Saturday, April 19, 2008

The God in Man in God

You often hear vaguely spiritual but essentially anti-religious people say that they kinda sorta believe in God, but not in some bearded old man sitting on a throne in the sky. Therefore, the non-conformist (or coonformist) in me makes me wonder if that isn't probably the best way to think of God, short of apophatic mystical approaches in which the only thing you can know about God is that you cannot know him; or whatever you say must be immediately unsaid in order to not mislead.

While that is "absolutely" true, we nevertheless possess a relative existence, and it seems that God has revealed certain fruitful ways to think about him so that he may be grasped by the mind on this side of manifestation: king, lawgiver, father, judge, comforter, etc.

Postmodern man hates more than anything to be duped or taken as a naif, which becomes the source of his self-enclosed and self-satisfied cynicism; it is just metaphysical naivete the long way around, like a Bill Maher. Better to believe in nothing than to risk looking silly in the eyes of other sophisticated yahoos.

As such, as Schuon points out, these sophisticates "merely replace one sentimentality with another when laying claim to 'objectivity'"; in fact, their so-called objectivity is "merely a soft and pretentious sentimentality, which is far more illusory than a transparent 'subjectivity.'" The fundamentalist atheists come to mind, e.g., Dawkins, Harris & Hitchens, all lost in a sentimental and childlike "objectivity."

This is a caricature of true objectivity, which, as every Raccoon knows, is a union of complements: it "does not set up an opposition between cold and heat but transcends them both: like emptiness it stands opposed to a false plenitude, whether hot or cold, or like silence to a heavy and blind affirmation" (Schuon). The Raccoon knows the secret that God is equally a bearded man in the sky, and no such thing. He knows this because he himself has a physical form which he transcends.

Christianity is obviously not the only religion that has promulgated the idea that God has assumed human form, e.g., the "avatar principle" in Hinduism. The main point is this idea that the Absolute may take embodied form in the relative, uniquely so in man, who is the "image and likeness" of the Absolute.

Being that we are the image and likeness, we should expect to see traces of this in both our objective (i.e., bodily) and subjective (i.e., mental) states. Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that other animals shouldn't share traces of this absoluteness, only in lesser forms, as they are "descended" from man, rather then vice versa.

In other words, in relative, horizontal, and Darwinian terms, we may be "descended" from animals (or ascended, really), but in absolute and vertical terms the reverse is true. An ape is a partial manifestation of man; man is not a "perfect ape," although Keith Olbermann comes close.

As Schuon writes, there are certain lower forms of life, such as cockroaches or snakes, that repel us because they are "like living conscious matter," whereas "the law of matter is precisely unconsciousness." Conversely, monkeys or olbermen are noteworthy for the opposite reason, that "they are like men who have been deprived of the central consciousness that characterizes mankind." They are not "conscious matter," but "consciousness decentralized, dissipated." At the same time, there are other animals that are obvious symbols of transcendence and beauty, the butterfly being my favorite example. In their case, we see the higher prefigured in the lower.

Now, being that God is both transcendent and immanent, every manifested thing is actually "God in disguise." This is not to be confused with pantheism; for example, even a rock is God, but that does not mean that God is a rock. The latter would represent the pantheistic confusion. Everything points in two directions, toward its own form and to something beyond, or to something that "radiates" through it. We see this most vividly in virgin nature, which engenders a kind of spontaneous worship. The radical environmentalist converts this supernaturally naturalistic awe into a pseudo-religion, conflating an effect with its transcendent cause. Yes, the earth is sacred. But how did it get that way?

In subsequent posts we will be discussing the beauty of the human form, through which transcendence radiates with particular metaphysical clarity, since a human being is nothing other than a "lens" where the vertical "collides" with the horizontal in the most intense way. There was probably a time when it was actually easier for human beings to think of this in the objective sense, whereas now it is probably easier for us to think of it in subjective terms.

To cite one obvious example of man's subjective deiformity, our minds are both "infinite" and "absolute," just like the creator. There is no end to the human mind's inexhaustible creativity; but at the same, we are uniquely capable of knowing absolute truth, even if you are just a secular scientist who believes in the absolute truth of certain mathematical equations.

Again, being that our minds share this deiformity, it would be surprising if not impossible to not see traces of this in our physical form, bearing in mind that we are "descended" from the perfect archetype, the Cosmic man, or Adam Kadmon. For example, when we see Michelangelo's Pieta or David, are we not seeing man's formal perfection liberated from marble? Perhaps my standards are low, but I can see perfection in a three-minute pop song.

When we discuss man's deiform nature, we are talking on the one hand about his capacity to know the absolute, on the other his physical beauty, which itself is a kind of embodied truth. Schuon points out that aesthetics is nothing other than "the science of forms," or formal beauty.

But just as beauty is the splendor of the true, truth itself will conform to standards of beauty. This is why a sense of form, rhythm, and proportion all "play an important part of intellective speculation," and can be important criteria of truth. A mathematician never expects to find an ugly equation ordering the cosmos. That we expect to see ugly art come out of our elite universities tells us all we need to know about them. This art, which produces a de-divinized and therefore dehumanized picture of man, can only be produced by an infrahuman being, exiled and alienated from both God and man.

To put it another way, God cannot be a bearded old lesbian performance artist sitting in the faculty lounge (whether female or male).

This also explains the truth and beauty of scripture, for just as some things are too ugly to be true, others are too beautiful not to be.

