Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Who is What and What is Who, and Always the Twain Shall Meet

HvB spends considerable time on the irreducible distinction between essence and existence. In short, "the attempt to express even in the barest terms that something is cannot be made without stating what it is." It seems that for the subject, the most basic complementarity is between isness and whatness -- without which there could not be a subject. What is is I AM, and vice versa.

This might sound eggheady, but it's no yolk: to exist is be something, and to be something is to exist. The more you become who you are, i.e., manifest your essence, the more presence you will have. Therefore, there are degrees of existence, so that many if not most human beings are "not all there," while others are more or less "fully accounted for."

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but Jesus would be an example -- the quintessential example -- of someOne who was "completely here." Or, one might say that because he was completely here, so can we be; that is, we can be by virtue of sharing in his being (insert relevant scriptural passage from Nomo here __:__).

Therefore, because of this complementarity, "as soon as we begin thinking we have gotten our hands on either essence or existence, it points immediately to the other pole as the seat of the mystery" (HvB). This very much reminds me of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle in quantum physics, whereby the more one knows about the position of a subatomic particle, the less one knows about its velocity, and vice versa.

Now that I think about it, it also reminds me of Uncle Hyman's uncertainty principle, in which it is impossible to choose between the pastrami and corned beef, since both are "to die for."

In fact, I don't think it would be stretching the analogy to say that essence is analogous to the nonlocal wave, whereas existence is analogous to the local particle. But in reality, anything is always both, in a way that our linear minds cannot comprehend because of the very fact that they are linear and in the field of local time. (You could say that Finnegans Wake was an attempt to tell the entire story of mankind from the nonlocal perspective, which is why the book is so perversely impenetrable to the [merely] logical mind.)

But obviously, since our minds are at one with the very processes that undergird the cosmos, there must be some deeper way in which they mirror this complementarity. And indeed there is, for it is none other than O-->(n), O being (among other things) the nonlocal ocean of being, (n) being its local manifestation. (Looked at another way, O is the "Father," ¶ the "son," at least through adoption.)

Alternatively, another way of looking at it would be through the lens of Ignacio Matte Blanco's "bi-logic," in which there is always a complementarity between the asymmetrical aristotelian logic of our conscious mind and the "symmetrical logic" of the unconscious mind.

In fact, I would say that what we call the "unconscious" is actually the realm of symmetrical logic, in the absence of which we could not be human. Without it, we would be like automatons living in flatland -- like a Vulcan, as it were. On the one hand, the symmetrical logic of the unconscious is what provides the "spice of life," so that nothing really is (merely) as it appears to be. However, it is also where mind parasites hide out, safe from the prying eyes of the conscious mind. You could definitely say that symmetrical logic is a mind parasite "force multiplier."

As I think I explained in the Coonifesto, mind parasites would not be so problematic if it were simply a matter of showing the person the flaw in their logic: "oh, how stupid of me! It's illogical to for me to dress in women's clothing and hang out in a biker bar."

The problem is that, because they are lodged in the unconscious, the mind parasites partake of the logic of symmetry; it is not that they are illogical, but that they operate along the lines of an entirely different kind of logic. (Best intro to the difficult ideas of Matte Blanco here; here is the only other thinker of whom I am aware that applies his ideas to theology, albeit in a more liberal manner than I would).

So, it seems that being, which is one, eternally bifurcates into essence and existence. This is the irreducible business of isness, through which everything is always more than it is. Thus, as HvB explains, being "bears in itself a wealth that cannot be consumed like a finite sum of money." Rather -- and this is an important point -- "It has a secret opening, through which never-failing replenishments of sense and significance ceaselessly flow to it from eternity."

This is none other than "Coon Central," or "upper Coonopolis." where I would prefer to be a stooge over being a prince in the comparatively mundane world of the therebelow. The "secret openings" to which HvB refers are of course the vertical springs that dot the landscape for those with activated cʘʘnvision -- you know, the manley inscape hatches which free us from the gaol of life.

On the one hand, existence is an outpouring of being, a nonstop revelation. But on the other hand, for this very reason, it is ultimately an "impenetrable veil." Why? Because even while existence reveals essence, no one ever gets to the essence. Rather, people only imagine they do -- simple, quasi-animals such as atheists, radical leftists, IRS agents, etc. I don't know what I'd do if my existence weren't magically renewed each morning. But thank God,

"No knower ever exhausts the marvel that things simply exist; and even if a lover were to imagine that he truly knew his beloved's essence, he would still daily renew his thanks to the beloved for the sheer wonder of her existence" (HvB). And this is why the male Raccoon is so thankful for his daily broad.

