Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Truth, Mystery, Language, and Interiority

HvB notes that everything in the cosmos necessarily points to the Creator, while simultaneously pointing back to its own non-necessity, or contingency. We didn't have to be, while God cannot not be.

To put it another way, creatures cannot help but to speak of God, whereas God didn't necessarily have to speak us. Rather, he could have only created man in freedom, just as we can only return the love in freedom -- which is ultimately derived from the very unnarcissary freedom in which we were created, or it isn't love.

But in knowing this, we come up against a horizon of unknowablility. In other words, we can posit a vague kind of deistic or demiurgic activity in the cosmos without knowing a thing about the interior life of God. In order to gain insight into that, it will require a positive act on the part of the Creator, a desire and willingness to be known -- indeed, just like any other "person." Persons are always veiled by an irreducible penumbra of mystery that cannot be penetrated, only voluntarily opened. And even then, to open oneself to the other is to share the essence of the mystery, not to eliminate it.

(This, I think, speaks to the horror of real torture, in which the sacred mystery of the other is violated; it most definitely does not speak to the waterboarding of a KSM, who would cynically use our Christian scruples as a shield to hide his demonic essence. His defense is hardly the sacred mystery of being, but the bottomless credulousness of the useful idiots of the left. Those leftists who are kind to the cruel are inevitably cruel to the kind, as Taranto demonstrates.)

Coincidentally, this is Easter week, in which it is said that God revealed his inner being and shared it with human beings in the most intimate possible way. Naturally, -- again, just as in any other person -- to reveal oneself to the other requires vulnerability, and it requires great strength to be so vulnerable; one is, as it were, delivering oneself into the hands of the other, in the "faith" that the other will not abuse the privilege. Thus, this assumes a kind of prior intimacy that will only deepen as a result of the shared intimacy.

But God, of course, never does things halfway, but always goes the whole hog. In the Passion, it is as if God reveals his essence to everyone, worthy and unworthy alike (although I suppose the point is that no one is really worthy of such an infinite sacrifice), to do with it what they will.

That many respond with violence and sadism pretty much tells you all you need to know about man. The pattern is repeated every time we do violence to truth, to beauty, to innocence. Imagine opening yourself up to mankind at large! It is the main reason I prefer anonymity. Just one barbarous troll is enough. Imagine millions. Imagine millions of people taking the truth into their teeth and violently shaking it like a dog in order to subdue it and make it edible on their terms.

The same sort of beast wishes for God to reveal himself like... I don't know, like a kind of religious pornography that also does violence to the mystery of being. As we have said before, pornography is any activity that does this, which is why we would say, for example, that metaphysical Darwinism is truly scientific porn, just as, say, Scientology or Deepak Chopra represent spiritual porn. In "demystifying," they actually attack the sacred mystery at the heart of God's being.

As Balthasar explains, the higher something is situated on the ladder of being, the more it is "surrounded by a protective veil that withdraws them, like something sacred, from the grasping hands of the profane. Only a mind without feeling for nobility and its need for protection will complain of this hiddenness."

God can only be approached with open hand, not with the greedy and grasping hands of a scientistic cretin. It is not that God has not revealed himself to Bill Maher; to the contrary, it is that Bill Maher has concealed himself from God in his own sanctuary of malignantly self-sufficient narcissism. He only sees a God who is as bitterly self-enclosed as he is, but for that reason, neither party really exists. Rather, that God is as dead as Maher. Maher is a figment in the imagination of his non-existent God.

Such postmodern barbarians "confuse hiddenness with a deficient rationality or brand with irrationality all those objects that are not accessible to the anonymous, public knowledge of the man on the street." The point is that All truth is rational, but not every intelligence is competent to know every truth (HvB). On this blog we obviously share the most intimate secrets, and we can all see what the unredeemed man does with them. What they do with them has no effect upon us, but only results in their own further auto-desecration and spiritual beclowning.

Which is a fascinating thing about Truth, is it not? Truly it is a sword that cuts both ways, giving Life to one man and Death to another (and vice versa). Returning to the Passion, was this not a meta-cosmic event that cut through the very heart of history like a great sword? That was a rhetorical question, bearing in mind that the wound that cuts through history runs straight through our own heart, just as the San Andreas fault runs directly below the Slackatoreum. In short, it's my fault, and I know it.

Mystery and interiority are virtually synonymous. Where one intuits mystery, one is also perceiving interiority. Again, mystery is not to be confused with "ignorance," but is a positive mode that points to an essence that can never be seen or touched. Rather, it is like a kind of "radiant darkness" at the heart of all things. But it is also coterminous with delight, is it not? For imagine living in a world in which nothing was protected by this veil of secrecy. Again, this would be a pornographic world, like a giant liberal university campus.

But in reality, because of the mystery of interiority, "there are no naked facts." If there were naked facts, they would have no significance whatsoever, because they would have no relation to the greater mystery of things. Nevertheless, it is this kind of detached facticity that seduces the scientistic or atheistic bonehead. This is none other than Sophia's ugly sister, Agnes, who will "give it up" for anyone -- Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Queeg, Mtraven, you name it. Personally, I wouldn't touch Agnes with a ten foot pole, knowing who's been there.

Here we cannot overlook that mystery of mysteries, language, for language, or the word, is the lifeline suspended between subjects and those who would know them. Thus, at one end, language is always plugged directly into the mystery of being.

But at the same time, it's like an extension cord that can get so far from the source that there's almost no power at the other end -- no "electricity," no "juice," no "zap." You will have noticed that the language of the secular left is entirely of this nature. It couldn't compete with a firefly, for it is plugged into the wrong end. This is the real reason why newspapers will die. There are almost no mainstream journalists who are plugged into the source. Rather, like all fallen men, their source is "the world."

And that is not all. When being is deprived of its mystery and interiority, it also loses its value, its "lovability." In reality, this attitude is a result of boredom, cynicism, and saturation. Ultimately it is the projection of one's own dead and saturated self into the world (there is a reason why our trolls are so boring, but also fascinated by the "life" of this site). Again: knowledge and mystery are not polar opposites, but functions of one another: "Truth is the unveiling of being," but there is always more to unveil.

