and began to kill all who didn't fit their mold.. These men were Mohammad and Hitler.

Remember these men when you ponder the idea that B. HUSSEIN Obama is the messiah..