Here's nice little three-minute pop confection by Brian Wilson, although you really need to hear it on the Big Hi-Fi to get the full effect of the musical production values:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Father Knows Breast, or The Story of Adam & Evolution

Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art. The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body. --A Yale Woman

Luckily, there are always enough women who respect themselves as women to serve as models for those who do not.... Clearly, a society's attitudes toward women and toward maternity will deeply influence its psychological health and all its other institutional attitudes. --Weston LaBarre, The Human Animal

Let's discuss one of my favorite subjects, the ambiguity surrounding the form and function of a woman's body. Being that you can't be with me here in the liberatoreum, I must attempt to convey my views with mere words, instead of performing a little interpretive dance involving cow entrails and a bucket of blood. As you know, that would eliminate any ambiguity.

The first thought that occurs to me is that leftism is neither scientific nor religious, so that it naturally results in ambiguity -- which is just a fancy word for confusion -- about the form and function of the human body, indeed, about the very purpose of human existence. It is how and why one is reduced to being a "performance artist" to begin with. Suffice it to say, there are no conservative performance artists. For there is no confusion at all on the scientific level, nor is there confusion on the religious; the tricky part is harmonizing these two, which is the very purpose of the latter, esoterically understood, i.e., the conjunctio oppositorum of male and female.

Let's start with some psychoanalytic observations that are sure to bring some very surprised and disappointed google searchers to this site. As I discussed in the Coonifesto, the human being is intrinsically trimorphic, consisting of the three-in-one entity of father-mother-baby. Let's forget for the moment the question of whether these represent archetypal religious categories, and speak purely in terms of evolutionary psychology. The fact is, none of these three -- father, mother, baby -- could have evolved in the absence of the other two. As LaBarre put it, the "functional togetherness of individuals is the essence of human nature; it is openly visible in the very physiques of women, children, and men."

For example, the helpless baby -- whose neoteny and neurological plasticity are the very gateway to humanness -- is only made possible by the full attention of the mother, who is in turn only made possible by the protection of the father. In this regard, both the baby and the father have diverse "claims" on the mother's body. From a psychoanalytic standpoint, you could say that the breast belongs to the baby, while the vagina belongs to the father.

LaBarre explains: "No wild animal has a permanent breast. The female in Homo sapiens possesses such a specialization alone of all the mammals -- with the exception of the domesticated milch animals which are man's own creation long after the fact of his humanity. This anatomical feature in humans, however, is more than a mere 'domesticated' trait and certainly more than a merely cosmetic creation of sexual selection. It is, rather, one of the causes of human domestication itself, in a complex chain of mutually related factors." But the baby is again key, as the greater closeness and intimacy of the mother-infant bond has later profound effects on our desire and ability to bond with the opposite sex and recreate that kind of physical-emotional intimacy.

Let's pause here for a moment, and think about all the weird google searches that are going to end up here. But in a logoistic cosmos, the world is made of language, and the human body is no exception. And what is the message of the human body (restricting ourselves for the moment to science)? It is that the body is not made for oneself, but for the other. I can't remember the psychoanalytic theorist who discusses this, nor does it really matter, but it is a kind of narcissism to presume that one's genitals belong to oneself, so to speak. Rather, penis "belongs" to vagina, and vice versa. The one is obviously unthinkable in the absence of the other; each is a signifier that doesn't refer to itself, but to its complementary opposite, on which it has a "lawful" claim.

I believe that this is the "spirit" of the truth which the Biblical injunction condemning onanism (and homosexuality, for that matter) is really about, for it violates God's belief that it is not good for man to be alone (or with a narcissistic image of himself). As LaBarre explains, one of the "wrong messages" one may internalize from a dysfunctional childhood is that "there is no love to be had in another's body, and his only pleasure resources are in his own body and his own mind; he is not taught by love of the Other, the not-self that lies outside his own organic skin." Thus, the real injunction is against a self-sufficiency that forecloses the space where love and knowledge (not to mention religion) occur. The same thing would apply to alcoholism, or food addiction, or any other activity that encloses us in vice instead of versa.

LaBarre writes that "the permanent human breast and heightened sexuality evidence a persistent and organically rooted inter-individual interest in other persons." In other words, our intrinsic intersubjectivity -- which is what marks us as human -- rests upon a foundation of interobjectivity, of bodily need for the complementary other. In this regard, the importance of father cannot be overemphasized, and more generally, the trimorphic situation that made the emergence of the human being possible. For humanness could never have developed in a diadic, much less monadic, situation. Obviously this is a fruitful area for theological speculation as well, but we will defer that discussion for now.

What LaBarre means is that the female was able to specialize in motherhood only by "luring" the male with year round sexual availability (i.e., the loss of estrus). So you could say that the human female was the "domesticate" of the male; or, you could say that the human female was clever enough to trick the human male into imagining that she was his domesticate. Or, you could say that the helpless baby was cleverest of all, ensuring his own survival by coaxing intersubjectivity and monogamy out of proto-human apes.

But the story obviously didn't end there. As LaBarre explains, once the trimorphic situation was in place, human beings were subjectively "plugged in" to one another in an entirely novel way that allowed us to transcend Darwinian evolution in an upward spiral. "The real evolutionary unit now is not man's mere body; it is 'all - mankind's - brains - together - with - all - the - extrabodily - materials - that - come - under - the - manipulation - of - their - hands."

Here I should point out that the emergence of the human hand was obviously another necessary condition for the emergence of humanness, as its infinite uses emancipated man into the world of abstraction (for example, many evolutionary psychologists believe that human language first began as sign language, which would explain why the language center is in the left brain, as it controls the right hand).