Existence is surely not a "fact." Rather, it is nothing if not a mystery, and the more we know, the more the mystery deepens. I am the same person I was yesterday. Only more mysterious. Or, to zimmarize, you could say that I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.


More of the sane.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Frigid Lies and Molten Truth

Lately we've fallen into this pattern of touching on politics on the weekend, but returning to deeper things on Monday. This follows the upside down and inside out peltanschauung of the Raccoon, but in a way it makes perfect nonsense, because transcendence can take care of itself on the weekends. It's during the week that it is more of a challenge to not get lost in ephemera, just as it's more difficult to embody the "Christmas spirit" in mid-July or the "Toots spirit" before beer o'clock.

But more generally, we want to embody our realization at all times. Being without doing isn't worth much; virtue must "radiate" from knowledge. And doing without being is pretty much worthless. (Although the former needs to be qualified, for as Will has reminded us, there is definitely a nonlocal influence that radiates from the genuine saint, even if history never records his celestial presents.)

The point is, it's relatively easy to slip through the cracks of slack on weekends, but they tend to "seal over" come Monday.

Speaking of prisons, that remands me. We all know about post-traumatic stress. But it is also possible to be "traumatized" by the good, in such a way that it "haunts" us for the rest of our lives. But this haunting is none other than the recollection of paradise, so it's not something to run away from, but toward. For example, when you first fall in love, this is a profound recollection of something that was waiting to be tapped into. To say that human beings are "haunted by love" would be an understatement.

In my case, I am very aware of being haunted by the recollection of summer vacation, which represented the release of the soul into a trackless expanse of infinite slack after nine months of bondage and servitude to the Conspiracy. Not for nothing does the Great Seal of the Raccoons depict Toots leading the children of Bensonhurst out of an old-fashioned schoolhouse.

I also remember my last day of high school. Sure, it's cool to be a cosmically liberated, thrice-cleared operating thetan in the Vertical Church of Upper Tonga. Nevertheless, I have to admit that it doesn't quite match the euphoria of graduating high school. Little did I know that I was simply going from a pent-up frying pan to a fiery outhouse, what with my forthcoming looniversity brainwashing.

Enough gnostalgia. Suffice it to say that if you look at your Raccoon calendar, you will see that today we celebrate the annual Feast of Abner, i.e., opening day of the baseball season, which represents a miraculous ingression of slack into this horizontal wasteland.

Now, the fact that we understand objects, i.e., The World, means that the world is made of "communication." It is full of messages of all kinds, just waiting to be decoded -- quantum mechanical messages, genetic messages, chemical messages, pheromonal messages, divine messages, signs from the third base coach, etc.

Thus, prior to what appears to be the most obvious ontological fact of existence, i.e., the distinction between subjects and objects, there is something even more fundamental: communication. "Comm-unication" is the prior oneness that bifurcates into subjects and objects, and without which objects could not be known and subjects could not know them.

Or, contrary to what atheists and other assorted morons are always saying, if this were a meaningless universe, no one could ever realize it.

Now, interestingly -- this is getting a bit aheart of oursophs -- but what distinguishes the Trinity from those cheaply made bargain gods is that it is irreducibly communicative. Thus, this unique metaphysic renders what is otherwise quite problematic -- an intelligible cosmos that never stops communicating with itself -- an inevitability.

The cosmos "speaks" because there are subjects; and because there is a Subject, the cosmos speaks. True, you are free to argue that the cosmos doesn't speak intelligibly, but not without sacrificing truth, freedom, and intelligibility. And since the substance of man is one part truth, one part freedom, the materialist commits ontological suicide.

Which is fine. The immorality -- the unforgivable crime -- occurs when these undead body snatchers engage in the soul murder of others, especially the innocent kits. Which is why we say without exaggeration or hyperbole that the leftist takeover of the educational system is a kind of....

Let's see, "genocide" is already taken. Let's call it "pneumacide," i.e., the murder of the spirit. This is no joke, as anyone can attest who has recovered from the assault of these elumenationists. I know for a fact that I'm still recovering, and maybe always will be. It's somewhat analogous to nearly dying from some terrible illness, and then having some permanent residuals as a result.

An image comes to mind. On the original Star Trek, they were beaming down some crew members to a particular planet. But in this case, there was a danger that they might rematerialize within solid rock, and then be unrecoverable. In so many ways, a secular brainwashing is to be beamed down into solid rock is it not? Or maybe ice.

Schuon: "Mistaking the ice that imprisons us for Reality, we do not acknowledge what it excludes and experience no desire for deliverance; we try to compel the ice to be happiness."

We must melt the ice, pulverize the rock, and regain our original fluidity. This can only occur in the Great Interiority of the subject, not by chasing phantoms in the object world, which reduces the subject to an effect rather than a cause. Freedom "enters" in this space between subject and object, because, like truth, it is prior to both.

But for the same reason, as Balthasar explains, man is the first entity that is freely capable of lying. That is, with the emergence of man, the Lie enters creation. In fact, if you remember your Genesis, the very first recorded statement of man is a lie to God: I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.

The Bible often makes a critical point by virtue of the order in which something occurs, so surely the first utterance of man is fraught with existential and spiritual significance.

In this case, you could say that the Bible records the emergence of the first liberal, in that Adam immediately tries to excuse his culpability by depicting himself as the victim: hey, you scared me! It's your fault! But that doesn't fly, so next he blames the woman. In fact, there is also an oral teaching that has been handed down from generation to generation and which still lives today, in which Adam blames his malfeasance on conservative talk radio.

Now, the Lie is the beginning of man's self-imprisonment under that sheet of ice alluded to above. It reminds me of when children used to get trapped in those old refrigerators that locked from the outside, for once man gets into the Lie, it is very difficult to get out. For inside it is as dark, cold, and airless as an empty raven's soul.

Truth, like love, radiates, whereas the lie compacts and restricts. Or, looked at another way, truth is like an infinitely hard jewel, whereas the lie disperses and dissipates. The left conflates all of these categories, resulting in beautiful "radiant lies" such as socialism, or the "hardened falsehoods" of political correctness. This results in a kind of perverse mirror homage to conservatism, because the left is not about "progress," but about conserving their "permanent lies." This is also why it is such a parody of religion, since, in denying the sacred, it confers sanctity on the profane.

