Saturday, August 30, 2008

On Keeping Body and Soul Together While Treasuring Your Eccentricity

We are now up to commandments six and seven (or seven and eight, depending upon your mythsemantics). Maybe I'll repost the last two commandments on Monday, so I can take a day off. That will also allow me to finish up our Saturday review of the best of August 2006, so we can then move into September '06 next week.


Let the truth of Brahman be taught only to those who are devoted to him, and who are pure in heart. --Mundaka Upanishad

“You shall not commit adultery.” Like the other commandments, this one has an outward, exoteric meaning as well as an inner, esoteric one. After all, adultery is related to adulterate, which means to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance. In this case, we are talking specifically about the intrinsic purity of the soul, and avoiding activities that corrupt it.

This commandment goes directly to the heart of the mysterious bond between body and soul, that which distinguishes us from the beasts. In Meditations on the Tarot, our Unknown Friend writes that “the power of mutual love unites soul and body. Life, which consists of the union of soul and body, is the marriage of soul and body. For this reason the commandment: ‘You shall not commit adultery’ follows from the commandment: ‘You shall not murder.’ For adultery is essentially a form of killing -- of separating soul and body, whose union is the archetype of marriage.”

Jewish tradition regards the bond between Israel and YHVH as a marriage covenant; likewise the covenant between Christ and the church, or the mystical union between the soul and Jesus, or Shiva and Shakti.

Soul and body form a harmonious union, and the separation of the two in any sphere of activity is a kind of murder, since the higher life is not possible without their union. When we talk about the culture of death, we are really talking about the soulless culture, because so much of our culture has become spiritually barren and soulless. As such, it is both inhuman and antihuman.

In adhering to the soul in all we do, we remain “faithful” to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Conversely, if we transfer our loyalty to that which corrupts us, we will soon discover that it clings to us as much as we adhere it it. The death culture begets death. If we are "in" that culture, it is soon in us. Then there's no escape, since the inscape is blocked.

As we have mentioned before, depth is a dimension of soul, so that achieving depth is a pathway toward recognition of the soul’s existence. In the absence of soul, the world has no depth -- everything is of equal importance, or else simply has the importance our feelings, our genes, or our cultural programming attach to it.

This is why the postmodern strategy of deconstruction is not just bad philosophy. Rather it is murder, specifically, soul murder. And this is why, to paraphrase Richard Weaver, all attacks on religion inevitably result in attacks on the mind itself. Deconstruction is “intellectual crack,” as someone once put it. Likewise philosophical Darwinism. It is pure murder of the human being and the obliteration of his cosmic station and environment.

In fact, any kind of radical skepticism represents nothing more than (in words of Schuon) an "esoterism of stupidity": the lower mind’s ability to doubt anything is elevated to the central truth of our existence. It is the worst kind of soul betrayal, because it operates under cover of a counterfeit pursuit of truth, while simultaneously destroying its very possibility.

Perhaps it should be emphasized that this commandment does not imply some sort of dry, austere, or anti-pleasure approach to life. Quite the opposite. In fact, in Jewish tradition, it is said that the first thing God will ask upon your death is why you didn't partake of all the permitted pleasures He so generously bestowed for your enjoyment.

The point is that existence is embodied, but not only embodied. There are two false paths; one is the descending path into hedonism, distraction, and other various soulless activities. But the other false path is the purely ascending one: going up the sacred mountain with the soul, but leaving the body behind.

This is a persistent message of both Judaism and Christianity. Both, in different ways, stress the embodied nature of existence, and the problem of how to sanctify our lives by re-membering the soul in everything we do.

But clearly, if one stands back and looks at the historical situation from the widest possible vantage point, we can see a problem. Because the Judeo-Christian tradition regards the world as real and worthy of our attention, it can lead to an exteriorizing tendency that ends up severing soul and body.

On the other hand, if we look at the philosophies of the east, they have tended to regard the world as illusory, or as maya, unworthy of being taken seriously. Historically they have made the opposite mistake of becoming too interior: “Brahman alone is real.” Thus, Buddhism and Hinduism have a bit of an interiority complex.

I do believe that the evolutionary task of our age is to bring these two extremes back together -- to fully reconcile soul and body and achieve the Life Divine in a monkey body. In truth, it is merely a matter of emphasis, for there is no question that this is at the heart of the uncorrupted Christian message: body and soul in a higher union.

Likewise, although Sri Aurobindo is responsible for correcting Shankara's overemphasis transcending maya, he too was simply going back to the original message of the Upanishads: “To darkness are they doomed who devote themselves only to life in the world, and to a greater darkness they who devote themselves only to meditation,” says the Isha Upanishad. Rather, “Those who combine action and meditation cross the sea of death through action and enter immortality." This again takes place through the sacred union of soul and body, spirit and matter, male and female, mamamaya and papurusha (for those who know their punskrit).

I once had a psychotic patient who took one look at my name -- Godwin -- and blurted out, “Godwin -- is that like a combination of God and Darwin?” I thought about it for a moment and knew that he was right, for while he might have been crazy, he wasn't stupid. Because the whole bloody point of the living Raccoon philosophy is to marry Adam and Evolution in such a way that they live happily ever after, both aspiring to the same nonlocal goal 'til death do us part.


“Thou shalt not steal.” Why not? As always, the left has found a fruit loophole in this commandment by questioning its premise, i.e., the existence of private property. For one way to eliminate theft is to eliminate or at least question the legitimacy of private property -- which naturally ends with one big thief called “the government.” When liberals talk about "tax cuts for the rich," or "windfall profits," what they really mean is that no one has the right to interfere with their monopoly on theft.

Property, according to Richard Pipes, is “the key to the emergence of political and legal institutions that guarantee liberty.” Look at most anyplace in the world where there is an absence of liberty, and you will find weak property rights.

