Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Fractured Fairy Tales of the Left

Just as the craziest people are those who don't realize they are, the most myth-bound people are those who imagine they're not living one. Scratch the surface of a typical leftist or secular fundamentalist, and you will find that their first principles take the form of an unexamined mythological narrative that is not so much childlike as childish.

Unlike genuine myth, these are not subject to growth, in part because these types of individuals are alienated from the mythic imagination to begin with (except in its romantic or diabolic forms). Therefore, their narrative remains "frozen," as it were, which is why they do not learn, and keep applying the same mistaken "solutions" over and over. The deep structure of their titanic narrative doesn't change, only the dreck chairs of policy.

Consider the Judeo-Christian myth, the arc of historical salvation of which our culture is an expression. This myth is so extraordinarily fruitful, that it has been nurturing souls and subject to commentary and elaboration for thousands of years; and yet, we're still no closer to exhausting it.

But what of the meager myth of Marxism, of the proletariat overturning the order of the world and remaking man? That myth was already decadent the moment it dropped into the world and filled Marx's adult diaper. And yet, new versions of it continue to haunt mankind, since this delusional myth has nothing to offer except seduction, hypnosis, and a warped and displaced hope. Truly, it is Christianity inverted.

Kirk writes that liberalism finds "its popular support in myth, but in myth distorted." What is this myth? And what are its elements? They can be difficult to recognize, for the liberal is forever lying about them. Because of the basic split in their psyche, they are literally incapable of intellectual honesty, which is why it is so frustrating trying to have a trans-rational conversation with them. You know the drill. And the teeth it goes into.

In this regard, it is no different than trying to have a rational conversation with a patient about their particular neurosis, or fixation, or trauma. As soon as you approach it, it is as if the alarms go off, and your plane is barraged by a hail of flack from the antiaircraft defenses. Either that, or the ground goes wobbly beneath you, and you enter a parallel universe of symmetrical logic, in which the person can slip like Houdini out of affirmations they made just a moment ago.

I wish had time to provide a more explicit clinical example of this process, for it's actually rather fascinating. Allan Schore discusses this in his books, and provides verbatim transcripts of what happens when the clinician approaches the "disorganizing core" of the personality. What makes things more challenging is that the person unconsciously attempts to entrain your brain into the jagged rhythm of their own, so that you begin to experience confusion and fragmentation as well.

It is very much the opposite of what occurs during "synchronous" moments of bonding and attachment between mother and infant:

"In terms of self-organization theory, the mutual entrainment of their right brains during moments of affect synchrony triggers and amplifies energy flow, which allows for a coherence of organization that sustains more complex states within both the infant's and mother's right brains. In fact, evidence indicates that the organization of the mother's brain is also being influenced by these relational transactions," to such an extent that there is actually "increased dendritic growth in the mother's brain" (Schore). So that pressure you feel in your head when you read these post is not just the shakti acting up, but a result of the neurons looking for elbow room in your cramped skull.

Now just imagine this synchronous and eunomic brain-to-brain transaction, and invert it. You will have noticed that the trolls always imagine I'm "arguing," when I'm only communicating -- or resonating -- in this direct brain-to-brain (or soul to soul) manner. But the things I communicate, instead of being synchronous with their own deep structure, provoke something that agitates and disturbs them. Let's call it, oh, I don't know, "truth."

Because of the vertical disconnect between the mythic imagination and transcendent sphere of permanent truth, the liberal is capable of creativity, but the creativity will be analogous to the bacteria that overflows from a petrie dish but goes nowhere.

You might say that it is Darwinism without evolution -- which is precisely what metaphysical Darwinism is, i.e., mere horizontal change with no telos, no purpose, no meaning. The Darwinian world is like the vast wasteland of television, in which there is a kind of protean variety that is simultaneously infinite and yet empty and meaningless, for it is merely the variety of bacterial and viral adaptations. There are so many ways to adapt to a world without light or air!

One of the core elements of the liberal myth is that humans are endowed with "rights." However, since they reject the transcendent realm that grounds and sanctions these rights, they ultimately -- and quickly -- reduce to raw power. A genuine right -- say, the right to free speech -- does not impinge upon anyone else's right. Furthermore, there is no right in the absence of a corresponding duty or obligation. But a liberal "right" is always another citizen's obligation.

I would like to ask the liberal: you say you have a "right" to free healthcare. Who or what conferred this right? And what are its corresponding duties?

But you soon realize that when the liberal says "right" he means "entitlement," and entitlements do not come with responsibilities. For example, my son is entitled to our love, guidance, and protection, but he doesn't owe us for it. His only duty is to be a child. It's truly a free launch, the only one you get in your life.

Unless you fall for the myth of liberalism. And even then, it's not really free. It just goes on the tab of the collective parent. The sad -- and truly unjust -- thing is that most of the debtors are just children now, but they'll spend the rest of their lives paying for the entitlements of the present dysfunctional adult babies of the left. This is the ultimate inversion: babies caring for the parents.

Real myths are free (and freeing). But the false ones are always paid for with someone else's blood and treasure. A reality denied comes to rule those who deny it. But do they have to take the rest of us with them?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Messianic Mystique and Mythic Mistakes

If mankind is unavoidably rooted in mythos, what is the myth of liberalism? For if we can decode their mythology, then perhaps we can understand the deep structure that binds them to their strange gods (re-ligio meaning literally to "bind").

I suppose I wouldn't so much mind their strange gods if it didn't cost me so much in the form of tribute every April 15. Also, it's not fair, since while we are not permitted (and rightfully so) to establish a state religion, they are permitted to establish a religion of the almighty state.

At least a religious person is aware of the fact that he has "faith." But another annoying characteristic of the left is that they also have a faith, except that it is detached from right reason and moral imagination, so that it is ultimately and literally grounded in "nothing."

Let's begin with the dictionary definition of myth, which is "a traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of a worldview of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon." It is a parable or allegory, meaning that it must be interpreted, not taken at face value.

In this regard, myth is to exegesis as empirical reality is to the scientific method. Both science and religion begin with a certain type of "material," but do not end there.

Again, as I mentioned the other day, science begins with the empirical world -- rocks, animals, planets, whatever -- but searches for deeper principles to unify the seemingly disconnected events that present themselves to our senses. For example, it requires a huge leap of imagination to realize that the falling apple shares an underlying principle with the circling planet, which we call gravity.

Religion also begins with empirical (or experience-close) reality, e.g., existence (both in its subjective and objective modes), scripture, beauty, virtue, the sacred, etc. Consider Eckhart, whom we've been discussing. He begins with scripture in its literal sense, just as the scientist begins with matter in its empirical sense. But as McGinn explains, "the literal sense of the biblical text is only the starting point for grasping the inner meaning of what God wants to convey to humans."

In this regard, I think you can see a rather transparent parallel between religious and scientistic fundamentalists who cannot see beneath the matter because of a misguided fidelity to biblical literalism, i.e., to the surface only. Materialists take the most stupid possible approach to scripture, and then call it "stupid."

But in reality, just as the material world has layer upon layer of deeper meaning, so too does scripture. Again, "For Eckhart, the profundity of the Bible, indeed, of every text in the Bible, means that it contains an inexhaustible fecundity of truths." But you cannot expect the uninitiated to be capable of articulating the inner richness of this truth, any more than you can expect him to understand quantum mechanics.

For Eckhart, the Bible reveals a densely interconnected spiritual world beneath its superficial diversity of source, mode, and style. But always, he focuses on the distinction between inner and outer, in that, in the final analysis, everything in the Bible is about the soul.

As such, more than the surface understanding, "it is the presence of the Word made flesh here and now that is his concern." Indeed, to engage in this activity is to mirror the Creator in the highest sense, in that "the very act of preaching, as creation of the word to be heard by others so that they too may find the source from whence the word is formed," is a reflection "of the God-world relation."

Now, back to the impoverished mythology of liberalism and scientism, which are deeply related and arise from the same meta-cosmic blunders (and which then become the foundation for an intrinsically disordered world, since it can no longer be a terrestrial reflection of the celestial archetype, i.e., the "shining city on a hill"; and disordered souls cannot be expected to be capable of a properly functioning political order -- I mean, if you can't even master your own domain, please don't presume to master mine).

First of all, we need to distinguish between the real mythos and the counterfeit variety, which we'll call mythical, since it connotes fantasy in the purely imaginary sense, e.g., the myth of JFK's "Camelot," or of Obama's "hope and change," or that FDR saved us from the Great Depression instead of making it worse. These are not true myths, since genuine myths are not manmade. While they come "through" man, they do not, and could not, originate in him.

As Russell Kirk explains, "Real myths are the product of the moral experience of a people, groping toward divine love and wisdom -- implanted in a people's consciousness, before the dawn of history, by a power and a means we have never been able to describe in terms of mundane knowledge."

For example, to appreciate the depth of Genesis is to understand that no primitive tribe of wandering barbarians could have possibly come up with a body of timelessly true divine wisdom that utterly transcends their own (quite limited) experiences. After all, the Jewish tribes that were vouchsafed this spiritual treasure were not more advanced than the civilizations around them, but less advanced. They only became more advanced through fidelity to the Covenant.

In contrast, the "false myth," or mythical, results only from "the fancies of individuals," whether of a Paul Krugman or an L. Ron Hubbard. Nevertheless, irrespective of its spiritual poverty, "no great ethical or political movement comes to master the minds of men without some sanction of myth." And "the ephemeral character of the liberal movement is in consequence of the fact that liberalism's mythical roots always were feeble, and now are nearly dead." Superficial appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, liberalism "is expiring under our very eyes for lack of higher imagination." (Of course, we may perish with it, but that's a different subject.)

