Friday, December 17, 2010

Remembering to Forget to Remember: The One Thing Needful

For Tomberg, all subsequent acts of creation are fractals of the first day, just as all miracles -- or vertical interventions -- are related to the seventh: "Just as the first day of creation in essence contains and encompasses the entire account of the creation, so does the seventh miracle of St. John's Gospel contain and encompass the other six miracles" (Tomberg).

Tomberg begins with the idea that sleep, death, and forgetting are all related to one another (cf. mortician, morphine and morpheus): just as sleep is the "younger brother of death," forgetting "is the younger brother of sleep."

Forgetting is "a partial sleep of the conscious mind, while sleep is a complete forgetting of consciousness." Conversely, to re-member is to "resurrect" something from unconsciousness, while awakening from sleep is the re-collection of our conscious self. Each day we are miraculously born again through the sacred Raccoon ritual of the holy caffeinated water.

Today the resurraction is taking a little bit longer, because I was up later last night, having attended the school Christmas show, which went on and on and on. I don't understand. The parents only care about seeing their own kid perform, if that. Why put them through the torture of watching all the others? I mean, every grade, K through 8th, and the kindergarteners were perversely put on last! May I be frank? It's things like this that remind me of why I didn't want to have children for all those years.

Anyway, just as life requires metabolism (building up) and catabolism (tearing down), our minds also require various kinds of forgetting in order to function. For example, in order to concentrate or meditate or pray, one must temporarily forget everything in consciousness with the exception of the non-doodling at hand.

If everything in consciousness were simultaneously present -- if one had no forgettery to complement one's remembery -- one could accomplish little. Things would very quickly grow overwhelming. Many people have difficulty distinguishing the foremost from the treevial. Taken to an extreme, this becomes obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is a kind of systematic preoccupation with surfaces to the exclusion of essences. But most people miss the Point (ʘ) in one way or another.

The process of writing these posts is much more analogous to the way art is created, in that we are essentially calling things up, down, and in from the wider realm of consciousness as such, somewhat like the spider that spins an external production out of its own substance -- which it then inhabits. And uses to catch living food. As the posts develop, they become like attractors that draw in what they need in order to complete themselves.

We all do this -- that is, crawl around in the psychic webs we spend our lives spinning -- some of us more consciously than others. But where does the material for the web come from? As ShrinkWrapped has noted on many occasions, the most naive and clueless people are those sophisticates who believe their minds are completely rational (in the profane sense) and that their psychic webs are spun from "pure reason."

Such individuals tend to be markedly tedious and shallow, as they are alienated from the larger and most vital part of their being. They tend to be on the obsessive-compulsive end of the spectrum, holding tightly to their little spotlight that is fixed upon a small area of darkness, instead of the vast -- even infinite -- interior cosmos that extends beyond the range of the spotlight, both "up" (into supra-sensory realms) and "down" (into the unconscious). In holding so tightly to their point, they miss it altogether.

One can also see how this type of obsessional thinking is analogous to one who "cannot die," for just as there is pathological forgetting (i.e., Alzeimer's), there is pathological remembering (i.e., scientism, rationalism, leftism, etc.). In both cases, a psychic death occurs: the Alzeimer's patient because he cannot remember, the materialist or doctrinaire leftist because he cannot forget. Because as soon as you successfully forget that rationalistic bedtime story, your local mind can die and your nonlocal being can hang out where the resurraction is.

This is one of the reasons why religious people in general and conservatives in particular tend to be so much happier than leftists and irreligious people. They also live longer and healthier lives, probably as a result of the deadly stress hormones produced by trying to live in a manner that is unnatural to -- and unworthy of -- human beings. Leftism is a recipe for unhappiness, if only because of the envy.

Just as human beings can only survive and flourish in a certain type of external environment (even if our technology is able to artificially maintain that environment in hostile climes), they also only flourish spiritually and psychologically in a certain type of "interior environment" that facilitates vertical recollection of the soul -- resurrection again.

Science begins with the known (k) and tries to extend it into the unknown (O), whereas religion begins in the infinite unknown (O) and tries to give voice to it in a more or less structured way. Revelation and theology represent more structured representations of O, while these daily bobservations are more spontaneous ones.