Because truth radiates, we have speech, or communication. If we didn't have speech, we would combust from the heat. As HvB says, in the absence of the gift of "saying truth," we would be "burned up by an inward abundance that could not be expressed outwardly. It would be like a light that had to shine in itself without being able to emit any rays." Most Raccoons are en fuego, and the only way to turn down the heat is to post about it and try to light up some other folks. Yes, we arsons of God.

But this heat ultimately radiates from that burning bush that is never consumed. This is an irreducible mystery, for the more light we radiate, the more comes in -- like a brush fire that begins to generate its own wind. True, the Spirit blows where it will, but it blows even harder in certain self-generated weather patterns. This has been my experience of immersing myself in the world of HvB, which is like a tornado that lifts my little house over the reignbelow. Call it a Funnel of Love.

It is a fact that the gradual approach of these ontological levels of the spirit's form of existence is synonymous with an interior "clearing," irradiation, and illumination of being. The spiritual substance is light in itself.... Certain accounts of this fact suggest that the levels between matter and spirit are also levels of being's intelligibility. --Theo-Logic: The Truth of the World

Sunday, April 05, 2009

When Sharks Attack: Reign of the Pettifogging Purdyfugger

A reworked post from last year that may shed some darkness on the Current Occupant.


--Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven, is that it?

--Why not? I'm here on the ground with my nose in it since the whole thing began. I've nurtured every sensation man's been inspired to have. I cared about what he wanted and I never judged him. Why? Because I never rejected him. In spite of all his imperfections, I'm a fan of man! I'm a humanist. Maybe the last humanist.
--Dialogue from The Devil's Advocate

Satan. What can one say about the archfiend that hasn't already been better said by Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, or Al Pacino?

Now first of all, the Serpent is a genial fellow who is always willing to "work with us." After all, he is the prince of this world -- a man of wealth and taste, a cultured man, an aesthete and silver-tongued littérateur. He never forces the issue, but meets us where we are and presents us with what he calls "options," but we call supreme "temptations." He is a seducer and flatterer, always.

--Is this a test?

--Isn't everything?

His Satanic Majesty would probably even request that we not call him "evil." Rather, he would turn the tables and say that humans are evil -- just like the ACLU, he would argue that every cop is a criminal and all the Sunnis saints. So please, have some sympathy for the ACLU, or they will be pleased to meet you in court and lay your solvency to waste. After all, our courts are governed by the Adversarial system, in that they are the one place where the Adversary can have the most influence. This is why it is so vital that the Adversary pack the Sssupreme Court in hisss image.

--Cut the shit, Dad! Why lawyers? Why the law?

--Because the law, my boy, puts us into everything. It's the ultimate backstage pass. It's the new priesthood, baby. Did you know there are more students in law school than lawyers walking the Earth? We're coming out, guns blazing!

Old Scratch is never more pleased than when one of his deep darklings argues that he is just a figment of your imagination. Like alcohol, he doesn't make you do anything you don't secretly want to do anyway. When prancing around on stage like a Kansas City you-know-what, he has been known to shout out the rhetorical question, "Who killed Kopechne?," when after all, it was Ted Kennedy and the voters of Massachussetts.

According to Tomberg, the "day aspect" of history represents our collective coming to terms with the three temptations in the wilderness. If you will recall, there is the temptation to worldly power, the temptation to abandoning oneself to the lower vertical -- to an unconscious life of instinctual gratification ("cast yourself down from the pinnacle") -- and the temptation of materialism and horizontality ("change stones into bread").

Yesterday I mentioned that all forms of leftism were satanic, but in a way that no leftist would understand or even be capable of understanding. But looked at in terms of the three temptations, we can see that in each instance, the secular leftist has been seduced, but then turns the seduction into a virtue -- which is a great source of satisfaction to the Father of Lies.

--Who in their right mind, Kevin, could possibly deny the twentieth century was entirely mine?

The leftist yields to the temptation of secular power as a result of the rejection of transcendent truth. That is, truth is the most important societal value. It is the non-coercive glue that binds humanity together and draws it "upward" toward the prior unity that dissolves our differences.

But if truth is undermined or relativized in any way, then we have lost our ability to appeal to something outside human whim, which therefore leaves us open to the usurpation of barbitrary power. Thus, the only way for the leftist to succeed in his will to power is to first confuse us with pseudo-sophisticated intellectual temptations such as deconstruction, moral relativism, multiculturalism, "diversity," "the living constitution," "critical race theory," earth worship, etc. Once these are embraced, there is a "bait and switch," for there is then no way to stand up for Absolute truth. If you do so, then you are branded an "absolutist" or "authoritarian" or "eliminationist."

--What are you?

--Oh, I have so many names...

For the secular left, truth is "multiple" -- if such an intrinsically diabolocal notion may be conceived -- and no truth is privileged. This creates the massive void into which the leftist asserts his power. This is why the most intellectually unfree places in all of America are leftist university campi.

Step one: all truth is relative. Step two: my relativism is absolute. Step three: I control what is permissible to think. "Political correctness" is the Wicked One's Swiss Pacifist Knife. He even loves the name -- "political correctness" -- because it sounds so petty, so trivial, so benign.

But it is as benign as a stage IV brain tumor, for it is the end of the soul's intellectual life and its replacement with the will to power. Ultimately it is a wedge between man and God that with time only increases the distance between them -- which, of course, is the ontological opposite of Christianity, in which God descends in order to bridge that very gap.

It follows that the secular leftist fails the second test by yielding to the temptation to cast himself -- and humanity as such -- from the pinnacle of creation into the pit of the animal unconscious. There is no higher or lower, no absolute good or evil, just authentic depravity or genuine hypocrisy.

But man is not a mere animal -- or, to be precise, he is the only animal proportioned to the Absolute. As a result, his summa vocation is to perpetually transcend himself in light of the Permanent Real. All other animals merely are what they are, but a man who fails to transcend himself isn't a man at all, but only a beast among beasts -- a monster even, for the monstrous is any perversion of the Cosmic Plan.

--You know, I'll tell you, boy... Guilt... it's like a bag of fucking bricks. All you got to do is set it down.

