Friday, March 21, 2008

A Courageous Discussion of Race in the Cosmos

Race is either of critical importance, as believed by the left, or of no consequence at all, as believed by conservative classical liberals. I fall into the latter category, one more reason why I could not in good conscience remain a rank-and-foul member of the race-obsessed Democrat party.

Sounds quaint, but I was raised to believe that categorizing people by race is a pernicious act, and in my day-to-day dealings with people, I have always judged them on the basis of their competency and their politeness. And maybe their smell. Public figures are different, in that we don't really care how they smell, but must assess them on the basis of their ideas and their impact on the macro arena, not just their outward behavior in the realm of the micro. Thus, it should go without saying that there are many people I routinely consign to hell on this blog, but with whom I could be quite friendly if they were my neighbor. I get along with everyone. No one has ever seen my irascible side, except in print.

Now, Raccoons are, as we know, bicosmic; which is not just a "fancy" way, but the proper way, of saying that we are in the world but not of the world. As the new age gag goes, we are not material beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a material experience. Which is true of everyone -- well, almost everyone, a few soulless asuras of the material realm notwithstanding. The difference is, a Raccoon doesn't just know this formula, but lives it from the inside out.

Like all people, we have (at least) two subjectivities, one "horizontal," the other "vertical" (the horizontal self can have numerous subjectivities, i.e., mind parasites). We can look at this from many angles, even the purely neurological, if you want to be reductionistic about it.

That is to say, we have a left brain and a right brain, each with a very different way of processing information and a very different sense of self. I don't want to oversimplify, but you could even say that the left cerebral hemisphere is the realm of the ego, while the right hemisphere is the realm of the Self. Any comprehensive definition of humanness -- or any real sense of what it's like to be human -- would have to include both. Like so many apparent dualities, it is actually a complementarity; in fact, more than a complementarity, a synthesis. The higher functioning person will, in my opinion, have the more comprehensive synthesis of "left and right," neurologically speaking.

Back when I was in graduate school, I had to undergo psychoanalytic therapy as a requirement of the program. As such, it was part therapeutic, part pedagogic. In one of the first sessions, as I lay there on the couch idly shooting the breeze with myself, verbalizing whatever bobbled up into my head, my analyst interrupted my reveries and asked something to the effect of, "Do you know what you're doing?"

"Excuse me?"

"Do you know what you're trying to do, what this is all about?"

"Blaming my mother for all my problems?"

"No, you're trying to disable your left brain so as to allow the right brain to speak. That's where the unconscious is. We're interrogating the right brain, taking its deposition, getting its view of things."

Later, when I read about the neurobiology of emotional development in Allan Schore's magisterial Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self, I learned that this left-right distinction wasn't only "in a manner of speaking," or just a new scientific mythunderstanding. Rather, if you will turn to page 112 of your Coonifesto, you will see where it is written,

"Strange as it may sound, immature babies interact with mothers in such a way as to use them as an 'auxiliary cortex' for the purpose of downloading programs from her brain into his.... Of note, this 'downloading' mostly occurs in the nonverbal right brain, which develops earlier than the syntactically organized left brain, and is dominant during the first two or three years of life. Furthermore, recent research indicates that early experience lays down many deep connections between the right brain and the emotional limbic system, so that it is fairly clear that the 'unconscious' is located in the right cerebral hemisphere.

"The right brain is where early traumas take root, where disowned parts of the self reside undetected by language and linear logic, where the parents' unconscious conflicts are imported, where the deepest psychosomatic representation of oneself endures, where dysregulated systems are locked in, and where 'mind parasites' and other ghostly psychotoxins hide out."

So you see, I was right all along. It was my mother's fault.

Now, what does any of this have to do with race?

I don't know yet. Let me think.

