Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Herman's Hermits and Toots' Drawers (11.11.11)

Letter IX, The Hermit, might just as well be called "The Raccoon." At least if memory serves. It is clearly the arcanum with which UF himself most identifies. He says that a person who is "truly young, i.e., living for an ideal," is instinctively drawn to this figure, similar to the Jungian concept of archetypal projection. In other words, the archetype of the Hermit is "within," but we must first locate it without, in order to assimilate its content into the preconceptual form. Without the experience, the archetype will remain an empty category -- a dead letter addressed from the Self to your self.

The Hermit is "a wise and good father... who has passed through the narrow gate and who walks the hard way -- someone whom one could trust without reserve and whom one could venerate and love without limit." The reason why there are so many false teachers is that we have an intrinsic need for real ones. But since our culture has largely severed itself from its own wisdom tradition, the Deepaks of the world rush in to fill the void. In fact, we can see that Obama is riding the waves of that same archetypal energy field.

Only in a culture that has completely lost its way could this cipher be regarded as intelligent or wise. For an insight into Obama's unconscious swamp, just consider the sinister entity he idealized as his own Hermit -- Reverend Wright! Such an odious choice runs so much deeper than the question of "judgment," for what you love simultaneously reveals who you are and what you shall become. A person who would expose his children to such a spiritually toxic environment is unfit to be a father, much less president. And I mean that quite literally. I cannot imagine assaulting my son's innocence in such a manner.

The Hermit "possesses the gift of letting the light shine in the darkness -- this is his lamp." And here is a critical point: "he has the faculty of separating himself from the collective moods, prejudices and desires of race, nation, class and family -- the faculty of reducing to silence the cacophony of collectivism vociferating around him in order to listen to and understand the hierarchical harmony of the spheres."

This reminds me of the task of the psychoanalyst, which is to listen to the patient with "even hovering attention," in order to hear into the deeper layers of the unconscious. One must "unlisten" to the explicit in order to hear the implicit, or obscure the plot in order to appreciate the theme. It has also been called "listening with the third ear." Bion said that one must suspend memory, desire, and understanding, in order to enter a state of faith, or what Bob symbolizes in the book as (o).

But that is not all, because if it were, we would live in a kind of bloodless idealism which Christianity specifically reconciles with flesh-and-blood reality -- or, materiality, to be precise. In other words, the Hermit unites reality with matter within his own being. Or, you could say that he embodies the ideal, in imitation of the Master himself. As UF writes, the Hermit

"possesses a sense of realism which is so developed that he stands in the domain of reality... on three [feet], i.e., he advances only after having touched the ground through immediate experience and at first-hand contact without intermediaries." This is none other than O-->(n), or the transformation of reality into experience.

So the Hermit is an archetypal reflection of the good father, behind or above whom is the Father in heaven. The Hermit is a word from our nonlocal sponsor, so to speak. But he never confuses himself with the mouth.

As UF says, he also represents the method of obtaining valid spiritual knowledge, in that he is able to synthesize within himself the three great antinomies with which any thinking man is confronted, and which any efficacious philosophy must reconcile. These are the complementary pairs of 1) idealism <---> realism; 2) realism <---> nominalism; and 3) faith <---> empirical science. I remember that when I first read this chapter, I finally appreciated the intellectual and metaphysical brilliance of Christianity, and just what a profound innovation it represented, for it beautifully resolves each of these pairs in a fruitful and dynamic "marriage." I also understood why it is folly to the geeks and a stumbling block to the clueless. You know, the materialists.

Is this going too slowly? Am I losing readers? Let's put it this way: yes to number two. Is it because this is getting too pedantic? Should we bring Bob back, and banish Bob's Unconscious to the.... unconscious?

Consider the first antinomy, idealism <---> realism. Most philosophers come down on one side or the other of this pair. It is their first "preconceptual" thought, upon which their subsequent intellectual edifice is built. But they never justify how and why they come down on one side or the other, nor can they ever justify it, because it is totally arbitrary.

Well, not totally. Rather, it's just based upon temperament, or inclination, like the eternal question of boxers vs. briefs. Surely it is no coincidence that Bob prefers the "third way" of boxer briefs, for in fact, this is what Toots Mondello was referring to when he spoke of the "sacred undergarment." Do you understand?

Put it this way: Plato was a boxer man, Aristotle a brief man. But can we possibly fashion a new garment out of these two, one that is both spiritually comfortable but also offers intellectual support? We shall see.

UF writes that "the idealist (e.g. Hegel) considers everything as so many forms of thought, whilst the realist (e.g. Spencer) affirms that objects of knowledge have an existence which is independent of thought." Where have we heard this before?