In a way, the process is analogous to free association in psychoanalytic therapy. The first and last rule of psychoanalysis is to disable your censor and to say whatever comes to mind, no matter how bizarre or trivial. By listening with "even hovering attention," a good analyst is able to apprehend a deeper order that is governing the patient's associations -- perhaps even catch a mind parasite in flagrante delicto, which is always a thrill.

With these posts, it's as if I am free associating, except "from above" rather than "below." As I continue associating, an order spontaneously emerges, but it is the same teleological order that was covertly guiding the process all along. The psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas refers to it as "Giving up narrative control to become a certain sort of subject within a process guided by the intelligence of the other" -- or the nonlocal m(O)ther and (F)author, as the case may be.

You might say that with the down-and-Incarnation, the eternal Christic order went from being implicate to explicate. The order was there as potential, but a human intermediary is required for it to manifest locally, so to speak -- just as Mary was required in order for God's word to assume biological life.

Obviously, it wasn't as if Christ (who is eternal) weren't present prior to the Incarnation, much less afterwards. But it was implicate existence -- wave rather than particle, so to speak. The revolutionary wave became particle for some 33⅓ years, in so doing, roiling the waves of deep history.

As I have mentioned before, those temporal waves continue to lap upon our distant shore, something which sounds strange but which is manifestly true even to the most metaphysically blind and dense individual. Leftists would like to eliminate that particular wave from history, but the effort is as vain as trying to clamp down on the ocean to stop tsunamis. Good luck. The rest of us will just enjoy the metaphysical surfing.

Your very self is a chaotic attractor that abides in the future, drawing you toward it, but only if you abandon your own alternate plans for your existence. Bollas describes the self as an "inner sense of destiny" which "seeks lived experience to realise its own particular aesthetic intelligence." "We sense this drive to present and represent our self as if it were an intelligent life force" which reveals itself through the way we uniquely make use of the objects (and subjects) of life. For example, cut a page of Lileks' bleat, and it sheds his blood. No one else could possibly use those particular objects and words in that particular way. His unique idiom is the exteriorization and realization of his equally unique self.

Now more than ever, because of the vast overabundance of infrahuman trivia and propaganda that surrounds us, it is necessary to live a life of disciplined forgetting in order to remember -- and therefore resurrect -- "the one thing needful."

Schuon was very adamant on this point, which can sound austere but is actually the doorway to liberation. In a letter to an initiate, he wrote, "The chief difficulty of the spiritual life is to maintain a simple, qualitative, heavenly position in a complex, quantitative, earthly setting." Only in so doing will we have the musical uppertuneity to hear the song celestial and disriminate between the Real and the illusory, which is the whole point of the spiritual life. It is quite difficult to remember the Real when one's very life is plunged into the unreal, with no space to breath in the ambiance of the Absolute and the Eternal.

This distinction between the Real and the illusory will determine how we use the only certainty given to humans aside from death, judgment, and eternity, which is the present moment, which ultimately determines the others. For the one moment given to us is the "liberating center" of the cosmos, into which eternity flows and death is therefore transcended.

Alternatively, if we are tied with all our being to the relentless machine of time, it simply drags us along in its wake until we are ground down or torn apart. Lucky ones will simply smash into the wall of death without ever knowing what hit them -- which is to say, their life.

Schuon sets out some simple godlines for avoiding frittering away the moment, and therefore, your sorry life.

"One must not waste one's time with worldly, unnecessary and often trivial distractions."

"One must not regularly read a newspaper from one end to the other, above all in the morning."

"One must not habitually watch television."

"One must not read novels, profane, unhealthy, trivial literature (although it is obviously permissible to inform oneself, to read books worthy of interest in historical, cultural, aesthetic, etc., subjects, but with measure and without losing oneself therein; and to enjoy art or music that is noble and which elevates)."

"One must control one's curiosity."

"In short, one must live 'in a little garden of the Holy Virgin,' without unhealthy curiosity and without ever losing sight of the essential content and goal of life. That is 'holy poverty' or 'holy childlikeness'; it is also, so to speak, 'holy monotony'.... dominated by the proximity of the sacred, and on the margin from the uproar of this lower world.... This seems obvious, but most believers take no account of it."