One of my self-imposed life challenges -- I know, you should have such problems -- is to try to recooncile science and religion, and then religion and psychoanalysis. It's not easy, but I never stop trying. For example, Schuon, whom I revere in so many ways, detested psychoanalysis and certainly thought of modern science as a gross aberration insofar as its pernicious effect on man's understanding of his place and role in the cosmic drama. In that regard, I guess I can relate to Obama, because I could no more abandon Schuon than I could my white psychoanalyst.

Let's forget about left and right brains for the moment, and coonceptualize our bicosmic nature from a different angle. Schuon writes that "it is impossible to escape our subjectivity, precisely because we exist; the most deified man is an individual, parallel to what we may call his divine state" (emphasis mine). He continues: "The fact is that man has two subjectivities: the ego and the intellect; the ego follows the divine attraction within the limits of its nature -- it can do nothing else -- whereas the intellect, also in accordance with its nature, opens itself to the Principle and realizes it; both ways combine while remaining independent of each other" (emphasis yours).

Very interesting. Two ways of knowing the world, each independent of the other. However, one of the purposes of the spiritual life -- being that the efficient and final cause of the spiritual life is unity in diversity and diversity in unity -- is to bring the two modes together in a harmonious union. Or, as Schuon puts it, "to the extent that we understand metaphysics -- to this very extent we shall spontaneously be capable of seeing the principle in the Manifestation, Atma in Maya.... [For] he who knows transcendence will know immanence."

Yes, he will be a bloody Raccoon, for he will be bicosmic. He will see eternity in a grain of sand, which is another way of saying that he sees the Subject in every object, even while seeing that the Subject contains the object within its own substance. That's what we call 20-20 cOOnvision.

Now, back to Obama, who is psychically "unraveling" in public. Obama is quite clearly a man with no center. Or to be precise, he has (at least) two "horizontal" centers, which by definition means no center at all. He is not just callow and immature, which is self-evident, but he is searching for his missing center while using us as props. Again I will defer to Schuon:

"To be normal is to be homogeneous, and to be homogeneous is to have a center. A normal man is one whose tendencies are, if not altogether univocal, at least concordant; that is, sufficiently concordant to serve as a vehicle for that decisive center which we may call the sense of the Absolute.... The tendency towards the Absolute, for which we are made, is difficult to realize in a heteroclite soul; a soul lacking a center, precisely, and by that fact contrary to its reason for being. Such a soul is a priori a 'house divided against itself,' thus destined to fall eschatologically speaking."

And politically speaking as well. For the problem is not that Obama is "biracial." Again, that is of no consequence. Rather, the man has two horizontal centers, and his left brain doesn't know what his wright brain is doodooing.

Mankind upon earth is one foremost self-expression of the universal Being in His cosmic self-unfolding; he expresses, under the conditions of the terrestrial world he inhabits, the mental power of the universal existence....

But within this general nature and general destiny of mankind each individual human being has to follow the common aim on the lines of his own nature and to arrive at his possible perfection by a growth from within.... [T]he group self has no right to regard the individual as if he were only a cell of its body, a stone in its edifice, a passive instrument of its collective life and growth
. --Sri Aurobindo


Anonymous said...

"Rather, the man has two horizontal centers, and his left brain doesn't know what his wright brain is doodooing."

Bob: How would you relate this to the scriptural passage that (I'm paraphrasing)we shouldn't let our right hand know what our left is doing?

Gagdad Bob said...

To be humble and charitable -- to reflect the virtues -- in an inconspicuous, non-ego aggrandizing manner, with no sense of entitlement. To know that we do not earn grace, but that we can remove impediments to its "flow" and reception.

julie said...

Via Instapundit,
"Typical White Person".

Robin said...

A friend sent me this video link yesterday re right/left hemispheres. Brain scientist has a stroke and witnesses the deterioration (?) from the inside. Not sure what she's selling, but she did come back with a fascinating story.

julie said...

Saw that yesterday on Vanderleun's site. It's a fascinating story; I don't necessarily agree with her conclusions, but hearing about her experience is truly incredible.

Gagdad Bob said...


