Saturday, October 03, 2009

Israel Has No Right to Exist

Now that all of the anti-Semites have eagerly googled their way here, let me repeat that Israel has no "right" to exist. Rather, it has an obligation to do so.

Someone once said -- can't think of who at the moment -- that the purpose of culture was to produce a few great men. That being the case, perhaps the purpose of man is to produce a few great cultures.

First of all, this has nothing to do with the infinite worth of the individual. Rather, it has more to do with how one culture -- say, the Palestinians -- produces monsters by the truckbombload, whereas another -- oh, say, Israel -- produces more human greatness on a per-keppellah basis than any other.

Imagine if the UN weren't the diabolical shmutspool that it is. Not only is it the "last best hope" of the world's monsters, but it is actively at war with the best that mankind has to offer. Imagine: the UN Commission on Human Rights "has awarded 27 percent of its condemnatory resolutions for Israel," a a number which dwarfs any other country, despite the fact that Israel constitutes a tiny fraction of the world's population.

These thoughts are not new to me (I wrote a previous post with the same title a few years ago), but they are being renewed in reading George Gilder's The Israel Test. This book should be dagger in the heart of multiculturalism and the gospiel of "diversity," but it won't matter, for you cannot kill what is already dead. Yes, life can vanquish death, but not in academic debate. If anything, debating merely breathes life into the zombie. It's what they feed on.

Once again I am reminded of a Star Trek episode I was watching the other night. While beaming some Romulans on board, the Enterprise had also unwittingly taken aboard a disembodied alien which fed off of violence. It manipulated events so that the Romulans and humans were at each others throats. The alien didn't care about the outcome. Rather, it just fed off the vital emotion that was generated.

That is about as good a description of a mind parasite as you will see. Depending upon the parasite, it can feed on violence, or passion, or anger, or drama, or politics, or deceit (since the lie partakes of omnipotence), whatever. And indeed, the most serious mind parasites induct others into the psychodrama. If you can maintain "evenly hovering attention," you can feel the parasite's pull. For example, before responding to a troll, try to detach from your reaction and analyze what is provoking it. What has the troll said to draw you into his little drama, and what is it in you that has been provoked? Also, you will have noticed that the troll hardly feeds on truth or light. Quite the contrary; rather, it's your emotional reaction they're after.

I don't want to get too sidetracked here, but this is what distinguishes projection from what is called projective identification, which is an absolutely vital concept to understand if one is to understand humans. Through projective identification, the projector -- again, say the Palestinians -- behaves in such a way that it evokes the very reaction that reinforces the original perception and justifies the behavior.

Obviously, it is impossible to understand the left without the concept of projective identification. Nor is it possible to understand the UN, if that isn't a redundancy. One can know what the UN "is" by seeing what it accuses Israel of -- just as one can know what the left is by seeing what it accuses conservatives of. Again, I don't want to dwell in truisms.

For Gilder, Israel -- or the Jewish people -- is like an ax that conveniently cuts straight through the center of mankind. On one side you will have people who believe in freedom, achievement, and especially creative excellence. On the other side you will have people who believe in "fairness," in zero-sum economics, and in collectivism, but the practical effect is an envious attack on excellence -- and the cultural means to excellence.

Again, we are speaking in truisms, given the staggering amount of human excellence produced by the Jewish people. All decent people should be supporters of Israel -- indeed, even all indecent people, if only for reasons of pure self-interest, given the staggeringly disproportionate contribution they make to advances in science, including, of course medicine. In all likelihood a Jew will save your life many times over if he hasn't already (cf. nuclear physics).

In fact, if I were president, you know what I'd say to Ahmadinejad? I'd say how pathetic that you must rely upon Jewish physics to defend yourself! If this isn't a stark admission of the utter failure of Islamic science, I don't know what is. But anyway, thank you for admitting the superiority of the Jewish people, you frightful pig.

I don't know if I want to bore you with all of the statistics, but they do drive home the point. Gilder notes that Israel "with its population of 7.23 million, five and one-half million Jewish, stands behind only the United States in technological contributions." Excluding the Arabs, that's about... you do the math... 5.5 million vs. 300 million.... At any rate, "in per-capita innovation, Israel dwarfs all nations. The forces of civilization in the world continue to feed upon the quintessential wealth of mind epitomized by Israel."

Back to the idea that the purpose of culture is to produce greatness. Gilder writes that "the Jewish three-tenths of 1 percent of world population has contributed some 25 percent of recent notable human-intellectual accomplishment in the modern period." For example, in the latter half of the 20th century they were awarded 29 percent of the Nobel Prizes, and in this century, 32 percent. Not to mention "51 percent of the Wolf Foundation Prizes in Physics, 28 percent of the Max Planck Medailles and 38 percent of the Dirac Medals for Theoretical Physics, 37 percent of the Heineman Prizes for Mathematical Physics, and 53 percent of the Enrico Fermi Awards." To say nothing of the incalculable contribution of John von Neumann to the computer technology you're using right now.

I know what you're thinking. What's up with this intolerable achievement gap? We need to put in place a global affirmative action program so that some other groups can get their fair share of prizes. We don't want to take anything away from Israel. We just want to spread the prizes around. How about a Nobel for that innovative Palestinian guy who placed the explosives up his rectum in order to avoid detection by the Israelis. How did he do it? It seems to defy certain laws of physics, such as placing a square peg into a round hole.

One reason Israel is despised by the international left is that it is the most conspicuous disproof of their precious economic -- or ecognostic -- fantasies. "As one of the world's most profitiable economies built on one of the world's most barren territories, Israel challenges all the materialist superstitions of zero-sum economics, based on the 'distribution' of natural resources and the exploitation of land and labor." Indeed, the "crippling error of zero-sum economics" is the chief cause of global poverty (Gilder).

Israel is not what is wrong with the world, to put it mildly. Rather, it is one of the few things that is right with the world.

One more irony. "Jews, amazingly, excel so readily in all intellectual fields that they outperform all rivals in the arena of anti-Semitism." Thus, Obama is a mere shmendrick compared to the likes of Chomsky, Zinn, Soros, Marx, Engels, Naomi Klein, Ahmadinejad, etc.

I think I'll just continue this post tomorrow.... Shalom Shabb'atman.

Friday, October 02, 2009

They Think, Therefore We Are Screwed

Here's a mediocrity from a couple years back that I think might have some unzapped potential that I will now attempt to draw out. You might say that it was a premature birth. Let's see if we can get it out of the stinkubator.... Or at least have fun trying.

When you think about it, the only thing in the cosmos that can go really wrong -- really, really wrong -- on a massive scale is human thinking. So stop it already!

What I mean is that everything else in the universe works perfectly harmoniously, without a hitch, from the solar system to the ecosystem to the human body. I suppose you could argue that birth defects and genetic illnesses represent "going wrong" as well, but these are obviously exceptions that prove the rule.

No, there is no question that human thought introduced something potentially satanic into the cosmos. When we say that people need to be "saved," it is almost always from their own thoughts, is it not? They need to be saved from other people's thoughts too, but that's in the political or economic sense.

In fact, if you want to know why the vast majority of political revolutions fail, it is because they only liberate one from the tyranny of other people's thoughts, only to re-enslave them in their own. The left is now "free" of George Bush. But are they now free? Ho! Now that Americans are seeing the true craziness that engulfs the left, they are abandoning Obama in droves. I don't think too many people want to be forced to live inside Nancy Pelosi's or Harry Reid's thoughts.

Now, Genesis, in its wisdom, obviously recognized this problem at the outset, in that the very origin of man contains the seeds of his fall. No sooner were "our eyes opened" than there was trouble in paradise. Before that, human beings were living in harmony with creation, just like everything else.

A psychoanalytic-developmental reading of Genesis would suggest that there was something in the evolution of man analogous to the innocent child "waking" to consciousness. In fact, you can tell when your child has become "conscious" when he tells you his first lie. Before that, there is no reason to lie, and no means to do so. But soon enough the child becomes implicitly aware of the cynical adage that man was given speech in order to conceal his thoughts.