Such a life is hardly monotonous in the way that word is typically understood -- much less boring -- but it is disciplined. I especially like the advice about "controlling curiosity," which is surely a vital component, for either you will control it or it will control you and drag you around by the eyes and ears.

There are so many psychic avenues and nul-de-slacks that one should not even take the first step down, but as soon as you say that, people think you're trying to diminish their freedom.

Plus, the last thing people want is to have their conscience awakened, which is why Job One of the left is the annihilation of the personal conscience and its replacement with a collective one. This allows, for example, Hollywoodenheads to lead such depraved lives while feeling morally superior to the rest of us because they believe in manmade global warming or want their taxes raised. This dynamic is the entire secret of leftist moral preening, and answers the perennial question, "how can such perverse people be so fascannoyingly sanctimonious?"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who is the Dreamer who Dreams the World?

We're now down to Day One and Miracle Seven. But Day One also implies Day Zero, since there are no days prior to their creation. All we know from Genesis is that "the earth was without form, and void," and that "darkness was on the face of the deep," a wonderful phrase that conjures a profound nothingness, an existential swamp, an absolute nihil of opacity and meaninglessness.

Is the Bible suggesting that creation arose from a liberal university? I don't think so. The UN? No.

If I'm not mistaken, just as it doesn't spookulate much on the afterlife, Judaism discourages fertilizing too mulch about the state of affairs prior to creation.

This is the purpose of the definitive statement at the outset of Genesis: to put an end to idle speculation about matters we cannot possible imagine. Yes, we are all aware of vivid accounts of "heaven" and "hell," but in my view these are intended to be didactic and pedagogic. Really, they're a little like stop signs. When you see one, you just stop. You don't spend time thinking about why the sign is there, if it's really needed, whether you can ignore it if no one's looking, what the fine will be if you get a ticket, etc.

The first creative act serves as a template or fractal that is mirrored in the other six days of creation, and therefore creativity as such. In fact, according to Tomberg, the subsequent six days can be seen as an extended commentary on the first, which embraces in its essence the whole miracle of creation.

As such, the first day is not just dealing with creation but the principle of creation. One might say that it is "the creation of creation," which must precede this or that particular creation. Therefore, one might even say that it is the creation of the Creator, who paradoxically becomes One only by virtue of his creation.

Clearly there is no creation without a Creator. But there is also no Creator without a creation (so to speak). If you're really the One, Show us the many!!!

In a way, this is analogous to our dreams, which, in my opinion, are an important part of our deiformity, and can therefore tell us something about what goes on "in God." (As we have said many times, we take seriously the principle that man in his essence is in the image of his Creator.)

What distinguishes daytime consciousness from night time consciousness is that in the former mode we are separate from the creations of our consciousness -- or at least we weave in and out of them, merging and observing, producing and critiquing, spewing and cleaning up.

At night things are different. Although there is a Dreamer and a dream, we only know this after the fact, upon awakening. We generally cannot experience the distinction when the dream is occurring. This is a fascinating principle of consciousness, because it means that in the most profound sense, we are both the subject (creator) and object (created) of our dreams, even though we identify only with the object pole.

But once you appreciate the protean genius of the Dreamer, you cannot possibly believe that your little ego is anything more than a tiny satellite in the orbit of a higher conscious power. But who is the Dreamer if not you?

However, this You is like the dark side of the moon. I Syd you not. It is always there, even if we cannot see it. Indeed, we cannot see it because it is in a permanent dialectical relationship with the visible side; even if you bring a portion of darkness into the light of consciousness, it is now in the latter world, just as there is a distinction between dreaming vs. recalling and interpreting a dream. Note that the latter activities can never exhaust the Dreamer. Truly, to interpret a dream is like bringing a sponge to the ocean.

Grotstein writes of the unconscious as a sort of alter-ego or background presence with (or in) whom we go through life -- the “stranger within” that shadows our existence in a most intimate, creative, and mysterious way. We don't necessarily notice the relationship, but we would if it weren't there. That is, everything would go suddenly "flat," and be robbed of the extra dimensions that we only apprehend because of the conscious/unconscious resonance and dialectic.