Yes, merely plunging into the right brain could just as easily be a descent into bottomless dread, as many LSD users found out. I suppose you could say that the right cerebral hemisphere has many mansions... and shacks and trailers and mud huts.

Robin Starfish said...

That was me there btw - only one robin in this flock, but logged into the wrong hemisphere. ;-)

I must admit my favorite part was her parading around with the brain in her hands - real Barnum and Bailey theater.

julie said...

I was actually reminded, listening to her story, of something I heard long ago on a newscast about certain types of highs - huffing, and whichever it is people inhale from balloons at rave parties, that the high they get actually comes from suffocation, and the subsequent death of brain cells. Her stroke might not have been so very different in effect, and it strikes me as unwise at best to recommend "choosing the right brain" (by what means - eliminating the left somehow?) as a means of achieving World Peace.

It also reminded me of another once-heard story about a Buddhist monk who achieved a point in his meditations where he could no longer distinguish the boundaries between himself and everything around him. It sounded like a pleasant experience, but of course, when you can't differentiate between your body and a rock, you can't actually move or do anything useful.

There's clearly a reason we are individuated and self aware; if we were all meant to be cosmically unified, a hive mind would have sufficed (assuming organic life were even necessary in such a cosmos) and the human brain would never have evolved.

hoarhey said...

Have you any theories on left-handedness in relation to manifested human characteristics, intuition, etc?

Schuon said:
"to the extent that we understand metaphysics -- to this very extent we shall spontaneously be capable of seeing the principle in the Manifestation...."

This is the very thing I recognized about this blog and your writings from day one, your recognition of cause and effect reality, and its manifestation from spiritual principle, to material reality.

And speaking of spiritual principles becoming material reality, it's interesting that the raceless candidate, when taken out of his controlled hothouse environment and placed in the real world where he has to deal with actual questions, inadvertantly shows that his entire worldview/thought system is built around race. A fact which has been evident to most "typical" and non typical white people (and every other shade) who moved beyond race at least two generations ago and are waiting for the slower among us to catch up. Obama has alot of growing up to do.

will said...

I think that to eventually arrive at tbe gated community of right-brain row, one does have to pass by and maybe even live in, for a time, one of the shacks, trailers, and mud huts.

However - trying to leapfrog in or take a short cut to right-brain row can land you wholly unprepared smack in the middle of desolation row. It is wise to be well-armored, by dint of personal effort and sacrifice, before getting anywhere near desolation row.

will said...

Julie - >>There's clearly a reason we are individuated and self aware; if we were all meant to be cosmically unified, a hive mind would have sufficed<<

I think that's the meaning and purpose of linear time, spirit/psycho history right there - escape the herd and its manifestation of "Oneness" in order to become an individual within the Oneness and aware of such. In short, to earn full and free creative autonomy. Ye are gods in the making, etc.

In a sense, I think it's also an achieving the ability to fully and freely choose - but who could choose for evil once one's eyes are fully opened? I think no one, perhaps save one.

What a Plan!

will said...

>>[T]he group self has no right to regard the individual as if he were only a cell of its body, a stone in its edifice, a passive instrument of its collective life and growth<<

Suppose the group self were to manifest in one person, a "man of all people", a man of the collective mind.

That person could be said to have risen out of the sea, the sea of the collective mind. (Book of Revs)

Anonymous said...

What about Obama makes it "clear" to you that he has no center?

Gagdad Bob said...

My activated cOOnvision.

dloye said...

Approaching Easter and something niggled at me to look up The Ladder of Divine Graces again. Robin or Van or some coon pointed it out long ago, and I've been pulled back several times. The discussion in comments reminds me that we resemble chimps in our desire to find shortcuts. If it's just re inhabiting a right brain overpowered by the stream of noise made in the left, maybe LSD and limited suffocation will get you there. I'm not believing it for a minute. I love the subtitle of the poem: "which experience has made known to those inspired by God." It some rugged roads getting that experience, if only a small bit. Anyway, top of the season to all coons, and slack to yas, one and all.