In The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis, Kass makes many salient points along these lines. For example in the first version of creation, "things are said to be 'good'; in the second, there is a tree of knowledge of good and bad, nothing is said to be 'good,' and one thing -- man's aloneness -- is said (by the Lord God) to be 'not good'.... In the first story, human freedom appears to be our badge of distinction; in the second story, human freedom is the source of our troubles."

Interestingly, the first version of creation is a macro view, from which all appears good. Imagine if you could actually stand outside the entire cosmos, as Petey has, and regard the whole existentialada as a beautiful and benign star-making machine. What's the problem? No problem. Look at all the stars and galaxies!

But wait! What's that?! Down there -- walking around on its hind legs on that little blue speck. It reminds me of the opening scene of Blue Velvet, which shows the man watering his lush suburban lawn. But then the camera moves in for an extreme close-up, showing all of the disgusting terrestrial creatures crawling and slinking below.

Thus, just as in a movie, the second version of creation zooms in for a micro view of the goings-on of a particular planet at a far corner of creation. Imagine if you could actually stand outside history, as Petey has done, and regard the whole crazy collidorescape, from primitive premoderns to postmodern primitives, as one continuous thread with an underlying pattern that keeps repeating again and again and again.

As Kass writes, the first version of creation "offers a cosmic vision, majestically presenting man's place in a cosmic whole.... [T]he scene viewed is remote and all-encompassing, and what is seen is eternal." The story provides "metaphysical scope and knowledge, and it inspires in us wonder and cosmic awe." It is the ontological beginning.

But the second version is more epistemological and moral. It "maintains a strictly terrestrial focus and addresses the reader as a suffering moral agent, presenting him a poignant account of why misery shadows human life."

This second version of creation does not contradict the first. It's just from a different perspective, that's all. A different "vertex," as Bion would put it. But this difference goes to the heart of man's problems, because the one view presents us with eternal, intelligible, nonlocal metaphysical principles, while the other presents us with man's deviation from these principles, i.e., his own thought, and the mischief that ensues, right down to the present day:

"A life of sinless innocence and wholeheartedness is virtually impossible for human beings, thanks to freedom, imagination, reason-and-speech, self-consciousness, and pride, and in the face of neediness, sexuality, ignorance, self-division, dependence, and lack of self-command."

In baseball, there are a couple of sayings that apply: Don't think, you'll hurt the ballclub, and No brain, no problem. And so we see that misery shadows human life, especially the Chicago Cubs.

Speaking of sports, I'm sure many of you remember a book that came out in the 1970s, The Inner Game of Tennis, which taught that... Rather than trying to think back on what the book taught, I'll just cite the amazon review:

"A phenomenon when first published in 1972, the Inner Game was a real revelation. Instead of serving up technique, it concentrated on the fact that... 'Every game is composed of two parts, an outer game and an inner game.' The former is played against opponents, and is filled with lots of contradictory advice; the latter is played not against, but within the mind of the player, and its principal obstacles are self-doubt and anxiety. Gallwey's revolutionary thinking... was really a primer on how to get out of your own way to let your best game emerge.... 'No matter what a person's complaint when he has a lesson with me, I have found the most beneficial first step... is to encourage him to see and feel what he is doing -- that is, to increase his awareness of what actually is.'"

In short, the purpose of Gallwey's book was to help tormented players overcome their own divided selves and return to tennis eden -- just like the Bible. For it too posits "two natures" within man, who is ultimately divided against himself:

"Human troubles are foreshadowed by man's dual origins: he is constituted by two principles, the first one low ('dust from the ground'), the second one high ('breath of life')." On the one hand, we are stardust, we are golden, but on the other, we are earthdust, we are fertilizer. Either way, we've got to find our way back to the garden. No wonder man is crazy! For once he has eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, "the human being cannot without trouble enjoy his own existence. In its presence, he cannot remain undivided within himself."

Now this problem of "thought," as we were saying yesterday, is undoubtedly worse for the intelligent than it is for the stupid. But it is a catastrophe for the tenured. As Thomas Sowell writes, "To create a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs": "There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs."

And just as Genesis emphatically teaches, the problem is not so much thought as it is the pride associated with it: "Such people have been told all their lives how brilliant they are, until finally they feel forced to admit it, with all due modesty. But they not only tend to overestimate their own intelligence, more fundamentally they tend to overestimate how important individual brilliance is when dealing with real-world problems. Many crucial things in life are learned from experience, rather than from clever thoughts or clever words. Indeed, a gift for the clever phrasing so admired today by the media can be a fatal talent, especially for someone chosen to lead a government."

God save us from the do-gooders. And God save us from the experts. But when confronted by a mob of do-gooding experts intent on ramming their goodness down your throat, it is on. Time to drop the gloves at center ice. Revolution time, baby.

Because they ignore the lesson of Genesis, the ideas of the secular left are particularly catastrophic. They seem to be clueless about the double-edgedness of human thought, and therefore, the irony-rich Law of Unintended Consequences -- to say nothing of the fact that in order for government to do something for you, it must first do something to you.

There are so many areas in which the "rational" thought of the left only makes matters worse. In his Vision of the Anointed, Sowell devotes a chapter to this, but it's really one of his central points: it takes a kind of breathtaking hubris to imagine that one can deploy dry reason to arrive at "solutions" that are superior to the collective wisdom of man, honed over centuries of contact with real experience. Thus, for example, the leftist no doubt feels that vetoing man's collective wisdom and redefining marriage is the rational thing to do. But doing the merely rational thing is hardly rational.

There is a higher form of thought that transcends reason while fully embracing it. And there is a lower form of thought that clings to reason while completely obliterating its own roots in transcendence. To live in the paradise of the latter is hell for one who knows the former. It is the difference between "I think, therefore I am," vs. "I AM, therefore we think." And you know what they say about putting Descartes before d' hearse.... Oh, and those road apples aren't really apples, so don't try to eat one.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Cause and Cure of Mankind

Manliness.... [is] the only remedy for the trouble it causes. --Harvey Mansfield, Manliness

One of the things a classical liberal realizes that a leftist liberal doesn’t is that human beings are the problem. And this is why the classical liberalism embodied in the modern conservative movement will always be a tougher sell than contemporary left-liberalism, because people naturally don’t want to believe that they are the problem. Rather, they prefer to imagine that there is some simplistic political solution that will cure the disease of man.

But if you have even a modicum of personal insight, you know bloody well that no political program could ever cure you, you sick bastard, any more than socialized medicine could make Michael Moore just put down the damn fork, okay? The state cannot cure restless mouth syndrome.

I realize Petey's characterization of human beastlings sounds harsh, but you know he's right, and besides, he was addressing me. But there is a sense in which you can think of human beings as a weird disease of the biosphere. However, you can also think of life as a sort of runaway cancer on the body of matter, and existence itself as a blight on the body of nothingness. Some old wise man or guy -- I can't think of the name -- said something to the effect that existence was the greatest sin of all.

After all, if there were no existence, there would be no problems either. To exist is to have problems, if only because existence implies duality and therefore separation from the Source. And that’s a big problem -- a problem that it is the purpose of religion to address and to heal. Religion is about recovering our prior wholeness -- or, let us say, "discovering" the wholeness that already is. Truly, it is a "memoir of the future."

Being that the principles we are discussing are truly universal, no man can escape them. Your tenure is powerless here, my overeducated friend. Nevertheless, you will have noticed that leftism attempts to address the same problem -- to heal the wound of existence -- only in an upside-down way, e.g., the religion of radical environmentalism that sees man as the pariah of the biosphere.

Do you see the irony? For the left, individual men are not the problem. Rather, mankind is the problem. Since the disease is "collective," they imagine that the cure is too. But their prescription cannot heal a man, to put it mildly. Rather, for the leftist, the "cure" is in the attempt to impose the cure on others. They don't care that the treatment actually makes men worse. The point is that it makes the leftist feel better. It diminishes their existential pain. This is why we truly say: God save us from the do-gooders! Why do liberals not believe me when I say that I can get through life without Barney Frank's help?

The local manifestations of life and mind are relatively recent phenomena in the cosmos. (Again, I believe that involution is prior to evolution, so that life and mind are ultimately nonlocally prior to their local appearance.) The cosmos is at least 13.7 billion years old, meaning that it did just fine, thank you, for about 10 billion years without any creepy living things slithering about and mucking things up.