Yes. This is what Bob was referring to on Page 26, where he asks, "Where in the world do we begin? Do we have any right to assume that the universe is even intelligible?... Of course we should start our enquiry with the 'facts,' but what exactly is a fact? Which end is up? In other words, do we start with the objects of thought or the subject that apprehends them? And just what is the relationship between apparently 'external' objects and the consciousness that is able to cognize them? Any fact we consider presupposes a subject who has selected that fact out of an infinite sea of possibilities, so any conceivable fact arises simultaneously with a subjective co-creator of that fact."

In the case of realism, "it is the world which bears the word and it is the human intellect which listens." But in the case of idealism, "it is the intellect which bears the word and it is the world which is its reflection" (MOTT).

Who is right? Boxers or briefs?

"Let us not prostrate ourselves either before the world or before the intellect, but let us prostrate ourselves in adoration of the common source of both the world and the intellect -- God: God whose Word is at one and the same time the 'true light that enlightens every man coming into the world' and the creator of the world -- 'all things were made through him, and nothing that was made was made without him" (MOTT).

The source of both world and intellect is the Word, or Logos, "whose objective manifestation is the world of prototypes underlying the phenomenal world, and whose subjective manifestation is the light or prototype of human intelligence." You see, the universe meets in the middle of the monkey, and you're the monkey in the middle.

This formula resolves so many philosophical pickles and prevents so many dangers and falls. For example, our scientistic jester would presumably say that something that has no ultimate reality, the human subject, is able to affirm valid knowledge of reality, which, as soon as you think about it, makes no sense. Therefore, you must not think. But why bother thinking anyway, since the subject isn't really real?

Nor could objects be really real, in the sense that we couldn't really know them. Not really. Rather, we would be trapped in Kant's phenomenal world, with no access to the noumenal. But with the Hermit's approach, both objects and the subject who knows them become really real, since they become real in the Word. In turn, assimilating this reality into the Word is to "redeem the world."

(We'll get to the other two antinomies tomorrow.)


walt said...

"Is this going too slowly?"

At the rate your Unconscious is proceeding (according to my scientific computer model), you will cover the whole book in a month's time. Is a month too much to mull and ponder MOTT?

I've read most of the book, and re-read quite a few chapters, even extracting passages to publish at my site. Now I get your 'take.' The Hermit is the one I'm most familiar with, but I got many new insights from your post -- especially your final point, about redeeming the world.

Are you going too slow? Would the Zippy Version draw better? Or would that be "too fast" for a plodding sort like myself? So many questions!

Look at it this way: what you're writing is a freakin' FEAST compared to what we're offered each day in the MSM!

Ray Ingles said...

For example, our scientistic jester would presumably say that something that has no ultimate reality, the human subject, is able to affirm valid knowledge of reality...

Just because something's not on the same ontological level as matter doesn't mean it 'has no ultimate reality'. A tornado is 'just' a particular way that air is organized, but that doesn't mean it's not real. Try ignoring one sometime.

Petey said...

Yes, I see your point. Like the tornado, Ray's mind is just gas rapidly spinning around itself in a tight spiral. And yet, he will not permit us to ignore him.

julie said...

Too slowly?


Yes, at this snail's pace you're probably going to catch up to me, and here I was thinking I'd finally finish the book a few days before you got to the end with these posts. But you just can't rush UF, or it takes twice or thrice as long to read. But seriously, your pacing is just fine.

As an aside, am I the only one who occasionally pictures Mojo Jojo?

Anyway, Bob, if your unique numbers are down, it's probably because you're not throwing too many rocks toward the usual pigpens. Also (and here's my ultra super scientific multi-polled and double blinded opinion), it seems like people are either paying rapt attention to election news, or they've gorged themselves so much that their brains are fried and anything more challenging than Cute Overload or Go Fug Yourself is just too overwhelming. Being neither of those types of fare, OC's numbers will probably be down until sometime after the legal wrangling over vote counts has been wrapped up and the riots have calmed. So, December? January?

julie said...

Also, while I don't wear them myself, if I did have to make a choice, I'd have to go with boxer-briefs as well. According to the men in my life, they are far more comfy than the sum of their parts. Or something.

River Cocytus said...

As I recall, we are required to ignore tornadoes. Just very carefully.

River Cocytus said...

Yes, Boxer Briefs are where it is at, and I don't mean this just symbolically. Uh, Huzzah?

Ray Ingles said...

Petey - It's funny how only your metaphors count as metaphors, and everyone else must be 'interpreted literally'. Ah, well.

Robin Starfish said...