Liberals -- classical liberals, anyway, not the misnamed leftist kind -- have always understood that property is much more than property. Rather, it is the cornerstone of freedom, its very enabler and protector. And underneath property is the use of legitimate violence to protect said property. For if ever there were “sacred violence,” it is the violence that ensures the protection of property, for without property, humans cannot become fully human and thereby know the sacred. To a leftist, nothing can actually be sacred except false idols such as "diversity," or "social justice," or whatever else is convenient to achieve their worldly aims

For one thing, property is simply a free expression of “what people want,” and to a large extent, what you want is who you are, for better or worse. Therefore, property is an extension of the person. I once read a description of this by the outstanding psychoanalyst and writer, Christopher Bollas, who notes that the self can never be perceived directly, only indirectly, largely through its use of objects:

“Perhaps we need a new point of view in clinical psychoanalysis, close to a form of person anthropology. We would pay acute attention to all the objects selected by a patient and note the use made of each object. The literature, films, and music a person selects would be as valued a part of the fieldwork as the dream.” In so doing, we may “track the footsteps of the true self.”

As I have mentioned before, if I go to someone’s home, there are two things I am most curious about: the books and music it contains. And the medicine cabinet. Likewise, I should think that after I am gone, a psychoanalytic fieldworker would be able to construct a fairly accurate representation of me by merely rifling through my library. A name whose person escapes me referred to reading as “the mystery school of individuation.”

Just consider the odd assortment of books in my sidebar [that used to be there, anyway; the present list is slightly more uniform]. I am quite sure that no one else on the planet has a matching list. There may not be another person in history who has read and assimilated those particular books. I am not saying that to boast, only to emphasize the amazingly unique alchemy of choices we all embody when given the opportunity to freely exercise those choices. As Petey once said, “freedom is eccentricity lived,” and he has a point. Remember the Raccoon credo: if you're not eccentric, you're wrong.

At the very least, freedom is individuality lived, and it is very difficult to live out your individuality without a range of choices before you. Paradoxically, you can only become who you are in the context of liberty. Therefore, culture can only become what it is supposed to be in that same context. And this is again why we so strenuously bobject to the illiberal left, which is necessarily antihuman in elevating multiculturalism over the individual.

In a properly functioning human environment, culture will embody the exteriorization of the soul, while the soul will be assisted on its journey by the interiorization of culture. But to interiorize the culture of death is to.... Well, to paraphrase someone, "nature makes no provision for the death of the soul." Never wonder why the left abounds with so many gangrenous souls, since the "spiritual capillaries" that are supposed to nourish the soul have become completely sclerotic and blocked, so their minds become a dead tissue of lies.

I realize it’s politically incorrect to say this, so that's reason enough to say it. But in the course of my work, I have had the opportunity to evaluate many people from second and third world cultures, and what always impresses me about them is their essential sameness. Their life stories are all remarkably similar, almost as if they were the same person.

And in a way they are, for they were not brought up in a cultural (or economic) space in which they could articulate their own unique metaphysical dream. Instead, their life is dreamt by the collective, either vertically by a ruling class or horizontally by their dopey culture (which psychologists are supposed to "respect," on pain of being called a racist, or imperialist, or Republican). What Bollas calls the person’s “destiny drive” -- the spiritual drive to become oneself -- has been almost entirely squelched. They do not live in a space of infinite possibilities, only a sort of invariant and unchanging now, projected backward and forward and giving the illusion of an actual history.

Pipes notes that “while property in some form is possible without liberty, the contrary is inconceivable.” And this is one thing that again frightens us about the illiberal left, for as we have said many times, if you scratch a leftist, he will probably sue you. But underneath the scratch, you will discover a conviction that your property doesn’t really belong to you, but to the collective. It is simply a variation of the bald-faced assertion that “private property is public theft,” itself the absolute inversion of the seventh commandment.

Our most precious property is, of course, our own body-mind. However, it is amazing how late in history this idea emerged. For example, the Islamic beasts we are fighting have no such notion. In their cultures, your body and mind belong to the religious authorities, and only they can dictate what you can and cannot do with them. For example, a woman’s body is not her own. She has no choices (or only a narrow range of choices established by others) of how to express it, how to adorn it, and with whom she may share it. (Memo to trolls -- please don’t even bother. The moral issue behind the abortion debate is not whether a woman has a right to do whatever she pleases with her own body, but whether she has that right over another’s body. That’s the whole point.)

Slavery was still legal in parts of the Arab world as late as the 1960’s, and widespread virtual slavery still exists today. This is the penultimate theft (murder being ultimate), the theft of a human soul. But that is hardly the only sort of soul-theft that goes on in the Islamic world. Again, the idea that children are autonomous beings with their own inherent rights and dignity is a very late historical development that has yet to appear in most human cultures. Rather, children are “owned” by their parents, which is a great barrier to psychohistorical evolution. As a parent, your job is to create a space for your child’s true self to emerge, not to enforce your version of whom your child is and what he should become. It goes without saying that this does not exclude boundaries, discipline, and values, but the point of these is to facilitate true spiritual freedom, not to suppress it.

Most religions conceive of a mythical Golden Age, an edenic past in which there was no private property. Likewise, they may speculate about a hereafter in which there is no need for private property because there is no lack of anything. But in between, in our embodied state, there is a me and therefore a mine, a you and a yours. And just as the development of individualism is facilitated by property, property benefits from the arrangement as well. That is, most people do not take proper care of things that do not belong to them. As they say, no one ever took it upon himself to wash a rental car. Likewise, “primitive people are prone mindlessly to exterminate animals and destroy forests, to the extent that they are physically able, without any thought of the future” (Pipes). There is an obvious reason why the most affluent countries with the strongest property rights also have the best environmental records.

Similarly, only when is master of oneself will one feel compelled to make improvements. Here again, we see the left undermining this fundamental assumption, with disastrous consequences. For the entire basis of leftist victimology is that you are not sovereign over yourself and are not responsible for your destiny. Rather, the doctrine of victimology maintains that your life is really directed by others. If you are a woman, you are controlled by men. If you are black, you are controlled by racist whites. If you are gay, you are controlled by “homophobes.” If you are a Democrat, you are controlled by Karl Rove.

In each case, personal agency is undermined and replaced by a collective that, in the long run, will further erode the liberty it claims to advance. Racial quotas simply displace the ceiling further down the road. For example, a recent study proved that easing the standards for admitting blacks to law school simply results in black lawyers with dead-end careers in which they never make partner. The fundamental difference between a leftist and conservative comes down to collective identity (and therefore victim) politics vs. individual (and therefore agent over one's destiny) politics. So it's humans vs. ants, really.

