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."


walt said...

"...all organizations, from the AMA to the ABA to the APA ... devolve and descend into liberalism if the permanent truths are forgotten."

I had a brief conversation just yesterday with a man who earns his living as a physician, an M.D. Somewhere along the line, the subject of "stress" came up.

"People are under a lot of stress these days," he said. And I agreed that they are.

"And they're going to be under a lot more pretty soon," he said, "because this Global Warming shit is REALLY REAL! As I'm sure you are aware!"

I replied that, in fact, I am aware of what is going on.

He said, "What we really need is for the entire electrical grid to collapse. That way, people wouldn't feel so disconnected...they'd have more compassion for one another, person to person."

I started to protest that my little hermitage is heated by a pellet stove which requires electricity, and that it is, after all, cold around here in winter -- but he continued before I could say anything: "People aren't going to do this on their own, you know. They're going to have to be forced to do it!"

I allowed that he was correct -- about having to be forced, and all. Then I asked him how things were going in his personal life. He said, "Oh, very well, thanks. I've been making great progress spiritually of late!"

Thus, methinks, as today's post says, "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."

Magnus Itland said...

Yeah, the problem with Hell is that since it is within, you won't avoid it simply by not dying. If you live long enough, you will still be utterly consumed by it, unless something is done to stop it.

I wonder if this is not a lesson of the mythos of antediluvian longevity. Rather than create a utopia, the long-lived people let loose Hell on Earth. Surely this is a warning to us, not that Genesis is playing in reverse. Already we have reached the stage where we have one language, and God says: Whatever they put their mind to, nothing will be impossible for them now. There is no goal more fervently sought than longevity. Yet, a longevity with demonic tendencies steadily growing inside is no better than death: You go to Hell and suffer unspeakable agony of the soul anyhow. Isn't that so?

wv: axida

Susannah said...


julie said...

Susannah, there's something downright evil about "honoring" Dr. King in the same breath as those who have focused their lives on controlling the world's population, and about the award being given by the group most responsible for keeping the African-American population in check.


Anonymous said...

you are wrong about Dawkins and Christmas. But I don't suppose facts have ever been allowed to get in the way of a good theory around here.

I also like how the bright bulbs here seem to think they have a better sense of what's appropriate for how Rev. King should be honored than the man himself.

Anonymous said...

God has complicity in all vice.

For one thing, no one in her right mind could have made up an appetite such as the one that propels Tiger Woods. It is just too gauche for words.

It has to be God pulling these kind of strings.

The Devil? Cmon, the Devil is God is disguise. We all know that.

So, what exactly is sin?

As you imply, it is the process of being ignorant, of not paying attention. If Tiger Woods had paid attention, he would have said, "I will not dance to this tune, God. I see you there, pulling the strings."

But no. Tiger mistook his urges as his own. Ignorantly. But--

It might not even have done much good to pay attention. If something itches bad enough, you must scratch. Must. We all know that feeling; it can wear you down.

It is possible Tiger W. is entirely, completely innocent of any sin whatsoever regarding his outsized sexual needs. Think about it. He just got worn down and had to scratch it, and scratch it hard.

Let those among us that have never scratched cast the first stones.

Susannah said...

I was referring as much to King's acceptance speech as to the award named after the baby-killing racist. The sick irony.

Richard Dawkins said...

Please do not presume to speak for me, Anonyorthogonal, for you only make us both look stupid. As I made plain in my article, Religion's Real Child Abuse "What shall we tell the children?" is a superb polemic on how religions abuse the minds of children, by the distinguished psychologist Nicholas Humphrey.... I strongly recommend it. Humphrey argues that, in the same way as Amnesty works tirelessly to free political prisoners the world over, we should work to free the children of the world from the religions which, with parental approval, damage minds too young to understand what is happening to them. He is right, and the same lesson should inform our discussions of the current pedophile brouhaha. Priestly groping of child bodies is disgusting. But it may be less harmful in the long run than priestly subversion of child minds."

Anonymous said...

A note regarding attention:

A person should take care to incorporate observation, interview, and record reviews when making assertions.

Observations are always the strongest form of evidence.

Interviews are second best, and record reviews last.

Do not make assertions based solely on what your read. These fail to reach the preponderance of evidence needed.