And after that, the cosmos went another 3.84 billion years or so without any of these animals getting a big head and thinking that they knew better than the cosmos that had bearthed and begaialed them. Although modern human beings have been more or less genetically complete for as long as 200,000 years, we really don’t see any evidence of what we -- or I, anyway -- call proper humanness until its sudden emergence about 40,000 years ago, for example, in the beautiful and fully realized cave paintings at Alta Mira and Lascaux.

As I pointed out in One Cosmos, once you have these new modes of locally concentrated Life and Mind, you also have the entirely new existential category of pathology. In other words, prior to the emergence of life 3.85 billion years ago, there were literally no problems in the universe. Nothing could go wrong because nothing had to go right. (Of course, I'm omitting discussion of the multitude of things that have to go right for a big bang to result in a big brain, but that's the subject for a different post.)

But every biological entity is composed of various functions that must achieve their end in order for the organism to survive. Say it with me: pathology is a function of teleology, or final causes. This is why we say that "judgment day" is just the cosmic final exam, that is, a measure of the distance between you and your final cause. Don't worry -- no one gets a perfect score. Well, one guy supposedly did. But guess what? In this class, you're actually allowed to copy his work!

In a human being, there are thousands -- millions, I suppose -- of large- and small-scale things that have to go right in order for us to be free of pathology. Our lungs must exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the environment; our heart must circulate blood; our pancreas must produce insulin (d’oh!). A multitude of irreducibly complex processes have to go right for life to continue. Anything that interferes with the ability of an organ to accomplish its end is called “pathology.”

But this leads to an interesting question, for what on earth or in heaven is the mind for? What is the proper end of human consciousness? Because if we don’t know what consciousness is for, we can’t very well say that this or that individual is pathological, can we? Nor can we even begin to develop a functional political philosophy. It would be like trying to build a zoo with no proper knowledge of the appropriate habitat of each individual species. No wonder our culture is such a zoo.

Now, if you adopt a strictly Darwinian, materialistic view, then the answer to this question is obvious: a healthy person is simply one who survives, because that is the whole point of natural selection. Thus, Stalin was more healthy than the 20 to 40 million people he murdered, just as Hitler was clearly more healthy than the 6 million Jews he slaughtered. Survival of the fittest is the final arbiter in nature. You may think that I am being a bit polemical, but this was the philosophy of one of the forerunners of postmodernity, Nietzsche, who believed that the whole idea of “God” was a pathological meme that simply protected the weak and infirm from the harsh judgment of nature. Nature loves man ruthlessly, as some wag once tailed it.

No matter who you are, you will have something inside of you that makes a judgment between psychological health and pathology. A non-psychologist generally doesn't make his criteria explicit or overcharge you if you try to pin him down. But clearly, you cannot say what is pathological unless you have some implicit idea of what a human being is for, and what the pathology is preventing it from accomplishing.

Is there a reason for our existence? If you are any kind of materialist or secularist, you must be intellectually honest and affirm that there is no such reason -- no possible reason -- aside from those that we simply make up.

And this is precisely what the secular left does. To use the technical term, they just "make shit up." The doctrines of “diversity,” multiculturalism and moral relativism are all nihilistic to the core, being that they insist that there is no proper way for a human being to “be,” and that any judgment we make about other people and cultures is not only wrong, but probably racist as well. But on why on Darwinian grounds is racism or anything else intrinsically wrong? C'mon, Queeg. We're waiting.

Completely lost on these leftist quacks is the irony that their daffy doctrine of diversity is itself a very strong statement about the ultimate purpose of human beings, which is to not make judgments unless it is to harshly judge those who judge. This is what we call a sophisticated postmodern belief, which is to say that it is a diseased limb on the tree of western civilization that its inhabitants have cut from the trunk, so that they mysteriously hang suspended in thin, irony-poor acadanemic air with no visible means of philosophical support. This is why in the Polanski matter we see the morally insane rush to non-judgment.

It makes no sense at all -- certainly less sense than the religious traditions they deride and dismiss -- but that’s an intellectual for you. They always believe that their abstractions are more real than reality, and that reality itself is a deviation from their beautiful ideas. They don't trust something that works in practice unless it also works in their theory. It’s one of the reasons they detest liberty, because they cannot accept the idea that the spontaneous and robust “bottom up” order produced by chaotic liberty surpasses their own beautiful ideas of how the good society should be imposed by leftist elites from on high.

I do not derive my ideas of human spiritual and psychological health and pathology from nature. Nor do I derive them from culture. Rather, I do so from religious tradition, which I believe speaks to the Universal Man -- not to such and such a man, but to man as such -- to all men at all times and in all cultures, without exception. The man who fails to achieve these ends is more or less sick in the soul, spirit, or brain, while the culture that fails to produce these kinds of men is a sick society. To turn it around, the purpose of civilization is to produce these kinds of men, which is to say, Men.

Man is the image and likeness of the Creator, so he therefore has an uncreated intellect that may know Truth, and know it with certainty. He may distinguish between the Real and the unreal (or less real), between appearance and reality, between the transient and the eternal, between causes and effects, between the objective and subjective, and between principles and their manifestation. No mere animal can do any of these things, nor can any materialist philosophy or tenured ape account for them in a manner that is not logically self-refuting.

Man has an uncreated conscience that may distinguish between objective good and evil, and do so reliably. This is not to say that I do not believe in situational ethics. Rather, it is to say that in each situation there is an objectively good choice, even if we must struggle to discern it.

And man has an aesthetic eye that may distinguish between beauty and ugliness, and therefore pursue degrees of translucent material perfection that are apprehended in light of the Absolute. Aesthetic perfection does exist, and cannot surpass itself. Postmodern art makes a virtue of its failure to even acknowledge these transcendent degrees of perfection, and therefore equates ugliness and beauty. As we have said before, it aims low and reaches its target every time.

In short, man is man because he may know the True, the Good and the Beautiful, and act upon that knowledge with a will that is free. Any man who does not achieve these ends is a sick man, and any culture that does not produce such men is a sick society.

Judged by these criteria, academia is by and large a very sick place, at least as it pertains to the humanities (we are naturally excluding those noble and truly liberal universities such as Hillsdale College whose very mission is to preserve the ideals of which we speak). On what elite campus do the professors speak of timeless truth, or objective morality, or of transcendentally real beauty? To the extent that they do, we have no quarrel with them.

Our enemies in the Muslim world are our enemies precisely because they are sick men from sick societies who wish to spread their disease to the rest of the world. But in our own part of the world, approximately half of the population suffers from a soul pathology that prevents them from making judgments on, or even perceiving, the soul pathology of our external enemies.

Thus, there are no feminist groups that rallied behind George Bush, who liberated more Muslim women than perhaps any other human being in history. Likewise, I know of no leftists who celebrate the achievements of the great liberator Ronald Reagan, who gave millions of victims of a satanic ideology the opportunity to become human again. For if leftists were to acknowledge these achievements, they would no longer be leftists. They would be cured.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Mystery Between Mister O and Mister I

Here's another old one that touches on the mystery of time. And when I say "mystery," I mean it in a particular way. First, it is a distinct mode of understanding through which we may know an absent presence and present absence. In other words, mystery has an epistemological sense. God, for example, is encountered through, or in, mystery. The more you heighten your sense of mystery, the more you are open to the transcendent. In my book, I symbolize this be-attitude as (o).

But there is also an implicit ontological sense of the term. As I have mentioned before, I have long suspected that the various fundamental mysteries that confront man are somehow interconnected; you might say that they are diverse manifestations of O.

What I mean is that there are certain things that are fundamentally beyond the horizon of knowability -- at least in the profane or rationalistic sense. No amount of cogitation will ever resolve these riddles, which include Time, Life, People, Self, and other magazines.

Sorry. That was a gag that couldn't help writing itself. These mysteries include Time (in all its modes, but especially the Now), Consciousness, Life, Freedom, and Being, AKA, that window into eternity that says I AM.

In the past I have used the metaphor of a three-dimensional hand passing through a two-dimensional plane. As the grubby fingers break through the plane, they will initially appear as one, then two, eventually five, circles (unless, like Petey, you were involved in a tragic farming accident). But then the circles will blend together at the wrist, if you still have one. You can always learn to use your left hand.