The sword of being slices right between essence and existence:


Spock said...

I'm only half Vulcan!!


RR :-)

julie said...

This very much reminds me of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle in quantum physics, whereby the more one knows about the position of a subatomic particle, the less one knows about its velocity, and vice versa.

Hm. I wonder if that's partly analogous to why most saints have no idea they are saints. If they stopped what they were doing to notice just where exactly they were in proximity to the Absolute, they would probably both lose their velocity (which means they might even start falling right back to square one) and as a result, their position, as it were. Thus, one should never worry too much about either of these things, instead staying fixed on the Object and how to get there from anywhere.

Rick said...

Bob, has this ever happened to you?

Van Harvey said...

"... it's no yolk: to exist is be something, and to be something is to exist."

Except in wackedemic circles where it is not only no yolk, it is considered downright impolite to state that something exists at all, let alone as some thing in particular. Good grief, that would open the door to identity, and meaning, and principles... and.. and that something that is some thing, would imply that there was some thing that Ought to be done, when something is done.... (shiver). That'd be a veritible multi-culti meltdown, that would.

Van Harvey said...

Skully's probably still sleeping it off, but with that picture, somebody's got to say it,


Northern Bandit said...

Does God Exist? Hitchens vs. Craig

Gotta give Hitch credit for going up against someone who is actually able to debate coherently. A typical tactic of the atheist set is to "debate" some well-meaning but simple-minded evangelical whose every tautological response they then mock.

I still think Hitch would get completely creamed by Bob, who possesses a far more potent arsenal then this scholar, who mostly relies on tradititional theological doctrine to counter the punch-drunk (and drunk-drunk, no doubt) Chris Hitchens.

Alas Bob treasures slack and freedom from the barbarian horde too much to go in for public evisceration of atheists -- but one can dream...

robinstarfish said...

Kudos to Biola for hosting the debate. I can't imagine such an event being allowed during my time there (70-72). Things have changed apparently.

Unfortunately, audio doesn't seem to be available, but from all accounts, Hitchens found that writing a book is one thing, but going up against a prepared adversary is quite another.

Agree about Bob - that would be Ali vs. Mickey Rourke.

ximeze said...

We budding lady-slayers must hone our arts. Arrr

Anonymous said...

Bob and fellow tribe members,

I just bought a synthesizer because I want to learn an instrument and more about the mystery of music, both theory and practically. I have never in my life before played any kind of instrument. All of a suddenly it came over me and I knew I just had to do something about it. After some consideration, learning to play the piano had to be the way to start off.

It is actually true what Bob has said here before, about other people who earlier have got the same kind of inspiration to all kinds of creative activities. I have to confess, I smiled and thought “well, let’s see about that”, then I first read about it here a year and a half back. Open up yourself to the Big Kahuna, or 0, and you will get new inspiration. The future will tell if talent comes in the same package. Basically, I have only learned to turn the thing on. But the most fantastic thing is that now I know that, and also how, God can speak to us.

From the bottom of my heart Bob, thank you for introducing me to the guy!

And now, having said that, I will finish reading the post, then go back to practicing.


Susannah said...

I love the sword brandished at the princess party! Priceless. Also priceless is the "business of isness." Good post, Bob! I'm looking forward to NoMo's reference, too.

ximeze said...

Johan, how wonderful. May your practice bring you joy!

will said...

>>The more you become who you are, i.e., manifest your essence, the more presence you will have<<

Yes, and to paraphrase Martin Buber, when otherness has no power over us and we become our unique selves, we are redeemed. Pure uniqueness and pure perfection are one.

Therein is the glory of the great spiritual experiment that is the USA - the chance to become truly ourselves. All that might inhibit us from doing so, all that squashes the individual's creative spirit, eg., socialism and its spin-offs, is evil, plain and simple.

will said...

Re: a Bob vs. Hitchens debate -

Debates are debates only if the debaters exist on the same plane (of consciousness). Same goes for all true oppositions, which is particularly true considering that true oppositions "contain each other" in many ways.

Trust me, Bob and Hitchens are not opposites. They exist on entirely different planes of consciousness. Winning a debate means that your argument must resonate with your opponent, and there is no way in hell that Bob's presentation could possibly resonate with Hitchens.

lame duck said...

Haven't fully read the post yet and have yet to see the Hitchens debate, but RIcky that David Byrne interview is awesome! Never saw that before...

Ok, back to it here. Have a good day everyone.

julie said...