Let's contrast the examples of Reagan and Obama. Both men rode into office on a wave of myth. However, one was genuine and rooted in the transcendent truth of collective American memory and experience, while the other was a pure counterfeit -- like a psychic poultrice that drew the immature and unarticulated spiritual energy of the left up into it. In this regard, real myths are regenerative (since they are close to the Source), whereas false ones are degenerative and rapidly exhausted. This is why, for example, Christian truth has flourished for over 2000 years, while the myth of Obama couldn't even sustain its spiritually drunken illusion for a year.

To be continued....

(The Kirk quotes are taken from The Essential, which is highly recommended, but more importantly, cheap; the Eckhart quotes are from McGinn's Harvest of Mysticism.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Huge Mythunderstanding of Postmodernism

Meister Eckhart is among the finest examples I know of someone who has the "virtues" of postmodernism with none of its soul-killing vices. However, being that postmodernism has no virtues -- it is luciferic through and through -- what I just said is nonsense. Therefore, I prefer to say "post-postmodern," which is the same term I would use to describe Michael Polanyi, although in a very different way (for he sees the way through to a post-critical science that easily transcends the naive scientism of the tenured).

Here's the problem: irrespective of how much you love tradition and the permanent things, profane time is a one-way street, so we're not going to go back to the medieval synthesis, any more than we're going to return to the Summer of Love, the Roaring Twenties, the Gilded Age, the Renaissance, or anywhen else. Rather, the best we can hope for is to make this slippery slidetrack into postmodernism a blessedly short one. It may require the last boomer to be strangled with the entrails of the last hippy, but it will eventually end.

But then what? A civilization that is not rooted in, and organized around, a robust and integral mythology is not long for the world -- which is one more reason why the "reality based community" is anything but. Yes, you can disenchant, disenthrall, and deconstruct the world, but at the cost of making it uninhabitable for the human soul. I dare any of you to see how long you can tolerate, say, Little Green Footballs or Huffingtonpost, before asphyxiating. Only the living dead can breath there among those fixated asses.

If you are not yet aware of "vertical respiration," then you have a ways to go before you can smell what is wrong with the world. In a very real sense, the hysterical obsession with global warming is a displaced crisis of the soul -- which is the very reason why it so transparently partakes of mythology and is impervious to the light of reason.

For man cannot live in the absence of myth, which is the soul-nurturing domain of cosmic meta-narratives that organize our lives, structure our values, and confer meaning upon our existence. And if you imagine that Darwinism, socialism, or scientism are devoid of myth (in the pernicious sense), then you are not even naive, for real naivete implies innocence. Nor are you necessarily "disingenuous" (although some of the ruling mythmakers are), for that implies conscious manipulation.

Rather, you are more like a sick child who suffers from what is called "pseudo-maturity." Such a child, for whatever reason, has been prematurely exiled from the real human world -- the world of imagination -- into the dry infrahuman desert of utility, pragmatism and adaptation to matter. But to adapt to matter is to adequate the soul to what is far beneath it, which is no adequation at all. Rather, it is the sine qua non of maladaptation, for it is the abolition of man; it is literally to "turn to stone" and call it bread.

It cannot be overemphasized that, as William Blake knew, Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow. Or, as Terence McKenna observed, "The imagination argues for a divine spark in human beings. It is absolutely confounding if you try to see imagination as a necessary quantity in biology. It is an emanation from above -- literally a descent of the world soul..."

This is why I argued in my book that the acquisition of humanness is just that: an acquisition, an accomplishment, the conquest of a kind of virtual space. In other words, the human world is not an "empty space" that somehow emerged out of random genetic mutations in some unlucky primate mom & population. Rather, what is so striking about the human world is that is filled with very specific content, a logoistic and mythopoetic content of great truth and beauty, and which has nothing whatsoever to do with the meaningless Darwinian journey from bacterium to Bach.

Koestler said that "the evolution of the human brain not only overshot the needs of prehistoric man, [but] is also the only example of evolution providing a species with an organ which it does not know how to use; a luxury organ, which will take its owner thousands of years to learn to put to proper use -- if he ever does."

Take the example of, oh, I don't know, the undiebomber. Is he putting his luxury organ to good use (to say nothing of his standard equipment)? If not, why not? Darwinism does not ask -- cannot ask -- whether something is good or bad; rather, it either is or isn't adapted to its environment. And the undiebomber is perfectly adapted to the psychic environment of Islamofascism -- just as the slaveholder was perfectly adapted to the economic system of his day.

The other day I caught a few minutes of a program my son was watching. Somehow, a little one-man rocket ship appeared out of the future. One of the boys got into it, and off it went. Of course, he had no idea how to operate it, any more than a caveman would know how to drive a car. He fumbled around frantically, trying to prevent it from crashing.

But that is the essence of the human situation. We come into the world as genetically stone age babies, and find ourselves absurdly situated in the most complex and powerful vehicle in the entire cosmos. And we have no idea how to operate it. What will this baby do out on the open road? That is the question adolescents face, which is why it is such a dangerous transition.

Now, the latest human model has been out of the showroom for 100,000 years, give or take. But throughout that time, it has been gaining speed at an exponential rate. Consider the fact that it took roughly 60,000 years to colonize the world of beauty, as memorialized in the timeless images of Lascaux or Alta Mira. It then took another 30,000 years to leave the neolithic behind, and to start forming cities and civilizations. Then 5,000 or 6,000 years for the axial age, when we downloaded all of the great nonlocal revelations. Then a few thousand more years for science, democracy, individualism, and free markets.

And it has taken until now to reach the post-postmodern world. Which is what, exactly? First of all, please note that every significant evolutionary advance also (and primarily) involves a divine descent. It may appear as if we're "progressing" forward, but I think it's more accurate to say that any genuine progress means that the divine plane is penetrating more deeply into matter, so to speak. You will have noticed that as you develop spiritually, this is very much what occurs: it is as if the (↓) pounds itself more deeply into your soul, like a concrete pillar into a swamp.

However, it must be recognized that man is woven of both freedom and necessity, so that adapting to the world of spirit is not really analogous to adapting to the cold and dead world of matter. It is not like gaining tenure. Rather, this adaptation takes place in the imagination, and the imagination is fluid, spontaneous, and ceaselessly creative.

Russell Kirk wrote that "All great systems, ethical or political, attain their ascendancy over the minds of men by virtue of their appeal to the imagination; and when they cease to touch the chords of wonder and mystery and hope, their power is lost, and men look elsewhere for some set of principles by which they may be guided." Like, oh, I don't know, gaia worship mythquerading as climate change.

This is why the infrahuman world of metaphysical Darwinism will never appeal to the human soul, and why only those with catastrophically withered, atrophied, and devolved imaginations could think that it explains the human psyche. The tragedy is not that it explains mankind, because it doesn't; rather, the tragedy is that it explains the soulless Darwinian. If this narrow and oppressive ideology should ever be successful in colonizing the soul of man, then man is finished.

To be continued....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Circling the Brain

Eckhart knew that his subtle wisdom would be mis- and disunderstood by the unimaginative trolls of his day, the under- and overeducated rabble without a clue. Thus, "we shall be told that one ought not to talk about or write such teachings to the untaught."

However, "if we are not to teach people who have not been taught, no one will ever be taught, and no one will ever be able to teach and write" -- the result being that we'll all be as dense and reactionary as the trolls, only permanently so. Imagine the nightmare of a progressivism without the possibility of progressing toward conservatism!

According to McGinn, there continues to be controversy in the scholarship as to whether Eckhart was primarily a "philosopher-theologian" or a "master of the spiritual life" -- in contemporary terms (since the word did not exist then), a mystic. But just as there can be no real conflict between religion, theology, and rightly understood science (as opposed to the anti-intellectual ideology of scientism), so too can there be no conflict between these and mysticism.

From my perspective, I simply see mysticism as the empirical or phenomenological confirmation of the truths of religion. One cannot have one in the absence of the other, any more than one can have bones without flesh, or body without soul. As the soul is the form of the body, so too might mysticism be thought of as the form of dogma (and dogma the substance of mysticism).

I think you can well understand the dangers of a breach between these complementary modalities. Yesterday a commenter said that he couldn't discern any difference between me and Matthew Fox, but the difference relates to just this area. In Fox's case, he has detached Eckhart from his orthodox soil and tried to transplant him into a graceless ideology of gaia-worshiping, crapto-Marxist, ovary-tower new-age environmentalist mush. But ideology in any form is the replacement for, and enemy of, Christianity. In Fox's hands, as with Deepak, Truth is reduced to twaddle, inside a hysteria, wrapped in an enema.

That faith and reason cannot be in conflict is standard issue scholasticism. But McGinn notes that Eckhart "went further, claiming that Moses, Aristotle and Christ 'teach the same thing, differing only in the way they teach.'" (By "Moses" and "Aristotle," he means revelation and philosophy in general.)

However, the "way" in which they teach is not insignificant, in that Eckhart "contrasts the 'pagan masters who knew only in a natural light' with 'the words of the sacred masters who knew in a much higher light.'" Natural intelligence alone can only go so far, and is unable "to enter or know the ground of the soul, which is attainable only by unknowing." (However, it should be emphasized that Eckhart did not believe that certain pagan masters such as Plato were devoid of the higher illumination; rather, it's a matter of degree.)

From this we may gather that, to a certain extent, we must overcome the extreme brightness of the natural light in order to clear a kind of "dark space" for the higher illumination to be perceived. In other words, this is where "not-knowing," "learned ignorance," or what the Raccoon calls "higher bewilderness" come into play.

Again, it is very much analogous to the manner in which the central sun blots out perception of the infinite stars, each a sun in its own right. This is a necessarily paradoxical formulation, for man's intellect is (relatively) central, but in so being, also knows that it is (absolutely) peripheral -- or, that it is capable of multiple perspectives (which can be the pretext for the postmodern deconstructionist who erroneously believes that multiple truths = no truth).