We all know people who live only on the conscious/rationalistic side, which is precisely why they are so boring and clueless. They've all gone off the shallow end.

Think of what goes into the dream, which "is a unique and mysterious event, an undertaking that requires an ability to think and to create that is beyond the capacity of conscious human beings.... [D]reams are, at the very least, complex cinematographic productions requiring consummate artistry, technology, and aesthetic decision making.... [D]reams are dramatic plays that are written, cast, plotted, directed, and produced and require the help of scenic designers and location scouts, along with other experts.... I am really proposing the existence of a profound preternatural presence whose other name is the Ineffable Subject of Being, which itself is a part of a larger holographic entity, the Supraordinate Subject of Being and Agency" (Grotstein).

So to say "let there be light" is to say more than a mythfull, for it is also to say "let there be consciousness," specifically, a separative consciousness that may know both the interior,vertical and exterior/horizontal worlds.

Now in the beginning (of the Coonifesto), when One's upin a timeless without a second to spore, we are summarily plunged into "nothing, pure emptiness, a formless void without mind or life, a shadow spinning before the beginning over a silent static sea, unlit altar of eternity." It is "One brahman deathless breathing breathless, darkness visible the boundless all, unknown origin prior to time and space, fount of all being, unborn thus undying, beginning and end of all impossibility, empty plenum and inexhaustible void."

Sri Aurobindo's epic poem of cosmic all-possibilty, Savitri, begins with the line, "It was the hour before the God's awake." It is the "huge foreboding mind of Night, alone," "opaque, impenetrable," "the abysm of the unbodied Infinite" "between the first and last Nothingness." Later comes the first "event" or act:

Then something in the inscrutable darkness stirred;
A nameless movement, an unthought Idea....
A thought was sown in the unsounded Void,
A sense was born within darkness' depths,
A memory quivered in the heart of Time
As if a soul long dead were moved to live....

Like Savitri, Genesis can only be misunderstood literally, and therefore must be read slowly overhead and meditated upon, for it is trying to convey something from across the horizon of knowability -- something that cannot be known, only unKnown and undergone.

To unKnow something is not equivalent to being ignorant about it. Rather, it is a special way of knowing what is beyond the brightly but ill-luminated area of consciousness -- it is to unvision the perfect night that precedes sight. In other worlds, it is a way to try to get past the phenomena -- which we know can only be a shadow of the Real -- and to try to intuit the noumenon, or the reality behind appearances.

As it so very very happyns, we undo this every naught when we enter the state of deep, dreamless sleep, or what is called in the Upanishads turiya. But how do we enter that state with eyes wide shut?

Ah, that's the trick, isn't it, for this is to die before you die and to have your wake while you live, and eat it too. They say that to leaven the lightenment is to dance along the penumbra of this razor's edge. Or so we have heard from the wise, from Petey, the mirthiful, the compassionate!

In The Beginning -- which is always now -- God creates heaven and earth, the above and below -- which is to say, two worlds, two tendencies, two impulses, two realities -- or let us say reality and unreality, O and Ø, for there can be only one reality.

But in order for us to know it, there must be unreality, which is not a paradox when you think about it. For it does not mean to say that unReality, or maya, is false, only to say that it is not the ultimate Real. It may be a bit cramped, but it's still a womb with a pew that'll do until

"Let there be light!"

"Lazarus, March Fourth, it's Coonday morning!

How do these relate?

To be continued....

Oh, BTW. This is sort of the effect we were aiming for -- how it sounds in our head, only with light yokes -- in the dreamlike Cosmogenesis and Cosmobliteration sections of the book (HT Maggie's Farm via Vanderleun). If I could just hire this guy to read it, I'm sure I'd understand it better:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Plumbing the Depths of the Cosmos with the Sacred Pipe

Peeking up where we leapt off yesterday, it is now Day Two and Miracle Six. What's on the divine agenda? Oh, not much, just a little vertical plumbing job. Rig up a starry firmament to divide the waters above from the waters below. Call the firmament heaven. Knock off early. Sounds good.

Twoday is the day of verticality. Initially there is only chaos, so the first order of business is the business of order, i.e., creating a little light with which to Work. Can't do anything without the old photons.