The secular leftist fails the third test by vainly trying to turn stones into bread, or quantites into qualities, the horizontal into the vertical. As such, the "good life" is replaced with "more life," which is to say, more death, because the world of stones is the realm of death.

To tyrannize man with the reign of quantity is to efface man as such, to remove from existence the very arena where man may become man -- which can only occur in the vertical realm that runs perpendicular to the flatland void of secular fundamentalism. It is the ontologically real world of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, which lay at the One end of our being, vs. the dark world of "sub-matter" slaying at the other's end.

In ether worlds, if the vertical hierarchy of the human world results from the Sovereign Good radiating from the cosmic center to the existential periphery, mankind stands exactly halfway between the Everything above and the Nothing below. We are pulled in both directions -- or let us say that there is a sort of gravity that operates on the human soul. We may humbly "surrender" to the higher, or be "seduced" by the lowyer in high places.

--I'm peaking, Kevin. It's my time now. It's our time!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Anti-Bob Update #6: The Ones For Whom They Were Laying in Wait

(A re-gifted post from yesterjeer.)

So, why has the MSM given Obama a pass on his two-decade plus involvement in what can only be called a racist and anti-American hate group operating under the guise of Christianity?

I can think of two main reasons: first, the usual soft bigotry of low expectations. Left wing racists don't expect blacks to live up to the same ethical standards as whites. More generally, any member of an authorized left-wing Victim Group is free of the culpability that applies to the rest of us. Not only that, but in the upside down world of the left, the immoral act of a victim becomes virtuous (e.g., terror is caused by fighting it).

Here I am reminded of a scene from Annie Hall, in which Alvy's father reflects the casual bigotry of the condescending liberal:

ALVY'S FATHER: You fired the cleaning woman?

ALVY'S MOTHER: She was stealing.

ALVY'S FATHER: But she's colored.


ALVY'S FATHER: So the colored have enough trouble.

ALVY'S MOTHER: She was going through my pocketbook!

ALVY'S FATHER: They're persecuted enough!

ALVY'S MOTHER: Who's persecuting? She stole!

ALVY'S FATHER: All right -- so we can afford it.

ALVY'S MOTHER: How can we afford it? On your pay? What if she steals more?

ALVY'S FATHER: She's a colored woman, from Harlem! She has no money! She's got a right to steal from us! After all, who is she gonna steal from if not us?

Exactly. Who are Rev. Wright and his colored followers supposed to hate if not us?! Leave the man alone! We deserve it!

Thus, for example, at dailykos, the matter was "reframed" [BTW, "reframing" is a new word for the same magical all-purpose cognitive tool of the left, i.e., lying; in other words, lying has been reframed as reframing] as white racists persecuting a harmless old curmudgeon, perhaps played by Redd Foxx, for expressing perfectly reasonable opinions: "Please let an old black man have his anger in the privacy of his church.... Are our hearts so small and our need for reassurance so great that we cannot allow an old black man who dedicated his life to his community his anger? Are you honestly going to tell me that this is the first time white America has seen and heard from black folks?"

As if we care that he is angry as opposed to malevolently insane. It's good to be angry. It just depends upon what you're angry about. God hates evil. But if you're angry about the U.S. inventing AIDS to engage in black genocide, or about our government being behind the 9-11 attacks, or the CIA bringing crack cocaine into American cities, then I don't care if you're boiling over with rage or eerily calm -- either way, you're insane.

Besides, the kosbag assures us that Wright is no different than those evil Jews anyway: "Have we not heard what Rabbis routinely say about Palestinians across the US?" I have to admit, he's got a point. More than once, I've heard Palestinians referred to as "bloodthirsty, Jew-hating fanatics who will slit the throat of every last Jewish child." No, wait. That was in the Hamas charter.

Speaking of which, it's a real mystery why Jews continue to vote Democrat, when the only widespread source of organized anti-Semitism is on the left, whereas the ranks of the right are filled with people such as myself who regard Israel as so self-evidently morally, politically, intellectually, spiritually, and comedically superior to its barbarous and humorless neighbors, that we would not abandon her under any circumstances. It is one of the few sources of light in this dark world.

Anyway, what is the second reason Obama's membership in a religious hate cult is so uncontroversial to the MSM? Because Rev. Wright is simply saying out loud what virtually all leftists believe: that the United States is inherently racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, and imperialistic, and a source of worldwide oppression, not liberty. Leftism is a hate cult, the only difference being that to learn its tenets it usually costs you much more than a few bucks thrown into the collection plate every Sunday.

Rather, in order to learn what Rev. Wright teaches, one normally has to spend a few hundred thousand dollars at an elite university. So in this regard, Obama is a true egalitarian, since his church is a bargain compared to the cost of a liberal university education.

So where did Obama pick up this affinity for insanely hateful rhetoric? If he were a person of pallor who belonged to a church with equally morally repugnant beliefs -- say, that blacks were the cause of their own lynching, or that Muslims should be rounded up and placed in concentration camps -- his political career would be over faster than you can say David Duke.

At Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson has a piece in which he analyzes the content of Obama's hollow-as-a-stump speeches, which seem so vacuous and shallow. And yet, unconscious logic mandates that underneath the gauzy rhetoric there must be a demonology at work, in which there is going to be hell to pay for those responsible for our wretched and hopeless situation.

The only thing that separates Obama from the average pol is that he doesn't explicitly name the enemy, but leaves it to the fevered imaginations of the primitive psychoclass to whom he resonates. But knowing what we know about the imaginations of our ideological enemas drawn to dank pouthouses such as dailykos and huffintonpost, I don't like the idea of anything having to do with state power being excreted through the bowels of those ignoranuses -- not my health, and certainly not my automobile warranty.

In a campaign known for its masturbatory solipsism, the crotch phrase We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For nevertheless impresses with its self-pleasuring absurdity. Ferguson notes that the phrase cannot be translated into French, since it doesn't technically make any sense, although "do you sell inflatable dolls?" comes the closest.

And yet, it must mean something, or people wouldn't react so strongly to it. In other words, it must again have some vibratory unconscious resonance that simply doesn't penetrate the more mature among us.

The provenance of the line actually passes through feminist literary hack Alice Walker, who says she took it from -- hold on to your hat, you won't believe it -- a left-wing-radical-feminist-bisexual poetess! Walker suggests that we've been waiting for us because "we are able to see what is happening with a much greater awareness than our parents or grandparents, our ancestors, could see."