There are many “social justice” or “liberation theology” Christians who maintain that Jesus was a sort of proto-communist, what with his counsel to give to the poor. But there is an infinite moral distinction between voluntary renunciation of one’s wealth and government seizure and redistribution of one’s wealth. Just as one must first be a man before becoming a gentleman, one must first have sovereignty over one’s property before choosing to give it away. And as a matter of fact, statistics demonstrate that there is an inverse relationship between high taxes and charitable giving. Those states with the lowest taxes give the most, while those with the highest taxes -- ”liberal” places such as Massachusetts -- give the least. There is a reason why America is the most generous nation the world has ever known, both in terms of blood and treasure.

And there is also a reason why, say, China, has no qualms whatsoever about stealing billions of dollars per year in American intellectual property, for they now want the benefits of private property without the sacred duty to protect it. For a Marxist, private property is again public theft, so when they steal American music, DVDs, and computer programs, they’re just doing what comes naturally to them: “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine as well.”

Well, I can see that I’ve run out of time before I could come up with any snappy ending. Let’s just say this: in order to create a properly functioning society and a spiritually balanced person, “thou shalt not steal” (i.e., private property is sacrosanct) must be reconciled with “thou shalt not covet” (property isn't everything). We'll get to that one in a couple days, assuming I can steal the time that I so enviously covet.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Fantasy-Based Community and their Messiah

So much for the Supercilious Bowl. The only way to make Obama's otherwise vapid speech interesting is to perform a Fantasy Analysis on it, a technique invented by psychohistorian Lloyd DeMause to supposedly reveal "hidden emotional messages embedded within seemingly bland and boring speeches and press conferences of leaders." Its purpose is to "capture how it feels to be part of a nation's emotional life" by focusing only upon emotionally charged "fantasy words" that resonate with the unconscious mind. It operates under the assumption that any leader is also a fantasy leader who necessarily answers to the group's unconscious emotions, needs and impulses.

A leader who fails to resonate in this unconscious manner simply will not be perceived as an effective leader, no matter how competent he is. For example, from even before Day One, because of resentment over Al Gore's unsuccessful attempt to exploit the judicial system to overturn the 2000 election, President Bush has been unable to use language in such a way as to bind up the anxiety and hatred of liberals. As has been evident for all to see, their raw hatred has been completely unbound for nigh on eight years. Truly, they're like fatherless children.

In order to perform a fantasy analysis on a text, one records all strong feeling words (including anything related to the family, e.g., mother, father, baby) regardless of context, plus any unusual metaphors or gratuitously repeated words. One also eliminates negatives, because of the symmetrical logic of the unconscious, which converts a negation to an affirmation (for example, the more Obama insists his forbears were from Kansas, the more it emphasizes that he grew up in Indonesia, or the more he complains about people questioning his patriotism, the more it emphasizes the lack thereof).

If you found yourself dozing off during Obama's speech, it's because, as DeMause writes, "most political meetings are usually held not to make decisions but to deepen the social trance, to switch into political alters, and to entrain the group's unconscious emotional strategies for handling the inner emotional problems of its hidden world." Because Democrats are by nature such emotional creatures who project so much undisguised emotion into politics, they are much more transparent in their fantasies (indeed, as is true of any more primitive group).

So without further ado, here's what Obama was transmitting to the Democrat underworld, unconscious-to-unconscious (I've inserted paragraph breaks where there was a lengthy stretch with no new material, or else a sudden change of emphasis):

profound gratitude... great humility... inspiration... love... love... proud... sacrifice... dreams... dreams...

jeopardy... courage... war... turmoil... lost... plummet... beyond your reach... broken... illness... disaster... chokes... drowns before our eyes... enough! enough... bravery... gratitude... respect... broken... strong anxiety... suffering... whiners... whiners... burdens... whiners... tough luck... failure... strength... sick... strength...

protect us from harm... provide every child... safe... help us... not hurt us... cut... cut... security... dependence... dying... sick... sick... sick... ailing... protected... strength... crime... despair... children... war... threats... stubborn... threats... strained... harm’s way... war... fight... conflicts... aggression... threats... genocide... disease... died... abortion... gun plagued... violence... criminals....

love... passions... mother... separated from her infant... child... undercuts... strength... happy talk... firmer... abandonment... scare... people should run... hopes have been dashed again and again... something is stirring... children losing a limb... floodwaters rise... powerful ... strong... envy... anger and discord... fear and frustration... cried... children...

First of all, we should probably ask the question: does fantasy analysis actually work?

I have no idea. It sounds good on paper, but it can obviously be subject to abuse. Plus, in the hands of an unskilled person, I suppose they could prove anything they wish. It's very much analogous to free association, which is the cornerstone of psychoanalysis. In that case, the therapist is "listening with the third ear" to what the patient is saying, in that one part of the mind follows along with the explicit words, while another part must always be attentive to the subliminal message and emotional undercurrents. Very much like being married to a female, actually. No, I didn't say that.

Furthermore, as the patient begins to surrender conscious control over speech, it is assumed that another Subject begins to organize the material, very much in the manner which (as Grotstein calls it) the Ineffable Subject of Being -- the Dreamer -- organizes our dream material. But once you start to appreciate this alter Subject, you begin to realize the extent to which it has been pulling the strings of your life all along. Yes, life is but a dream, dreamt by the vast Subject beneath, behind, and above your little ego-object.

Oh, forget about Obama and the Democrats. Those sleepwalkers are entirely predictable. I could have written the speech myself, and done it in half the time. First, I'd spend maybe ten minutes putting the delegates into a light trance, and then utter the following, in rhythm with their breathing:

children... babies... mommy... security... mmmmmm... love... milk... warmth... happy... mmmmm...

danger! daddy! violence... abortion... abortion... abandonment... separation... independence... be a man, Fredo!... welfare cuts... safety net... social justice... turmoil... walmart... haliburton... katrina... gitmo... torture... torture... scared... what happened to the breast... suffering... victim... victim... victim... whiner... whiners... whining... victim... victimizing... victim... I blame Bush...

mommy!... drowning... help!... powerful... powerful... rescue... safe... government... breast... government... breast... breast... breast... mommy...