Johan, that's awesome!

julie said...

off topic, but Seraphic Secret today has a post about The Pesach Seder, The Order of the Passover Meal. I love all the symbolism involved - it adds another dimension to my understanding of, well, a few things.

Rick said...

Glad you liked it, Lame Duck.

OT, but not really, has River gone missing?

Van Harvey said...

Ricky said "OT, but not really, has River gone missing?"

I was wondering that too... I checked in on his site a week or so ago, and seemed like he was working on working some things out....

Rick said...

Thanks, Van.
Was thinking about you too, actually :-)
OT again, (sorry, Bob)
Here ‘tis: the Founders were pretty precise about their language. This is more your area than mine, Van, that’s why I ask. But what do you suppose the Founders actually meant by “promote the general welfare” in the context of the Preamble? I’m certain they chose “promote” over all other words. I mean, I’m pretty sure what they meant and definitely what they didn’t mean :-) But have you seen this word “promote” discussed in the context of the Preamble... discussed back then? …because I’d be interested in reading it.

Gagdad Bob said...

It simply meant to promote the general welfare within the constraints of the enumerated powers, certainly not to give license to a leviathan "welfare state," otherwise the Constitution is a worthless piece of paper with no constraints whatsoever. Which is what the left has turned it into.

Rick said...

Yep. We agree.
I was asking what the Founders had written about it, since it seems near to being center to the document as our rights being bestowed only from God. Van seems to have a good handle on the written resources… In other words, I get the sense they discussed this specific thing at length having just immediately rejected their Monarchy…

Rick said...

The word “welfare” has been hijacked. Next, if it doesn’t sell, the Left will rename “Universal Healthcare” the “Freedom Plan” as if that were just invented, thank them, very much..

Van Harvey said...

Ricky, regarding the Premable and 'Promote', aside from what Gagdad said (correctly), check out the relevant links on the 'Preamble' page here, from "The Founders Constitution" (which I've ref'd ad nauseum before).

On a quick review, I'd point out in particular,
Link #7, "Records of the Federal Convention":
"A preamble seems proper. Not for the purpose of designating the ends of government and human polities--This display of theory, howsoever proper in the first formation of state governments, is unfit here; since we are not working on the natural rights of men not yet gathered into society, but upon those rights, modified by society, and interwoven with what we call the rights of states--Nor yet is it proper for the purpose of mutually pledging the faith of the parties for the observance of the articles--This may be done more solemnly at the close of the draught, as in the confederation--But the object of our preamble ought to be briefly to declare, that the present foederal government is insufficient to the general happiness; that the conviction of this fact gave birth to this convention; and that the only effectual mode which they can devise, for curing this insufficiency, is the establishment of a supreme legislative executive and judiciary--Let it be next declared, that the following are the constitution and fundamentals of government for the United States--"

Also the third link "Virginia Declaration of Rights, secs. 2--3, 12 June 1776",

and Joseph Story's comments on the Constitution, linked down at the bottom, address the full preamble, and Paragraphs 496-501 address the actual phrase "Promote the general welfare", as common law enforcement, defense, roads, etc.

I'm telling you guys, if you want to understand the Constitution as the Founders did - for and against it - this is the site to study from.

Van Harvey said...

If Madison saw how 'Welfare' and the Commerce Clause have been distorted (btw, he mocked some who attempted to stretch it, for their not realizing that such idiocy would put the federal gov't unchecked into every corner of our lives. Huh.), he'd be spitting fire.

Rick said...

Thanks, Van.
Incidentally, Levin’s book does a great job of describing the power reversal of the States' power gone to the Federal government. In his chapter, “On Federalism” he describes how the states knew they would be stronger as a united nation, but so feared they would lose their power to it – and so they have… I think it’s something most people take for granted…that we were states first. I mean, even though I knew that fact, it’s still educational to see some depth written about it, from sort of, the state’s perspective back then.

Oh…I heard a second supply of Levin’s books have made it to bookstore shelves.

NoMo said...

"...Jesus would be an example -- the quintessential example -- of someOne who was "completely here." Or, one might say that because he was completely here, so can we be; that is, we can be by virtue of sharing in his being (insert relevant scriptural passage from Nomo here __:__)."

Since you asked, I'll have to go with John 15:1-11...from the mouth of The Man to His disciples...The Vine to the branches (I suggest moving through this oh so slowly, like sap)...

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."


Van Harvey said...

Ricky, Yep on the Federalism chapter.