In fact, I read a wonderful quote the other day from Emerson, that I wish I had known at the time I wrote my book: "Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning..."

Again, we are center, but a kind of unstable and dynamic center, without which growth would be impossible. Being that we are central, we may know truth; but since we are not God (i.e., the Absolute center), our life is more like a process of "centration," as we metabolize and assimilate more and more of the divine center.

Regarding scripture, Eckhart maintained the classic hull-kernal distinction, which, in a way, mirrors the unavoidable distinction between appearance and reality in science. Science does not -- cannot -- ignore the empirical world as it presents itself to our senses, but it then discovers a deeper world "behind," "above," or "underneath" this (the same can be said for psychoanalysis, which observes the roiling sea of the unconscious beneath the solid ground of the empirical ego).

Here again, the distinction betweeen hull and kernel mirrors the distinction between mind and body, spirit and matter. You might say that scripture is the form of revelation, while revelation is the substance of scripture. As McGinn describes it, this is the complementary space "in which the exegete-preacher and the attentive hearer 'break through' the surface of the biblical word to reach the hidden meaning that negates both ordinary reason and the created self."

In other words, in scripture just as in nature, there is always that "wider circle" we can draw around the existing one, which is none other than growth, as we slowly and gradually contain that which once contained us.

But we can never contain the "all," or we would be God. God is the container that cannot be contained; or, if you want to look at it in a slightly heretical way, perhaps the inner activity of God also mirrors -- or is the very prototype of -- this process, in that the Trinity is, in a sense, eternally "surpassing itself" in love, surrender, and generativity.

This would be consistent with Eckhart's view that "the profundity of the Bible, indeed, of every text in the Bible, means that it contains an inexhaustible fecundity of truths." And "No one can be thought to understand the scriptures who does not know how to find its hidden marrow -- Christ, the Truth."

So even the most solid appearing bone has the waters of spirit invisibly coursing through it. But also, watch for bones in the water. Meanwhile, we'll see you tomarrow!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Geistatory Adventures and Laughty Revelations

At his trial for tact evasion, Eckhart said that some of the more "rare and subtle" passages in his works "had to be explained in light of his good intentions and within the context of the preaching genre" (McGinn): "The whole of what was said is false and absurd according to the imagination of opponents, but it is true according to true understanding."

Of another controversial blog post, he commented that "It must be said that this is false and an error, as it sounds. But it is true, devout, and moral of the just person, insofar as he is just..." In other words, for creatures, right being is a prerequisite for right understanding. This is indeed a rare and subtle point, because it means that if you ain't right in the head -- and heart -- you ain't gonna be right in your understanding, either. Is it any wonder that our trolls are not even wrong?

Again, if God exists because he understands, it means that trolls who don't understand these truths don't even properly exist. Or, alternatively, they only exist. And existence without truth is.... well, first of all it's an absurdity, but more to the point, it is hell.

But please note that what can be unambiguously "known" of the Truth is only a very small portion of it. But this shouldn't deter one in its assimilation. Consider, for example, how little science actually knows in comparison to what there is to be known, which is more or less infinite. Or consider even your own being! Every night your Dreamer escorts you to places within yourself that you've never even dreamt of in your wildest dreams.

Now, appreciating the great realm of the unThought known is one of the most vital organs for the detection of God. It's analogous to, say, a "sense of humor," which is not itself funny, but rather, is the ability to know what is funny ahead of time. In itself it is not necessarily "funny," but is an empty category, or a "preconceptual readiness" to appreciate humor in whatever form it arises.

You will have noticed that the gifted comedian is able to see the humor in some everyday situation that goes unnoticed by most people. The humor is already in us, but we don't explicitly think about it until the comedian "reminds" us of it, which then causes us to laugh with re-cognition. So in a very real sense, humor is merely recollection of the humorous.

I would say that Raccoon theology is somewhat, if not entirely, like this. It's not as if the B'ob tells you anything you don't already know, I mean, right? Rather, he mainly gives voice to preconceptual airy-tales you may not have consciously thought about. Hence, the sacred "guffah-HA!" experience when he punches you right in the nous or throws a pie in the face before you were born.

But this is true of all real theology, which is aimed at vertical re-collection. Whenever Bob's or anyone else's key fits perfectly into your unThought known, you will notice a little "tickle." You should try to be aware of this and eventually transform it into more of a real chortle or belly laugh. Ho!

It's also somewhat like being a good cook. We think of someone having a good visual, verbal, or musical imagination, but having a good gustatory imagination is a thing apart -- like having a good "tactile imagination," which I suppose blind people possess. A good and adventurous cook can presumably combine ingredients in unexpected ways, because he has a sort of highly developed "foretaste" of potentially tasty combinations.

Frankly, I think this is how advances take place in any field, which was one of Polanyi's core points -- the idea that the researcher is guided by tacit foreknowledge of, say, an as yet undiscovered recipe for potato salad. It would also explain the addiction that Darwinians and other materialists have for bunk food, not to mention the severe truth decay that results.

It's a tricky balance of flavors, because if your mind is saturated with too much foreknowledge, then it closes off the possibility of tasting new discoveries. And this may smell blasfumy, but who said that all the great theological discoveries have already been made? At the very least, I know for sure that they haven't been made by Bob. I mean, I could take someone else's word for it, but I'm not much interested in dei-old liftovers unless they specifically help me digest my own unThought known. Theology's the ultimate adventure, baby. There's more than one way to cook the cosmic egg.

But first you have to come out of your shell and be born. This was one of Eckhart's key psimiles -- that the birth of the Word is eternally recapitulated in the ground of the soul. Jesus reconciles creation with Creator on a macro scale, but we must nevertheless engage in the same activity in a microwave, i.e., "the imitation of Christ." You might say that he is the pilot light, but that doesn't mean that we don't have to journey to the kitchen and fire up the burner.

Also, you definitely have to appreciate Eckhart's inrageous sense of humor, which, unfortunately, the religiously correct authorities of the time -- just like the politically correct left wing inquisitors of the present day -- did not. He uses humor in a zen sort of way, in order to jolt you out of your habitual way of seeing things. He is the True GagDaddy of them all.

Eckhart reveled in "word games that are meant to be both playful and serious insofar as they 'play' a role in the practice of deconstructing the self and freeing it from all that pertains to the created world. Identity in the ground [of being] is a 'wandering' and 'playful' identity.... Speaking to a restricted group of learned God-seekers, he also feels free to indulge... in paradox, oxymoron, and hyperbole," the "rare and subtle" forms of speech "that comprise the 'shock treatment' of a mystical discourse designed to awaken by challenging traditional modes of speaking and understanding" (McGinn).

Like the unThought known, "the ground is transcendentally real as 'pure possibility,'" and "is the 'place' from which the mystic must learn to live, act, and know" (McGinn). It is also flowing and spontaneous, like jazz: "Many of Eckhart's sermons have an improvisational character, appearing as a series of virtuoso variations on oft-repeated themes."

Eckart was quite clearly describing the unThought known when he said that "This not-knowing draws [the soul] into amazement and keeps her on the hunt, for she clearly recognizes 'that he is,' but she does not know 'what' or 'how' he is" (Eckhart). McGinn says that "this incommunicable knowledge keeps the mystic ever on the inward path, not turned outside."

Now, this "inward path" is the path back to God. Just yesterday Bob was comparing it to a sort of vertical mindshaft, in which we must all work in darkness, administrying one blow after another, occasionally pulling out a nugget of gold and getting a little closer each day to the Fatherlode, or Sierra Padre. It's there. We can sense it with our charcoal activated cʘʘnvision, like old Walter Huston smells the gold in Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Here's how Eckhart describes the cʘʘnvision: "Though it may be called an unknowing, an uncomprehending, it still has more within it than all knowing and comprehending outside it, for this unknowing lures and draws you from all that is known, and also from yourself."

So remumble under your breath: last rung in's a written gag, so your seenil grammar and gravidad may not be malapropriate for my laughty revelations!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Morning After: The Word is Born, Now What?

Christmas mamamorializes not just the birth of the celestial Word in the terrestrial flesh -- or the vertical child in the horizontal voidgin -- but the eternal conception in the mamamatrix, or "womb with a pew," where these two irreconcilable realities somehow become one.

In ether worlds, no conception, no birth. But birth obviously isn't the end of it. Or, like all births, it is the end of one mode and the beginning of another; every birth conceals a death, and vice versa. Where there's a wake there's awake.

Also, many things can prevent conception and/or terminate pregnancy, including such permicides as materialism or the various abortofascisms of the left. Such verbicidal techniques either prevent the union of Word and flesh, or assure a celestial abortion once it has taken place. For many people, spiritual conception is a disaster, as it would totally interfere with their preferred manner of living, i.e., their wholly narcissism.

I don't know if this is true, but I read somewhere the other day that Christmas wasn't celebrated for the first 400 years or so of Christianity's existence. One way or another, it grafted itself onto pre-Christian celebrations of the winter solstice, which marks the moment when the world arrests its descent into cosmic darkness, and imperceptibly moves toward the new life of spring.

But this hardly makes the cerebration of this any less Christian. Rather, it simply makes Christianity the most adequate expression of permanent truths that have always been known. As Warren mentioned in a comment the other day,

"Basically, everybody more or less knows this stuff. It's the wisdom and experience of the entire human race speaking here. The only people who claim to deny it are a few little fringe modernist groups (materialists, certain fundie Protestant sects, etc.).