Okay, moving on. As we were saying yesterday, you can learn a lot about the sane by studying the insane. I don't know how effective fantasy analysis is with relatively normal people, but it wouldn't be difficult to do on Hitler, since his fantasies were so close to the surface anyway. For example, Mein Kampf is like one long fantasy. Hitler is such a pure case, in that he lived in an explicit fantasy world, and yet, expressed the fantasies so directly (e.g., racial "pollution," the "Jewish bacillus," the "Aryan race," etc.).

Conservative texts are boring (in terms of fantasy analysis) for another reason, which is that they are so rational and straightforward. It's very easy for a conservative to just come out and say what they are for: limited government, low taxes, judges who do not legislate from the bench, school choice, religious freedom, etc.

But for an American liberal, they can never just blurt out what they believe, on pain of never winning an election, or of getting no ratings. Air America is a case in point. Like Hitler, they make no attempt to conceal their liberal agenda, so it is deeply unpopular, except I suppose in crazy places such as San Francisco.

So the liberal -- if he wishes to gain power -- must necessarily revert to either conscious or unconscious distortion and trancemission. It reminds me of what movies were like before the sex could be shown explicitly. Instead, everything had to be suggested and implied. This can be done in an artless manner or in a masterful way that is obviously more powerful than contemporary films, because of the unconscious resonance. Most people will agree that the sexual tension between, say Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, or Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, is much more interesting than that between... I don't know, you name it. Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. {shudder}

Now, the most primitive psychological defense mechanisms are 1) denial 2) projection 3) splitting, and 4) projective identification. All are related, and are actually necessary conditions of each other. For example, what is denied doesn't just disappear, but is split off and projected, usually into other people. Likewise, what is projected is necessarily split off. The group unconscious relies upon all of these mechanisms -- for example, scapegoating is just group projection.

When one engages in projective identification, one is necessarily in denial. (As the wiki article states, projective identification involves projection into another, followed by behaving toward the recipient of the projections in such a manner as to invoke in the other person precisely the thoughts, feelings or behaviors projected.) For example, the primitive Palestinians project all of their sadism into the Israelis, and then, when Israel responds, it "proves" to the Palestinians how sadistic and oppressive the Israelis are. Or, closer to home, the left projects so much hatred and viciousness into President Bush, that most anything he does or says is proof of his hatred and viciousness.

One of the fascinating things about watching the train wreck over at MSNBC is how unhinged and undefended Keith Olbermann is. The more slack he is given and the more power he gains, the less he needs to conceal his evident madness. So it is a sight to behold, very much like the old days of the Jerry Lewis telethon. You just never knew what a drug-addled and disinhibited Jerry might say or do after Hour 23.

So, what have we learned in today's rambling and disinhibited post? I have no idea. Perhaps someone should perform a fantasy analysis on it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Demasking the Messiah on the Road to St. Paul

National Socialism was a religion and Hitler was its Christ. --John Toland

One of Bion's central ideas was that each of us has a part of the mind that is psychotic. Therefore, people who are actually psychotic are not so different from you or I. It's just that they have no sane part. Others seem only to have a sane part. They're the most insane, since they can get more done.

A corollary of this is that you can learn a lot about the sane by studying the psychotic mind. This is because the psychotic person uses all of the same defense mechanisms as the normal person, except that they are grotesquely exaggerated, distorted, and hypertrophied. As a result, these mechanisms become quite vivid and easily discernible, whereas for a normal person they will be more subtle and hidden -- even (or especially) from the person employing them.

Let's take an obvious example, projection. We all project. In fact, we can't help it, as it is one of the necessary (but not sufficient) conditions of our humanness. For the infant, projection is one of the primary means they use to manage their psychic contents. For example, they can use it to "expel" uncomfortable or frightening thoughts and emotions, but at the same time, employ it as a means of "connecting" with mother. The fact of the mater is, in the absence of projection, you would be all alone in this world. It is as necessary to the mind as the immune system is to the body. To extend the analogy, mental illness often comes down to an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system (i.e, psychic defense mechanisms) goes haywire and turns on the host, and either can't recognize real enemies or attacks the wrong entities.

Look at the Democrat convention. A big part of it involves a bunch of losers who don't feel so alone because they are able to share the experience of similar "good" projections into Obama or the Clintons on the one hand, as well as bad projections into President Bush, or Dick Cheney, or Evil Corporations, or Global Warming Hoax Deniers, or God knows what. Nothing unites a people so much as fear around an identical demonology. You know, the same way that conservatives such as you and I are so afraid of homosexuals, negroes, furriners and revinooers.

Who can say what goes on inside the head of someone who idealizes these phonies, knaves, liars and and con artists? The key point is that these processes primarily take place in the head. But when you're in a group of thousands of others sharing the identical projections, it no longer feels as if it's in the head. Rather, it feels real. And the whole point is to make the fantasy seem like reality, which is why people get so glassy-eyed and ecstatic at these events. But enough about the MSNBC hosts. (Although I can't wait to see their heads explode next week, when they have to enter the "hell" of St. Paul.)

The projectors obviously felt that Joe Biden delivered a wonderful speech last night. But if you apply even a rudimentary degree of skepticism -- i.e., if you analyze the speech with the sane part of your mind instead of the psychotic part -- you're left with nothing but a lowly plagiarist and his imaginary world. What do you call someone who steals his delusions from someone else? A coprophagic psychic vampire, I guess.

I think you can apply this same idea to Hitler. That is, it is not as if he were analogous to a psychotic person whose symptoms seem to make no sense. Rather, what if we look at him as Bion would, and consider the possibility that he was engaging in the identical processes as the "sane" politician, only in an exaggerated, distorted and hypertrophied form? Because Hitler used the usual psychic processes so vividly, perhaps they can reveal something about the dynamic between so-called normal groups and their politicians.

The most prominent pre-existing template Hitler relied upon was that of the "messiah" and the "group." Obviously Hitler invented neither of these categories. Looked at in a certain way, the group is a function of the messiah, and vice versa. (I'm using "messiah" as a psychoanalytic term of art, not in a specifically theological sense; it would be even better if I could develop abstract symbols for group and messiah, as in the new testavus for the restavus.)