Gagdad Bob said...

Seriously, he's not close to being a fully formed man. The multiple centers show through everywhere, most particularly, in claiming to be a post-racial candidate, only to be the disciple of a vicious racist and anti-Semite. Only a man with no personal insight could reconcile himself to such a bipolar situation.

walt said...

Referring to Obama, you wrote,
"...the man has two horizontal centers..."

This seems common to many people -- but it doesn't attract me when it's time to vote for a leader.

A man with "no center" would be someone "inherently conflicted," I would think. If you had principles as a center, and you were aligned with them, then they would support - "uplift" - you.

Without such support, you're left to hold yourself up, with skills, or talents, so your success comes from your cleverness. Obama has been clever in his campaign, and his approach. But he may have become "too clever by half" recently, and as his core gets revealed, it doesn't look so "hopeful."

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, and for another thing, you can't be centered so long as your thinking is centered in emotion, as is true of the left. Have you read some of the over the top reactions to his dopey speech? Obama Speech Causes Mass Weeping Epidemic on the Left.

Gerard said...

May I please interrupt this comment thread for just a brief shining moment.

Bob..... Bob.... when you run about the sphere leaving behind little things such as

"Luce lips sink ships."

you've got to realize that in a just and fair society, one with full metal vertical integration, you'd simply be taken out and hung.

Thank you for listening... and now back to your regularly scheduled cosmodemonic comment thread...

mushroom said...

RE: Linear time – Time is God’s way of making sure everything doesn’t happen at once.

Seriously, two posts in the last few days have actually scared me. This is the second one. Scared is not perhaps the right word, but it will do until I learn German. It’s not because of the politics or anything like that. It’s the touch of the Divine in what’s being said, not unlike standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon.

The right brain-left brain thing has fascinated me since a long-ago course in physiological psychology. Cool stuff.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

As more and more of Obama is revealed it's clear that he is nothing more than a typical racist, and leftist.

A very clever one, no doubt, but as Walt points out, he is too clever for his own good.

That works well for the Left, but the rest of America can see his gaffes very clearly.

When he compared his spiritual advisor to a typical Pastor and his Grandmother to a typical white person, he sealed his doom.

He may still win the Democrat nomination, but there is no way he'll win the general election.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Luce lips sink ships."

Heh! That was Bobtacular!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Yes, and for another thing, you can't be centered so long as your thinking is centered in emotion, as is true of the left. Have you read some of the over the top reactions to his dopey speech? Obama Speech Causes Mass Weeping Epidemic on the Left."

There's gonna be a lot of that come November.
Probably garment rending and gnashing of teeth too.

walt said...

Ben predicted, "garment rending and gnashing of teeth too."

Here at the Hermitage, we only get reception for 2 radio stations; one carries Air America. Dutifully doing "opposition research" while consuming the noontime grubs and gruel, I was pleased to hear the Host and many callers "garment rending and gnashing teeth" over the fact that, after 5 years, the War is still on-going. Such whole-hearted wailing (I'm serious) was amazing to hear!

The Host was completely exasperated, saying he had done everything in his power to stop the War: writing, marching, even carrying placards! He said he was almost suicidal, he was so depressed; and callers agreed.

How much more, if Dems should fail in November!?!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Speaking of centered on emotion, I have noticed that when someone centers on physical pain, that bitterness is often the result, and a projection of that pain onto others, as if they are the cause of it, or perhaps an envy because they don't experience it equally.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Indeed. We have already seen an increase in physical violence from the culture of American haters as a result, directed at Recruiting Centers.

I believe that will increase exponentially if Obama loses.

ximeze said...

Mushroom said:
"Seriously, two posts in the last few days have actually scared me.

It’s the touch of the Divine in what’s being said, not unlike standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon."

AWEsome isn't it!

Yup, that wide angle pneumograph of the whole existentialada can be disorienting at times. Diving head-first into the spiral seems to help.