I suppose that's possible. For example, Einstein saw further than Newton. But.... Alice Walker sees further than Shakespeare? Does Deepak Chopra fleece further than Tony Robbins? Does Bill Maher see further than Monty Python? Can Keith Olbermann pee further than his paranoid delusions? For that matter, do Obama and his bitter band of statists have greater vision than America's founding liberals?

Hey, as Louis Armstrong said about jazz, "if you have to ask, you'll never know":

"When Obama's supporters say 'We are the ones we've been waiting for,' what they mean is that in the long roll call of history, from Aristotle and Heraclitus down through Augustine and Maimonides and Immanuel Kant and the fellows who wrote the Federalist Papers, we're number one! We're the smartest yet! Everybody -- Mom, Dad, Gramps and Grandma, Great Grandpa and Great Grandma, maybe even the Tribal Elders -- they've all been waiting for people as clued-in as us!"

Yes, but... how can a post-literate rabble of cross-eyed and hypnotized.... I'll just let Ferguson try to explain it:

"No one who's wandered through an Obama rally and heard the war whoops and seen the cheerful, vacant gazes would come away thinking, These are the smartest people ever. I'm sorry, they just aren't. What is unmistakable is the creepy kind of solipsism and the air of self-congratulation that clings to his campaign. There is something happening, he says in stump speeches. And what's happening? Change is happening. How so? The reason our campaign has been different is about what you, the people who love this country, can do to change it. And the way to change it is to join the campaign, which, once you join it, will change America."

Etc. Ferguson calls it "optimistic despair. The overarching theme of Obama's speeches, and of his campaign, is that America is a fetid sewer whose most glorious days lie just ahead, thanks to the endless ranks of pathetic losers who make it a beacon of hope to all mankind."

And here's where the scary part comes in. Because someone is responsible for this horrible mess we're in. Obama doesn't name names, but he is riding on a wave of half-awake hyper-partisans who have no reticence whatsoever in naming them:

"Who are the agents of this despair? By whose hand has the country been brought so low?" These agents "vanish in the fog" of Obama's rhetoric: "Cause and effect are blurred. Bad things happen though nobody does them. Instead we face disembodied entities, ghostly apparitions."

The most likely reason for the evasiveness is that "if Obama named anybody, the cat would be out of the bag.... Put them all together and it's likely to come to a fairly high number of people: stockholders, employees and managers of globalized companies; insurance claim adjusters, guys on oil rigs, hog farmers, pro-lifers, moms in SUVs, taxpayers who decline to float bonds for local schools, voters who pulled the lever for President Bush and are still kindly disposed toward him."

If Obama "dared to wrap bodies around those disembodied forces, if he began to trace effects back to the agents that cause them, then his campaign would suddenly appear to be what it is: a conventional alignment of political interests, trying to seize power from another conventional alignment of political interests.... His fans, it turns out, aren't the people they've been waiting for; they're just the same old people, like everybody else."

Yes, but I'm afraid that we are the ones for whom they're laying in wait.


Update thirteen months later:


Friday, April 03, 2009

Free Love and the Intimacy of Beer

We're still talking about the shocking emergence of subjects in a heretofore objective cosmos (i.e., prior to 3.85 billion years ago, when Life staggered into the manifestivus and really livened things up).

Balthasar says that "subjectivity is intimacy." And what is intimacy? I mean, besides subjectivity? Let's see: L intimus innermost. OL interus inward.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but the source of this subjectivity and intimacy can only be in God; you could say that subjectivity arises from the Father, intimacy from the relation between Father and Son. And as Balthasar spells out in volume three of the Theo-logic, the Spirit is both the subjective witness to this intimacy and its objective fruit. Which is why "there is no truth outside the truth of the love between Father and Son."

I will do my best to explain. Or, better yet, just try to stay out of the way.

If man were not thoroughly intersubjective (as is the Trinity), he would starve or asphyxiate in the prison of his own being. Indeed, love is our only "escape hatch," both horizontally and vertically. It is the "way out" of ourselves (and therefore, the way in).

Oops. I'm having a flashback. I remember the first time that Satan's Balm ever crossed my lips in a sufficient quantity to alter my consciousness. Not for nothing is liquor referred to as spirits. In this case it was only beer, but the feeling was of such... liberation. Liberation from what?

Why, from Bob, of course. Mind parasites too, but mainly just me. And then, once liberated from myself, I was "free," at least as long as the illusion lasted. But then, for a number of years, I had difficulty reconciling these two Bobs. Frankly, I didn't have much use for Sober Bob. And in a way, he did eventually die off.

Fortunately, I realized early on that beer -- as wonderful as it is -- was no kind of permanent solution to the problem of Bob and of liberation. And yet, I never forgot the lesson -- that what we call "reality" is very much a state of mind, and that "liberation" is always just a few biochemical microns away.

You could say that my goal was to become "intoxicated" all of the time, but without the intoxicants. And in fact, if any of you have noticed a slightly "drunken" or "careening" quality to these posts, I believe we can trace it back to that first liberating libation. Of course, Jesus makes many references to intoxicating fluids: water, wine, blood, and ultimately spirit, which is obviously quite "fluidic," right? Right.

I don't want to make too much of this, but it is also true that alcohol weakens that annoying membrane between self and world. This is too obvious to even warrant comment. But the point is, the weakening of the membrane enhances the quality of intimacy with the world. Intimacy allows the world in, while simultaneously allowing us out of our neurocage.

Now, one cannot be intimate if one cannot be oneself. In fact, the two are more or less synonymous: intimacy is being oneself in the presence of another who is also being him- or herself. You could say that it is "inner contact," or "touch" between what is most inward in two subjects. Again, I think what really distinguishes the Christian God is that it is always in this state of exquisite intimacy, which must require "one becoming two" and "two becoming one" in Spirit.

(A brief aside: in my book, I may have implied that the idea of an intersubjective God resulted from the unique trimorphic structure of the human family, rather than vice versa. I would just like to make it clear that this intersubjectivity could never have arisen "from the bottom up," but is a radiating "gift" from the top down. I still maintain that the helpless and neurologically incomplete infant is the hinge of cosmic evolution, but that this is the space where God initially "gets in," so to speak, for we preserve this space for the rest of our lives.)