On the one hand, the messiah is produced out of the collective longing of the group; but on the other hand, the group coalesces and organizes itself around the nonlocal axis of its founding messiah. All cultures -- even wholly secular ones -- will have a messianic figure at their foundation (a culture is always a cult). Look at what the Soviet Union did with Lenin, the Chinese with Mao, or Cuba with Castro. At some point, the human slides off into the messianic, just as reality shades off into fantasy and projection.

For example, in the Islamic world, Mohammed serves the messianic function. Obviously Mohammed is a very different sort of figure than Christ, and was "conjured," so to speak, by a very different mentality (i.e., Jews vs. pagans). But once in place, the messiah exerts an enduring influence on the group. As a result, Muslim values are very different from the Judeo-Christian values that hold our culture together from within.

Look at America. Our messianic figures are the founders, or Abraham Lincoln, or a few others. Our country -- half of it, anyway -- is still unified around those figures. But the other half either distorts those messianic figures (e.g., they were nothing but slaveholders, or self-interested elites), or else creates new messiahs around which to coalesce.

Who are the messiahs of the left? Frankly they are too numerous to mention. Remember what I mentioned about how genuine religions serve as a kind of absolute defense against bad ideologies? For example, yesterday a friend asked if perhaps Ronald Reagan wasn't a savior to conservatives. Yes, to a certain extent. But no conservative would confuse him with the actual Messiah. Rather, one of the things that made Reagan so great was that he humbly conformed himself to our actual messiahs, both religious and political. In fact, you might say that this constitutes the essence of that which the conservative wishes to conserve: the proper messiahs! We want to worship and revere only that which is worthy of it.

By definition, the left is going to be more prone to messianic fantasies (as opposed to messianic realities). Which is highly highly highly ironic, being that the realitybasedcommunity likes to flatter itself about being so realitybased. But one cannot be rooted in reality if one is a materialist who denies the very basis of the Real. And a (or "the," if you prefer) messiah comes down precisely to reveal the nature of the Real, in a way that unaided reason never could. The messiah is a person first, an argument second. Or the argument is a Person. Which is why you can't argue with an Obamaniac, since Obama is the argument. Either you "see" Him or you don't. I don't see him at all. To me, he's just an unsuccessful community agitator.

Coonsider the demonic Deepak, who ardently wishes to purge politics of religion (by which he means Christianity); but at the same time, he is one of the most strident useful idiots trumpeting the arrival of the Obamessiah and the "quantum leap" of "evolutionary consciousness" he represents. This makes sense, for again, Christianity is an absolute defense against the false messianism of an Obama.

It is surely no coincidence that Obama was a member of a deeply false and heretical Christian church for all those years, so he has no psychic defense against his own ridiculous grandiosity. You will have no doubt noticed that the Reverend Wright's sermons are most memorable for their crude demonology, which is entirely consistent with the abiding demonology of the left. As such, it is clear that Obama hasn't left that particular church at all, but is running for its messiah. Biden is also a member of that church, as he mentioned all the familiar demons in his speech last night: torture, Bush, tax cuts for the rich, Bush, global warming, Bush, Gitmo, Bush, Katrina, Bush, fortymillionuninsured, incomeinequality, etc. (Here is the actual recipe.)

And liberals like to say conservatives "play on our fears." Ho! Leftism is nothing but a coalesced group projection around Fear Itself.

This post was supposed to be about Hitler, wasn't it? I should probably stop now and continue tomorrow. Well, just a little more.

It so happens that Hitler was very interested in religion, spirituality, mysticism and the occult. What survives of his library contains many such books. He clearly read them carefully, as they are filled with underlining, exclamation points, and margin notes. In one of them, he underlined the following passages:

Where did Jesus derive the power that has held his followers for all eternity? Through his absolute identification with God.... God and I are One.... His life is mine; mine is his. My work is his work, and his work is my work.

Watch the new messiah become one with his entranced, teary-eyed, and drooling people tonight. But enough about MSNBC.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hitler and Radical Darwinism: As Below, So Above

Genuine religion is a kind of absolute defense against bad ideologies, from the violent aggression of Nazism to the passive aggressiveness of blind Obamism. Conversely, virtually all bad ideologies -- the ones that do real damage -- become pseudo-religions, drawing on religious energy and emotion in the absence of religion.

Genuine religion puts one in touch with first principles that define man qua Man, and allow one to understand the adage, "as above, so below." But false religions such as Darwinism or Leftism always either obscure their first principles or fail to draw them out. As a result, they can't help lying, whether consciously or unconsciously. The dim ones -- which is most of them -- lie unconsciously, whereas the bright ones do so consciously and disingenuously. In fact, that's one of the difficulties in assessing a liberal. For example, Obama or Hillary are so "cosmically ignorant" (as PowerLine put it) about economics, one necessarily wonders: do they actually believe what they say? Or is it just demagoguery to stir up the masses? In short, are they stupid or evil?

The Darwinist cannot or will not see the reality of "as above, so below." Not only does he deny it, but to the extent that Darwinism reveals the truth of man, then the opposite must be true: "as below, so above." In other words, there is absolutely nothing -- not love, not truth, not art, not virtue -- that cannot be reduced to a battle down below for genetic survival. Translated to field of politics, it is reduced to a fight for power. People say it is unfair to blame Darwin for social Darwinism, but... well, Dupree calls bullshit, to put it indelicately. For again, to the extent that Darwinism reveals the truth of man, what on earth prevents us from applying the doctrine to the conduct of our lives?

This is most certainly how Hitler felt about it. Furthermore, he was at least clear-sighted enough to know who the real enemy was: the religious, beginning with the devils who were responsible for the whole thing, the Jews. In order to apply his new anti-religious religion, he had to extirpate the old religion root and branch. Jews were the root. The branches would come later.

Notice how Queeg, the radical Darwinist, has had to go about purging his blog of the religious. The underlying pattern is identical, again, because religion is the inoculation against bad or evil ideologies, so the battle against religion will always be at the front line of Cosmic War I, AKA the Forty Thousand Year War. This is what groups such as the ACLU are all about, regardless of what they say they are about. Again, many of its members are just stupid, like Queeg, while others are disingenuous. But underneath it all, they know that in order to advance their inhuman and anti-human agenda, they must eliminate the one force that would prevent it: religion.