"In fact, this is a big reason why some fundie Protestants view Catholics as 'pagans'. In a way, they're quite correct, because the Catholic tradition includes much wisdom from the pagan world, while trimming away (ideally) the false and/or devilish elements in it. Rejecting the entire pagan worldview, as certain Christians do, is to needlessly throw out a large chunk of the human race's traditional wisdom, thereby making oneself much more clueless than is strictly necessary."

Raccoon omeritus Meister Eckhart agrees with this view, in that "throughout his life, [he] championed the... position that philosophy and theology did not contradict each other and that philosophy was a necessary tool for Christian theology."

I suppose this is one of the ways in which I part company with the mainstream, which, it seems to me, tries to derive metaphysical truth solely from history, whereas I would say that it is the other way around -- that what we call "salvation history" must be the instantiation of certain meta-cosmic principles.

I will grant that a potential danger in the latter approach is the reduction of the personal God of history to a kind of quasi-mathematical deism, but that is not my view at all. Rather, the Creator is a person. But he has principles. And unlike Democrats, his principles are not for sale to the highest bidder.

Here is how Eckhart put it: "What philosophers have written about the nature and properties of things agrees with [the Bible], especially since everything that is true, whether in being or in knowing, in scripture or in nature, proceeds from one source and one root of truth." Philosophy, science, theology and revelation all "teach the same thing, differing only in the way they teach, namely as worthy of belief, as probable and likely, and as truth."

Remember, although Jesus is "Word made flesh," this does not mean that the Word was nowhere to be found in this vale of tears prior to the Incarnation. Rather, I would say (with Augustine) that the Word and wisdom of the Christic principle were (and are) always here, and couldn't not be here; again, where there is truth there is God.

So Eckhart's whole project was guided by a coonviction "about the conformity between reason and revelation, philosophy and theology." The Meistrʘ, who often used paradox to convey truth, expressed it thus: "It does not so much seem to me that God understands because he exists, but rather that he exists because he understands."

Do you see the point? Surely, understanding must be anterior to existence, to such an extent that to understand is to exist (I mean, someone had to have understood all those finely tuned mathematical equations that govern the big bang; surely we can't have been the first). Naked existence itself is neither here nor there. Thus, God is first and foremost "the negation of negation," or perhaps the negation of invincible cosmic stupidity.

I would go so lo as to see that the affirmation of anything is the affirmation of God, and therefore the negation of "nothing," i.e., the absurd affirmation of blind nihilism. Otherwise, there is no ground for any affirmations at all, not even "I am an idiotic troll named anonyorthogonal." For to know that one is an idiot is to at least know a permanent truth, and thus nurture a conception that may eventually come to full term.

All of the above quotes are taken from Bernard McGinn's The Harvest of Mysticism. I'm going to just keep philipping along and see where it leads.

Starting tomorrow I guess. I still want to catch up with my work by the end of the year.....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Immaculate Family Planning: On Conceiving & Giving Birth to the Word

Regarding the Gospel of John, Unknown Friend says that it appeals to the human soul to shift its ground of intelligence from the created to the creative through a union of sun and moon. What does this mean? Let's find out.

The mode of science is entirely lunar, in that it seeks to "reflect" matter, or the lowest level of possible knowledge. Which is fine for science. Just don't confuse science with philosophy or metaphysics, much less theology, which are adequations to higher levels of reality -- intellect, soul, self, spirit, slack, etc.

The lunar mode can only comprehend that which is discontinuous, never that which is continuous. In fact, if I am not mistaken, the word "science" is etymologically related to "cut," which is what science must do in order to understand anything.

However, the cutting is in the mind of the scientist, and cannot be confused with what is ultimately real, and which unites the scientific knower with what he knows. Matter is atomistic, malleable, and infinitely divisible. Using only the tools of science, it is impossible to even approach the problem of intrinsically continuous and holistic properties such as life and mind (which is why the wave-particle complementarity is such a paradox for materialists).

But the Gospel of John confronts us with the creative Word, "which is the light and life of men." Here, intelligence "has the task of understanding the whole world as the organisatory act of the Word and Jesus Christ as the cosmic Word made flesh." Whereas lunar intelligence seeks to understand "that which is," this logocentric mode seeks to participate "in the becoming of that which is to be." It is not just to be "born again," but to give birth -- which is to participate in the intrinsic and eternal creativity of the Word. This is the Voidgin Birth alluded to on page the tenth of the Godspiel of Toots (no, it wasn't just his Brooklyn accent).

Real creativity is clearly a kind of higher life and higher life that is continuous with, or a mirror of, the divine activity. The point is, on the intellectual plane, approaching God doesn't just require a leap of faith, but a leap of creative intelligence -- which is one of its seals of authenticity, for it means that the seed-word has taken root in our own soil. It is again one of the things I intended to convey by the symbol O→(n), as it is a kind of continuous flow, "or river of water of life," not something static or repetitious, which are hollow caricatures of Absolute and Infinite, respectively.

UF writes that this kind of creativity involves the true union of intelligence and the intuition of faith. In the typical believer, it seems that these two modes are "betrothed," but they have to move on to a true marriage and become "one flesh." It is not simply one mode added to the other, but a real harmonious -- and creative -- union which then produces real fruit that neither one alone could have made.

UF singles out several thinkers whom he believes approached or achieved this fusion of faith and intelligence, including Origen, Denys, Aquinas, Jacob Boehme, Berdayev, and Teilhard de Chardin. He also has a lot of praise for Bergson, with whom I have only a general familiarity. But he includes an extended passage from Bergson that well captures what we are discussing here. He makes reference to the circularity of mere lunar logic, and the need to break out of this closed world:

"If we had never seen a man swim, we might say that swimming is an impossible thing, in as much as, to learn to swim, we must begin by holding ourselves up in water and, consequently, already know how to swim. Reasoning, in fact, always nails us down to the solid ground."

You can no doubt appreciate the baleful consequences of our scientistic jester's mundane and earthbound intelligence, which is again in servitude to that which is infinitely beneath its scope and station, i.e., matter. Such a constricted intelligence "looks to the least developed and the most primitive for the cause and the explanation of what is most developed and the most advanced in the process of evolution.... it retreats into matter. It does something with regard to the world which would be absurd with regard to a work of art.... Intelligence which prefers retreating to flying must inevitably arrive at the impasse of absurdity.... And the absurd... is suicide for intelligence" (MOTT).

Bergson continues: "But if, quite simply, I throw myself into the water without fear, I may keep myself up well enough at first by merely struggling, and gradually adapt myself to the new environment: I shall learn to swim.... if the risk be accepted, action will perhaps cut the knot that reasoning has tied and will not unloose."

This reminds me of the anecdote in my book about the yeshiva student who is asked if he knows how to swim: "No, but I understand swimming." The analogy with our scientistic trolls is exact, in that their pride forbids them from leaving the solid shore of matter, but who nevertheless imagine that they understand what it means to dive heartlong into the ʘcean.

So our intelligence must take the plunge in order to leave the prison of materialism: "[L]eap it must, that is, leave its own environment. Reason, reasoning on its powers, will never succeed in extending them, though the extension would not appear at all unreasonable once it were accomplished."

For example, one could publish thousands of studies on the nature of walking on solid ground, but they "will never yield a rule for swimming: come, enter the water, and when you know how to swim, you will understand how the mechanism of swimming is connected with that of walking. Swimming is an extension of walking, but walking would never have pushed you on to swimming."

This is a critical point, for from the perspective of walking, the leap to swimming looks "discontinuous." But from the perspective of swimming, one can appreciate the continuity, which is none other than "the God of the gaplessness" of reality. Science sees "gaps" that it imagines the religious believer fills in with "God." But it's actually the other way around. Once one leaps into the Word, one sees how there are no radically discontinuous gaps at all, and why it is so easy for science to fill the apparent ones with their own autistic god of the insane coincidence, AKA the scientistic god of the saps.

This, in case you didn't know, is the reason why I arranged the Coonifesto so that the chapters are both continuous and discontinuous, so that there are distinct "chapters," even though the sentences that link them run together. Only from the perspective of the lower is the world radically discontinuous. But from the higher point of view, one doesn't just "see," but one unproblematically lives the continuity. One swims in the cosmic waters.

After all, doesn't your body easily unify matter and life without you having to think about it? And doesn't your mind easily unify intelligence, life, and matter? And doesn't the Raccoon naturally live the unity of matter, life, mind and Spirit, or O? Of course. And there is no "technique" for doing so, accept for aspiring (↑) to the nonlocal Grace (↓) that meets us more than halfway, and then contemplatively breathing in its eternal rhythm. We could never do it ourselves, not in 13.7 billion years.

The unity comes from the top, not the bottom, of the cosmic hierarchy. Which is why it is indeed One Cosmos Under God, and why all genuine conceptions are immaculate matings of sun and moon, celestial and terrestrial, word and ground, seed and water.

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
--Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Much Updated Ruin From a Much Outdated Style

A word of caution:

"The rule of every serious esoterist should be to be silent -- often for a length of years -- concerning every new illumination or inspiration that he has, so as to give it the necessary time to mature, i.e., to acquire that certainty which results from its accordance with moral consciousness, moral logic, the totality of spiritual and ordinary experience -- that of friends and spiritual guides of the past and present -- as also with divine revelation, whose eternal dogmas are guiding constellations in the intellectual and moral heaven" (Meditations on the Tarot).

Yes, unlike climate change cultists, we have objective standards of proof.

Even Jesus apparently spoke little of these matters until around age 30 -- which, back then, was rather elderly, since life expectancy in ancient Rome wasn't much more than 20 or 30 years.

Ironically, things are so much easier for us today, that they can actually be more difficult, in that every unqualified yahoo has instant access to the most sublime wisdom. We're well past "every man his own priest," and even "every man his own prophet"; for this is the dark age of "every man his own god" -- which can only make it much more of a challenge to identify actual prophets and the real God.