I don't know if this is all too obvious, but in order to have true intimacy, there must be a kind of absolute separateness, or aloneness, that nevertheless has the capacity for union, or oneness.

I've mentioned before that my best teacher in graduate school made the comment that the healthy person wants to go from one to two, whereas the sick person wants to go from two to one. In other words, the healthy person first realizes his identity and his individualism, and therefore his aloneness, which he would then like to share with another, and therefore go from one to two (but which will in turn become a "higher" one).

But the sick person either never develops his identity, or else cannot tolerate his "twoness," or separation. In short, due to either separation anxiety or abandonment depression, he wishes to remain in a state of primitive merger, fusion, or "oneness" with the other -- in the way that the infant is primitively fused with the mother.

Such a relationship might look "intimate," but it is actually parasitic or symbiotic. Almost all unhealthy relationships have features of this (although it is also common for two people who are incapable of intimacy to get together and exist as a couple of wholly autonomous "objects," so to speak; they are together, but never really "together," like children who engage in "parallel play").

As always, to quote Coleridge, "two very different meanings lurk in the word, one." Again, the Christian One is very different from the Buddhist or Muslim one, for in the case of the latter two, the other simply cannot be preserved, at least intrinsically. In the case of Islam, a radical monotheism has no place for trinitarian love as its highest ideal, whereas the radical atheism of Buddhism discovers shunyata, or emptiness, at the heart of the cosmos.

I don't think it is any coincidence whatsoever that the ideal of romantic love and companionate marriage only emerged in the Christian West. If we consider the clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, much of it revolves around entirely irreconcilable attitudes toward women, sexuality, intimacy, and family. In Saudi Arabia, for example, women are not permitted to even be subjects in public. Rather, they are forced to be objects, no doubt because of intense male anxiety around sexual intimacy.

But there is an equally profound abyss between our tradition of conservative liberalism vis-a-vis the radical left on this issue. Is anyone foolish enough to believe that feminism, or the "sexual revolution," or severing the mystical link between sexuality and reproduction have actually increased intimacy? I am quite certain that these postmodern attitudes actually serve to further bury man in the body and to foreclose the space of intimacy and therefore love.

The purpose of a relationship is not to gratify the self. Rather, it is to surrender the self, to escape the oppressive prison of solitary self-sufficiency. It is none other than the kenosis, or self-emptying, that again mirrors the relation between Father and Son, and Son and world. In self-surrendering love, we are truly the image and likeness of the Divine.

I remember back in my moonbat daze, a typical thought might have been something along the lines of, "What can a celibate old priest, of all people, know about love, marriage, and sexuality?" But I have never before encountered anyone who has a more profound and subtle understanding of the microdynamics of love than Balthasar. In fact, it makes whatever I learned of love in my graduate studies in psychology appear rather pathetic in comparison. (Bion excepted, of course. Most of his books acknowledge my debt to my wife without whose support I could not attempt to write at all. You see? Love is the source, the prerequisite, and the end of real truth.)

Just this morning, I woke up with the following thought in my head: how disappointing -- even devastating -- it would be to discover that all of this writing I've been doing over the past four years came only from "me."

As I've mentioned before, it is sometimes difficult to know whether this is humility or grandiosity, but I don't think for one minute that this comes from "me." Rather, it is the objective fruit of a kind of subjective intimacy. Again, in the Trinity, the Spirit is both the "subjective intimacy" between Father and Son and the overflowing "objective fruit" of their intimacy.

So in order to have proximity, there must first be distance; without separation, there can be no union; without self-emptying, there can never be self-filling.

Evidently -- or so we have heard from the wise -- God is in a perpetual state of self-emptying, so that his "weakness" is ultimately his strength, something which the non-Christian cannot grasp. And we haven't even spoken yet of how this is all linked to freedom, for nowhere are we more free than when we abandon the self and reveal the truth of our being to the receptive Other.

[T]he spirit is veiled from itself in order that it might seek and find itself, not in itself, but in the infinite spirit that created it.... Receptivity is thus like a deep, unclosable breach opened up in the closed circle of being-for-itself. Only by welcoming things from the outside and remaining open to them, only by being given over to the service of what is other than itself, can man's spirit lay claim to a being of its own. --Balthasar, Theo-Logic: The Truth of the World

More puppy love:

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Being Without Whom You Are Not Real

James notes that "Existence is bound up with being 'this,' but not all things are 'this' in the same way. If you have a man and a granite block in front of you, the granite has an indifference to being 'this' that the man does not share. The shape of the granite is accidental, and to cut it in half only makes an accidental difference in what you have. Not so with the man. The shape of a man arises from something interior to the man in a way that the shape of granite does not."

Bob replied that "It seems that the granite block doesn’t really have being -- or real being -- in the absence of the subject for whom it is real, otherwise it’s just a pattern of atomic activity with no necessary boundaries between it and everything else. Which leads to the question: who/what/where is the being without which I am not real?"

My point was that a material object only really exists for a subject, existence being synonymous with "definition," or "boundaries." In other words, something cannot exist unless it is in some way separate and distinct from everything else. But only a subject can define, bound, and delineate. Again, until there is a subject, there is only a vast sea of quantum energy.

For example, try to imagine what the cosmos "looked like" prior to a living being seeing it. Obviously, it didn't look like anything. It's a purely meaningless exercise, because sight is a property of eyes and brains. Not only that, but everything depends upon perspective, and there were no perspectives prior to the emergence of life. There was only "everything at once" from "all possible perspectives," which is indistinct from nothing at all from no perspective (again since existence requires definition and boundaries).

But today we have a radically different sort of cosmos than we had 4 billion years ago, prior to the appearance of life. Now, instead of no subjects and no perspectives, we have billions upon billions of them -- every human, every animal, every insect -- each one is a window on existence with a different view. As Balthasar notes, it may be possible to know what another person knows, but it seems fundamentally impossible to know as he knows it, that is, "with the same subjectivity and by illumination of the same light."