Oddly enough, Hitler was actually more crafty and subtle than the ACLU. One of the things that marginalizes the ACLU in America is that they attack religion so brazenly. In Hitler's case, he knew that he had to progress in stages in order to gradually "Nazify" Christendom. If he had gone after Christianity more directly, more resistance would have arisen. And he didn't go after the Jews on the basis of religion. Rather, he first converted them to a race, again consistent with the principle of "as below, so above." In other words, their "evil" ideology could be reduced to a kind of genetic defect, and thus eliminated from the body of man.

One author has defined fascism as the violent resistance to transcendence. As such, the ACLU, or a person such as Queeg, is not a fascist, since they engage in non-violent resistance to transcendence. And yet, the distinction is not so clear cut, since the ACLU wants to use the law to gain a monopoly on religion (the religion of materialism), and the law is always backed by state violence. For example, school prayer is now against the law, meaning that, at the very least, you will lose your job if you violate the law. So that is certainly a kind of coercion that is backed by potential violence.

But at the same time, it's not so easy to say that fascism represents resistance to transcendence. Rather, it simply inverts it, so that transcendence will be sought from "below," in the emotions, instincts, and senses. What the Nazis sought was a kind of irrational religion, or religion purged of any kind of hierarchical ascent. A large part of this necessarily involved a disabling of the conscience, which is to the individual what real religion is to the collective.

Hitler was well aware, for example, of how the Ten Commandments represented a very real barrier to what might be called "transcendence through descent." He wanted to breed a new "race" of ecstatically violent men who would have no such scruples -- authentic born-again pagans with no "impure" Jewish conscience to get in the way. In this alternate religion, man could be totally fulfilled here on earth by transcending individuality from below. As Van Vrekhem writes, Hitler believed he

"had been sent, and was constantly guided, to change the conscience and morality of man into something like the opposite of Christianity." This would be "a new system of values based on brutality and violence." Hitler actually saw Christ as his precursor, in that he would be the "link," so to speak, between the Volk and their most primitive instincts. It was very much as if he were "word made flesh," except that in this case, the word was the primordial lie from below. Hitler said that,

"Providence has predestined me to be the greatest liberator of humanity.... I liberate man... from the foul and humiliating pangs of a chimera called 'conscience' and 'morality,' and from the demands of a liberty and personal independence of which anyway only a few are capable." To the Christian teaching about the infinite value of the individual soul, "I oppose with icy clarity the liberating teaching of the nothingness and insignificance of the individual and his development within the concrete immortality of the nation." The Fuhrer would release "the mass of the believers from the burden of the free decision."

You see? Like nature herself, Hitler cared for the survival of the species, not the individual. Like a multiculturalist, he believed that eternity was concretely located in the group's essence, not in the fanciful individual soul: "Hitler saw the human individual as nothing more than a cell in a body, an ant in a nest." Hitler wrote that "the life of the individual should not be given such high value. A fly lays a million eggs, they all die. But flies survive." As Van Vrekhem notes, "the perspectives this opens reveal something of the real dimension of the evil to be discovered behind all the destruction and slaughter caused by this German Messiah."

At its very core, Hitler's vision was radically anti-Christian, anti-Enlightenment, anti-modernity, and anti-progress. Rather, his goal was to create a "Spartan totalitarianism, in which people would be smiling, healthy, fanatical, and soulless robots, totally integrated into the common body of the Volk and disdaining individual dignity as a kind of psychological leprosy." This new man would place will above intellect.

Here again this is the precise inversion of the religious man, for whom will is a prolongation of intellect, or "truth in action." But for the Nazi (or the Darwinist, for that matter), there is no truth. Rather, "truth" is just the prolongation of will into the illusory area of the "mind." Truth is a function of power, as any good deconstructionist knows. Thus, Hitler was in complete accord with your average de-Christianized leftist professor, that "the propaganda which produces the desired results is good and all other propaganda is bad."

*A reminder to the stupid: when I refer to "Darwinism," I am always talking about philosophical or metaphysical Darwinism, not the actual science. And before you get all sensitive and defensive, remember that the radical Darwinists such as Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris do not hesitate to call religion evil. I am merely responding in kind, for if one of these metaphysics is true, and you value Truth, then the other must inevitably be evil.

to be continued....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lies and Other Parasites on Truth

So, the point I was attempting to make yesterday wasn't really an aesthetic one but an ontological one. I was trying to use an experience-near example to think about evolution, discontinuity, and higher spaces; or, to be precise, the discontinuous evolution into these higher worlds.

Just like Darwinian evolution, this process cannot be reduced to a single level, flatland cosmology, on pain of rendering the whole cosmic system nonsensical. For example, to place humans and animals on the same level merely obliterates the space where truth can be known, and a truth-bearing animal is infinitely higher than one without this capacity. Looked at this way, the distance between man and animals is as discontinuous as the gap between truth and falsehood, since no animal can know truth. Darwinists may insist that apes gradually shade off into humans, but a lie doesn't gradually shade off into the truth, so the distance between man and apes is likewise infinite.

As a matter of fact, the lie is obviously entirely parasitic upon the truth, whereas truth is independent and autonomous, and is by no means dependent upon the lie. It stands alone and endures, even if not a single human being believes it. But a lie can only exist if someone knows the truth. Therefore, a liar is someone who knows truth but places other things above it.

For example -- and I don't want to get sidetracked, so this will be brief -- if you watched any of the Democrat infomercial last night, you could see how much of it revolved around truths that are known but must be denied. Looked at this way, a lie is just an inverse way of illuminating a truth. It is a kind of "luminous darkness."

The PowerLine boys addressed this subject, noting that Michelle Obama's speech "all but shouted: We are normal! We are like you!" The whole exercise was a result of the urgent need to remake her into someone who wasn't ashamed of her country until a few months ago. That wasn't the Michelle Obama I know, the one who bitterly clings to her dreary leftist ideology and paranoid church.