Just because one can read, it hardly means one is literate, much less that one understands. Rather, it merely gives the illusion of literacy and understanding. Plenty of liberals have gone to law school, and yet, do not understand the first thing about the Constitution.

Unfortunately, our president is one of them. He has sworn before the almighty to preserve a document he no more believes in than the strange god to whom he has sworn to preserve it. I guess you'd call that a "negative tautology," similar to the ACLU's ceaseless effort to have the Declaration of Independence nullified on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, since it mentions God.

Nor do post-literate atheists understand religion, to which they stand as living (or is it dying?) proof. Only a kind of cosmic narcissism allows them to convert a sad disability into a virtue, to elevate a confession of ignorance to a witness of truth. It's incredibly childlike, really, for children are also unable to stand back from their immediate perceptions and appreciate their intrinsic limitations.

Once detached from the vertical, one is in the "zone of mirages." Now, just because this zone isn't real, it doesn't mean it isn't "creative." It's just that it is a kind of worthless creativity (the protean world of "infertile eggheads") that bears on no eternal truth or beauty transcending itself. It is "art for art's sake," which is no better than "tenure for tenure's sake" or "science for science's sake."

Liberals think that conservatives are "anti-science" because we understand that science must always be grounded in, and converge upon, something that is not science, at risk of becoming demonic. One can never derive values from science -- the ought from the is.

This is the monstrosity of reductionistic Darwinism: not that it is "true," but that it replaces the integral Truth of which it can only be a tiny reflection. For if Darwinism is the unvarnished truth of man, dreadful consequences necessarily follow -- not the least of which being the impossibility of Truth and Virtue. I won't even bother to catalogue them, for only a gold-plated intellectual and spiritual cretin such as Charles the Queeg could be unaware of them.

That Darwinism can satisfy his barren intellect is a statement about his intellect, not about Truth. Such ingrates have no idea what religion has done for them, because it has all been done collectively and subliminally through a kind of cultural and historical osmosis. But to be unaware of the extraordinary spiritual sacrifices others have made in order to make your insignificant life possible is to live as a barbarian. Your whole miserable life is lived in borrowed -- no, stolen -- Light.

What is true will always be so. Scientific fads and fashions will come and go, but Man will always be in the image of the Creator, a meta-cosmic truth from which our rights, our duties, and our dignity flow. Only man can -- and therefore must! -- live by the light of eternity, so that all we do, say, write, create and think, can resonate with the Real and thus "pass the test of time":

"Artists, like esoterists, are obliged to make their works pass the trial of time, so that the poisonous plants from the sphere of mirages can be uprooted, and there remains only the wheat -- pure and ripe" (MOTT).

When I write something, I want it to stay written -- or, for the benefit of my devoted trolls, to stay rotten. I am always writing from the standpoint of eternity, not because I am grandiose, but because it is the least one can do. Otherwise, there is no point whatsoever in putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, at least regarding the temporally nonlocal matters we belowviate upon down here. This is not a shopping list or editorial, much less something as trivial as an academic paper.

In order to properly do one's omwork, one's writing must be "objective," even while being "transparent," or perhaps "translucent," in that it must be both rock solid and capable of refracting the Light. Why? Because this is the way in which the Divine Spirit works, which is to say, through a reflecting medium. What, you thought it was just magic?

To get the ego out of the way merely means to try to transcend all pettiness, all that is time-bound, all that refers back to oneself instead of pointing beyond. I must decrease so that He may increase: one "becomes poor, so as to be able to receive the wealth of the divine spirit..."

This is "the gesture of actualizing below that which is above," so that one's very life becomes a work of sacred art -- which is again to be transparent to that which transcends us. So,

men of fame
Can never find a way
Till time has flown
Far from their dying day
--Nick Drake

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

False Truth and the Unholy Ghost

If there is no truth, then there is no falsehood. Likewise, if there is no beauty, then ugliness is an impossibility. But many people don't stoop to drink that if there is no crystal water of the Holy Spirit, then surely there is no ______. Rather, ______ is nothing more than a kind of attractive lie, or demonic energy, or parasite-infested bilge water.

What shall we call ______? Unless I can think of something better by the end of this post, let's just call it (-↓), which is a mirror image of (↓). A constant infusion of its death-affirming "graces" leads to the development of (-¶), which is hardly a minor or peripheral problem for mankind. Rather, this speaks to the whole problem of false teachers who presume to speak for or represent God. They are no doubt full of it, but of exactly what are they full? Well, (-↓) for starters. (Also, importantly, once in place, (-¶) will seek out and attract (-↓) in order to "feed" itself.)

Just a brief snidebar, but every week I am astounded all over again that anyone can regard Deepak Chopra as anything other than a sinister moron, a man too stupid to know how wicked he is. Look at the latest authoritative babbling of the Windy Hindi. Whatever else (-↓) does, it fills its recipient with a kind of bloated confidence to spew absurdities or banalities as if they are pearls of great wisdom instead of sacred cowpies carelessly dropped on the information highway. All of these gnocturnal creatures are cut from the same ghastly cloth -- Deepak, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, and all the rest of Brother Lib's Fellow-Traveling Charlatan Show (not forgetting our own hideous Gazbag).

The only way to guard against the false Holy Spirit is to first and foremost seek truth, virtue, and beauty, and then allow joy or beatitude to be a byproduct. If you seek first the joy, then you will become the sort of "intellectual drunkard" who staggers around the watering holes of academia and is so popular in the sophisticated saloons of Europe. There, babbling intellectual drunks and leftist whinos are elevated to great authority. (There are also "spiritual junkies" and "aesthetic addicts.")

Here in the US we mainly quarantine our lie-roasted wackadenia nuts in state-run looniversity bins, and otherwise don't take them too seriously. For the most part, Americans have always been blessed with the intuitive understanding that most of the serious problems of the world are a result of the imposition of some insanely self-regarding intellectual's idiotic idea. We're seeing it play out all over again with Nobamacare, with Cap'n Tax, with Porkulus, and no doubt with Illegal Democrat Reform next year.

The joy of the intellectual drunk is just the intoxicated self-satisfaction of the narcissistic child, who needs others to mirror his brilliance and to reassure him that he really is the center of a universe that can't actually have one in the absence of God. Now that I have a four year-old who is at the zenith of his narcissistic joy, I have even more insight into the psychodynamics of the tenured, whose narcissism appropriates their intelligence in the service of an intoxicated celebration of the ego. Hence the adage, let the dead bury the tenured.

As UF explains, the difference between dead and living truth is that the former is born in the false joy of intoxication, while the latter results in a kind of "sober joy." In turn, this joy "is the key which opens the door to understanding the Arcanum of the world as a work of art," because the joy is a result of a sort of inner harmony; or specifically, a "rhythmic harmony" between the inner and outer, above and below:

"Joy is therefore the state of inner rhythm with outer rhythm, of rhythm below with that of above, and, lastly, of the rhythm of created being with divine rhythm." Call it the Tao, if you like, for the essence of Taoism involves harmonizing oneself with these greater cosmic rhythms. Ignoring them will bring pain and disorder, one way or the other, because one is going against the grain of being.

Existence and life are a function of countless rhythms at every level of being, and this is what, say, the I Ching drives at -- at harmonizing human and divine rhythms, which results in intrinsic joy (but not intoxication).

For example, what is the joy of the Christmas season? It is partly a result of everyone being locked into the rhythm of the season, which not only resonates with "heaven," but with all past Christmases. Everything reminds us of this rhythm -- the smells, the lights, the music, the foods. Premodern man always lived in this kind of rhythm, since festivals were not restricted to once a year, but occurred throughout the year, and were his principle means of "marking time." Thus, he was constantly resonating with heaven, and being brought back to celestial essences. He was not a slave to the jagged rhythms of modernity, which tend to detach man from his source.

We know about natural selection, but there is also a kind of "supernatural selection" that operates in man, as he adapts to different vertical planes of being. Someone who fully adapts to "the world" is necessarily unadapted to higher planes he will never even know about, whereas someone adapted to the higher planes will try to shape the lower world so that it is in conformity with the higher, and thereby becomes a truly human environment fit for immortal souls.

Interestingly, as I have written of before, we come into the world in a state of "rhythmic chaos," so that the most important function of early parenting is to help the child internalize various rhythms, which will achieve physiological and psychological "set points," including with regard to sleep, hunger, emotion, etc.

As I noted in my book, a mentally ill person will always suffer from some sort of dysregulation, say, of self esteem, or shame, or anger, or impulse control. The dysregulation results in chronic disharmony between inner and outer (not to mention, above and below), so that they then have difficult relationships or problems with work or creativity.

In fact, I can see how my blogging is a result of an inner rhythm and resonance between various levels of being, that is now "locked in," so to speak. It is not something I would have ever thought possible before I started doing it. But again, as UF says, this type of "living rhythm" is basically joy. Which in turn is why the primordial state of man and nature is one of joy: "that the world, in so far as it is a divine creation, is a kingdom of joy. It was only after the Fall that suffering became added to joy."

Now, one of the good things about the Fall is that one may consider it as literally or as metaphorically as one wishes. My main concern is the mechanism through which the Fall repeats itself, and what we can do about it.

In the case of Future Leader, I will be watching very carefully to see that the Conspiracy doesn't get to him too early, before he has had the chance to stably internalize the celestial rhythms, which in turn become a spiritual touchstone for the remainder of one's life. Soon enough, the conspiracy will get its hooks into him and try to rob him of his slack. But with a good foundation, one can repel the pressures of the world, and retain one's ground of slack. To lose this ground is... to lose everything, at least for the Raccoon. It is to become alternatively hardened or dispersed, instead of fluid and supple around a dynamic and living center which grows through the infusion of (↓) -- and also the (↓→) that comes from relating to rightly oriented others.