But there is "seeing" and there is "vision." The good vibrations of natural light allow us to see horizontally, but that isn't what makes us human.

Rather, what truly distinguishes us from the beasts and the tenured is the supernatural vision made possible by virtue of the verticality of the cosmos. Wisdom and sanctity, intellection and gnosis, only exist because they represent human modalities that are adequations to the reality of the vertical.

Only because of the vertical is Truth liberating; note also that lib-erty and genuine lib-eralism are impossible outside the vertical; in short, the horizontal cannot set one free: Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor 3:17).

To turn it around, in the absence of verticality -- waters above and waters below -- wisdom and sanctity are impossible, which is soph-evident by virtue of our cardiomyopic looniversities, where there is a cornucrapia of intelligent proglodytes who don't know the difference between boys and girls, much less God and man.

Now, in the Creator's plumbing job, heaven is the nexus, or connecting link, between the upper and lower waters. Water is a reflective medium, so let us imagine that there is a "double reflection" of heaven in the waters above and below.

Above is the realm of ideas, while below is the realm of material things. As Tomberg points out, knowledge involves "the process of relating the real to the ideal corresponding to it." To under-stand is bring into relation "the reflection above, the ideal, with the reflection below, the real." This is another way of saying that the light of the logos is reflected in both directions as "ideas" and "realities"; or it is reflected in us as substance and intellection.

Science is a deeply mystical enterprise, for it presumes the absolute unity of existence, a unity that is mirrored in the mind capable of reliably apprehending that unity (there is no universe for animals, only the narrow environment to which they are adapted). Because there is a uni-verse, there are uni-versal truths, which is to say axial truth around which the intellect turns (a uni-verse is one turn).

Obviously, if the universe were not a true universe, but a relativistic multiverse with no underlying unity, then truth would be strictly impossible, nor could man be the cosmic truth-bearer, for that matter. So truth is ultimately guaranteed by the One without which neither science nor scientist could be. Indeed, not even being could be without the one who Is (or AM, to be precise: no AM, no IS).

Belmont Club discusses "post-normal science" (HT: Alan), but it might be more straightforward to simply call it "abnormal" and therefore pathological science, a cognitive disease that pervades the leftist looniversity bin. The pathological science of the left always tries to change the world prior to understanding it, which is why left wing thinkers are political activists and change chumps prior to being scholars (cf. Paul Krugman).

The left loves science, but only so long as it is in accord with their policy preferences. If science proves that a fetus is a human being, then it is trumped by a woman's absolute right to determine the value of the embryo. This is why unseasonably warm weather always proves global warming, but freakishly cold weather is just statistical noise. Heads they win, tales we lose.

(Thanks to the left, an academy award is almost as big a joke as a Nobel Prize.)

Just as there is a moral inversion at the heart of leftism, there is a cognitive inversion as well (which there must be, since truth and virtue converge in the vertical). Their pathological epistemology is actually an inevitable consequence of their luciferian ontology, which denies the vertical at the outset -- and therefore the possibility of unity and truth. Instead of unity and truth, they substitute solidarity and commitment, which is to say exterior or "top-down" order and coercive action, for the lie is always coercive whereas the truth attracts and draws us to it.

Now in the sixth miracle recorded in John, Jesus restores sight to a man who had been blind from birth. But this is a rather special form of blindness, for it prevents the works of God from being revealed in him (John 9:3).

Jesus then makes a curious remark about the need to work while it is day -- since the night is coming, when it will be beer o'clock and no man can work -- but that "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

The light of the world. Tomberg notes that the Logos "is not only the intelligence of the world, that is, the connection of the ideal with the real, but also the perception of the ideal and the real. For it is he who mirrors himself by way of ideas and by way of the facts of existence."

In other words, there is no knowledge, let alone truth, at the level of the senses, which in itself is sufficient to undermine any purely horizontal materialistic philosophy, including, of course, any and all forms of leftism. For once you "understand" materialism you have left materialism behind, for matter cannot understand anything.

Even the most bare act of understanding involves the union of the ideal and the real. Sensory experience does not interpret itself. In fact, only a severely autistic individual reduces the world to naked sensory impressions, and it would not be going too far to say that materialism itself is metaphysically autistic and therefore a priori incapable of "seeing the works of God."