When someone is shouting at you for no apparent reason that they are patriotic and normal and just like you!, you can probably take it to mean that they are anything but -- that their words are simultaneously concealing and conveying the opposite sentiment.

I'm very accustomed to this sort of thing in conducting psychological evaluations, during which you must always assess a patient's credibility for the quality of information they are providing you. (Yes, you too can earn cash money by developing your very own bullshit detector!) In that case, if the patient starts insisting upon how abnormal they are before their seat is even warm, that's usually a clue that you're dealing with a malingerer. The craziest people often don't even feel their craziness; rather, you feel it for them. In other words, mind parasites, by their very nature, are projected into other people, and you can feel the projection when it's taking place (this is called "projective identification").

Anyway, once you realize that truth is both higher and discontinuous (if you try to understand it from the bottom up), the whole materialistic paradigm -- including Darwinism -- falls apart. Let's even accept at farce value the Darwinist's claim that the human being has evolved toward Truth. If that is true, then we can never embrace the sterile idea that evolution "ain't goin' nowhere."

Rather, if truth exists and humans may know it, then evolution can be nothing less than a gradual unveiling of reality. And this unveiling is synonymous with what is called the spiritual ascent. Evolution = the irreducibly spiritual ascent into higher degrees of reality. In so doing, the nonlocal ladder is anterior to us, even though we must paradoxically build the local rungs as we make the climb.

Darwinists claim that "all is flux" and that is surely a partial truth. But to make such a banal claim is to insist that at least one thing is not subject to change, and that is the truth that "all is flux." And once you realize the full implications of this, then you understand -- well, as Petey expressed it in a koan the other day, you understand that Man is a diaphanous / gem of light suspended on / a fine web of truth.

Now, you may ask yourself: why is Bob bringing this up today? I thought we were talking about Hitler. Then we're suddenly talking about the Beatles. What's going on here? This is not my beautiful post.

Right. Your point is well taken. As I have mentioned, Hitler & His God spends the first 522 pages discussing the Nazi phenomenon from every possible conventional angle, before making a sort of discontinuous leap, at which point it looks to the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo to make sense of it all.

Why are people so fascinated by World War II in general and Hitler in particular? I think part of the reason is that it is a kind of numinous experience to contemplate that level of evil, which "surpasses" (I suppose "subpass" would be a better term) all our faculties.

Remember, "numinous" does not necessarily have positive connotations, for it mainly signifies confrontation with an object that is strange, mysterious, and "other." An encounter with God is always numinous, but so too is a brush with Death. For those of you who have lost a loved one, you are familiar with that experience of being ushered into an eery, numinous space. People are simultaneously attracted to, and repelled by, this space. It is why, for example, we enjoy horror movies. Much of the romantic movement was explicitly infatuated with Death, which I suppose is why so many of those poet-johnnies committed suicide. Will will know.

During the course of 522 pages, Van Vrekhem provides the testimony of any number of historians, who have conceded that, in the end, Hitler and Nazism simply exceed our ability to understand them. On the one hand, history is there to teach us "what happened." And yet, in this case, we can know exactly what happened "on the surface," and yet, don't truly understand it at all. I'm guessing that there are more books on Hitler and World War II than most any other subjects, and yet, what do we really know?

Van Vrekhem begins with the modest proposal that in attempting to wrap out minds around an "effect" of such magnitude, there must be a cause of equal magnitude. Looked at this way, then Hitler can't possibly be explained by such comparatively trivial causes as resentment over the Treaty of Versaille, or economic hardship, or even rabid nationalism. Any number of countries have been humiliated in war, but they don't start putting people in ovens to cope with their bruised feelings.

So we are confronted with a mystery. Yesterday I was attempting to use an experience-near example to talk about another mystery, that being the obvious discontinuity between even the greatest virtuoso and the true genius. Genius clearly transcends mere virtuosity, and can never be reduced to it. Rather, the musical genius partakes of and transmits a kind of palpable mystery, through which we may have the experience of entering a higher world that is shockingly different from the ordinary musical space. As a number of people pointed out, one can say the same of Van Gogh's paintings. If you are open to them, they truly are shocking, even breathtaking. Why is that? How can that be?

In my opinion, it is because Van Gogh introduces us to the real world. His paintings are particularly vivid examples of how great art is not on the same plane as "reality," and surely not a lower dimensional representation of it. Rather, it is a higher dimensional representation, so to speak. Yes, Van Gogh was an artist, but he was also a seer, or perhaps you might say a "visual prophet," just as Beethoven was an "aural prophet," transmitting information about higher spaces with pure sound. Again, how can such a thing be possible? What kind of cosmos is this, anyway?

Back to Hitler. To begin at the end, Van Vrekhem demonstrates how Hitler's ideology was in many cases a mirror image of Sri Aurobindo's evolutionary philosophy. Again, I don't want to get sidetracked, but I don't think it would be particularly difficult for some enterprising theologian to recast Christianity in evolutionary terms. In fact, I am quite sure it's already been done, not just by Teilhard de Chardin, but, for example, by this guy, about whom I know nothing.

I don't intend any scurrilous attacks on Darwinism, but Van Vrekhem quotes one prominent Nazi who said that National Socialism is applied biology. Think about that for a moment. If someone is foolish enough to believe that biology reveals the truth of man, then exactly what prevents him from drawing the ultimate implications from this: that nothing is absolute and everything is permitted?

It doesn't bother me that simpleminded Darwinists such as Queeg exist. What I do mind is that they try to pretend they're something other than what they are, which is intellectual barbarians. Such offenses must come, but we don't need to participate in their absurd self-flattery to the effect that the lower one falls, the higher one is. These liztards all clamor to the bottom, proud to declare the truth of no-truth, the virtue of indecency, and the beauty of ugliness.

Again, the Lie is parasitic on Truth. That's just how it is. As a result, you might very well say, "the greater the Truth, the bigger the Lie." But conversely, you might also say, "the bigger the Lie, the greater the Truth it is attempting to deny and conceal." Feel free to take this as a metaphor, so long as you understand its higher truth: Satan is first and foremost a parasite on Truth, Light and Beauty. Second, little parasites are everywhere. Oh, and you can learn a lot about God from a demon like Hitler.