If you can make an observation, then back it up with interviews and record review, then you've got something.

It is best not to make assertions based on incomplete investigations.

This all ties in to paying attention, which ties in to the avoidance of sin.

All raccoons should hone their investigatory skills to a fine edge.

Start today.

Susannah said...

Somebody here's got an itch, but it would probably be better for everyone if he scratched out of public view.

Susannah said...

Well, thanks to the Copenhagen Effect, I cannot even open my front door. And this in VA.

Anonymous said...

Thank You for this post. . .it will go in my wallet with some of the other best ones . . .Question is, how do we break out of our enslavement to earthly desires etc. Sometimes I read these things and I am infused with a sort of strength, but then a few hours later. . . back to the same old me. . .

Cousin Dupree said...

Good question. Hang on a sec, let me go get my nine iron. Now, closer... closer... perfect.

River Cocytus said...


Saw 'Avatar' last night.. as per Walt's run-in: A desire strongly spoken of a false naturalistic paradise.

Or my tweetsize review:

"Fern Gully for the Halo Generation"

Vapid, but to be fair, I was expecting this delightful fairy tale rather than a pagan materialist corruption of 'Out of the Silent Planet.' The aforementioned series was called 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' so my mistake might have been excusable?

Had I come with no expectations I would have enjoyed the ride without taking note of the Leftism.

I had another preview of the tollhouses while I was there. Lord have mercy!

julie said...

Re. Dr. King, admittedly I didn't read the entire thing earlier. I'm on my iPhone, and the first graphs were disturbing enough that I didn't feel the need to ignore present family and read the rest. I have now read it.

Obviously, at the time he considered it an honor, and to a lot of minds back then population control was a noble cause. A lot of people today still believe that, wrongfully IMO. History has shown that such measures always end up in the service of evil. Had Dr. King foreseen that the offices of Planned Parenthood would be the final resting place of a disproportianately large number of unborn black children, he may have felt rather differently. After all, his dream becomes more difficult to realize when there are comparatively fewer black children to participate.

Still, as Susannah first noted, YUCK.

Warren said...

The MLK thing is like (insert name of Jewish leader here) accepting the Adolf Eichmann Award. Beyond surreal.

Warren said...

>> anything that is not explicitly conservative eventually becomes liberal

I think that's O'Sullivan's Law (after John O'Sullivan of National Review).

coonified said...

B+...isn't that a type of psilocybin mushroom. I wouldn't know.

Just read the last three post, and I think I've been keeping up within the last week or so. I'm liking the discussion on the afterlife and such, and I just want to say that I more or less have the same views on the issue...from my experience.

About dreaming, though…Got a question...I basically went from having an out of body experience about once every week or so, plus the occasional lucid dream, archetypal dream, seeing images like geometric shapes that felt very good, animals (bright burning lions face staring at me.), hearing unheard ecstatic never ending symphonies and songs from another life or worlds, to not even dreaming at all. I just don't dream anymore, and if I do, it all happens on the other side instead spilling through into the conscious side. This has been going on for 8 months to maybe a year; and that stuff above was not cause by mushrooms, just to set that straight. Psilocybin is interesting , though.

What do you think about this Gagdad? I know I'm growing at a high rate of speed, so the lack of dreaming doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is just sitting still in relation to archetypal man. Things are getting better by the month, and the tractor beam is more or less building into a solid concentrated form above the head in a very tangible way, and it's getting intense to the point that...well it's like the choas that happens right before a sonic boom, and then smooth speedy sailing thereafter. I give myself another two years before I really start identifying with the body that leads into a low grade of samadhi, or waking sleep. I've experienced it once in a very effortized meditation session, and it felt like I fell downward into a soft cushion within my body, while the body became light a feather. Yet I was still conscious and peered outward just as always.

Do you think that the more conscious we become, the less we actually dream? Or, the more this world is brought into clarity through immediate uninhibited acquisition of knowledge via an ever more healthy epistemi, do nocturnal transmissions from the uncs become more and more unnecessary? I just don’t understand. I mean, I don’t really care to have dreams anymore, but now I’m just left wondering why none now? Why aren’t dreams just as necessary now as they were two years ago?