The immanent logos -- i.e., the heavenly firmament reflected in the human intellect -- is that which confers our vertical orientation upon us, and allows us to be the reflecting medium -- the only one in all of creation -- capable of unifying the waters above (the ideal) and the waters below (the real).

Conversely, the absence (or rejection) of this logos is what makes leftist deconstructionists such fascinnoying textual deviates. These malign fantasists cannot reflect upon reality because they do not reflect the Real.

In John 9:6 the upper waters are provocatively represented by Jesus' saliva and the blending of it with earth (i.e., the infusion of the word into substance), with which he then anoints the blind man.

In our tradition of the guffaw-ha! experience, Raccoons are bobtized by the explosive "spittle on the computer screen" which makes Petey "present" to your most laughty self. For we take seriously the injunction to put on the new man (Col 3:10).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gilligans Walk

Let's review what occurred on the third day of creation. First, God gathers the lower waters together so dry land may appear. Then he calls the dry land "earth," and says it shall bring forth vegetation, seed, and trees that yield fruit according to their own kind, that is, "whose seed is in itself," an early reverence to DNA.

The emphasis is very much on the seed-principle, which, in the words of Tomberg, is "the principle of formative force becoming actualized and bringing to visible realization its own inner, invisible shape."

This principle obviously applies to the visible plant world, but also to those virtual trees that grow in paradise, the Trees of Life and Knowledge of Good and Evil.

It would also, according to Tomberg, apply to the seed of Abraham, which implicitly contains the nation of Israel and the words of Jesus -- the latter of which are compared to a seed that can either fall on hard soil or bloom into a new virtual Kingdom, depending upon one's degree of receptivity. Only fertile eggheads need apply.

Furthermore, as Tomberg points out, Jesus explicitly refers to himself as a seed "who must die in order to bear much fruit" -- inviting a comparison of Christian history to a seed and its development: its germination, sprouting, and growth.

The implicit message is that life and growth cannot simply involve static life, which isn't life at all. Rather, inherent to life is its own "sacrifice" in order for life to increase. The acorn dies but is resurrected as the oak. Thus, even in the plant world we see a relationship between reproduction and death (d'oh!) -- a necessary "loss of innocence."

In the human world, it is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that bears the seeds of death -- and therefore the possibility of growth and transcendence (which are two sides of the same reality, for to grow is to transcend).

Life is fluid and flowing, whereas death is dry and static; water is absolutely critical to life, having many characteristics that make it uniquely suitable as a medium for performing liflowsaction.

Thus, in the separation and concentration of the principles of water and earth, there has to be some way for them to mingle in order for the seed to grow. In other words, there must first be separation in order for anything at all to happen.

In fact, this is the basis of chaos theory and the science of dissipative structures. Organisms are quintessential dissipative structures, in that they are open systems that exchange matter, energy, or information with the environment. For dissipative structures, equilibrium is another word for dead.

Life itself can only manifest in a state of dynamic disequilibrium. The same applies to the mind and soul, which must remain open systems in order for them to grow. The lower mind requires knowledge and intimate human relationships, while the soul requires love, truth and beauty, and ultimately a relationship with their transcendent source, i.e., the One.

The underlying and overarching point is that life itself -- on all levels, physical, psychological, and spiritual -- is a dialectic of fluidity and solidity, of process and structure.

Now, the fifth mirrorcle recorded in John involves the act of walking on water. While Jesus is off by himsoph on the mountain (where else?), brooding over the latest misguided attempt to force him into being a worldly king (6:15), the disciples set sail aboard a tiny ship.

But what begins as a three hour tour turns into a fateful trip, as the weather starts getting rough and the tiny ship is tossed. Frankly, if not for the credence of the faithful crew, the men all would be lost -- the men all would be lost.

A voice is heard: It is I, be stillagain.

Who is I? We already know from the first, second, third, and fourth miracles that I AM is a number of things: it is the vine; it is the way, the truth and the life; it is the door; and it is the bread of life.

Here, according to Tomberg, we learn that I AM is also the "seed of heaven." The act of walking on water speaks to the fact that I AM is "not the one borne, but the bearer, not the one led, but the leader, not the one supported but the support." And this act is paralleled in "the wonder of pure faith, unsupported by anything but inner certainty, which stands above the threatening sea of relativity and doubt, and goes its own way."