LaBarre notes that "It is a tragedy of our male-centered culture that women do not fully enough know how important they are as women." In this regard, we can see how the sort of contemporary feminism embraced by an Aliza Shvarts is simply a pathological image of the "patriarchy" it presumes to overturn. In reality, it does not advance the cause of women, but undermines the very possibility being one, Shvarts herself being a fine example. She represents a cutting edge that cuts downward:

"... [W]e reward those that discover, as Shvarts has, new and ever more deeply depraved, depths. And don't think this little episode of glorifying multiple spontaneous abortions is the end. I often think 'Surely, we've reached the bottom.' And just as often I am reminded, as I am by the depraved Ms. Shvarts, that there really is no bottom.... I'm predicting, and I won't be wrong, that her 'show' will be attended by throngs and a major gallery in New York will sign her. Few of the people involved will have children. Childless and soulless are the hallmarks of that tribe. Such is the nature of the parasites we've allowed to infest us" (Vanderleun, emphasis mine).

In attacking the very foundation of society, radical feminism drags down men and babies with it, and then wonders why everything is so "ambiguous." Once you determine that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, you are only one step away from the human jungle from which we emerged. Babies don't need mothers, boys don't need to be husbands or fathers, and -- pardon my Greek -- penises might just as well refer to anuses as vaginas.

I had wanted to get into the religious angle of all this, but that will have to await the next post.

The human female is in every significant respect exuberantly more mammalian than any other mammal. Among mammalian infants, the human infant is as extravagantly infantile as they come. And among male animals, the human male is too without a doubt the best mammal in the business. In these [evolutionary] circumstances, with father come home to stay, it is clearly the inescapable predicament of Homo sapiens to become human. --Weston LaBarre

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Only Humanity Was Harmed in the Making of This Exhibit

I'm not even fully awake yet, and I'm trying to absorb the horror of the following story linked to Drudge. My first thought was that this is a parody, but then, that's always my first thought about the left. But some things just aren't funny. There's nothing funny about the Holocaust, or child abuse, or animal cruelty.

For Senior, Abortion a Medium for Art, Political Discourse:

"Art major Aliza Shvarts '08 wants to make a statement."

Okay, let's stop right there. Why not just make the statement with words? Art should be reserved for disclosing transcendent realities that are beyond the reach of words. For example, great poetry and prose have the mysterious capacity to say what words cannot say, which is why they require skill and vision. To put it another way, if you are merely trying to encode some profane ideology in a work of art, it isn't art, but a tedious form of pedantry and didacticism. It's not art but pornography, the latter being any activity that drains reality of its transcendent dimension.

On to her senior art project, which consists of

"a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself as often as possible while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages.... The project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery.... Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts' self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

"Schvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathrooom tub, she said."

It would never occur to the psychologist in me to call this "art." Rather, I would take this as prima facie evidence of a severe mental disorder -- perhaps a borderline personality with psychopathic and psychotic features -- psychopathic because of the evident lack of a rudimentary conscience, psychotic because of the primitive rage directed at the content of her own womb (which is a symbol of her hostile and dismembered psyche). While a conscience remains, it is "torn into bits," so to speak, so that it becomes a meaningless cluster of persecutory demons no longer bearing any relationship to a human moral code. In a way, it becomes a subhuman moral code, with no true center or consistency -- just a kind of sadistic lashing out. It is punishment with no crime. Thus, the infinitely innocent fetus is the ideal repository for an infinite rage.

To put it another way, if the dismembered and projected "bits" of her conscience were ever to again cohere into a recognizably human form, she would likely experience a suicidal depression. As would any decent person upon realizing the unforgivable nature of their transgression. A regrettable abortion is one thing. But this is a different category altogether, a "snuff abortion film." The conversion of shame to narcissistic exhibitionism only makes it more bizarre.

Classical liberalism is founded on a sober recognition of man's dark side. It is not cynical, but realistic. This dark side cannot be eliminated, but it can be sublimated, for example, through the magic of the free market.

But the left denies this dark side, while at the same time covertly elevating it to a kind of God. This is where the atavism and primitivity of the left comes in. When defending some work of creative psychopathy, e.g., "gangster rap," how many times have you heard the responsible party say words to the effect that, "I just want to show how things really are." Again, if this is the case, words will suffice. The purpose of art cannot be to remind us that sewage smells, much less that it actually smells good -- i.e., that it is not shit masquerading as art, but vice versa.

Anyway, on to the "purpose" of Shvarts' project:

"The goal in creating the art exhibition, Shvarts said, was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body."

Hmmm. Schuon once made a comment to the effect that most modern art that is called "surreal" -- ie., "above" reality -- is actually sub-real, or beneath it. Here is a fine example. In this instance, there was no need to go to the trouble of intentionally making oneself pregnant, knowing full well ahead of time that one was going to repeatedly destroy the lives created. Rather, one could just wonder out loud, "what if I do this?" If you are anything close to a normal woman -- well, if you are normal, the question would never occur to you. But if it did, the self-evident answer -- whether from nature or God -- would preclude the possibility of actually carrying out the "project." For what is there to say in this "conversation" besides "what is wrong with me?"

Yes, a spiritually normal person regards the left with horror. But one of the central projects of the left over the past half century has been -- in the words of one of the last liberal Democrats, Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- to "define deviancy down," so that the perverse, the amoral, the subhuman, all become normative.