In the case of realism, "it is the world which bears the word and it is the human intellect which listens." But in the case of idealism, "it is the intellect which bears the word and it is the world which is its reflection."

the tip of a brush
autographs a manuscript
single syllable

Anonymous said...

Avoid. *avoid* tornadoes. Ignore? There's a difference. Who here lives in Kansas?

Petey said...

Do not confuse metaphor with symbol, much less archetype. Scientism is metaphorical to the core, but devoid of symbolism except by way of deprivation, i.e, as a symbol of nothing, or the absurd "possibility of the impossible."

River Cocytus said...

The humor of 'ignoring carefully' is utterly gone, I suppose. Lost of course is the absurdity of contradicting a non-point... where shall I begin?

Perhaps I should just ignore you carefully.

Gerard said...

Boxers or briefs? How about the third way: mantyhose?

Robin Starfish said...

Dust in the wind...
tornado chasers
must suspend uncommon sense
to get the picture

Van said... yeah... check.

Ok, some form of syncoonicity are just too creepy.

Robin Starfish said...

Religulous is only half fireproof.

Anonymous said...

I vote boxer-briefs

christopher said...

Me too

Cousin dupree said...

Me three.

christopher said...

Mental Condition

I seek constantly
For companions, having found
Beyond all questions
That I am no true hermit,
That I am in a bad place
Alone with my mind
Which talks to me so non-stop
I can't get me in.

Kept from my own mind,
Living the foolish results,
I seek light in friends.
But then when friends speak
And it's worse than my voices,
Small understanding,
Then I sit alone
And practice to get my head
To quiet down some.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bob. And, with the MITM (monkey in the middle) viewpoint, certain phenomenon that didn't really "fit in" anywhere become plausible:

i,e, the odious "secret" (think it into existence). Yes, this technique works, because subject and object have a connection. The consistency, rules, and other mechanics of the are currently unknown, but yes, the thing is real.

Gagdad Bob said...

I generally agree, except that it is not the ego that thinks it into existence, plus there is an element of grace that clearly transcends the individual subject.

Gagdad Bob said...

If I recall correctly, Robert Bolton best discusses this spirit-matter connection, either in Gnosis or Self and Spirit.

mushroom said...

Well do I remember when I saw my first package of boxer-briefs. It was as though the light of heaven shone upon it there in the middle of the Wal-Mart aisle. For a brief moment it was just the package and I alone in the cosmos. I felt the burning in my bosom -- we'd had Greek pizza for lunch. And it all came together. It all made sense. The years of struggling with bunched briefs and baggy boxers gone in an illuminating flash of blinding Hanes white. The pizza, Greeks, Sam Walton, it all came together. I suddenly saw as in a vision, Elvis in a Wal-Mart vest saying unto me, "Yeah, buddy. No more inchin' up and no more hangin' out, you know what I mean?"

Free at last! Free at last!

mushroom said...

Sorry about that. I was overcome.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the trip through MOTT myself. Take as long as you like.

Gagdad Bob said...

I've got to stop reading Deepak, even for fun. He is one seriously messed up individual.

River Cocytus said...

Hmm, it would of course render "The Secret" useless. In order to ask something or want something into being one must kill one's desire so that it may be reborn to conform to the desire of the one who has power to do such a thing; that is, in some other terms, one must awaken one's Psychic Being, open one's Nous, etc. Then it will be done, but then also the power that dwells within will not be yours either, nor will your will be 'yours' anymore, belonging now to the Self and not to the self. Thus in order to gain the secret you must lose it. It's not a 'secret' at all, alas.

River Cocytus said...

Take for instance Boxer-briefs. It was only when I had submitted myself to buying another set of boxers that I came to the department store; somewhere in Ohio, no preconceptions, just there to get underwear. And there they were. There were very few of them there, but when I went to Wal-Mart last week? A whole wall of them.


walt said...


Guru Dee lives . . . well, I can only say, "in confused space."

River Cocytus said...

Lewis from 'The Great Divorce' says something to the effect of, "everything that submits to death will be reborn in glory" ... or something like that.

Bulletproof Monk said...

Ah, the Hermit. Yes, I do identify, though I am far from embodying Christ in my own life yet. The Hermit, of course, has a long and glorious tradition in Orthodox Christianity.

Here's two modern one's:

Elder Arsenie (not an anchorite but one of the well-known monastics today, quite entertaining teacher)

Hermits of our times (a hermit is interviewed from minute 3)

NoMo said...

I'm not sure what, but something just got pushed off Gagdad's Top-Ten Greatest OC Hits list. Just exceptional!

julie said...

Robin, I'm sorely tempted to do what that guy does for a living. I love how he says, "the tornado stopped!" then he gets out of the car and runs toward it to get pictures. He has a website, of course.