The inner certainty of faith is a mirrorcle of the one thing certain in this crazy cosmos, which is the certainty of the Absolute. Why would we cling to anything less to try to avoid drowning in the ocean of existence?

Although we have to be here in order to grow and evolve, it is tempting to be a land lubber and just hold fast to the rocky terrain. But to do so is to remain a seed, a temptation that has a certain appeal, since to live as a seed is in a sense to remain in a state of infinite potential: so long as you are nothing, you are potentially anything and everything.

This was the appeal of a Barely Nobama, if that. Ah, the Mendacity of Hype. The moment he collapsed his nonlocal quantum wave function and became a local somebody, he was revealed as a big nobody whose only faith is in his empty shelleprompter, which is wanchored in the dry crockbed of his earthbound stream of unconsciousness.

Speaking of which, only a "constitutional scholar" could not know that Obamacare is unconstitutional.

So let's wrap this up. How to faithfully die to life in order to be reborn? How to be fluid and yet grounded and structured? How to be in the world, but not of the world? How to make a transistor radio out of seaweed and a belt buckle, like the Professor?

Walking on water is one thing. More challenging still is swimming on dry land.

I wish I was a fisherman
Tumblin' on the seas
Far away from dry land
and its bitter memories
Castin' out my sweet line
with abandonment and love
No ceiling bearin' down on me
save the starry sky above
With light in my head
and you in my arms...
--Waterboys, Fisherman's Blues

Monday, December 13, 2010

I AM, the Center and Origin of the Cosmos

We shall now discuss the resonance (≈) between the fourth day/act of creation and the fourth sign/miracle recorded in the gospel of John. This is appropriate, because this miracle has to do with the cosmic center, and the four is midway between the one and seven. Let's start with a passage from last Saturday's post:

"The self -- at least a healthy self -- does not merely spin around an interior axis. Rather, aided by 'the light of Reason' (understood in its integral, not merely rationalistic sense) and by transcendent ideals, this center of subjectivity can undergo increased order and centration, and evolve in the direction of one's highest aspiration, toward the true cosmic center of which we are a distant reflection -- we are the 'center at the periphery,' as Schuon has called it, the true center being the nonlocal, space-pervading spirit of I AM."

This reminds me of another observation of Schuon, that "traditional peoples in general" are "dominated by two key-ideas, the idea of the Center and the idea of the Origin." Center is to space as Origin is to time; thus, "every value is related in some way to a sacred Center, which is the place where Heaven has touched the earth," just as every moment is related to "the quasi-timeless moment when Heaven was near and terrestrial things were still half-celestial."

I would use the present tense, and say that there is a "place" -- here -- and a "time" -- now -- in which O is present, pouring down and into time and space.

Now, most garden-variety intellectuals are more or less "weightless," in part because their ideas are rooted in nothing more solid than their own airy abstractions (and usually abstractions that aren't even their own, just the presuppositions of academia). Genuine human maturity occurs when our minds become anchored in the Real. To approach Truth is to converge upon the Center without which Truth could not be (likewise beauty and virtue).

In fact, since so many modern intellectuals are uncomfortable swimming in the whole nocean of God, this is one of the reasons I employ the abstract symbol O to stand for the ultimate ground of our being, a ground which may (only) be known subjectively (i.e., you'll have to get wet).

Unless one's being abides in O, one cannot ultimately "think straight" about reality, much less be a true leader of men (who will spontaneously follow such a straightman). Thus, one must cleave to O with all one's heart, mind, and strength -- or in sentiment, thought, and will.

One can scarcely imagine Jesus thinking or speaking outside O. In other words, he speaks from the Center because he is the Center (and Origin: In the beginning was the Word or before Abraham was, I AM). His being -- or essence -- precedes his existence. (Leftism is the inverse of this, in that essence is determined by race, or class, or gender, or sexual orientation, etc.)

This is why pseudo-theologians who claim that Jesus was just another teacher are so wildly off base. In everything Jesus says and does, regardless of the specific content, the even deeper message is the "ontological weight" he radiates from the center out.