Some children are robbed of their slack so early in life, that it is very likely that they have no conscious recollection of it, of "paradise." Nevertheless, there will definitely be an unconscious recollection of the deprivation of their birthright, except that they will then project it onto present circumstances. Given the appalling level of parenting in the Islamic world, one must conclude that this is central to their chronic whining, victimization, paranoia, externalization of blame, homicidal rage, and bizarre combination of superiority and psychic brittleness.

But the same dynamic no doubt motivates the leftist, who imagines that mother government can make up for the Great Lost Entitlement of Infancy. But unlike the leftist, the infant is legitimately entitled to his omnipotence, and if you fail to provide it, he may well spend the rest of his life either searching for it (the victim) or imagining that he is its source (the narcissist). The former needs the psychic bailout of the breast; the latter imagines that he is the breast. Obama is the breast; his cult members are the hungry mouths. Just in case you were wondering about that giant sucking sound you hear.

Monday, December 21, 2009

When Beauty Attacks! (or, The Birds & Beatitudes)

Might as well continue with the topic of yesterday's post, which, oddly enough, touches on the little controversy set off by one of our readers, who enjoys sharing the details of his -- wait for it -- sexual attraction to women! Unlike you poor repressed or married (a distinction without a difference) folks, he has managed to convert this biological attraction into a spiritual practice by.... indulging it. Wow, what a concept! Love the one you're with. Why didn't I think of that?

Obviously, anything that is powerful -- from religion to government to electricity to sex -- can be dangerous and destructive. In Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Friend discusses the dangers of beauty. I would say that on the whole, men are more aware of this danger than women, being that women are the primary danger.

But the danger to women lies in unconsciously becoming the object of beauty in order to feel the rush of primordial power over men (for whom they will secretly feel contempt). For the most powerful man in the world -- say, Bill Clinton -- can be reduced to a mere pawn if he isn't master of his own domain.

A man could hypothetically rule the world, but if he himself is ruled by his zozo, what does this mean? Well, for starters, it will mean that the world is ruled by the seductive "spirit of Eve" that pulls Adam from the center to the periphery, so that the serpent is actually in charge by proxy.

Can Truth, Love, and Beauty have a "dark side?" Of course. It mainly happens when one of them gets separated from the other two -- like when a sock falls out of your drier and tries to go it alone. To paraphrase Professor Seinfeld, the lone sock doesn't get very far, does it? Oh sure, it's thrilling at first to feel the static electricity coursing along your heel, as you cling to another item of clothing in order to make your great escape. But then what? You fall off into the street, somewhere between the laundromat and car -- maybe even the gutter. That's when you find out the truth about maverick socks. And it isn't pretty.

Here's how UF explains it: the good severed from the beautiful "hardens into principles and laws -- it becomes pure duty." This goes to what I mentioned a couple of posts ago, that virtue ultimately results from consciousness of a plane of reality, not just from a kind of repressive, top-down moralism. An exclusive reliance on latter approach will not just alienate people, but often be the source of rebelliousness. I know it was for me. For example, as Oldbob might have thought to himself, whatever that hypocritical gasbag Jerry Falwell is, I will be the opposite. I will Falbadly.

Likewise, "the beautiful which is detached from the good... becomes softened into pure enjoyment -- stripped of obligation and responsibility." This is the "art for art's sake" of an aesthetic hedonism that soon becomes luciferic at best. But it also speaks to anyone who is foolish enough to imagine that sexuality and morality can be detached from one another without vacating oneself from humanness as such. In other words, one must become an animal (but really, not even an animal, but an infra-human).

UF continues: "The hardening of the good into a moral code and the softening of the beautiful to pure pleasure is the result of the separation of the good and beautiful -- be it morally, in religion, or in art. It is thus that a legalistic moralism and a pure aestheticism of little depth have come into existence."

On the one hand, you can have the narrow and clenched religious type without joy or art (or, conversely, with a joy and art that are equally kitsch). This type co-arises with its shadow, the increasingly antisocial artiste who is more or less detached from objective truth and virtue (or, conversely, becomes a tedious purveyor of political correctness as a substitute for truth and decency).

Soon enough beauty falls down the cosmic wayslide, so that art no longer even justifies its own existence. For man has no cosmic right to produce false and ugly art. Nevertheless, for the postmodern hack, "transgression" exists for its own sake, thus transgressing against the very purpose of, and justification for, art, i.e., truth and beauty.

You will notice that when the Creator was finished with his own artistic creation, he said to himsoph, it is good. Which is why this creation is infused with so much inexhaustible -- and beautiful -- truth. Which is none other then the Divine Light in all its metaphysical transparency.

So, the arcanum of The World is here to offer a gentle but firm warning to those who would mess with the Creator's woman, because Sophia is your sister (Proverbs 7), not your wife, got that? For it is written, the moment you become "wise in your own eyes," you become either a wise guy or a wise ass.

Now, just as there are true illuminations from the Holy Spirit, "so there are intoxications from the spirit of mirage," which UF calls the "false Holy Spirit." Here we are dealing not just with Maya, but the dark side of Maya, or her evil twin sister. On the one hand, Maya is the power of "cosmic illusion," but on the other, the Creator's divine consort, or Shakti, which means conscious force (forgive the Hinduisms, but it just so happens that they have a very precise language to describe these maters and paters, whereas Christianity often speaks of them in more metaphorical language that must be decoded, e.g., the polarities of Mary-Eve or Sophia-Word).

UF outlines the criteria for distinguishing between the two: if you seek only "the joy of artistic creation, spiritual illumination and mystical experience," it is ineveateapple that you will "more and more approach the sphere of the spirit of mirage" and become increasingly seduced and hypnotized by it. Remember, the satanic is the spirit of seduction and hypnosis, not compulsion and force. Been there, done that.

BUT, if you first seek for truth in the above referenced activties, "you will approach the sphere of the Holy Spirit" and open more and more to its influence, which brings with it an entirely different mode of joy and coonsolation, for it is in no way "egoic." Rather, it tends to reverse the hostile forces that result in either hardening or dispersion of the ego. Call it a "soft and supple center," which is none other than the divine slack and d'light immaculate that abides in "Raccoon Central," or "Toots' Tavern" -- where it is always "happy hour."

UF discusses the nature of mirages, which are not the same as hallucinations, as they are rooted in something that is "really there" -- like when the desert asphalt up ahead on the way to Vegas looks "wet," or when you think you can beat the house once you arrive there. But the mirage is a sort of "floating reflection of reality," which is nonetheless one step removed from it. And this is indeed the problem with what most people call "truth," including the truth of our scientistic jester, which floats atop the Real like a missing sock that I'd like to stuff in his mouth, to put it poetically.

I remember back in my college days, you'd occasionally hear a guy say that he wanted to meet a girl who didn't play games. Well, that's what Maya does, all day long. Her "lila" goes on unceasingly, which is why we need to get "beneath her veils," if I may put it so indelicately. This is because on the one hand, she "reveals God by manifesting him," but on the other hand "hides him by covering him."

Correction. It's not so much that we remove the veils, but appreciate what they are hiding, which is pretty obvious if you've ever seen the annual Victoria's Secret show -- which I've only heard about through Dupree. The point is, the veils -- we're speaking of reality now, not the supermodels.... no, I suppose we're talking about both -- simultaneously reveal and conceal, depending upon the spirit with which you look. As part of our standard equipment, we are all given a pair of X-ray Specs with which to see through the veils to the "ground." Sadly, they don't work on the supermodels.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

ʘ, What a Beautiful World

No time for a new post, so I thought I'd select a prewordgitated one, since I haven't visited the arkive lately. Plus, I really, really want to get caught up with my work by the end of the year, so I need to get an early start on it today.

The post concerns all of the superfluous beauty that radiates through the fabric of being. You might say that our world is composed of math and music, or that truth and beauty are its warp and weft. There are lots of revisions and odditions here, so it probably ended up taking as long as a new post. Oh well. You never really catch up with your work in this life.

[T]he world is fundamentally neither a mechanism, nor an organism, nor even a social community -- neither a school on a grand scale nor a pedagogical institution for living beings -- but rather a work of divine art: at one and the same time a choreographic, musical, poetic, dramatic work of painting, sculpture and architecture. --Meditations on the Tarot

What if we actually lived only in a world of mere desiccated scientistic truth but no intrinsic beauty? In addition to being an "impossible world" -- existence as such being an exteriorization of the divine beauty -- our very lives would be a cold and joyless task, like removing the Guy Ritchie tattoos from Madonna's wizened flesh (which has long since given up everything but its tattoos).

"Beauty is a crystallization of some aspect of universal joy; it is something limitless expressed by means of a limit" (Schuon). Beauty is both container and contained (♀ and ♂), or an explosive force within a limiting boundary. The material world is this boundary, or the "frame" around God's canvas. With no frame or page or stanza or stage, there can be no ex-pression (or im-pression) of beauty.

Now, as UF explains, the idea of the world as a work of art is implicit in Genesis, being that existence is a result of a creative act. So-called creationists focus way too much on the inevitable result of the act, rather than the act itself, which would have to constitute the very source and essence of creativity. Remember, since human beings are in the image of the creator, our own seemingly boundless creativity should reveal something intrinsic to God.

Furthermore, it is vital to bear in mind that the cosmogony of Genesis discloses a vertical, not horizontal, act. When Genesis says "In The Beginning," it really means in the beginning of the eternal creative act that is always happening now and which sustains the universe. The generation of the universe -- and the events of Genesis -- did not happen just "once upon a time," but is always happening.