Likewise, the central political project of the left has been to use government to create more human dysfunction and dependence, thus creating and encouraging a greater need for government to "rescue" people from their dysfunction and cater to their dependence. It will be very difficult -- if not impossible -- to arrest this civilizational decline. After all, Ms. Shvarts did not come up with her soul pathology unassisted. Rather, her attitudes were nurtured in one of our most esteemed temples of "higher" learning. Fifty years ago she might have been committed. Today she will be granted a Ph.D.

The clueless Shvarts says that she hopes her project "inspires some sort of discourse.... Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it's not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone.'"

"Inspire some discourse." This is the all-purpose excuse for any subhuman activity that hides behind the word "art." Why not, say, murder some homeless, mentally ill people, in order to inspire discourse on the relationship between mental illness and the lack of a fixed address?

In a chilling statement straight out of the nazi playbook, Shvarts says "she was not concerned about any medical effects the forced miscarriages may have had on her body. The abortifacient drugs she took were legal and herbal, she said, and she did not feel the need to consult a doctor about her repeated miscarriages." Undoubtedly nazi doctors washed their hands and took other sanitary precautions when performing their medical experiments on Jewish children.

Another student says that he is "intrigued by the creativity and beauty" of the project. I wonder if this same person is intrigued by the beauty of President Bush's project to bring democracy to the Muslim world?

Hey, it's not as if Shvarts has no values. Rather, "I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity.... I think that I'm creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be."

As I have written many times, the horror of the left emanates from a combination of ruthless morality cynically detached from any traditional channel. Thus, ideology trumps common decency every time, and thereby becomes deadly.

But at least no animals were harmed in the making of this exhibit. Only humans. And human decency.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ontological Correctness and the Cosmic Descent of the Left

I need to catch up on my work, so I'm reposting one from a couple of years ago, randomly plucked from the Knowa's Arkive (below the asterisks). However, as most of you know by now, the Arkive never works "randomly." Rather, if you approach it with a question or conundrum with a sincere desire for the answer, and then run your blind mouse down the cheesy Arkive and click where you will, there is a good chance that the answer will be given to you by Petey. Even more mysteriously, sometimes Petey will not reveal the answer, even though he obviously could if he wanted to.

So this morning I was thinking about the difference between authoritarian political correctness and the proper authority it mimics and mocks. For there are some thoughts and some speech that no decent person should tolerate or condone -- mainly speech that undermines the very possibility of truth or decency or beauty or liberty or thought itself. Ironically, most of what you learn in a liberal education will be this kind of pathological speech, only hiding behind lofty principles that it can never justify. At the same time, it attacks any attack on it as not only unjustified, but fundamentally illegitimate, through the preemptive strike of "political correctness." This pathological mechanism is such a permanent fixture of leftist thought, that you cannot even imagine the left without it. It is truly their sword and shield, with which they force thought down their crimped and narrow byways and interstellar low ways.

And remember, when I use the word "left," I never mean it in its narrow political sense (any more than I conflate conservative liberalism and "Republicanism"). Rather, leftist politics is the declension of a much vaster cosmic principle known to man from the moment of his psychogenesis. It is spoken of not just in Judeo-Christian revelation, but virtually all the revelations given to man. It is truly part of the religio perennis. Here, let's see if I can find some examples from the Big Book of Spiritual Wisdom, the Ascended Fellow Pages.

1,100 pages. Where to begin. Oh, and by the way -- bear in mind that no secular leftist could believe that any of the perennial wisdom in this book is justifiable on the basis of its self-evident truth, as discerned through intellection. For if you believe in revelation and intellection, you could never in good conscience be a member of the left, for reasons too obvious to delineate here.

Here's a good one by Thomas Traherne (p. 67). It reminds me of what a Harvard education must be like:

"The first light that shined in my Infancy in its primitive and innocent clarity was totally eclipsed.... If you ask me how it was eclipsed? Truly by the customs and manners of men, which like contrary winds blew it out: by an innumerable company of other objects, rude, vulgar, and worthless things, that like so many loads of earth and dung did overwhelm and bury it: by the impetuous torrent of wrong desires in all others whom I saw or knew that carried me away and alienated me from it: by a whole sea of other matters and concealments that covered and drowned it.... by the evil influence of a bad education that did not foster and cherish it.... I was little and reverenced their authority; I was weak and easily guided by their example: ambitious also, and desirous to approve myself unto them. And finding no one syllable in any man's mouth of those things, by degrees they vanished, my thoughts were blotted out; and at last all the celestial, great, and stable treasures to which I was born, as wholly forgotten, as if they had never been."

As I said, there are just too many examples. Shakespeare:

Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

Or Chuang-tse: "While keeping my physical frame I lost sight of my real self. Gazing at muddy water, I lost sight of the clear abyss."

The Meister: "And even as the virtuous man will now and then deprive his outward self of all the powers of the soul while embarking on a high adventure, so bestial man will rob his inner self of all its soul-powers to expend them on his outer man."

Marsilio Ficino: "Lowest and unhappiest must be judged those who have closed their eyes to the rays of the highest good shining everywhere so that they cannot see in that very light, outside of which nothing good is seen... "

Speaking of the intelligibility of the Real vs. the contradictions and absurdities of the ponderable or abstract: "Mysteries of the kingdom of God are less inexpressible than the mysteries of the kingdom of man" (Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin).

Anyway, there are hundreds of different example I could have cited. I think I'll stop now.


Because I Said So.

Do parents still say that? I used to hear that line a lot when I was a kid. It's what my father would generally say when the chasm between his ability to articulate and my ability to comprehend was too great.