Hee Hee - Welcome to the Transdimentional Order of the Friendly Sons & Daughters of the Cosmic Raccoons

Van said...

Ben said "As more and more of Obama is revealed it's clear that he is nothing more than a typical racist, and leftist."


As I said earlier, what I find shocking is that anyone right of left is in any way surprised by any of this. You cannot believe in '[insert preferred skin tone here] Values', '[insert preferred race or geographical location here]-centrist thought' and affirmative action and other socialist flavored policies, and not be a racist, a statist, and to one degree or another, anti-American. Have they really not heard what those like Chomsky and Ward Churchill have been saying, and receiving agreement to, for the last several decades?

For me, the good Rev's comments and Obama's flustered attempts to paste the proper euphemisms over the situation is so far from controversial or out of the ordinary as to almost not be worth noting - what intrigues me, is how do the leaders on the Right have the stones to express shock at any of this?

They've been so intent on trying to get along, and be liked by these people, that you can almost see them apologizing to the MSM's for having heard the good Rev's comments. Either that, or feigning shock and indignant surprise, trying to convince the country that they had had nooo idea whatsoever that such things were being preached right under our noses!

Gimmee a big freakin’ break.

alan said...

Wouldn't it be delicious to introduce the word "cOOnvision" into the political debate at this time ;-)

What would Obama doo with that?

ximeze said...

Have you read Ann Coulter's latest?

One can just about count with the fingers of one hand those, even on the Right, who are actually being honest, without pandering or PC caveats about the whole thing.

Frankly, I'm disgusted.

hoarhey said...

I'll have to give Geraldine Ferraro credit for having more stones than any of the Dem. men or Hillary possess even if her lock box were filled to the brim. Ferraro took Obama to task for having the "audacity" to equate her comment with the comments of his "racist bigot" Pastor.
You go girl!
Why couldn't she be on the Dem. ticket? I might even vote for her.

Anonymous said...

Awesome as these two last posts are, I don't think the coonvision is so clearly focused on Obama. First, he seems centered on telling the truth, or even the Truth, as far as anyone can testify to it. Whether his supporters are crazy or not doesn't really take away from what he himself is saying, and there are some relatively stunning admissions of both the stodgy failure of his own political party and the truth of the other political party that I have never heard in national politics before. When you tie that in with the classically American notions of reformism and democratic ethics, it does sound like the truth to me. And second, I don't think he claims to be post-racial in the sense that race no longer exists, but more in the sense that, I wasn't around in the 60s so that way of defining things isn't relevant to me. Post-60s-racial, which in a lot of ways is that. I dunno, I think you guys are starting to sound on Obama like the left sounded on Reagan back in the day. McCain is a great guy but I think he'll be in the Carter position of the 1980 election, and then 4 years from now Obama will win a landslide with a nicely renewed economy and probably a successful continuation of Iraq. Don't worry though, his veep will probably be a dud and some lefty will repeat the 1992 election in 2016, so you can get your own Clinton then.

hoarhey said...

Must have been some goooood stuff.

shantisha said...

Obama just needs to "get real" and grow his fro' out and stick one of those Black Power fist picks in the back. Him and that big mouth preacher of his.

Mark said...

Could it not also be that, though Obama is biracial, he has repressed his white 'half' for an extremely long time until, structurally, it became wholly alien?

And perhaps. following now, we have the return of the repressed in the remarkable, external form of an [unfortunately?] displeased white public taking him to task.

A rarity, surely, but Obama is a rare sort, as I'm sure he'd agree. ;-)

PS: Capitals! The tendons have improved.

Mark said...

And, for anonymous: If what we are witnessing is a public version of the return of the repressed, Obama's commitment to Truth [as you say] becomes very understandable - its his only choice for remaining at least somewhat sane on our public couch.

But for his Truth: He's still engaging in defense mechanisms. Closer, true, so that that it feels very honest, but any analyst would remain thoroughly unsatisfied to leave it there. So should we be.