If you want to know what time -- and therefore evolution -- is, that's about as good an image as I can think of at the moment. Remember also what I -- or rather, Captain Kirk -- said the other day about the "circle" that exists when two dimensions meet -- analogous to the narrow passage between the chambers of an hourglass. Put the two images together, and what do we have?

I don't know. Let me think for a moment. A new Star Trek episode? I can't look at the keyboard and deploy my imagination at the same time.... speaking of which, add "imagination" to that list of mysteries above.

Got it. That little passage between the chambers is the "place" of declension, where the three-dimensional hand passes into two-dimensional space; you might say that it is where the Dreamer dreams the dream. It is certainly where free will takes place, not to mention the passage of time. And it is the only place where I AM could be.

The post I am about to edit was one that originally consisted of a purely "free association." You might say that it was an attempt to describe the sand particles as they flowed past. In editing it, I will now attempt to stand back from the hourglass for a wider view. In other words, in this second bite at the apple, I will attempt to contain what initially contained me -- or interpret the dream, so to speak.

It's FREE ASSOCIATION day, in which I, Bob's Unconscious, commandeer the wheel of Cosmic Bus and say whatever pops into his melon. It's a good way for him to discover what he thinks about things of which he knows nothing; or to know about things he has only unThought, and to thereby render this mythterious absence present. Or again, to bring forth some hidden corner of Bobness that should have perhaps remained hidden. At least we'll find out why.

Say, we haven't discussed time in a while, have we? It's always good to meditate on the mystery of time, since it is a modality that opens out to the infinite -- like the haunted house of Existence, the unexpected door into Life, and the miraculous window of Subjectivity.

Perhaps this is too obvious, but I think we can all agree that evolution presupposes time. Or does it? Obviously, there could be no possibility of evolution in the absence of time, time being a measure of change. But perhaps it's the other way around, i.e., that time is a byproduct of evolution. In other words, because things evolve, there is time. After all, if things didn't evolve, there would only be eternity, i.e., atemporal changelessness. As such, there would be no time to do anything, not even dash over to the dry cleaner before they close.

At this moment, I am looking straight ahead at my official Subgenius clock, with Bob Dobb's beaming face looking back at me. Some people suppose that a clock measures time, but that is incorrect. Rather, a clock measures space, as the hand moves from position to position (well, technically, this particular clock measures slack). A few moments ago, the minute hand was at Bob's noble chin. Now it is approaching the majestic pipe which he holds in his perfect teeth. The point is, time and change are thoroughly entangled, so that it is impossible to conceive of one in the absence of the other. Time is change and change is time.

Now, there is a difference between time and mere duration. And there is a kind of duration that is above and a kind of inverse analogy below. That is, God by definition transcends time and is not subject to change. Nevertheless, he obviously "endures." This is the modality of eternity, which is always now: before you spuds were, I YAM.

As we have discussed before, eternity is not time everlasting, but timelessness. However, on the temporal plane, the closest we can come to grasping eternity is through the very old and ancient. This is why we can obtain hints of the eternal in the presence of virgin nature, or a very old cathedral, or perhaps by looking out into the heavens. But these things should not be confused with eternity itself.

Eternity is not necessarily "time standing still." For example, Bob has treated numberless cases of psychological trauma (I didn't say "successfully"), and one of its universal characteristics is the suspension of time while the trauma is occurring. I think this can more or less be explained on Darwinian grounds, as an adaptation we evolved in order to cope with extreme distress. When someone is in the midst of a trauma, it is as if the event is implicitly recognized as being too "large" and full of implications to be able to metabolize and assimilate. As a result, the mind "shuts off," as it were. It continues to register the events as they are occurring, but in a timeless way that prevents us from thinking about them (which would require time). You might say that there is a defense mechanism that "stops time" (unlike progressiveism, which reverses it).

Only after the trauma has ended -- once the person is "safe" -- does the mind then "download" the trauma into time, so to speak, and start thinking about all the implications. Thus, the traumatized person always experiences flashbacks, or involuntary recollections that must be "metabolized" after the fact. Likewise, they will think about all of the many "what ifs," e.g., What if he had pulled the trigger?, or What if I had left my children behind?, or What if I hadn't noticed the stubble on her face? (long story).

Again, it is as if the trauma were a "hyperdimensional object," the implications of which can only be drawn out in time. (A more primitive person won't even be able to think about the trauma, but only act it out in time. In this case, the actions are the recollections. For some people, their whole life is simply the repetitive acting out of trauma; one thinks of the Islamists.)

Just so, an encounter with God can result in a similar kind of process that may take a lifetime to sort out. In other words, one must unpack and explicate all of the implications, which are more or less "infinite." Think of how Paul was "shattered" on the road to Damascus; the rest was just "commentary," so to speak.

I remember Schuon making reference to this in the preface to one of this books.... let me see if I can remember which one....

Here it is, from Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism: "[T]he Sophia perennis [that's the perennial wisdom for those of you in Reino Ciego] is quite evidently inexhaustible and has no natural limits.... As it is impossible to exhaust all that lends itself to being expressed, and as repetition in metaphysical matters cannot be a mistake -- it being better to be too clear than not clear enough -- we believe that we could return to our usual theses, either to offer things we have not yet said, or to explain in a usefully new way things we have said before."

So if these posts appear tediously repetitive, that's my excuse.

Later Schuon expands upon this in a useful way: "It is indispensable to know at the outset that there are truths inherent in the human spirit that are as if buried in the 'depths of the heart,' which means that they are contained as potentialities or virtualities in the pure Intellect: these are the principial or archetypal truths, those which prefigure and determine all others.... The intelligence of animals is partial, that of man is total; and this totality is explained only by a transcendent reality to which the intelligence is proportioned. Thus, the decisive error of materialism and of agnosticism is to be blind to the fact that material things and the common experiences of our life are immensely beneath the scope of our intelligence.... without the Absolute, the capacity of our conceiving it would have no cause."

Okay, let's break this down. As we have said before, profane thinking, or (k), can never arrive at O, except in the exterior sense; it can conceive it, but being in it is a different matter. Real ontonoetic thinking is a declension from O, i.e., that "transcendent reality to which the intelligence is proportioned." Now, if we were fully "in O," it would be analogous to being "in" the trauma; time stops, and we simply enjoy the divine Slack. There is duration, but no time. Augustine talks about being "taken up into heaven"; likewise, one thinks of Plotinus and so many other mystics down through the ages. Or, as Johan reminds us, it is like when Homer talks about the paradox of the beer being "in us," that we may be "in the beer."

But our day-to-day lives -- no, our life -- consists of unpacking and "assimilating" the "divine trauma" of O. Just like the bad kind of trauma, O shatters and never flatters the ego. The ego cannot possibly assimilate it, for it would be like the drop trying to assimilate the ocean. Rather, it must begin to work through the "flashbacks" of O, which are more like "memoirs of the future" than "predictions of the past," the latter of which are all of the "what ifs" that result from the adverse trauma.

Now, let's see.... what would be the "ultimate" trauma.... let me think.... Well, one trauma would obviously be the Big Bang, an event so brimming with implications that it would take billions of years to sort them out, this morning's post not excepted.

Afterwards, one of the biggest and most unexpected traumas to emerge from the primal explosion was the sudden appearance of Life. Evolution has been tinkering with its implications for the past 3.85 billion years, although Life only became consciously aware of its own implications perhaps 40,000 years ago, when another trauma occurred, the sudden emergence of the human subject. (By the way, for you creationists out there, feel free to translate this into your own terms; a grasp of the principles is the important thing, not a literal reading. In other words, any way you look at it, the awakening to the human state was a traumatic event, a reality memorialized in Genesis.)

Yes, but what would be the ultimate ultimate trauma, something that man could ponder forever and never quite assimilate.... I've got it! How about if the Absolute were to come down into history itself and obliterate all of our categories, even the "false absolute" of Death itself?

Hmmm, it might just work.... It's one thing to send down a book, but we all know what humans can do with books, i.e., "contain" and therefore kill them with their minds....