Also along those lines, from the next to last link on the page ref'd above, James Monroe, Views of the President of the United States on the Subject of Internal Improvements,
"There were two separate and independent governments established over our Union, one for local purposes over each State by the people of the State, the other for national purposes over all the States by the people of the United States. The whole power of the people, on the representative principle, is divided between them. The State governments are independent of each other, and to the extent of their powers are complete sovereignties. The National Government begins where the State governments terminate, except in some instances where there is a concurrent jurisdiction between them. This Government is also, according to the extent of its powers, a complete sovereignty. I speak here, as repeatedly mentioned before, altogether of representative sovereignties, for the real sovereignty is in the people alone."

The Constitution itself, and especially within the context of the ratification debates, is clear what it was intended for, and not for, but as Vanderleun's comment credo reminds us:"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.", ultimately it rests with us to call Bullshit! on the a*holes who seek to twist our safeguards into their power over us - if we don't, shame on us.

QP said...


A hallmark of free nations is the recognition of the individual's freedom of conscience. Tyrant states do not protect conscience; they strangle it.

From Choice to Coercion -> On Thursday, April 9, the US government will close the 30-day period allotted for public comment on President Obama's proposal to eliminate the "conscience clause" that protects health-care workers.

Although the Obama administration appears determined to make the change, citizens can go on the record in support of the rights of health-care workers who do not wish to be involved in immoral procedures. Without the protection of the "conscience clause," doctors, nurses, and pharmacists may face penalties if they refuse to participate in abortion, sterilization, contraception, sex-change operations, in vitro fertilization, and other procedures that the Church condemns.

In the link is a link for sending emails to HHS.

Anonymous said...

Well, I exist but I'm not liking it so much.

I feel like a trapped animal.

I have cravings which are continually frustrated; I can't get any peace of mind.

This sucks. Hopefully as the evening may bring changes.

walt said...

Bob -

Thanks for yesterday's link to Velociworld. Very refreshing to see my own conclusions reiterated so, um ... so precisely.

julie said...

As it happens, part of that supply landed on my doorstep this afternoon. I haven't dipped into it yet, though.

Rick said...

That’s great. Does the copyright page say “First Threshold Editions hardcover edition March 2009”?

Rick said...

Almost forgot about the Federalism chapter. I don’t think I recall anyone fleshing-out “one of the most important aspects” of federalism which empowers the individual: mobility. Don’t like a state’s laws? Move to another state. But if all the states are the same, there’s no where to go.

julie said...

Ricky, yes, it does. Does that make a difference?

Rick said...

I was just curious. They said they ran out of the “first run” so I wondered if the second batch may have some mark on that page.

Gagdad Bob said...

Interesting: first meeting with Schuon.

Gagdad Bob said...

Another good one.

julie said...

Thanks for those, Bob - are there any other good ones?

Gagdad Bob said...

Too many to view, but here is a good one on Deepak and the diabolical new age.

Rick said...

This one.

Rick said...

This one too.

Gagdad Bob said...

Also this one.

Northern Bandit said...


"there is no way in hell that Bob's presentation could possibly resonate with Hitchens"

Not as Hitchens is right now, definitely not. However I'll remind you that many of us here were as ignorant and benighted in the past as Hitchens is today. Bob himself often mentions his liberal daze of yore.

I guess I'm concerned over the sheer number of people in the West for whom Hitchens does resonate, and who lack access to influences such as Bob -- and you, Will, for that matter. Like most people who have hung around here for a while, I have derived enormous benefit from OC. I just feel that many, many more people are as deserving if not more so -- and it hurts to realize that huge numbers may never be exposed to Truth. We (who were once libtards) are lucky: we escaped. Frankly is what pretty much luck that got me here -- certainly no inherently superior spiritual characteristics.

Just wish we could up the wattage on WKOC... get more folks in touch with their inner 'coon (cuz we all have it -- even Hitchens I suspect).

julie said...

Ask, and ye shall receive. Awesome.

Gagdad Bob said...

Or seek and you shall find.

julie said...

That, too.

julie said...

Though that last video also leaves me wondering, against my better judgment perhaps, what becomes of the man who does not pray...

Gagdad Bob said...

Prayer has so many dimensions and meanings. It is possible for one's whole life to be a prayer, as it were, in that it is "aimed at God." Certainly it is possible for thinking to be a kind of prayer. A person who in no way prays is in no way vertical, and essentially dead.

julie said...

There is a reason I wonder, though. Last summer, after seeing the 2nd Batman movie the first time, I was discussing it with a friend. There was one scene toward the end that I found so startling in its omission, it ejected me from the thrall of the storyline.