I'll probably be better able to explain the nature of the Real to Future Leader. Still, I can already tell that I'm going to sometimes have to bring out the rhetorical hammer, not for my sake, but for his. Although slowly waking to our dream, he's still joyfully fused with paradise, without so much as a fig leaf to cover his naked narcissism -- but I can already clearly see what's up ahead: the willfully disobedient proto-Adam.

We often hear the cliché that truth emerges through the clash of opinions in the "marketplace of ideas." This is the ideal of democracy, of unregulated free speech, of political factions. To a certain intrinsically limited extent this approach is obviously valid, but no amount of argument can establish truths that are evident to the Self, and to treat these in the same way as lower truths is self-defeating, to say the least. It is soulicide.

There is lower truth and higher Truth, discovered truth and revealed Truth, inductive truth and antecedent Truth. In each case, the former is the type of truth that may be fought out and given contours in the marketplace of ideas, while the latter is only apprehended in another way. In that case, slugging it out the way you would a spending bill, a scientific debate, or a legal case would only muddy the water and debase and distance ourselves from the Truth we are seeking.

The sort of Truth generally discussed on this blog does not emerge through contra-versy, that is, "flowing against." Rather, it is only achieved through con-versing, or "flowing with." That is, it is a work of fusion and synthesis that could only be achieved by dwelling in a multitude of disparate and outwardly contradictory particulars and allowing their higher truth to emerge at their own rhythm and pace. This truth cannot be imposed from on high. Nevertheless, once it is revealed, it reveals itself to be from "on high." It is a higher truth that flows from the cosmic "center," not on the same plane as the lower truths it synthesizes.

When I talk about this truth, there is a knee-jerk instinct among trolls to treat it as any other truth available on a lower plane. This reflects the postmodern spirit of "everyone's entitled to their own opinion." Yes, that's true, as far as it goes.

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I might have said to my doctor, "Well, that's your opinion. You're entitled to it, but I have my own ideas." I might have then tried to bait him into debating me. "What, just because you have some fancy letters after your name, you think you're better than me? What do you mean by 'disease?' Are you saying that people without diabetes are better than people with it? Why do you hate diabetics? Are diabetics evil? Is that what you think?"

The Gospels are full of instances illuminating this fundamental problem. Most famously, when Jesus is dragged before the religious and civil authorities -- the bearers of official truth -- he responds to the charges against him with silence. He doesn't even try to explain to Pilate. Why bother? "It is as you say. Whatever." In John, he elaborates a bit more: "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight," that is to say, argue with the moonbats.

Jesus' kingdom and Jesus' Truth are not on the same plane as any truth Pilate is capable of hearing, much less understanding: "For this cause I was born and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice."

Pilate famously responds, "What is truth?," ironically emphasizing the point that those who are not themselves of the truth cannot hear or see, and therefore bear, the truth.

There is a counterfeit version of this process known as polemicism. Polemicists come in both their religious and secular varieties. They too proclaim that "I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth." How to tell the difference?

The energy that animates the polemicist is from the serpent. It is always pure horizontality masquerading as verticality. It is full of antagonism, of the pitched battle of controversy rather than the fusion of conversation. Furthermore, being that it is of the serpent, it engages in a two-front battle, against both horizontal and vertical enemies (for horizontal truth must ultimately be derived from the vertical, or it is severed from any rational claim to truth).

The Antichrist is a skillful polemicist. Take, for example, Adolf Hitler. Was he not surrounded by horizontal enemies, but at the same time, waging war on the vertical by trying to replace it with a completely naturalistic substitute? The false prophet is a human beast, equal emphasis on both terms: human + beast. For humanness reduced to its horizontal dimension is mere bestiality. It is actually lower than the noble beasts of nature.

At the same time, if you study the matter closely, I believe you will see that the Antichrist, in whatever form it appears, is intemperate and intoxicated, or angry, excited, manic, and apparently stoned. This is the impression formed if one delves into the world of dailykos or huffingtonpost. Please, try it for yourself. Do you not smell the intoxication? How can you argue with a righteously indignant person stoned out of his mind with intoxicating lies?

Among other things, the fall of man is a hypnotic fall into intoxication and conflict in a confusing zone of illusion, of maya. For the tree of good and evil is the tree of opposites, of mere knowledge, of the clashing of wills, of the strong over the weak. Leftists are always speaking power to Truth when they aren't speaking lies to the powerless to keep them that way.

The Tree of Life is the tree of synthesis, of wisdom, of higher unity, of deeper principles, of the coincidence of opposites. The tree of good and evil is a tree of perpetual doubt and sterility, while the Tree of Life is a tree of calm and quiet certainty that bears sound and nourishing fruit.

I'd stay away from the former tree. Why? Because I said so.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

If Wishes Were Horse's Asses, Liberals Would Elect Them

All I want is a good time. The rest is propaganda. --Arthur, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Our soul may never have rest in things that are beneath itself. --Julian of Norwich. So there.

The psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott once wrote an article on the psychodynamics of shoplifting, expressing the idea that it wasn't so much motivated by want or greed, but by hope. That is, in the instant the shoplifter is engaged in his theft, he is temporarily buoyed by the hope that the painful emptiness at the core of his being will be filled. But it never is, so he must repeat the process in a compulsive manner.

More generally, as Boethius wrote, if the mere satisfaction of desire were the cause of happiness, "there is no reason why beasts should not be thought blessed, whose whole intention is bent to supply their corporal wants." By extrapolation, a life of pursuing false hope converts man to an animal.

In any compulsion, there is an existential component of hope; but this is not real hope. Rather, it is merely a defense against hopelessness. Nothing is more deflating than an illusory desire satisfied, because its satisfaction co-arises with hopelessness. In fact, we could say that any compulsion -- and few people are completely free of them -- is simply hopelessness deferred.