In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility. --Adolf Hitler

to be continued....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rockin' in the New World

Damn, for some reason I'm sleeping like an hour later, leaving me almost no time to penetrate the overmental pneumatosphere and bring down a nugget of joy. Must be going through a transpersonal growth spurt or something.

I wanted to write about something that may seem like a deviation from the recent series of posts about Hitler, but I promise that it will eventually all come together over me. In fact, it goes to the very heart of the matter, even though you will no doubt wonder how and why.

The other evening while on the exercise bike, I was staring ahead at my beloved CD collection, and the thought occurred to me that there is a kind of infinite gap between the truly great musician, versus those who are occasionally able to produce something great. Unfortunately, I have to limit myself to forms of music with which I am most familiar, but the same thing no doubt applies to classical music. I imagine that there is a kind of discontinuous gap between a Bach or Mozart and the rest of the field.

In other words, if we consider musical excellence, any person with an adequate aesthetic sense can hear that it is on a continuum, with some people better than others. That's weird enough, but weirder still is the fact that there are certain geniuses who are "off the scale." It's not as if they are just "better" versions of the lesser talents.

A I said, let me stick with idioms with which I am familiar. An obvious case in point is the Beatles. Something unavoidably "mystical" happened to them between the time of their failed Decca audition and the time of their first Capitol album just a few months later. The Decca executive who failed to sign the Beatles was later widely ridiculed, but he was correct in his judgment. They weren't even mediocre. There was no spark, no magic, no sense whatsoever of what they were later to become. For those with ears to hear, there is literally an infinite gap between the Decca audition and the transcendent glory of Twist and Shout, recorded just a few months later for their first Capitol album.

The same pattern holds for Ray Charles. In fact, the moment he "invented" soul music is captured in the film Ray, and it is pretty close to the truth. Up to that point, he was a quite mediocre and derivative talent, no different from hundreds of other singers. But with I Got a Woman in 1955, he suddenly found his voice and style, and the rest is history. Once again, the body of work he recorded between 1955 and 1960 is so gloriously transcendent that it defies any simple, reductionistic explanation. It is so much better than anyone else, that there is once again that infinite gap, as well as the discontinuous leap between what he was and what he became.

Same thing with Aretha Franklin. She had been recording with Columbia Records since 1960, but was nothing special. She only "became" Aretha at a particular recording session in 1967, with I Never Loved a Man. Afterwards, for the subsequent eight years or so, she was so good it was frightening. During those years she consistently reached a level of perfection that can again only be called "transcendent." I say this because it is not as if, say, we are dealing with a scale that goes from one to ten, and she kept hitting "ten" with her recordings. Rather, the whole point is that she "broke through" the scale and entered some other kind of aesthetic space. Again, it's hard to describe, but any real music lover will understand what I'm talking about -- when an artist takes you into that higher space, which is luminous, expansive, free, and clear, like a wide open sky. (Sorry for the cliche, but that's how it feels to me; it's also a kind of "electrically charged" space.)

I could go on and on. Although Van Morrison made some competent R&B during his years with Them, no one was prepared for the leap he took with the appearance of Astral Weeks in 1968. Ever since then, he's been consistently operating out of that higher space. He is not just "better" than other artists, but in a different category altogether -- again, if you have ears to hear.

Or Sinatra. Although he produced a lot of nice music in the 1940s, no one could have predicted the depth of artistry he achieved with his string of classic Capitol albums in the 1950s. Again, he is not just "better" than the competition, but in an entirely different category. No amount of practice can get you there, because it seems that an element of "grace" is involved. For just as there is obviously spiritual grace, there is also aesthetic grace. And like the spiritual kind, it "blows where it will." Why Frank Sinatra? Why John Lennon? Why John Coltrane?

Part of the answer -- but only part -- is the level of dedication and the purity of intent. Whatever else you think about Sinatra, he was so artistically driven, that he would never allow anything to compromise his vision. Occasionally circumstances forced him to record some commercial pap to throw out into the market, and you can tell in an instant that he's not into it.

Or consider the Beatles. When they were finally signed by Capitol Records in 1962, George Martin wanted them to record a piece of crap called How Do You Do It, which he thought would be a sure-fire hit to launch the band. But the boys refused, insisting that they could write something better. First of all, this attitude was completely unheard of in pop music, which was "company driven," or "producer driven," not artist driven, especially "teen music." It never even occurred to anyone that what they were doing had anything to do with "art." Rather, they were just throwing out hamburgers for hungry teens.

Now, the Beatles had been toiling away for some five years up to that point. They had no money, no prospects, no real future. And yet, something inside already made them absolutely committed to their artistic vision, even before anyone would have called it art! Nevertheless, they put their foot down and insisted on recording their own music. Of note, their producer, George Martin, hadn't signed them on the basis of what he heard in their audition tape, which was again rather mediocre. Rather, in meeting them personally, he just felt that there was some x-factor, some kind of palpable charisma that he hoped to be able to capture and cultivate. Having read a number of biographies, I think what he experienced in meeting them was "the future." It was more than charisma, but a kind of evolutionary force.

And when I say "evolutionary force," what I mean is this. As I said, there are countless artists who are able to achieve a "nine" or "ten" with a song or two, or even in a whole career. But there are other artists who break through to a different dimension, almost like explorers who discover new lands that other people can later come along and populate. In the case of the Beatles, or Bob Dylan, they opened up an entirely new aesthetic space that had only existed in potential up to that time. It was very much as if there were a "ceiling" that was kept in place by convention, and the Beatles crashed through it. Once they did, many others followed, both for better and worse.

Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking. But you cannot blame the Beatles for what others did -- and continue to do -- with that space, any more than you can blame Jesus for the Inquisition or Marconi for Air America.

Now, what does all of this have to do with Adolf Hitler? First of all, let's look at how the founders of the great religions all discovered and opened up new evolutionary spaces for mankind to explore. Are there any spaces left, or is that it? In other words, are we in a situation analogous to the closing of the American frontier in the late 19th century? Or are there other dimension to be discovered and colonized? Is mankind being held back from fulfilling its potential by custom and convention?

to be continued....

Talent is like the marksman who hits a target others can't reach; genius is like the marksman who hits a target others can't see. --Schopenhauer

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