In an analogy Bob has not used before, probably with good reason, it is as if God dives into the deep end of history, and the resultant waves in the historical pool are still reaching us, because God is just too big for the pond. Imagine Charles Barkley or Rosie O'Donnell doing a cannonball into a wading pool.

Isn't there a scriptural passage to the effect that "death could not contain him?" The point is again that none of our cosmic, existential, scientific, or psychological categories can contain him. He shatters time, death, history, and the human being who allows himself to be traumatized -- or, let us say, crucified -- by this overwhelming event that is always happening.

Well, long day today, and I pretty much have to go where Bob goes, even though he could never contain me, not in a million lifetomes....

(Image yoinked from Vanderleun's sidebar, I don't know, just because it reminds me of this weird dream I once had. Or that once had me.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mind Under Matter: How the Other Half-Wits Live

As long as one clings to time, space, number and quantity, that person is on the wrong track and God is strange and far away. --Meister Eckhart

Good to see that we are getting some anonymous commenters who are clearly not trolls. Rather, they are asking some honest questions (yes, there most assuredly can be dishonest questions), and should be treated with respect and with patience. For example, this morning someone asked about my use of the word "prior" to describe the higher planes of existence. Now that I think about it, they might just as well object to the word "higher," since it implies the same thing.

As I explained in a comment, in order to describe the vertical at all, we must borrow terms that were developed for use in the horizontal -- indeed, beginning with the words "vertical" and "horizontal"! I prefer these words, because they are relatively empty and unsaturated terms, as opposed to, say, "heaven and earth" or "celestial and terrestrial." One could also say essence and existence, but those are more abstract, and aren't immediately graspable by the imagination.

Likewise, does grace flow like water? You tell me. Do we really ascend to God? Is the unconscious actually "below" the conscious? Each of these words must be understood in a poetic sense -- or perhaps I should say with the poetic sense.

Now, one reason why we say that the vertical is "prior" to the horizontal is because it must be. For if you give it any serious consideration at all, you quickly realize that the reverse could never be true -- that the vertical could not flow from the horizontal, any more than information could come from strict chaos, quality from quantity, mind from matter, etc. Science does not understand how this could be the case, but this is simply a result of prejudice, not "the nature of things." Abandon the scientistic prejudice, turn the cosmos back right side up, and it all makes perfect nonsense.

As I have mentioned before, we could not be human if we didn't have something analogous to a left and right cerebral hemisphere, with very different ways of understanding the world and of processing information. I believe the reason we have a left and right brain is because we simultaneously mirror, and are mirrored by, the cosmos, which has both horizontal and vertical modes.

Obviously science deals with the horizontal aspects of the world. It is linear, deterministic, past-to-future, bottom-up, etc. It also presumes the logical atomism that seems to be "common sense" for the left brain. That is, the universe consists of an infinite number of distinct parts subject to various forces that are external to them.

But the right brain isn't like this at all. Where the left brain is time oriented, the right brain sees things all at once. It is also inherently relational as opposed to atomistic. The right brain sees connections where the left brain sees divisions. It is continuous where the left brain is discontinuous. Here again we see the metacosmic categories of male and female instantiated in the very structure of our humanness: maleandfemale he created them. Yes, in our deep structure we are cosmic hermaphrodites.

Just as it is impossible to imagine a great poet, painter or musician without a highly developed and integrated right brain, it is inconceivable that one could be a great theologian, let alone, saint or mystic, without one. Similarly, one could say that the left brain operates along the lines of asymmetrical logic, while the right brain is the realm of symmetrical logic.

But no one, unless they are severely brain damaged, operates out of only one lobe, so there is always some degree of integration, although it can be relatively conscious and harmonious or unconscious and unharmonious. Often people project with the right what they reject with the left -- which is why, for example, no one is as religious (in the magical sense) as a Darwinist. Matter is the crock upon which they build their church.

In fact, much of the bonehead philosophy that emanates from scientism results either from unacknowledged sympathies coming from the right brain, or a denial of its voice altogether. It sounds half-witted because it is. It is so easy to poke holes in materialism or metaphysical Darwinism that it is shocking that anyone takes the trouble to actually believe in them, since the belief cannot be justified on any consistent logical -- let alone meta-logical -- grounds. Blah blah blah Gödel (who was often mistaken for Eddie Munster).

It should be noted that in childhood the right brain develops well in advance of the left, and that it has much deeper connections to the older parts of the brain such as the limbic system; as such, it is more "emotional," bearing in mind that emotions are a source of information, and that there can be both subtle and gross emotions, and even true and false ones.

As you may have noticed, much of spiritual development involves -- or is at least accompanied by -- a kind of "subtilization" of emotion, which is why it gets harder for you to tolerate being around the Barbarians. For example, although the sacred or holy are just as real as, say, matter -- actually, more so -- they obviously cannot be detected only by the senses, but in the heart, so to speak. In turn, this is why for the left, or for Queeg, nothing is sacred, except in an arbitrary or idiosyncratic way. They cluelessly steamroll over what is infinitely precious, like a child who gleefully smashes a cocoon to see what's inside. Like Queeg, they always confuse blasphemy with courage. Their dysluxia blinds them to the light, while their cardiomyopia prevents the heart from seeing.

Now, one of the easiest ways to render scripture absurd -- and to elevate oneself over what is vastly superior -- is to approach it with the left brain of the scientistic mind. This is typically what the anti-religious bigots do, always with great self-satisfaction, as if they are the first to notice that a literal reading of scripture is problematic. But if you approach the same passages with bi-logic, the problem usually disappears.

For example, what can it possibly mean that "Christ is in me" and that "I am in Christ"? From the standpoint of conventional logic, this is patently absurd, like saying that "I am now in the Slacktuary" and that "the Slacktuary is now in me." But from the standpoint of symmetrical logic, it not only makes perfect sense, but is a kind of logical corollary. That is, if Christ is in me, then I am necessarily in him. (Again, think of dream logic, in which contradictory statements or situations can be equally true.)

Likewise, we all know that God is both radically transcendent, or "beyond everything," and intensely immanent, or "within everything." With conventional logic, these statements would be mutually exclusive, but from the standpoint of symmetrical logic, they are again complementary and not at all problematic. Yes, most people are incapable of metaphysics, and therefore must take these kinds of statements about God "on faith." But this hardly means they are wrong or incapable of proof, any more than I am wrong to take it on faith that physicists are correct that the world really is a vast sea of quantum energy. Let them figure out the details. I've got more important things to do. I'll just take it on faith and move on. And in.

Speaking of complementarity, one wonders if some of the conundrums of physics cannot be reconciled in this manner. For example, from the standpoint of conventional logic, it is deeply problematic that the electron appears as either particle or wave, depending upon how one looks at it. In other words, it can either be an isolated part, or else a wave that shades off into the totality of existence. In the former sense, things are externally related and local, whereas in the latter sense they are internally related and nonlocal. This is a mystery to the left brain, but a banality to the right.

To extend the analogy a bit -- and again, bear in mind that I am drawing things out to their extremes in order to create a more vivid contrast -- much of the Bible is a primer on verticality. It acquaints us with the vertical realm, while simultaneously furnishing us with a vivid and imaginative kind of language with which to think about, store, and communicate it. This language was obviously quite effective for most of mankind's history. Indeed, it is perhaps difficult for modern sophisticates to understand how easily Christianity spread. People simply heard the story and said, "makes sense to me," and that was that.

But why did it make sense? The modern sophisticate will say that it had something to do with childlike naivete, or fear of death, or wishing to have a spurious sense of control over the environment. This may well be partly true, at least for the masses. But it is patently untrue if one reads the early fathers, whose thinking is enormously subtle and sophisticated, and still completely relevant to moderns, to say the least.

But again, the whole key is to understand things -- or at least to supplement one's understanding -- with symmetrical logic. Asymmetrical logic can know; but only symmetrical logic can truly understand. I might add that it is eminently possible to understand without knowing, which is why the simple person of faith understands so much more than the tenured sophisticate brimming with knowledge.