Most senior Raccoons will be aware of this dynamic in their own lives, as gaining insight into its absurcularity is one of the keys that frees us from "the world" (the abstract world, not the Real world). As Schuon wrote, "To be 'horizontal' is to love only terrestrial life, to the detriment of the ascending and celestial path; to be 'exteriorized,' is to love only outer things, to the detriment of moral and spiritual values."

So the whole bloody point of Raccoon life is to realize the transcendent in the immanent and the immanent in the transcendent. This hardly excludes desire, but elevates and sanctifies it. Raccoons are bon vivants, bearing in mind the true nature of le bon.

Hey, we know that we live in exile in this vale of shadows and tears, and that to try to pretend otherwise is the most fundamental form of illusion. But the spiritually centered Raccoon is able to hold to a steady course and maintain himself "at the center; he never loses sight of the symbol, the spiritual gift of things, the sign of God, a gratitude that is both ascending and radiating." This he accomplishes "in the midst of inevitable distractions and complex occupations" (Schuon).

We are not embittered but grateful, for gratitude is the best revenge -- in fact, it is a preemptive strike -- against the wily one: "Gratitude is a virtue that allows us, not only to be content with little things -- this is holy childhood -- but also to appreciate or respect little things or big things because they come from God, beginning with the beauty and the gifts of nature; one must be sensitive to the innocence and mystery of the divine works" (Schuon).

As we have discussed on many occasion, the philosophy of leftism rests upon an ontology which inverts the order of the cosmos, elevating existence over and above essence. In so doing, it essentially sanctifies the perversion of man as such, as it instantiates at its very foundation false hope. That is, we all know ahead of time that the fanciful schemes and discredited economic ideas of the left can never "deliver the goods" -- neither the material nor certainly spiritual goods.

Obama tells us that the people are bitter. Of course, when he says this, he is projecting his own existential bitterness and resentment -- and the bitterness and resentment at the heart of every leftist -- into the rest of us. And why are they bitter? Because the government is not paying attention to them.

Oh, if only! As Christopher Chantrill writes today at American Thinker, "When liberals are ready to abolish the income tax then we will know that they are getting serious about privacy." After all, 99% of our real, lived freedom is economic freedom, the multitude of little day-to-day decisions we make about our lives. Being that the federal government demands that we tell them everything about our economic activity, this verges on the totalitarian. Why aren't more people alarmed by this? I suppose they are, but like me, they're just resigned to it. You know, properly hopeless.

In distinguishing between "hope" and "wish," Montague Brown writes of the former that it "involves the conviction that, despite appearances to the contrary, truth and goodness will prevail. To hope is to commit ourselves to the betterment of ourselves and the world.... My hope looks to the future, but it is rooted in reality as it is."

In contrast, wishing involves the fantasy that "despite appearances to the contrary, our desire will be satisfied. To wish is to invoke fortune to bring us what we want, even when what we want is not good.... My wish has no particular bond with reality as it is, but feeds on fantasy.... Wishing is easy and makes no demands on us either to choose truth over fantasy or to choose good over evil."

Oddly, the illiberal leftist locates his wishful hopes and dreams precisely where the conservative liberal locates his hopelessness, in the state. That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?

As Lee Harris writes of the Islamists, they are not motivated by "reality." After all, no matter how bad things get, they will never succeed in imposing on the world a caliphate worse than death. Rather, they are immersed in a fantasy ideology, the whole point of which is to infuse the person who embraces it with a kind of monstrously transcendent false hope.

So, in the long run, how is this any different from the petty shoplifters of the left? Both result in the loss of truth, virtue and beauty, and the liberty to pursue them, i.e., in happiness.

A vagabond mind running hither and thither among the varying and false delights of the world is tired out, not satisfied, by its vain exertion.... So if you would attain to the fulfillment of that which, once grasped, leaves no more to be desired -- what is the necessity of putting the rest to the test? You run along bypaths and you will die long before you attain the object of your desires along this circuitous route. --St. Bernard.

Monday, April 14, 2008

We Shall Overcome Liberal Racism

The latest flap about Obama's bigotry is not telling us anything we don't already know about the left, which is that their elites hold the people they supposedly represent in total contempt. They don't believe you are responsible enough to handle your God-given liberty, or that you know how best to spend your money, or that you are decent enough to refrain from racism or sexism. So they are here save all you losers from yourselves. But they can't put it that way, because if they do, you would be repelled by their condescension. So they must always dissemble and wear a mask. But don't worry. It's for your own good.

The odd thing about liberals is that if they were to come out and just say how they really feel -- like, say, a dailykos diarist -- they could never get elected. So liberalism either breeds a kind of duplicitous soul pathology, or else it pre-selects individuals who are already divided against themselves and have no problem leading double lives, so long as they can gain political power. To put it another way, the great problem for Republicans is hypocrisy, that is, publicly embracing principles they are not prepared to defend. The great problem for Democrats is the opposite (hypercrisy?), covertly defending principles they are not prepared to publicly embrace, like surrender, appeasement, high taxes, a large and intrusive federal government, etc.

Often the debate between left and right is between what we actually believe and what they pretend to believe. Again, it has to be that way, because if the leftist takes off his mask and shows how he really feels, he will be too frightening or repulsive to the electorate. For example, Al Gore would now be unelectable, because in the past five years he has removed the mask and shown himself to be a delusional environmental fanatic. Likewise, a Jimmy Carter is an unapologetic anti-Semite and terror-enabler. If you want to know what liberals really think beneath the mask, you generally have to listen to the words of a congressman from a safe district, or to the left-wing media/blogosphere, or to academia.