These are not just my own eccentric Bobservations, but standard Thomservations as well. "In the beginning" refers not to the temporal beginning, but to the atemporal beginning, or the beginning of time as such -- which "flows" from (and back to) eternity in the now familiar absurcular way. It is the metaphysical, not the physical, or scientific, beginning. Therefore, as Aquinas knew,

"God is necessary as an uncaused cause of the universe even if we assume that the universe has always existed and thus had no beginning. The argument is not that the world wouldn't have got started if God hadn't knocked down the first domino at some point in the distant past; it is that it wouldn't exist here and now, or undergo change or exhibit final causes here and now unless God were here and now, and at every moment, sustaining it in being, change, and goal-directedness" (Feser).

In short, the "first cause" is above, not behind. But because it is above, it is necessarily ahead, which is in turn why the present cosmos is the "shadow" of its final fulfillment: "I am Alpha and Omega." This is also why on an individual basis, we live in the shadow of our own future self, which "lures" us toward our own full filament of incoondescent light.

Similarly, as Perry observes, "from the cosmological perspective, creation is a progressive exteriorization of that which is principially interior, an alternation between the essential pole and the substantial pole of a Single Principle." Again, of the two, essence is the more interior, and therefore takes priority. Essence could never be derived from substance alone (or quality from quantity, semantics from syntax), which is one more reason why it is absurd to insist that consciousness could ever be derived from matter. Why do you even try, you atheistic morons? What is wrong with you?

What? Oh yes. Petey would like me to remind you that this is the meaning of One's upin a timeless, as it refers to God's eternal creative activity, which, because it constitutes the true (vertical) beginning, necessarily encompasses the end of all things, the eschatology of the world, the cosmic telovator that lifts us to the repenthouse and beyond. Was that unclear? Perhaps Schuon can shed a little less bobscurity on the subject:

"Art has a function that is both magical and spiritual: magical, it renders present principles, powers and also things that it attracts by virtue of a 'sympathetic magic'; spiritual, it exteriorizes truths and beauties in view of our interiorization, of our return to the 'kingdom of God that is within you.' The Principle becomes manifestation so that manifestation might rebecome the Principle, or so that the 'I' might return to the Self; or simply, so that the human soul might, through given phenomena, make contact with the heavenly archetypes, and thereby with its own archetype."

In turn, this is why, as Eliot observed, our end precedes our beginning, and how it is that we may travel round the cosmos only to return to the beginning and know it for the firstest time. As I have said before -- or maybe it was after -- he wasn't merely being poetic, but noetic.

Zero, point, line, circle, and repent as necessary. The Father is O, the Son is •, and the Holy Ghost is (↓↑). Please note that the black fire of the dot is written on the white fire of the unKnown Godhead, while the arrows are the smoke and flames (or coontrail), respectively. Where there is "holy smoke," the flames of agni cannot be far above. Thus the "agni and ecstasy" referred to on page 16 of my book of the same gnome.

The movement from essence towards substance is also the movement of "the center toward the circumference" and "unity towards multiplicity" (Perry). Nevertheless, the center is always there at the periphery -- hence God's immanence and the resultant sanctity of the world -- and the unity is always in the multiplicity -- hence the possibility of the recollection of both union and transcendent unity, at any time or any place. Excepting perhaps Madonna's wizened flesh.

Now, as UF notes, the self-beclowning materialist or scientistic jester is "like the reader of a manuscript who, instead of reading and understanding the thought of the author, occupies himself with the letters and syllables. He believes that the letters wrote themselves and combined themselves into syllables, being moved by mutual attraction, which, in its turn, is the effect of chemical or molecular qualities of the ink as 'matter' common to all the letters, and of which the letters and syllables are epiphenomena."

Of this, Petey would like to say, And you pay a small fortune to deliberately expose your children this crap, about which the best one can say is that it is absurd?

[B]eauty stems from the Divine Love, this Love being the will to deploy itself and to give itself, to realize itself in 'another'; thus it is that 'God created the world by love'.... All terrestrial beauty is thus by reflection a mystery of love. It is, 'whether it likes it or not,' coagulated love or music turned to crystal, but it retains on its face the imprint of its internal fluidity, of its beatitude and of its liberality... --Schuon

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Devil Made Me Do It the First Time, Second Time I Done It On My Own

I'm just thumbing my nous through The Spiritual Ascent -- which is a 1,000 page compendium of the world's spiritual wisdom -- for further confirmation of Father Rose's general account of the afterlife.

Beginning with the section on Judgment, Schuon says that our "transgressions" are not to be seen merely as sins, but as the absence of a positive quality, that is, privations. Just as virtue ultimately consists of consciousness of a plane of reality -- the only completely reliable guarantor of virtuous behavior -- sin must result from an absence of this awareness, more often than not self-willed (i.e., pulling the wool over one's own I).

Positive qualities such as wisdom, purity, courage, prudence, or strength -- which are real realities -- relate to some aspect of divinity. Thus, to be unaware of them, for whatever reason, is to invite their opposite. It reminds me of the truism that anything that is not explicitly conservative eventually becomes liberal. This is why virtually all organizations, from the AMA to the ABA to the APA to academia to the GOP and even to Christianity, devolve and descend into liberalism if the permanent truths are forgotten.

And not just "forgotten." Again, it is not a matter of merely "remembering dogma," although that may be an important safeguard for those who have neither the time nor the space for intellection. Rather, it must again result from consciousness of a plane of reality.

To cite an example that comes readily to mind, yesterday the children at my son's preschool put on their annual Christmas show in the school chapel. It is almost impossible to imagine a more vivid experience of innocence and purity than to hear these children -- who are mostly four and five years-old -- singing their Christmas songs. If one is conscious, it is literally heartbreaking in its purity. Now, contrast this attitude with, say, Richard Dawkins, who says that such religious brainwashing literally constitutes child abuse. One of us is insane, which is to say, out of touch with reality.

It is as if there are two "centers" or attractors, and man is situated roughly between them. However, only one of these is "real." The other one is a human creation which, by being "fed," grows in strength, just as any other dissipative structure (or open system at disequilibrium). This is how inclinations become habits and eventually vices -- you know, as brother Waylon taught us, "The devil made me do it the first time / Second time I done it on my own."

This false center then "illusorily opposes itself to the divine aspect that it denies." As Tiger Woods teaches us, "vice lives by the regular and somewhat rhythmic communication with the obscure center which determines its nature, and which, like an invisible vampire [read: mind parasite], attracts, clasps and engulfs the being in a state of transgression and disequilibrium." We create what eventually enslaves us.

Through this process, the unnatural becomes natural, and darkness is converted to a kind of obscure light one learns to live by, but which is really the heat of transgression in disguise. It continues until someone clobbers you upside the head with a nine iron, one way or the other.

If this alternative center didn't exist, then "a simple infraction would remain but an isolated case; but every infraction is by definition a precedent and establishes contact with a tenebrous center" (Schuon). As such, a large part of the spiritual adventure involves first identifying and trying to put some distance between oneself and the false center one has created or simply fallen into as a result of "culture."

Again, think of two sources of gravity, one pulling you down to the earth, the other drawing you up toward the sun. The latter is obviously infinitely stronger, and yet, the lower you go, the more the peripheral center can seem to dominate the higher. Often the person has to literally "hit bottom" and realize that there is no lower to go. After that one can only dissipate and fragment -- or, alternatively anesthetize and numb -- oneself to avoid the catastrophic but saving truth.

As Schuon goes on to say, this speaks to the necessity of periodic rites of purification, "which have precisely the effect of disrupting such contacts and and of re-establishing communication with the divine aspect, of which the transgression -- like its cosmic center -- has been the negation."

Now, how does this relate to our discussion of the afterlife? Let's toss it over to our reporter at the serene of the climb, Jakob Boehme, who has the story for us. Jake?

"Thanks Gagdad. The souls of this world who have lost their consciousness of the divine planes bear hell within themselves, but know it not, for the false world they have feverishly created hath cast them into a deep sleep, a most fatal sleep indeed. They distract themselves with their small pleasures and petty amusements wherewith they are intoxicated, so that whilst in this short life, they blot out the pain of hell, which groweth inside them like a demon seed.

"Ah, but when the body dieth or breaketh away, or when a wrathful viking chick goeth medieval on thine ass, the soul cannot any longer enjoy such temporal pleasures and take its delight in the elaborate but false world so created. Only then does the poor soul stand in eternal hunger for those objects it spent its earthly life pursuing in vain.

"Do you see the problem? Tiger does. The soul's inclination remains, but now there are no objects to fulfill it, which causeth it to be in a most grievous perpetual state of anxiety and a continuous rage of hunger for that which never existed to begin with. The itch remaineth, but no scratching be permitted. This is why we say that men can never get enough of what they don't really need -- as if one needs a stable of low-class bimbos when one is already betrothed to a hot Swedish supermodel! O, the folly of man!

"So leave that black rose alone, for in so chasing after it, you are forging your own fetters, not just in this round, but more importantly, for the 19th hole."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Making Your Way Through Vertical Middle School

A few more specific details about your post-biological itinerary. Again, none of this is for the sake of argument; rather, it's just for the sake of discussion. For whatever reason, Rose's general description strikes me as plausible. It makes sense to me, even though, on a more superficial level, it obviously makes no sense. Which is why there is no point in arguing about it, because mere mechanical reason doesn't extend to this plane.

I found this one particularly intriguing: "the dying person's spiritual vision often begins even before death." Again, it is as if the "other world" begins to interpenetrate this one. But immediately after death, the soul "remains close to earth for two days before moving into other spheres."