River Cocytus said...

RE: Left/Right -> Ego/Intellect

Now I get why the Ladder of Divine Graces has two thought-related steps:

'The freedom from vain thoughts'
'The purging of the intellect'

Basically, its a left -> right re-righting process. If you're to be an icon you've gotten to be drawn awrite...

I've also experienced the idea of my ego being 'free' but my intellect not being. In this state I 'do not what I want' to paraphrase Paul. I want to prevent myself from doing certain things but the means is not at my disposal (from the ego.)


debass said...

"Obama Speech Causes Mass Weeping Epidemic on the Left."

It caused me to weep also, realizing that a large segment of the voting public is too stupid to vote.

walmart shopper said...

At this point the conservative punditry has pretty much picked Obama's sneaky speech apart and laid it bare. I thought Charles Krauthammer did an especially good job in his WaPo piece.

But this here is the coup de grace on the issue, IMO, administered hilariously by IowaHawk.

There's also a great Ramirez cartoon out there that just nails it. I just saw it this morning and it rings like a bell. It's amazing how he can pack so much editorial commentary into a drawing with a few blurbs of dialog.

walmart shopper said...

Here's the Ramirez cartoon (March 24):

Also the Krauthammer piece.

ximeze said...

"It caused me to weep also, realizing that a large segment of the voting public is too stupid to vote."

Yup, debass. Certainly the Founding Fathers were clued in to this, thereby originally restricting ability to vote to those more likely to not be complete dopes. Or so they hoped.

They'd have been horrified by our current system of Professional Politicians, who have no life but to feed at the public trough, and have vested interest in being able to continue do so.

No wonder such losers are attracted to being Politicians - most of them cannot make it, out in the real world.

Gagdad Bob said...

Another classic by Iowahawk: Obama Disavows Statements of Controversial Junkman.

Anonymous said...

So, what's your point on this? You think somebody spending his time running for president hates America, someone who spends his time discussing the philosophy of America and its values really hates American values?

Because I'm pretty sure that the left railed against Reagan for hating American values, and didn't really seem to get them anywhere. Probably because this stock criticism of whatever party is down doesn't really detract from whether you like the guy.

Anonymous said...

Obama is unpredictable, precisely for the reasons you state. The speculation in certain circles (among Friends) centers on Obama's occult militancy. Ostensibly anti-war, he is nevertheless suspected of ghost-writing a tract ("Forward Progress") which advances the idea of a massive and un-apologetic military expansion, beginning in the middle east and expanding from there. Even antarctica and the surface of the moon are discussed as possible U.S holdings

walmart shopper said...

That's good stuff. Fred Sanford, riot starter..

Sanford & Son theme song

Anonymous said...

Sure but isn't his point he is not anti-war, not against all wars, only against the Iraq war because it will be an extended occupation?

ximeze said...

Oh, in the way we've 'occupied' Japan & Germany for his entire life?

'Course, being there kept the ChaiComs & Ruskies in check after WWII. Boots down in the ME will keep those Mullahs in check too.

Anonymous said...

I'm confusing myself here, which is it?

Anonymous said...

What do you mean which is it?

Anonymous said...

You know.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you're right!

julie said...

Via Instapundit, the new Personal Jesus*

(*Warning: contains Depeche Mode music)

Jim said...

BHO only wants two things, the Presidency and YOUR IMMORTAL SOUL.

Bob said...

"his left brain doesn't know what his wright brain is doodooing."

No one but Dr. Bob would come up with that. Fascinating stuff about the left and right brains.

When I and my first wife separated, while she was doodling with another guy, I went to see a psychiatrist who I knew was a close friend of hers. His first question of me was "Tell me about your mother." I left.

Bob said...

You used a word, "callow," to describe Obama. I had not seen that word for a while, so I went here. I got the definition, which was next to a large photo ad of Barack Obama! As they say, LOL.

julie said...

That's priceless, Bob. Good catch!