In The Symmetry of God, Bomford notes that we cannot actually conceve of eternity, since it is both timeless and changeless, whereas linear thought naturally takes place in time. But we can grasp it through various analogies in the herebelow, for example, the "everlasting," which "provides the closest image of the timeless within time." Therefore, we gain a sense of timelessness in proximity to things that are very old, like a European cathedral, or the Pyramids, or Larry King -- anything "whose beginning is lost in the mists of time, the ancient and the ageless, for these approximate in feeling to the everlasting."

At the same time, at the other end of the extreme, we may also glimpse the eternal in the passing moment, "for such a thing is simultaneously whole and unchanging -- it has no time in which to change.... It is there in its fullness -- and it is gone again." Thus, a mystic such as William Blake could see eternity in a flower or grain of sand, just as Lileks can see it in an old matchbook or motel postcard.

Eternity can also be suggested "by the last event of a series." Bomford cites the example of an aging travel-writer "who had long before visited many places for the first time, and returned often, found a renewed significance in returning once more deliberately for the last time. Places regained the freshness of the first visit." Similarly, "the last words of the dying may be seen as a key to an understanding of a whole life. The last of the series completes the picture, ends the story, and thus hints at the instantaneous wholeness of eternity."

Think it is accomlished. Umm, what was? Oh, I don't know, maybe a little bridge between time and eternity in the heart of the cosmos, making each moment an eternal new year where death touches Life and the former is tranfsigured by the latter. Something like that.

Every December 31, we touch the edge of eternity, as we approach the "end" of one year and the "beginning" of another -- the uniting of old and new, as they are joined at midnight. The Book of Revelation captures this quality, only on a cosmic scale, when the enthroned Christ "announces himself as The First and the Last and the Lord God himself is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end." Similarly, St. Augustine "addressed God as 'Thou Beauty, both so ancient and so new,'" an expression of eternity which has a deep unconscious resonance. The absurcular Book of the Raccoon makes the same point in its own bobscure way, in that it ends and begins with the unified vertical interior meeting up with the dispersing horizontal exterior in the eternal nowthing.

Traditional metaphysics always makes a distinction between the God-being and the God-beyond-being -- between the personal God that can be named and thought about and the Supreme Reality that is beyond name and form. The former is the cataphatic God about whom we may talk, debate and theologize in a somewhat linear way, while the latter is the apophatic God which so utterly transcends our categories that the most we can say about it is what it is not. Various formulations are "fingers pointing at the moon," and although they are "doorways" into the divine mystery, one should not mistake the finger for the moon. In the end, God cannot be "known," only undergone.

Most rank-and-file religious people have never heard of the God-beyond-being and might even be offended by the idea. They have a clear conception of what God is like, and don't want to be reminded that the real unconditioned God blows away those mental idols like a tornado through a Buddhist sand painting convention... which, by the way, is the whole point of a sand painting.

This distinction between the God-being and God-beyond-being is actually a vertical distinction within God himself, and perhaps mirrors the distinction within us between symmetrical and asymmetrical logic. It is not a bobmade principle, but one that would be intrinsic to the inner life of the godhead. It is easy to prove that it exists, more problematic to prove that we or anything else can exist outside it. Nevertheless, man himself is a symbol, which means "to throw across," in our case, from God to matter and back up again.

As a matter of fact, the God-beyond-being is the one thing that surely cannot not be, although numerous implications immediately follow. Ultimately it is the distinction between Brahman and maya, between reality and appearance, between absolute and relative, between necessary and contingent. It is the first distinction, from which all else follows.

This brings up an interesting point. That is, does God have divine mind parasites?

Oh yes. I’m afraid so. For what is a mind parasite in the final analysis? It is a relativity that partakes of, and confuses itself with, absoluteness. God being God, he must be present in all relativities. But being God, he cannot help being beyond them as well. A divine mind parasite is a relativity that steals from the Absolute and then forces itself upon others absolutely. In short it is a demon. Like everything else, it must ultimately be "of God," even though it can't be. Only symmetrical logic can reconcile such a problem. Evil must needs be, but woe to the man who commits it!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Sands of Timelessness and the Narrow Gate Between the Chambers of Ourglass

What was it that Abe Lincoln said about how tall a man should be -- tall enough for his legs to reach the ground? Whatever the case, it reminds me of how long a life should be: long enough to reach the heavens.

I'm still thinking about Magnus' comment on the nature of time, and how it is becoming more "dense" and therefore "speeding up" -- or, if it isn't, it might as well be, given the rapidity of change.

Then again, perhaps all of the superficial changes can blind us to the more singular, revolutionary changes. In other words, seeing so much change can make one cynical and detached about change itself, as if all change is of the same magnitude -- for example, that a change of presidents is not much different than a change of fashion.

No doubt metaphysical Darwinism also contributes to the confusion, for it is a doctrine of perpetual change, which is no doctrine at all. In Darwinism, the only thing that doesn't change -- for it is unchangeable -- is the Darwinist's mind. But he never explains how purely flowing contingency results in a head like a rock.

One could say the same of the climate changists. Since science proves beyond doubt that the climate is always changing, how can there be deviations from a fanciful norm? It is like trying to take the ideological temperature of a cold-blooded liztard whose temperament changes with the financial needs of the moment.

Anyway, I'm going to try to weave together several previous posts on the nature of time. Remember, this is not for your benefit, but for mine, as I attempt to condense the arkive. Plus, I find that there is absolutely no reason for me to try to rethink things that I may have already adequately thunk in the past. I don't want to just repeat myself without even knowing it. And again, that's the problem -- I really have no idea what's in the arkive, since I write the posts so quickly. This actually gives me a chance to reflect upon and tweak them where necessary.

Eternity lasts forever, but time takes time. A lot of stuff has to happen for it to be fulfilled. Once you recognize this, it is like waking up in a burning house, as Magnus so aptly put it. You have to quickly identify what is essential, grab what you need, and get the hell out! (And of course, wake up your loved ones.)

What makes it all so... thrilling is that you could very well have 70 or 80 years to get out of the house, or you might have only two seconds. You just never know. You could say that a spiritual practice is like the fire drill that prepares us for any exigency.

That the atheist imagines this is "comforting" is further testament to their pitifully frivolous lives. I've posted in the past about the point at which I dramatically realized the burning stakes involved. Once your life bears on eternity, then the implications of your every action have a kind of quasi-infinite resonance. I won't say "infinite," since that is a category reserved for the Absolute, but you know what I mean. Your entire life is transposed to a higher key, several octaves above the aimless absurcularity of the flatland atheist croaking his repetitive ditties about the glories of matter.

After all, your charge is, like B'atman, to be more than a man. Or, if you prefer, it is simply to be a man, properly understood. But either way, you get the point: it is to transcend, not momentarily, but continuously, even while being more fully "in the world" than the half-dead secularists.

Being that we are in the image of the Creator, it is not as simplistic as being "in the world, but not of it." Rather, it is BEING in, and being IN the world, even while one's essential being derives from a radically different source than the closed horizontal world. After all, the world cannot transcend, much less redeem, itself. Nor can we in the absence of nonlocal assistance. Why this is not understood even by secular intellectuals is a mystery to me. They must truly believe that truth is just opinion.

The past recedes like so much driftwood behind an Ocean liner, while the future comes at us like a dark juggernaut out of the fog. In short, because we are finite we are in time and subject to its relentless passage, which brings birth and death, growth and decay, choice and circumstance, chance and necessity, geometry and music, drudgery and adventure.

But at the same time -- or timelessness -- human beings may uniquely stand "outside" or "above" the flow of time. We may sit on the river bank and watch it pass, and even write books that attempt to reveal deeper patterns in the flow of time.

In other words, all other animals live in time, not history. But human beings transpose time into history. Once we fully realize the implications of this, we can awaken from that particular nightmare and live in a transhistorical position, which is a sort of inverse analogy of the prehistorical position, since we are conscious of what the cave dweller was only unconscious. Do you see the point? Truly, it is as if there is pre-Enlightenment man, vulgar Enlightenment man, and civilized post-enlightenment man. The pre- and the post- share some characteristics, but the post- has been burnished by the fires of history.