As far as I see it, dreams are just dreams, and the reason that they are there at night is because they are not yet real in day. Or, in another way, elements that are taken to be real during the day have their conscious life during the night, when no one else is looking. I’m talking about significant dreams, and not the goofy types. These type dreams are more like insight impinging from without, instead of a point of consciousness extending outward in order to discover something.


coonified said...


What would we have left to discuss if I were a patient who stopped dreaming? Personally, I look at it as an opportunity to relax a little. No dreams, no work and worries. There’s some very good sleep to be had when the world and all its personalities stop following you down into uncs. (And there's good death to be had if we could only die alone?)

I think I was really dead all those years, btw. So when I say that I was externalized over and over again, I’m basically saying that a part of me would have floated off into the afterlife had it not been held close by the gravitation of something beyond it, that being the bright part of me who has a life before him. I had good and bad experiences through being exteriorized. I saw demons and specters with weird echoic voices just like one would expect from a limbo world. I’ve seen a white robed figure standing at my door not long before I discovered Aurobindo, and while I tried to follow him into what appeared to be light, I could only get so far away from my body before I pretty much passed out and floated back into the body.

I have a hard time believing that this is my soul, though. It just seems like a part, or maybe even a coagulation of parts, to me. I don’t want to be anything but a supermind who can dream whatever he likes, albeit that the dream expresses the good, beautiful, and true.


Just my own personal metaphor, but the dynamic of life and death resembles an upsidedown lava lamp. Substance floats upward where it firstly heats up and burns, and just as it experiences true weightlessness and maybe even God, it descends again into the density of matter for a little more “time.” I do think this is limited to what’s going on right now, though, instead of what may be in the future, just as I’m not really sure that there might ultimately be an “afterlife.” Seems to me that there is only one life relating to naked platonic essences and the like, and that within birth and rebirth, there is a secret thread, or continuum of self that shines forever. All the stuff in between just means we have problems.

Another topic from some post back: Isn’t dualism a knot in relation to the non-dual? In the end it just unravels once and for all, and perhaps is seen as never being there to begin with? There’s one life, and then its fragmented negations, negations which then carry over--and cause--into the heavens and the hells and the delicate balance between the two. Like the dynamic of waking and sleeping, heaven and hell, life and death, maybe there does exist a “waking sleep,” a true heaven that doesn’t depend on it’s polar opposite of hell, and a “living death,” or more appropriately, a resurrected life in the flesh beyond the normal cycle of this world. I really wished I could attain that for economic reasons. Less sleep equals more work/play time for me. But it wouldn’t really be less sleep. Well, you know.

Sleep's there to repair things. But if things weren't in the habit of decomposing everyday, we wouldn't have to forget day and repair all night to begin with. How would the afterlife fit into that scheme if the same principle was applied to life and death?

Gagdad Bob said...

--Do you think that the more conscious we become, the less we actually dream?

No, not necessarily. Your dream life will change as you change, and you should always pay attention to it. But there's nothing you can do about it anyway, any more than you can do something about physical growth when you're a child, so it seems like you're over-thinking it.

Anonymous said...

The idea that Margaret Sanger was some sort of racist monster is, like so much of what is taken for gospel on the right, pretty much bullshit.

Margaret Sanger said...

Anonyorthogonal, please don't distort my work. You only make us both look like idiots. The lower down in the scale of human development we go the less sexual control we find. It is said that the aboriginal Australian, the lowest known species of the human family, just a step higher than the chimpanzee in brain development, has so little sexual control that police authority alone prevents him from obtaining sexual satisfaction on the streets.

Jim said...

Anon, you can't be that naive, you must be willfully blind.
Margaret Sanger was the founder of American Birth Control League (which eventually became Planned Parenthood). She promoted contraception and negative eugenics.
Even liberal wikipedia acknowledges her stand on eugenics, you know,that's where us smart folks get rid of the not so smart ones.

Thank your Mom for not buying into that crap.

Northern Bandit said...

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.

That was without question the most incisive, direct and total disemboweling of the whole Dawkins phenomenon I've yet read. One's reaction to this reveals something primal about one's character and elemental constitution. I would've laughed off this passage 20 years ago; today it is as clear as a bell entirely due to the Grace that I for some reason have received, though I did not deserve it.

wv: grati

Thanks indeed!