To cite one mundane example, patients seemingly never remember what you think they will, but almost always pick up on some small point that you didn't consider important. Actually, the same thing happens with the blogging. Different people focus on entirely different points, often to the exclusion of what I considered the important one. Truly, it is a wonder that human beings can share so much truth and have so much common reality.

But what is the source of this commonality? It cannot be situated in the lower -- in multiplicity and outwardness. Rather, unity, if it is to be unity at all, must be inward and upward, toward a shared third, which is shared in intimacy -- similar to the way mother and father are brought closer together by the incredible intimacy they share with the baby, the generative "familial third" who reveals the purpose of their union. (And it doesn't have to be a baby, but the couple must surely share a common third which they mutually love, or else the relationship descends into narcissism and other problems.)

As Balthasar emphasizes -- and this is a subtle point -- "subjectivity is intimacy." He is the only other theologian -- and the only professional theologian, since I am strictly amochair -- of whom I am aware who locates the source of this intimacy in the mother-infant bond, a bond which ushers us not only into the world of the Other and therefore ourself, but into the intersubjective space that recreates the intimate and loving triune nature of God. Please note that one only becomes subjectively real in the context of an "intimate and loving containment." This is recreated later in life, in that to "fall in love" is to again become real, or to manifest the most intimately real part of ourselves.

Of note, serious disturbances in the mother-infant bond often result in a nagging feeling that one is "not real" (because one was never adequately contained), the result being that the person attempts to "create himself" with the construction of a false self, or "as if" personality. This is much more common than you may realize. I think many of these people become actors, because it is so easy for them to be someone else. The rest become politicians.

If Balthasar doesn't directly say it, then I will: we are only irreducibly intersubjective because God is. And if we weren't intersubjective, nothing would be real, including us. For in the end -- and beginning, actually -- it is our intersubjectivity with God, or O, which allows us to participate in the Real. Which is also the eternal, but that's another story.

Here again, one of the main reasons why I despise the ideas that animate the left is that they have no idea how precious this intersubjective commonality is, what with their obnoxious doctrines of multiculturalism and moral relativism. For surely these represent a flight from truth, away from the principles that unite us at a higher level. It is actually a descent in the direction of our animal nature, in that each animal species exists in its own sealed-off world separate from the others. You and I can never even imagine what it is like to be a dog, a lizard, or a fruitfly, any more than we can imagine what the cosmos was like before the human subject.

The multiculturalist says that "all perspectives are equally valid" (and even precious), which is a huge contradiction right out the gate, because obviously the perspective that all perspectives are valid must be higher than the perspective that says they're not! And it also means that we must respect those cultures not worthy of respect, such as the Muslim world, which is 180 degrees removed from this kind of multiculturalism.

This fuels the well-known arrogance and sanctimony at the heart of the leftist, which allows them to elevate themselves above you, even while pretending to be so egalitarian and tolerant. They actually demolish the subject by making him merely an extension of the culture. They also do violence to the mystery and intimacy of being, by identifying the subject with what is most outward, i.e., race, class, gender, etc. To turn a person into a race or class is to deny his personhood.

Again, what is the real source of human unity? How does our intrinsic finiteness ever translate to what is universally true and good? How do we bridge the infinite gap between separate subjects? America's founding avatars believed they had hit upin the solution: all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Why is this so important? Because it answers the question Bob posed at the outset of this post: who/what/where is the being without which I am not real?

In other words, I am no more ontologically real than the arbitrary granite block or secular blockhead if I am not real in the light of a higher Subject who transcends, binds, and defines me.

Put it this way: either you have a reason for being here, or you do not have a reason for being here. If you do have a reason, then it cannot be located in you. In fact, even the materialist must allow this realization through the back door. For example, for the metaphysical Darwinist, your reason for being is not within yourself, but in your offspring. Your reason is to perpetuate your genes; according to Richard Dawkins, your reason is your genes.

But what is the reason for genes, especially since they do not exist in the absence of a human subject who can define them? Simple: on the Raccoon view, the reason for genes is evolution, and the reason for evolution is God, who is both its origin and end, its alpha and omega. In short, the purpose of evolution is cosmotheosis, which is a doctrine that was held by many in the early church. That is, the shocking hominization of God is at the same time the otherwise impossible divinization of man, which is in turn the sanctification and salvation of the very cosmos.

Which, if you think about it, is the opposite of the way things stood prior to the emergence of man. As I attempted to make plain in my book, what we call history is really a kind of existentially naked streak from the trees of Africa to the aBrahmanic tree of life, whose roots are aloft and branches down below. What did I say? Here it is:

"I believe that history is a chronicle of our evolutionary sprint from biology to Spirit, in which we first climb down from the trees of east Africa and then up the metaphorical Upanishadic tree.... Thus, we start our evolutionary journey 'out on a limb' and soon find ourselves 'grounded,' but eventually find a 'radical' solution to our troubling situation, arriving at the 'root' of the cosmos ('radical,' of course, comes from the latin word for 'root')."

As such, not only has the left stolen the beautiful word "liberal," but they have also misappropriated the word "radical," for there is still nothing as radical as Christianity. If you really want to see radical change, just imagine if everyone, say, in Oakland, California, had the same values as everyone in Provo, Utah. Or imagine if the so-called Palestinians had Jewish values. Or if the Chinese had American values. If that were the case, this would be as close to paradise as we can get in this vale of tears.

But would that stop the left from their perpoutual bitter complaining? Of course not. For the fact remains, this will never be paradise, but they won't rest until it is. Even if it means recreating hell over and over. Never, ever imagine that the left does not believe in God or heaven. They just displace them to Man and earth. Which is why the left is so unreal.

I think I'm done.


Coondog update -- that's her on the bottom:

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Everybody's In Show Biz

We left off with Balthasar's irrefutable observation that "The animal represents a completely new fact that radically changes the situation of epistemology: the new object is now itself a subject. The revolution that this new fact brings with it is fraught with immense consequences."

That living animals exist is obviously an empirical fact. However, the materialist necessarily treats it as any other fact, and therefore fails to appreciate its ontological and epistemological consequences, for a living cosmos can no longer be treated as a dead one and still be considered remotely "understood." Rather, it is an example of a fact that changes everything -- like, say, meeting a girl named Lola at club in old Soho and discovering almost too late that she is a he.