Schuon expresses it well: "What is human is what is natural to man, and what is most essentially or most specifically natural to man is what relates to the Absolute and which consequently requires the transcending of what is earthly in man.... There is a great deal of talk these days about 'humanism,' talk which forgets that once man abandons his prerogatives to matter, to machines, to quantitative knowledge, he ceases to be truly 'human'.... What is most profoundly and authentically human rejoins the Divine by definition."

What this means is that mere Enlightenment man is necessarily less than a man, for he has exiled himself from his own origin and center. He is permanently "stuck" in the middle of time and history, with no way out or up.

Elsewhere Schuon writes with characteristic precision and lucidity that man posseses "objectivity of intelligence: the capacity to see things as they are in themselves; next, objectivity of will, hence free will; and finally, objectivity of sentiment, or of soul if one prefers: the capacity for charity, disinterested love, compassion. [T]he 'human miracle' must have a reason for being that is proportionate to its nature, and it is this that predestines -- or 'condemns' -- man to surpass himself; man is totally himself only by transcending himself. Quite paradoxically, it is only in transcending himself that man reaches his proper level; and no less paradoxically, by refusing to transcend himself he sinks below the animals which -- by their form and mode of passive contemplativity -- participate adequately and innocently in a celestial archetype; in a certain respect, a noble animal is superior to a vile man."

Now, the noble Raccoon not only transposes time into history, but history into transhistory, AKA, the Adventure of Consciousness (or "Journey to God," if you like). Rather than looking at consciousness as a mere side effect of the chance arrangements of matter, he turns the cosmos outside in and right side up, and sees consciousness as a "projection" of eternity into time.

This is how it is that history exists. It is how Man exists. It is how consciousness exists. It is how Life exists. It is how the Cosmos itself exists. But it is also why they exist and why they must exist in any Cosmos worthy of the name. A Cosmos will be alive and conscious, or it will not be a Cosmos, just an incoherent chaosmos. But a chaosmos is strictly impossible, for it is a contradiction in terms. Chaos -- like any change -- can only exist as a privation. We can only know of it because there is order, just as we can only know of the change of Darwinism because the human soul is of the substance of changelessness.

Things are not only caused horizontally by the past and the "below." Rather, their ultimate cause must emanate from the "future" and the "above," which is why there are different quasi-autonomous or "discontinuously continuous" worlds such as physics, biology, psychology, theology -- or matter, life, mind and spirit. Clearly, if you have even a rudimentary post-enlightenment grasp of things, you realize that manifest existence must flow in the ontologically prior direction of Spirit--> Mind --> Life--> Matter. You know, One Cosmos Under God. The alternative is just too stupid -- and boring -- to waste one's time on, which is to say, one's life, mind and spirit, i.e., eternity.

I would like to briefly discuss this in the context of a short but extremely relevant article by Schuon called The Symbolism of the Hourglass. Schuon's account of this symbolism is in perfect accord with everything we have discussed above.

In its ordinary use, the hourglass is "a symbol of time and death." The flowing sand signifies the irreversibility of time, as the substance of our being gradually dissipates into death. Furthermore, "the sterility of sand evokes the nothingness of things as mere earthly accidents," while "the cessation of movement reminds us that the heart will stop and life will end."

However, looked at another way, we can see that the two compartments "represent the high and the low, heaven and earth." On the one hand, there is a flowing movement and a "pole of attraction" that pours from eternity into time, spirit into matter, i.e., (↓). But as mentioned above, the method and the goal of Raccoon spirituality involves turning the cosmos upside-down -- which is to say, right side up. Thus, as Schuon explains,

"Spiritually, a movement toward the higher is always a sort of turning upside down, for the soul turns away from the world, which imprisons and disperses it, thus reversing the movement of its will or love." In other words, we invert the hourglass -- or ourglass, as it were -- "so that the heavenly attraction should be represented by an ascending movement of the sand into the upper compartment," i.e., (↑). This is why our aspiration is simultaneously an attraction, or a movement into the orbit of the Great Attractor. Indeed, it is why spiritual aspiration "goes somewhere" instead of just in circles.

I am reminded of a Star Trek episode I saw the other night. It had to do with a parallel universe where lived a "mad" version of a sane individual from the other universe. The madman was traveling through hyperspace, enviously trying to destroy the sane one. However, if the two should actually make contact, it would instantaneously destroy both universes. Either Kirk or Spock made the comment that there was a "circular" area where the two dimensions made contact and the two could pass back and forth.

This got me to thinking of how the different dimensions of the cosmos relate. For example, "mind" is clearly in a different dimension than matter. And yet, there is a point of contact, most notably in the human head. This immediately made me think of the small circle that separates the upper and lower dimensions of the hourglass.

But in the cosmic deli, there are not just the two chambers, but many, depending upon how finely one wishes to slice the ontological salami. For example, in Wilber's Integral Psychology, he has an appendix of detailed charts that correlate various levels of spirit from different traditions. However, the takeaway point is that in each case, the lower is explained by the higher, not vice versa. The higher is ontologically prior, but temporally later -- which is a truism that the Darwinist simply cannot wrap his unevolved mind around.

Back to the symbolism of the hourglass. The following description by Schuon exactly parallels how I explained it in chapter four of my book: "The expression 'poles of attraction' calls to mind the image of two magnetic centers, one above and one below.... the world attracts like a magnetic center, but at the same time it is diverse and disperses; the 'Kingdom of Heaven' also attracts like a magnet, but at the same time it is infinite and it expands."

Again, between them is that tiny circle which is none other than the "narrow path" or "strait gate" through which camels and lizards cannot pass.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Holy History, B'atman, We're Surrounded by Jokers!

Once again I dropped my line into the knowa's arkive, and the very first post arrested my attention. It seems to nonlocally relate to yesterday's post, plus I see some pneumatic interstices where I can toss in some pneumaterial. If possible, I would also like to find a way to work in some comments on the following observation by Magnus:

"At the time of Jesus and his apostles, deep time was a span of hundreds of years at best. Some of their words would take more than a thousand years to hit home. It is the same today, except that a thousand years passes in less than a generation. Human time is speeding up so that changes that would take a hundred years may take less than ten. And then it speeds up again.

"However, the future is still equally hard to predict. That means that if you, in the age of Emperor Augustus, had not been able to foresee the Middle Ages... then you are not able to foresee the world twenty years from now.

"A fascinating side effect of this is that we, in a certain sense, have regained the lifespan of the mythical ancestors from before the Flood, who would live to see nearly a thousand years pass. Even had this been literally true, they would hardly learn as much, or see as much change, in their 900 years as some of us have seen already."

You see, as soon as you try to define time, you understand that Magnus' comment is more than metaphorical, for if time is the measure of change, then what he says is literally true. I think about this all the time. In my wildest dreams, twenty years ago I could not imagine doing what I am doing at this very moment -- i.e., instantaneously communicating my deepest and most eccentric thoughts to a leading-fringe audience of oddballs and misfits spanning the entire world while sitting here in my childhood bedroom. Yes, I continue to grow up in the house I grew up in, but that's another story. Or storey.

"Energy" is one of those words, like "time," which everyone uses but no one can actually define. Physicists have no idea what energy is, only what it does. The dictionary doesn't help, defining it as "the capacity of being active" or "the capacity for doing work." Transferred to the human plane, this doesn't make a lot of sense. For example, think of all the liberal "activists" who do not actually "work." In fact, if they worked, they wouldn't have the time or energy to be activists, and we'd all be better off. Liberals -- not to mention government employees -- prove that work and activity can be diametrically opposed.

It seems that for humans, energy is value-neutral, in that it will only make the unredeemed man more of what he already is, so to speak. With the influx of energy, a deplorable rag such as the Enquirer or New York Times simply becomes more of one, if that is possible. Keith Olbermann only becomes more unglued. Chris Matthews only hurls more spittle at the back of your TV screen -- which is impossible to clean, by the way. The MSMistry of Truth only burrows further into the Messiah's asstank. In other words, the energy in no way "elevates" its recipient, although the person no doubt feels more alive when the energy is rushing along his keel and causing a tingle in his pasty and corpulent thigh.

I'm sure this is why so many people on the left are so addicted to anger and outrage, and the reason why I counsel my slavish clones not to get too caught up in the tempest of the day; or, at the very least, to do so with one eye on the Aion and another eye winking. What you do with your third eye is your business.