Dupree, knowing that I can now partake in the boxer-brief joy will, I'm sure, make my life complete. Or at least DH's...

julie said...

re the Deepak's latest,

"God hasn't personally voted in an American election, but he keeps voting by proxy. In an ideal world that would never happen. Supernatural beings aren't citizens."

*Pause to pick jaw off knees*

He really is insane. And kind of a whiner.

"-- Younger evangelicals have shifted away from hard-line social values, turning toward real-life issues like global warming."

Well, the APA would probably approve, so I guess there's not much chance of having him committed.

Anonymous said...

Anyone go without underwear altogether? Walk around the house nude? Like the feel of air circulating below the waist? There is the "third way" of choice.

I agree with River's assessment of "the secret." To use it properly, you must be serving the Master and not your ego.

Sadly though, even your ego can score using the "secret" technique, although without much accuracy or reliability.

Mental focus and concentration! She who possesses and wields them well, can make things happen. The scattered, the lazy, and the constitutionally unable cannot.

NoMo said...

Julie - Actually, the femme version are called "brief boxers".

Vive le difference!

julie said...

Thanks for the correction, Nomo. It's an apt description, judging by the photos ;)

NoMo said...

Obama...Flesh-made words, primetime.

Be prepared for a mass hypnotic trance tonight. Some people may not be the same tomorrow. Watch for the pods...

Joan of Argghh! said...

Wow, Bob's unconscious is in an affable mood!

Somehow weaving boxer and briefs into a Fruit of the Spiritual Loom is not something a conscious person could do. Thank God.

And I mean that.


ximeze said...

Let me get this right...

The One is delaying the start of the Ballgame tonight for an Obamercial?

Soooo, people tuning in to watch the game will be forced to watch Him instead?

Bad idea. What an ass

I get's a feeling this could backfire bigtime. I know if I we tuning in to watch a World Cup playoff game & some fullofHimself wimp bumped the start of the game to talk about Himself, I'd be really, really PISSED!

Where doe He get off I'd be thinking.


In other good news: the Koskids are freaking out about McC/P numbers creeping steadily upwards, with The One's holding steady/dipping.

Will tonight's Obastunt finish Him off?

cousin dupree said...

He's the designated bullshitter.

cousin dupree said...

You can't start a ballgame without the national anathema.

ge said...

Gents-- Hemingway had it: NO loincloth [jock itch from warmth of b-b's in my case]. It's fun and the ladies notice

ximeze said...

I believe Cuz would get into fundoshi

Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh good grief, I just sent a newbie over here today!! LOL!!

Ximeze... thank you. That video is just ... an interesting study in cultural differences.

julie said...

Ximeze, I think that one requires a special rule: a man may only wear those if his butt looks as smooth as that guy's.

julie said...

Which probably rules out Hasselhoff.

River Cocytus said...

Things seem to be attaining a Fever Pitch right now. Is it me or is this the case? Like some crazy stuff is going to go down. I feel something in my bones.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Like some crazy stuff is going to go down.

Well, as long as it ain't someone's pants. This whole B or B discussion is strictly esoteric.


River Cocytus said...

And not in the Bones that the anonymous is thinking of.

On the bright side, the pseudo-gurus of the world reveal that his 'psecret' delivers what it claims. Of course, side effects may invary. You know, pneumanecrosis, psychoparisitosis, noetic petrification, etc.

ximeze said...

Perhaps it's this you're feeling?

austracoon said...

"he has the faculty of separating himself from the collective moods, prejudices and desires of race, nation, class and family..."

Num 6:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:

Num 6:8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.

phil g said...

Bob's unconscious,
If anything you might be going too fast. It took me all last year to get through MOTT and your sailing through it. I really appreciate this series as it is helping me understand what my eyes were reading and my poor brain trying to comprehend last year. This is extremely helpful...thank you.

phil g said...

boxer briefs for me

phil g said...

I feel it too. If Obama wins, there's going to be a very aggressive reaction from his target ethno/leftist base; if he loses, there will be an even more aggressive reaction from this base. So either way, hunker down 'cause this could get ugly for awhile.

Ray Ingles said...

Robin - But it's twice Expelled. Documentaries have a tougher time than stories.

Niggardly Phil said...

I just wanted to say thank you for the Hasselhoff picture. As I looked at it, I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if a million voices suddenly cried out at once, and then were silenced.

Robin Starfish said...

Ray, brilliant justification. If anything, Religulous is a comedy, in which case it should kill at the box office.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Brilliant! LOL!

Thanks for not providing a link.

Religulous was outdone by Fireproof at the box office 3 to 1!

N. Phil-
LOL! The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.

Great post, Bob!