Most mainstream Democrats are not even aware of this. The average American is just not as politically engaged as most people think. It's not so much that they are easily manipulated. It's just that they go about their lives, and only hear of the big political rumors and fracases in a distorted way, as they bubble up and filter through the MSM.

As George Will once commented, this indifference is actually a positive thing, as it demonstrates just how irrelevant politics is to the average American, which is as it should be. The American government was not intended to be an intrusive entity that constantly drew attention to itself and interfered with our lives, but more of a background phenomenon, a necessary evil. Or, to put it another way, if the majority of Americans ever embrace the leftist myth of political salvation, it is the end of America. That might very well happen, but that's human nature for you. Most humans prefer security over liberty.

Speaking of how liberals actually think, I came across a repulsive (but typical) book that will show you just how deep the disease runs -- and in particular, how the fascist left has not just infiltrated, but dominates, my own debased field of psychology. The book is called Overcoming Our Racism, by a prominent academic psychologist, and I'm guessing that it is used as a textbook in many graduate and undergraduate psychology programs. If you think Obama is a condescending bigot, just listen to how this book starts out:

"Overcoming Our Racism will not be an easy book to read or digest. It is written mainly for White folks, but people of color also may find it helpful." So right away you see that the title is misleading, for it is not about overcoming "our" racism, but your racism, you filthy white folker:

"I know how difficult it must be to entertain the notion that you harbor racist beliefs and need to overcome them.... [But] I implore you to not allow those feelings to interfere with your ultimate aim of overcoming personal racism. In reality, you see, racism is an ugly cancer in the heart of most White Americans. It threatens to tear us apart as a nation, unless you and your fellow White citizens face the issue with honesty and integrity."

But despite his disgusting caricature of White folk, Dr. Sue is not a racist. After all, he's Chinese-American, and as any Tibetan or Taiwanese can tell you, Chinese folk can't be racist or ethnocentric. And as any Chinese or Filipino person can testify, a Japanese person could never be racist either. No, the diverse world of People of Color is a sort of multicultural paradise. If it weren't for White folks, people of color wouldn't be slaughtering each other in Africa, and Muslims wouldn't be butchering and blowing up Jews and other sons of apes and pigs.

So, why are you so defensive? Don't you see that your denial just proves Dr. Sue's point about your racism? Yes, you're a vile racist, but Dr. Sue needs your help. He's extending his hand across the racial divide, meeting you halfway: "People of color need your help. Overcoming racism in our society cannot occur without the help of many well-intentioned White folks, such as you."

Now, this is an interestingly Orwellian way of putting it, since you are not permitted to transcend race. No. If you do that, you are a racist. Rather, you must first identify yourself as White folk. That's who and what you are. It's your essence. You are primarily a member of a group called White folks, so get that through your thick skull.

Note the fascist/totalitarian/authoritarian language: "You must begin to challenge your own racial reality." "You must begin to understand yourself as a racial/cultural being." "You must take action to combat your own personal racism." "You must... be guided by the principles of social justice."

In short, you must be reeducated into being a neo-Marxist automaton. It's for the good of your own soul, if you had one. But we all know that you just cling to that fanciful idea because of your economic bitterness.

As I have mentioned before -- and it is such a truism that I hesitate to bring it up again -- leftism is a religion, except that it is an upside down one that inverts the cosmic order and immamentizes the transcendent. In Dr. Sue's case, he even talks about "enlightenment" and "liberation."

However, it is not the elementary enlightenment of realizing the unity of man, but a multicultural and materialistic perversion of this attitude. As a White person, "Your journey to enlightenment is different than that of persons of color. It is likely to be filled with unpleasant insights about yourself as a racial being and the realization that you share responsibility for the pain and suffering caused to others." Nevertheless, "I hope the promise of liberation will motivate you to read this book."

You are White. Therefore you are unenlightened, unliberated, and bad.

You are also very stupid, since you are eager to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to have your children indoctrinated with this racist crap at elite universities:

"[R]acism in the United States must be viewed as a White problem because it is White Euro-Americans who are primarily responsible for the oppression of people of color, and consequently responsible for making changes." "In the United States, it is White-Europeans like you who own the history from which your racial identity is based." "To be White means to be socialized into a world of White supremacy,... to be oblivious to your own biases and prejudices,... to be an oppressor with the power to force your will on persons of color." "To live your day-to-day lives unfettered by guilt, you must deny, diminish, or avoid the full realization that you are responsible for the pain and suffering you have caused racial minorities." The important question "is not whether you engage in or benefit from racial oppression. The more important question is, Once you become aware of your role in the racial oppression of others, what do you do about it?"

So don't wonder where Obama picked up his casual bigotry. He attended that bastion of White privilege, Harvard.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It is Not Good that Man Should Have No Problems

Bob's taking the day off. This is a Sunday morning free-association brought to you by Bob's Unconscious.

Is Life itself soluble? Science obviously solves innumerable little problems, but can it solve the big problem of Life itself?

First of all, life is definitely a problem. While it is surely a "gift," it is a gift that comes with a problem -- somewhat like a child. By its very nature, you can't just enjoy the fun parts and forget about the challenges and difficulties. The main problem of life is how to keep from dying while trying to figure out why it's even worth the bother. Or, it's like trying valiantly to win a complex game at the very same time you are trying to figure out the rules.