Our work is not political per se. For us, there can be no political solution. Rather, nothing short of a transformation of consciousness can alter the present course of history. History is not just a horizontal stream of time, being that it is composed of humans (and cultures) of differing developmental -- which is to say, vertical -- levels.

I often think about this as it pertains to my four and a-half year-old. I well remember that eternal, magical space that I lived in when I was his age -- the natural mysticism of childhood -- and about how he is in that identical space, despite all the historical differences. They are all obliterated in the mystery of his pure consciousness, which is atemporal being and bliss. When he's getting his way, that is. When he's not, he suddenly transmogrifies into an endlessly whining and entitled liberal beast whose demands are bottomless. Same conscious-energy. Different result.

History, like man himself, is just a middle term linking two ahistorical realities. Dude, that's called a fact. If we think of history as the residue of, or the tracks laid down by, the Adventure of Consciousness, what is most important for us is not its horizontal meandering but its vertical ascent. In other words, profane history is merely the "stage," so to speak, on which the Army of Man makes forays into the vertical and slowly colonizes it -- just as some 40,000 years ago, proto-humans slowly began colonizing the a priori space of humanness and all its various "mansions," both high and low.

To put it another way -- and this is a critical point -- the acquisition of humanness was not merely an evolutionary ascent. Rather, it simultaneously -- and necessarily -- involved opening up a space which was lower than the beasts. This is why man and only man can be higher or lower than an animal, depending upon the choices he makes. This is also why history is so simultaneously surreal and subreal. No mere animal could produce the Holocaust on the one hand or < fill in the blank > on the other.

Imagine an advancing army, only moving upward and inward; as Sri Aurobindo put it, it is like "a tide or mounding flux, the leading fringe of which touches the highest degrees of a cliff or hill while the rest is still below," or "an army advancing in columns which annexes new ground, while the main body is still behind in territory overrun but too large to be effectively occupied, so that there has to be a frequent halt and partial return to the traversed areas for consolidation and advance of the hold on the occupied country and assimilation of its people."

This is why it was so appallingly vomitaceous for Obama to actually abase himself -- and by extension, us -- before that hideous gang of murderers, thugs, and anti-Semites last week. Truly, this is like the Jews apologizing to Hitler, and Netanyahu has our eternal gratitude for speaking truth to the steaming pile of human turds in that World Toilet.

By way of contrast -- to put it mildly -- the "Reagan Revolution" was more importantly an evolution. Unfortunately, the evolution "didn't take," and we're almost back to where we started in Carterville. Why? First, because, as always, the evolution is embattled on all sides by the primitives and barbarians down below, who are animated by hostile cosmic forces they do not understand. But perhaps even more importantly, because we were not worthy of it. No one is more responsible for frittering away the progress of the Reagan Revolution than the Republican party, which simply gave the game away to the barbarian hordes. Our foundation was not secure enough.

I am reminded of another comment from yesterday, this one by xlbrl: "The socialist state cannot live without the conservative making it work for him. What Reagan accomplished was remarkable indeed, yet here we are at the precipice again, and quickly.... If we do not re-discover and remove all things in which all government extends itself and reduces citizens, we will acheive that end point of democracy for which Tocqueville elequently described but for which he could find no name."

There actually is a name: tyranny, except that it's the tyranny that occurs at the end rather than beginning of history, for "extremes meet." It is the tyranny of, in the formulation of James Kalb, "administered freedom, inquisitorial tolerance, and equality by command."

Thus we await another political "savior" to save us from saviors. Like the actual savior, this one will certainly have to possess a "mandate from heaven," which means to say that he or she will have to be a vibhuti, or man or woman with an evolutionary mission. Even the secular savior must first face the challenge of being strangled in their crib. They must face down Death itself as a preparation for what they will face later, which will be like Death fractured into a million images in a hall of TV monitors, cable stations, newspapers, elite universities, and know-nothing bloggers. One must be able to walk calmly through that vale of Death, because it is ultimately a maze of "pure" illusion.

It is quite literally a confrontation with Death, as described, for example, in the Tibetan Book of the Dead -- which is really a Book of Life and how to get out of it alive. There we are told that upon (ego) death we will be confronted with the apparitions of every wrathful demon and every seductive illusion -- and leftism is nothing if not a seductive illusion. "If the soul is able to perceive the identity between its innate luminosity and the great light of reality, then liberation is achieved" (Perry).

This is why the true conservative leader must be religious in the deepest sense, because only a religious person with the protection of grace will be able to walk calmly through this gauntlet. Could you do it? Face down the kind of hatred and viciousness we are seeing, while remaining in your Center?

Whoever it is will be sorely tested, not just by the left, but by the demonic energy they embody. You will note that their energy is chaotic, disorganized, hysterical, shrill, bullying, harassing, disorienting, intoxicated, "over the top." The only way to make one's way through this storm of insanity is with divine assistance. There is no other way. One must surrender to the higher in order to master the lower.

As always, it all comes back to Batman, doesn't it? Remember his training with the League of Shadows, when he had to walk through the gauntlet of the ninjas, all poised to attack at any moment? At the end is a treasure chest overflowing with -- his worst fear. Only then, by calmly facing the fear, is the fear transformed into a gift, and he become more than a man. Thus, his fear really is a kind of priceless treasure. The demons serve an evolutionary purpose -- up to a point.

Bruce Wayne takes the primordial fear and chaos of the underworld -- represented by the bats -- and internalizes them to his benefit. The fear still exists, only now he contains it, rather than vice versa. In so doing, he not only masters these demonic forces, but marshals them to his advantage. I have no idea why conservatives do not do the same thing with the hellbats represented by the liberal media. When is someone going to aggressively, relentlessly, and unapologetically shove it back in their hideous faces? When is someone going to take those projections, which are vomited from hell like so many bats, and use the material to assemble an ontological pneutron bomb, which disperses liberals like sunlight on a vampire but leaves our institutions standing?

It is no coincidence that Batman operates out of the subterranean cave beneath civilization, symbolized by Wayne Manor. Not only is he comfortable down in hell, but the very foundations of the mansion are plunged deep into the cavern below. This is a key point: your own evolution will continue to slide back down if you do not have your spiritual foundation planted deep beneath your "southeast corner." I don't care how beautiful your mansion, if it doesn't have a kind of continuity with the darkness below, it won't survive the coming birthquake. Not for nothing does Holy Saturday precede Easter Sunday.

Remember the image of the advancing army: you had better have the space below occupied by your troops before you try to advance above. Furthermore, you had better maintain a continuous line of communication. The last thing you want to happen is for your luxpeditionary force to get stranded above, cut off from the supply line. Your growth must be organic, which is to say, internally related on all levels, with no gaps. Most of all it must be embodied and lived.

Hmm, just received a delightfully over-the-top email from a curious reader. I think you know by now that your Dear Leader is not only unsusceptible to flattery, but even offended by it, so you will forgive its extravagant praise of the almighty B'ob. It's just the reader's own energy externalized, anyway. Or, he is just sharing a joke at his expense. Either way, the real superhero is in the heart:

"What in the holy name of Creation are you doing, my good sir? I am sincerely perplexed at the nature of your blog, the complexity of your mind, and the tenacity of your wit, all of which far exceed my abilities of comprehension -- most of the time, anyway.

"Your book and blog have served me a great deal in letting go of my identification with the insanity of unadulterated liberalism, and, more importantly, helped me recognize the impersonal nature of all thought forms as they arise in the vast expanse of my awareness. Nonetheless, I can't seem to grasp from a larger perspective the purpose you serve by playing the role of 'Gagdad Bob,' which I can only assume leaves you with more hate mail than the Vatican after that glorious run of molestation charges earlier this decade.

"Please, let me in on the secret! What is it in my psyche that draws me back to a blog that is such a severe combination of consciousness-tones that it can only remind one of Rachmaninoff orchestrating a piece while under the influence of LSD after spending three months locked in a cell with J. Edgar Hoover, Molly Ringwald, Pat Buchanan, and Mother Theresa? The blog is funny, frightening, poetic, genius, and above all, ballsy. What drives it?"

Easy. I'm the B'atman. And so are you, or you wouldn't be here.

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