I won't give a spoiler as to the result, for those who haven't seen it, but the scene with the boats, where hundreds of people expected to die horribly at any second? Nobody was praying. I found that shocking, and counter to human nature, and said so to my friend. He shrugged and looked at me askance, noting that he didn't think it fit into the context of the movie. Who prays in comics? Also, and more notably, he said it wouldn't occur to him to pray - nor did he expect it would occur to many of the people he knew.

It's been bothering me ever since, like a sliver of dog hair that's stuck in your clothes and keeps scratching the skin, but blends in with the fibers so you can't find it.

What kind of world is it, where prayer - even the most simplistic and elemental - is abnormal?

julie said...

Certainly it is possible for thinking to be a kind of prayer. A person who in no way prays is in no way vertical, and essentially dead.

But that leads me to wonder, too - can real love be a form of prayer, even if not directed expressly toward God?

will said...

Bandit -

No, it wasn't luck that got you here, but Providence - and this would not have happened if you weren't in some way open to it, if you hadn't made yourself vulnerable. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear, and so forth.

As far as Hitchens goes - yes, I think he'll be redeemed in the fullness of time. I really do think very few are destined for the ultimate Cosmic Chopping Block. However, he'll pay some serious dues before his redemption. That's because, unlike the pre-OC Bandit, Hitchens has crafted a virtual identity out of his atheism, he purveys it across the globe. Make no mistake, by this time Hitchens has surely been exposed to spirituality, but because of his ego-identification with atheism, he's locked into it in a way that I doubt you ever were.

Now, before I get all icky and judgmental, it could be that Hitchens and co. actually serve a divine purpose at this particular time, that of providing a rationalistic counter-weight to those would go off the new-agey deep end. That's really putting a positive spin on it, however.

will said...

Julie -

>> . . can real love be a form of prayer, even if not directed expressly toward God?<<

Real love has to be directed at something and that something is a portion of God, so I'd say, yeah, real love is a form of prayer.

I think anything done with full conscience and awareness is a form of prayer. For example, one has a love of cooking, then preparing a meal is prayer, provided one cooks with awareness.

Gratitude for one's own existence is a form of prayer. Gratitude for the existence of others, for animals, for trees, is a form of prayer. Such gratitude literally divinizes life, activates the slumbering holy sparks within all things, as the Kabbalist might say.

Silence, inner and outer, is a form of prayer.

Prayer, among other things, is a state of being, I believe.

Skully said...

Van said...
"Skully's probably still sleeping it off, but with that picture, somebody's got to say it,


Thanks Matey! That was a mighty fine Arrr! and good timin' to boot.
Keep practicin' and soon you'll be piloting the ship like Skully, and deepsixin' Greenpeace dingys, to n' fro the sea.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...


Tristan has swashbucklin' in his blood. Ain't no pirates takin' him captive.

FL: "Negotiations? Negotiate this!" :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Northern Bandit said-
"I still think Hitch would get completely creamed by Bob..."

No doubt about it. Hitchens would be on a permanent bender after the whoopin' Bob would put on his ass. :^)

Skully said...

Ximeze said...

"We budding lady-slayers must hone our arts. Arrr!"

The lad is a natural. Those Somalian pirates better hope they are extinct by the time FL grows up.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Will said-

"Winning a debate means that your argument must resonate with your opponent, and there is no way in hell that Bob's presentation could possibly resonate with Hitchens."

Good point, Will. Hitchens would happily commit cluelesside, and be none the wiser.
Not that it wouldn't be fun to watch Hitchens hanging by his own horizontal rope. But he wouldn't realize it.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...


Thanks for sharing. Have fun! It's never to late to discover more pOtential. :^)

julie said...

Thanks - I was thinking it might be sonething like that.

Northern Bandit said...

He Hitchens: his "argument" is essentially one long whine about the so-called theological "problem of evil".

Here's a quick tip for coons who wish to quickly get references to a specific topic in Gnowa's Arkive:

In Google use this syntax in the search box:

site: "problem of evil"

substituting for "problem of evil" whatever phrase or word(s) you are looking for. Putting a phrase in quotes will force Google to find only that precise phrase (hence narrowing my search to 39 Bobgrams). Leaving the quotes off will do a search that finds any post with the word problem OR the word evil which produces far too many Bobgrams to be useful.

The key part is the "site" designator, which forces Google to look only in Gnowa's Arkive, and not through the barbarian-infested intertube-as-a-hole.