Marvelous gift, useless gift, for what purpose were you given us? --Alexander Pushkin

Or, as Bob asked in the book, "Why this living, struggling little sub-universe consisting of mindless circles of lateral mutation? So much variety and yet so little meaningful novelty, the 'mere sport of nature' in a 'vain, unnecessary world,' with all the pointless pageantry and nonexistent morality of a Mike Tyson fight." Bob continues (emphasis mine):

"Before life, there were no problems in the universe -- nothing could go wrong because nothing had to go right. But life's reckless emancipation from matter brought forth a nagging tension, an unresolvable conflict, an inherent incompleteness in the cosmos. In a sense, life was a dis-ease of matter in a literal sense, just as mind is a dis-ease of biology, an alien condition with no backward looking cure (short of death or unconsciousness) that can return it to a state of ease or wholeness. The only way out of this fatal predicament seemed to be forward and inward, in a never-ending balancing act between helpless dependence upon, and open defiance of, matter. Life groped blindly on because that was the only alternative."

Science helps us to go on living. For example, I am very well aware of the fact that Bob is living on borrowed or perhaps stolen time, in that he would have been dead three years ago in the absence of medical developments that have made it so easy for him to control his diabetes. A hundred years ago, someone in our position would have just wasted away in a few months, unable to metabolize sugar. Since adult-onset type 1 diabetes is a completely genetic condition, I'm assuming that this is exactly what happened to many of our distant relatives, if they were lucky enough to live into their 40s. For example, life expectation was only 35 in revolutionary America, and around 47 in 1900. So if we were alive back then, most of us would be dead anyway.

As I said, science is helpless to provide any guidance here. Not only that, but it sows confusion by suggesting that you are wasting your time if you turn to religion to address the problems of Life and Mind. But let's have a look anyway, and see what we can find. At least before Future Leader wakes up, which could be any minute.

According to Genesis, there was a time when life was not problematic. Well, not exactly. The text implies that there was a problem in Eden, and that was man's "aloneness." We shouldn't necessarily jump to the conclusion that the problem was "loneliness," or even that man had the capacity to be aware of his aloneness. Rather, it seems to have been a problem recognized by God, who said that "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." (Note that this is the first thing in creation that is said to be "not good"; this is a critical point.)

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but this is where the real problems begin, for as Pastor Elvis sang, Well a hard headed woman / A soft hearted man / Been the cause of trouble / Ever since the world began. In the next verse, Elvis explains the nature of the problem:

Now Adam told Eve,
Listen here to me,
Don't you let me catch you
Messin' round that apple tree

So now man has a problem. But, appreciating the irony of the situation, Elvis concludes his homily on Genesis by acknowledging that

I got a woman,
A head like a rock.
If she ever went away
I'd cry around the clock.

So we see how life is ultimately a problem we wish to have. After all, only a tiny minority of us choose suicide or celibacy. The game must be worth the candle, whatever that means.

Anyway, since Man was created in the image and likeness of God, and God immediately recognizes that it is "not good" that Man should be alone, this seems to imply that God knows that it was not good for God himself to have been alone, or allOne. Could it be that the polarity between man and woman somehow repeats the polarity of God and man?

Now, first of all, don't necessarily begin with man and woman; rather, let's think about this in more cosmic terms, by using the universal categories of male and female; or active and passive; or yin and yang; or prakriti and purusha; or shiva and shakti. Or, as it is written in the mostserious Book of Petey,

One in agni & ecstasy has given birth to Two: spirit-matter, earth-sky, knower-known, sun-moon, cats & chicks, Chaos Control, Lennon-McCartney, God & Darwin, Adam & Evolution. A little metaphysical diddling between a cabbala opposites, and Mamamaya! baby makes Trinity, so all the world's an allusion.

While I'm thinking of it, let's turn to a passage in Heller's Creative Tension. He points out that recent developments in deterministic chaos theory have demonstrated that "there are strong reasons to believe that a certain amount of randomness is indispensable for the emergence and evolution of organized structures.... Randomness is no longer perceived as a competitor of God, but rather as a powerful tool in God's strategy of creating the world." He quotes the physicist Paul Davies, who wrote that,

"God is responsible for ordering the world, not through direct action, but by providing various potentialities which the physical universe is then free to actualize. In this way, God does not compromise the essential openness and indeterminism of the universe, but is nevertheless in a position to encourage a trend toward good. Traces of this subtle and indirect influence may be discerned in the progressive nature of biological evolution, for example, and the tendency for the universe to self-organize into a richer variety of ever more complex forms."

In a similar vein, he quotes A. R. Peacocke: "On this view God acts to create the world through what we call 'chance' operating within the created order, each stage of which constitutes the launching pad for the next."

So the bottom line is that if your life were totally planned, it couldn't be. In other words, the more you attempt to tamp down randomness and chance, the more you are likely to create disorder. To put it another way, there is a higher principle at work, which uses randomness and chaos to break up evolutionary impasses and "lure" the system toward its own destiny, so to speak. We must surrender to this destiny, as each of us, to paraphrase Sri Aurobindo, is a "unique problem of God."

Or you could say that "the answer is the disease that kills curiosity," or that twoness resolves the problem of oneness through the discovery and synthesis of eternal threeness, in which Love abides.

Perfect timing. My beautiful problem just woke up. I just hope this post didn't solve anything for you. At least on purpose.

Now, if you haven't got an answer, you'd never have a question
And if you never had a question, then you'd never have a problem
But if you never had a problem, well everyone would be happy
But if everyone was happy, there'd never be a love song
. --Harry Nilsson, Joy

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