Indeed, this is the first thing people notice about him, both followers and detractors. Just as in the physical world, gravity is a function of mass, and the mass of Jesus' newclear center -- at once centripetal and centrifugal -- draws people (and trouble) to him like ants to a picnic.

The three wise men of the east are drawn to that Center, just as Herod senses the presence of an alternate center of power, and schemes to literally murder it in the crib before it can grow in influence.

John the Baptist also immediately recognizes the Center -- which stands as a general lesson for all of us. Spiritual development is predicated on being able to re-cognize the Center when in its presence. Although all human beings are born with this native ability, for any number of developmental reasons we can lose contact with it, thus spinning out of orbit -- or, perhaps even worse, spend our lives orbiting a false center.

The Center can only communicate "Center to center," so to the extent that one has lost or failed to develop it, it will be a case of "God's lights are on but nobody's om."

One must cultivate this center in order to sense the "real presence" (or presence of the Real), otherwise one remains exiled in the teenage wasteland of mere ideas -- which is really not all that more solid and enduring than the world of fleeting desires or impulses. The overwhelming majority of ideas does not -- and certainly should not -- survive the birdbrain who hatched them. It would have been better if most ideas had not even been conceived at all. They'll eventually be aborted anyway.

I am reminded of a scene from an animated film I just watched with the Boy, Spirited Away. Long story short, the protagonist finds herself in the spiritual world, where she is beginning to grow "transparent" on the way to vanishing altogether. The hero insists that she must eat something from this world in order to prevent disappearing. He places something in her mouth which very much evokes the idea of communion, which is nothing less than ingesting food from the Source (and this is a Japanese film, so the idea must be universal).

In any event, John the Baptist immediately recognizes the Center (Matt 4:14). Note as well that even God himself is then drawn to this Center (so to Speak), another profound lesson to meditate upon: And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matt 4:17).

But before you get all excited, note that the very next sentence once again indicates that hostile cosmic forces are simultaneously drawn to the scene of the climb (Matt 4:1). Jesus spends the subsequent forty days in the bewilderness, where he is tempted by the devil -- whom you might say is the cosmic periphery, or "dispersal," personified. He attempts to draw Jesus out of the Center and into "the world," but unsuccessfully.

Thus there is always a hostile, countervailing force that attempts to draw the Center outside of itself -- which indeed is the quintessence of all temptation and of all sin, which involves a vain dissipation of our psychic substance. With no center of gravity or groove of centrality, we have no defense, no way to "repel" the worldly forces that perpetually draw us down and out of ourselves. We "fall" when there is nothing there to hold us fast to the Center.

Conversely, if we abide in the Center, temptations eventually fall away of their own accord. Another way of saying this is that our "force" becomes stronger than the world's force.

After Jesus successfully repels the temptations of Ø by abiding in O, behold, angels came and ministered to Him (Matt 4:11). In other words, benign vertical forces are drawn in, which only happens all the timeless.

After that come the first two disciples, who clearly sense the ontological weight of the Center, to such an extent that they immediately drop what they're doing and follow him (Matt 4:20) -- although pulled into him is probably more like it. And then a multitude is drawn in (Matt 4:23). And so on. For the Christian, Jesus represents the trans-cosmic "Center made flesh," so to speak. Today, the center continues to pull history in its Wake. Finnagain!

Jesus eventually draws everyone and everything in, but that's a story for another posterior, a memoir of the future. Suffice it to say that the I AM of the cosmic Center is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (Rev 22:13).

The existence of God does not have to be proven to the man who knows this Center, either in himself or in another, any more than the existence of sight needs to be proven to the one who sees. For we have an innate sense of the sacred, which is a direct reflection of the Center within us.

In other worlds, the ultimate reality radiates from the cosmic Center and reaches us in the depths of our center, which is to say, the heart, which represents the higher (third) union of thought and emotion. This is the mystery of God's immanence, "which makes us capable of knowing all that is knowable, and which for that very reason makes us immortal" (Schuon).

But first you must learn how to be an unknow-it-all, for He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30), until our center is at the Center (ʘ). With no length or width, it is everywhere and everywhen and everywho and everywhy (i.e., the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere).

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