Then, "on the third day it experiences the Particular Judgment while passing through the aerial toll houses," which are very similar to the bardo planes described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and feature various temptations and snares to which our soul is inclined. Penultimately, "on the fortieth day, it is assigned to the place where it will await the Resurrection." Finally there is the Last Judgment, when "the everlasting Kingdom of Heaven will dawn, and all departed souls will be joined to their resurrected bodies."

Father Rose specifically rejects as heterodox the idea of a "soul slumber" between death and the Last Judgment, and now that I think about it, his view seems to be entirely in accord with, say, the detailed vision of Dante. Rose points out that "the whole Orthodox piety and practice of prayer for the dead surely presupposes that souls are 'awake' in the other world and that their lot can be alleviated." Furthermore, the "calling on the saints in prayer, and the saints' response to this prayer, is unthinkable without the conscious activity of the saints in heaven."

I am especially convinced that the latter takes place, and that one can forge a living relationship with a departed saint. Their words are infused with a transformative grace and power that are clearly not of this world. Moreover, they manifestly want to help. As I've said before, friendly nonlocal operators are always standing by, ready to assist you. One is free to argue over why this is the case, but that it is the case, I have no doubt. My own work, such as it is, -- whatever it is -- would be inconceivable without this assistance.

Just for fun, let's look at what some other reliable sources have to say, starting with Benoist's The Esoteric Path. Regarding the "intermediate realm" between heaven and earth, he describes it as a region "of struggles, temptations, testing -- in a word, the realm of duality." It is where one may encounter, among other things, "energies of non-human entities, the influence of powers of the earth," and various "elemental spirits" variously called "gnomes, water sprites, sylphs, salamanders, djinns, demons, etc." Interestingly, these "obscure forces" include "residues of long abandoned cults," and "mingle with authentic angelic powers and with wandering influences... to constitute a strange, fascinating, and dangerous world."

Frankly, it very much reminds me of the realm of the unconscious, except instead of being situated between the human and terrestrial, is between the human and celestial. It is also where "ideas take shape, languages become organized, influences are transmitted, and souls form unions."

Again, all of this strikes me as intuitively true. I mean, if true ideas don't come from above, from where do they come? Likewise, if anyone imagines that the miraculous gift of language could have resulted from material processes alone, they just haven't thought about it deeply enough.

A key point is that the value of this intermediate realm "is highly variable according to those beings who are manifest in it and who manifest it to us, for it is the meeting place of humanity and divine inspiration." It may be thought of as "the lowest part of the heavens," just as the human mind may be thought of as the highest part of earth. Try as we might, mind alone cannot penetrate this realm unaided; rather, there must always be a descent (↓) to meet our aspiration (↑), otherwise life really is an absurd bridge to nowhere, which simply collapses to the earth at death.

I am also intrigued by the idea that this realm contains the "residues of long abandoned cults," for this surely accords with human experience. For example, what is Islamism but a revival of the pagan cult of human sacrifice? Perhaps this even explains the weeping and hysteria that accompany the climate change cult. I was discussing this with a friend just yesterday, and we were trying to understand the source of their strange cultish energy that is so far beyond reason (even while absurdly couched in their pseudo-reason). It must be that they are plucking a face from the ancient gallery and tapping into one of these archetypal pre-Christian cults.

It is also important to point out that this is the realm where human imagination intersects the divine planes, i.e., the realm of healthy imagination, without which it would be impossible to understand religious symbolism or "see" spirit. But it is also a realm of dangerously unhealthy imagination, for when the human imagination merges with an obscure or elemental force, it can produce monsters, something that Unknown Friend describes in MOTT (probably in the Devil card chapter, which I believe discusses the creation of mind parasites and the generation of demons).

The imagination is an "organ of perception," without which the artist could not function. But notice how common it is for the imagination of the spiritually untutored artist to be hijacked by other forces. In our day and age, it is almost the rule, not exception -- you know, "all the lousy little poets tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson" (Cohen), to say nothing of the creepy safe school czars trying to outfist Robert Mapplethorpe.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Lucky Man Who Made the Grade

That's not something you see every night. I dreamt I was the goat of game one of the World Series -- mental errors, failing to cover, bouncing pitches, throwing to the wrong man, etc. Afterwards a sportswriter asked how I felt about my performance. "I'd give it a B+... Also, let's not forget the mess I inherited from my manager. After all, he was foolish enough to put me into the game, and how do you expect me to recover from a mistake of that magnitude?"

Let's finish up with Father Rose's account of the afterlife. Much of what he says will no doubt provoke the Jesus Willies in some readers, so I will take the liberty of translighting it into plain coonglish, in a manner he would no doubt disapprove of. As always, the Sons of Toots have no place to rest their heads. The folks we like don't like us, and the folks we don't like do. Oh well. That's why we have each other.

Father Rose notes that one way to distinguish contemporary near-death experiences from actual experiences of heaven, is that in the case of the latter, "the soul is always conducted to heaven by an angel or angels, and never 'wanders' into it or goes of its own motive power," like you can into a White House state dinner.

Similarly, in the near-death literature, one is often said to have the choice of movin' on up or "returning" to earth. But in real life -- or death -- this is apparently not the case. Rather, "the genuine experience of heaven occurs not by the choice of man but only at the command of God, fulfilled by his angels." In contrast, the typical out-of-body experience does not involve angels, being that it really "takes place right here, in the air above us, still in this world."

It reminds me of all the strange experiences available to a fellow who ingests a bit of psilocybin. To paraphrase Terence McKenna, there are whole parallel worlds teeming with activity, just a few chemical microns away from this one. But these are just subtle, or less material, aspects of this world, similar to the unconscious. All kinds of crazy stuff goes on down there -- see the dream above -- but that doesn't make it "heaven." These alternate worldspaces are still very much a part of this world.

Father Rose did say that there seems to be an increase in the occurrence of occult experiences these days. Why is this? In fact, Schuon made the same point, and felt it had to do with the law of "cosmic compensation" that -- and I'm paraphrasing here from memory -- makes up for the general spiritual deterioration of our culture with a very focused infusion of grace for the sincere seeker.

Thus, truly, it is the best/worst of times, an irony of which I am constantly aware. That is, never before in human history has the perennial wisdom been so readily available, and yet, never before has it been so devalued or just ignored by the masses. True, there is in a sense "more for the rest of us," the living remnant, so we got that going for us. Nevertheless, no sane person enjoys peacefully sitting in Upper Tonga while watching the world go to hell in a handbasket.

For Father Rose, "the marked increase in 'other-worldly' experiences is doubtless one of the signs of the approaching end of this world." This kind of statement is easy to misinterpret, but when he says "end of the world," I take it to mean something similar to what has happened in the past, when one world violently ended in order to give birth to another.

This has occurred on many occasions, and it is always a wrenching experience -- say, the end of the Roman Empire, or the transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy. People casually talk about the "information revolution," as if they know what it is. But we may have only seen the tip of a world-historical iceberg with extremely far-reaching and fundamentally unpredictable consequences -- as unpredictable, say, as the acquisition of literacy among the masses instead of just a handful of elites at the top.

We don't yet understand the consequences of the internet, and of "every man his own journalist," so to speak. FDR was the first president to capitalize on the new medium of radio, while JFK was the first to exploit television. We haven't yet reached the tipping point at which information becomes completely decentralized with the eventual death of the MSM -- which clearly does not provide useful "information," but a kind of top-down stability, a common mythology for the under- and overeducated. No one has any idea what will emerge from the complex and a non-linear system that results from the extinction of the state-controlled media.

When a system enters a chaotic phase, I think heaven (and hell!) is "closer," so to speak. Father Rose says that "as the present world approaches its end, the world of eternity looms nearer.... The end of the world merges with the beginning of eternal life."

This makes perfect sense if you apply the principle to your own life. Think of death, for example. When a loved one dies, you are plunged into a very different space; or, it is as if this one is infused with, or interpenetrated by, another. It's the same with psychoanalytic therapy, which facilitates a "willed breakdown," so to speak, so that a new consciousness will spontaneously emerge from the rubble. But it is an intrinsically dangerous process, because one really doesn't know what will emerge. Any therapist who promises outcome X is simply fooling you and fooling himself, because complex and non-linear systems just don't work that way.

Which, of course, speaks to one of the root fallacies of the left, the belief that you can tinker with one aspect of a complex system in order to arrive at the preferred outcome. Have you ever wondered why the very same people who believe in state control of the economy also believe in the pseudo-science of climate change? This is the reason why. Their minds are pre-programmed to believe that the world is as linear and predictable as their models of it, and that it is possible for the human mind to master the literally infinite amount of information in a system as complex as the economy or climate.

Back to the seeming closeness of heaven and earth in these troubled times. Father Rose writes that "never before has mankind been given such striking and clear proofs -- or at least 'hints' -- that there is another world, that life does not end with the death of the body, that there is a soul that survives death and is indeed more conscious and alive after death." But what do people do with it? Most seem to simply become more confused. It reminds me of the gift of literacy. What do most people do with it? Basically just waste it on garbage and trivia.

Now some intriguing details. Father Rose says that "the dying person's spiritual vision often begins even before death," apparently because the two worlds are drawing closer together, so to speak. It is as if the other world penetrates and infuses this one with a peculiar but distinct energy, something most people can experience when in the presence of the dying loved one.

Since premature death was so much more commonplace in the past, I wonder if people were much more aware of this space, or even lived in it most of the time? For them, the security we take for granted was an extreme rarity, if it occurred at all. People were not secure in their person, their health, their food supply, nothing. Thus, perhaps it was much easier for them to acknowledge the one true source of security in the Absolute.

This again speaks to the historical irony of contemporary man, whose increased security causes him to hold on that much more tightly to those very things that moth and rust doth corrupt, except a bit more slowly. Again, for this reason, spiritual progress is simultaneously easier and more difficult than ever before. Nevertheless, I give myself a B+.

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