Or, it's like a good film that reveals a mystery at the very end that suddenly recasts everything you've been watching for the previous two hours. What was that movie.... Oh yes. The two-parter, Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring. You watch it for four hours, but don't find out what you were actually watching until the last scene. Although, let it be noted that, even of you don't make it that far, the film nevertheless has the intrinsic merit of that scene of Emmanuelle Béart prancing around naked by the mountain spring.

I wonder if the cosmos is like that? I mean, I wonder if one must get to the end in order to know the beginning? Actually, I wonder how it can't be like that. I have a feeling that this will be one of central points of the Theo-Drama, but we'll just have to wait and see. We're still in the middle of the film right now. But one reason why murder is unforgivable is that it's like someone ripping your film out of the projector, so you never get to see its end, and therefore its ultimate meaning.

Speaking of which. That reminds me. One other theologian who talks about life-as-film is Boris Mouravieff, in his Gnosis. He says that the present is actually situated outside time, which, when you think about it, makes perfect sense, otherwise we couldn't be aware of time. The idea is to lift ourselves "higher" above the river of time, so to speak, so that we can better see what's going on with our lives.

In a way, this is what psychoanalytic therapy attempts to do. Instead of just being caught up in our life and merged with the unconscious, we're going to try to "rise above" and consider it like a sort of object. It's analogous to two trains that are about to collide. The engineers in the trains can't see what's about to happen up ahead, but if you were sitting on a hill above the scene, you could "see the future" -- even though you're still in the "same place" as the two trains.

Speaking of witch and wiccan, this is what it is like for me and our trolls. I know their every move, their every line of attack, in advance. Does this mean that I am omniscient? Hardly! It just means that their life is on a train track and that they have relinquished their true vertical freedom (as opposed to horizontal license). You don't have to be sitting on a very high hill to see this.

This, of course, is the secret of God's omniscience, and how it may be reconciled with free will. That is, just as I can predict the thoughts of trolls before they occur, this does not mean that the troll doesn't still have free will, much less that I have "taken it away."

By the way, this problem is more serious in intelligent trolls than unintelligent ones, since the latter at least have the virtue of a kind of "crazy spontaneity," being that they are unable to think in any systematic way. But the most wearisome trolls combine the worst aspects of intelligence and predictability.

Anyway, Mouravieff writes that the present is analogous to a kind of "slot" through which we view the film of life. The present has no measure -- again, it is outside time -- but the slot does. In Raccoon terminology, I would express it this way: one of the fundamental purposes of a spiritual practice is to "dilate" the slot through which we live the film of our life. This dilation is none other than slack.

Some of you are no doubt struggling to understand the point, so I'll try to bring it down to concrete examples. We're all familiar with the opposite of slack -- let's just call it "stress." Stress is when you are so dragged along by the conspiracy that you have no breathing room whatsoever. It is as if there is no gap between you and the world.

Rather, you are simply a function of the latter, being dragged along in its wake. It's as if some thug has carjacked your life and tossed you out of the driver's seat, except that your sleeve gets caught in the door, so you're being dragged through the street like a rag doll.

I hate when that happens.

Many, if not most, people simply grow accustomed to this situation, as if it is natural to live in this manner. Such a person doesn't really know the present. Rather, it is as if they are living on a two dimensional line. The past is behind and the future is ahead, but there is really no present, because they are too enmeshed in the line to appreciate it.

Shocking, I realize, but you may have no idea how many human beings not only live this way, but do so by choice. It's like a life without insight, because insight can only occur as you ascend further up that hill and dilate your slot.

Sometimes it takes a kind of brutal instance of (?!) to wake up and wrench oneself out of time. I think that in the past, these kinds of "moments" were more or less ubiquitous. Disaster in one form or another was always just around the corner -- plague, famine, deadly infection, war, etc. -- so there was simply no way to comfortably assume that the present would continue indefinitely in its present predictable mode. (For those of you who have done your part to keep the Coonifesto in print, I discuss this in slightly different terms in pp. 214-216.)

Mouravieff points out that "exterior man" lives his life on that two-dimensional line. It is as if he is always in the "now," and yet, not "present." Presence is what occurs when we dilate the slot, instead of living our lives like a slot machine.

Now, speaking of gambling, life itself is a gamble, a wager that places everything on the line (or above it, to be exact). It is the first attempt by the cosmos to lift itself above the line and dilate the now. That little "hole" is again where everything takes place. It is surely the only "place" where eternity rushes into time and time returns to eternity. It is the place of meaning, of love, of beauty, you name it.

Therefore, the now is ultimately a kind of "circle of return," for which we use the symbols (↓) and (↑). Bear in mind that these occur outside time and inside eternity, at least ideally. When you pray, or meditate, or coontemplate, or engage in bloggio divina, you are really trying to "ease your way into heaven," so to speak, are you not?

And what is heaven? Well, for one thing, it's like existence seen with no slot at all. Or, it's like taking off a tight pair of shoes. I forget which.

In any event, as we proceed on The Way, one of the first fruits will be this dilation of time which opens onto the real present, or more precisely, presence, for there is no real present in the absence of presence or presence of absence. Obviously you have to at least be here in order to be here. As a therapist, I cannot begin to tell you how many people aren't actually here at all. If they were here, they wouldn't be here in therapy.

Here's the bottom line. When you start out on the path, your life is a bad B-movie, in which you are the star. But you want to change this into a Be movie. As Mouravieff explains, "Each human being, then, is born with his own particular film." But exterior man never really sees the film, because he's too much a part of it.

The "second birth" is none other than an escape from "bondage to the film" and entrance into "the domain of redemption." This is when you recognize your membership in the Scattered Brotherhood of the Transdimensional Raccoons, and go from being merely "anthropoid" to true anthropos, i.e., Pontifical Man, the vertical cosmic ladder out of the otherwise oppressive dope opera of the now.

The latter folks are "the dead who, in the words of Jesus, 'believe themselves to be alive.' Esoteric evolution starts when man... proves capable of breaking the circle and transforming it into an ascending spiral" (Mouravieff). Of course, other factors come into play -- grace, the recognition and assimilation of 'B' influences, assistance from other members of the Scattered Brotherhood, etc.

Well, my slot is contracting. See you tomorrow in the balcony!