Saturday, December 25, 2010

Opening the Christmas Presence

I once had a dream. I dreamt that I, even though a man, was pregnant, pregnant and full with Nothingness like a woman who is with child. And out of this Nothingness God was born. --Meister Eckhart

Why am I -- Bob's unconscious here? And why have I commandeered the wheel of the cosmic bus? Because it's early and everyone's still asleep, including Bob. This is my time, baby -- you know, dawn, friend of the muses.

The reason why it's such a friendly time is because of the hypnopompic underlap of the two worlds, as the ocean of sleep verges on the dry land of the day; thus we are sailing in the interstitial fluid between conscious and unconscious, myth and science, internal and external, dream and "reality."

You can't really do anything when you're completely enveiloped in dreamtime, whereas pure daylight bleaches out night town, so you can't unsee a thing.

But this half-baked betweener is like the bountiful breast of both worlds. It's amuzing how much bobscurity you can shed on things in the half-lit world! It's as if you have just enough light to illuminate the darkness, but still enough of its absence to cast a beam of shadows on the visible world.

This is obviously what Joyce was attempting in Finnegans Wake, but in his case he went a little too -- okay, much too -- far, perhaps because he was legally blind by the time he finished it. As such, he was pretty much immersed in the darklight. He was a bit too skewed toward the dream end of things, so it will basically take until the end of time to interpret and exhumine all the dark and inrisible humor buried in the Book of Dublends Jined.

Now, a religion, if it is to be operative and not just for show, must reach very far into both worlds. Clearly, the problem with atheism is that it works fine in broad daylight but is of no use whatsoever novelgazing down here in the dark, even if you leave God out of the equation.

I don't really want to venture down that nul-de-slack again, but the point is that consciousness contains atheism, while the converse could never be true.

So the question comes down to "what is consciousness?" And if you exclude the I-amphibious middle world I inhobbit, it's analogous to, say, defining reality by focusing exclusively on the Newtonian world but not the weird subatomic realm, the latter of which defies the easy logic of the day, and O, what the quantum darkness knows that the brightest light has never conceived!

This is also the problem with purely rational arguments against atheism, such as D'Souza's d'fense of d'faith, What's So Great About Christianity. I suppose such a book has its place, as it engages in "pre-evangelism," i.e., "clearing away false ideas so that the unbeliever actually has a chance to hear the arguments for Christianity."

In other worlds, but not mine, such a book can serve as a kind of antibiotic or anti-idiotic to eliminate dysfunctional ideas and ideologies from the mind, of which there are plenty. It's just that an antibiotic doesn't give life, it just kills the "bad life" which is deadly to the host.

You might say that D'Souza's book eliminates the false light, but you still can't use it to see in the dark or endarken the day. And if you try, you might even end up more confused, because theology can never be a merely logical undertaking or it won't take you over your logic.

Only humans can know that reality has a surface and therefore a depth; or an appearance and a realty. Spirituality is simply about deepening one's depth and resurfacing or perhaps reseeding one's ground.

The question is, how do you reach me, and by extension, the whole person? How do you "speak" in such a way that like calls out to likeness in a totalistic manner?

We were pondering this last night as Bob was taking a walk around the neighborhood at around dusk. This is another time I become more active, since the dimensional boundaries overlap again. As he passed from house to house, all sorts of things made an impression on us in a nonverbal way -- the lights, the smells, the sounds of happy families.

But these were all just "parts" or aspects of something more pervasive, like ripples or currents on top of the ocean. It was as if the consciousness of the cosmos itself were different in light of the fact that so many individuals were focussed together on the same nonlocal reality.

Within the soul there is a kind of downward influence from whole to part, a transmission not just of information, but of spirit.

Many thoughts were hatched as Bob absently wandered the 'hood. We thought of how Christianity elevates human life to cosmic significance in such a beautiful and poetic way that bypasses the parched old ego and reaches straight down here to the water table.

No other religion equates the birth of a baby with the birth of the living God, or a mother's touch with the quintessence of the sacred: But his mother only / In her maiden bliss / Worshipped the Beloved / With a kiss. How could the idea of baby-as-God not have extraordinary implications for the way children are regarded in our culture? The child is the hinge of human evolution.

We thought of how the houses raving to Jesus with their divine lights are defying the darkness of the solstice, as if to say that no external force will extinguish the inner light.

We thought of how the end of time is always luxtaposed to the beginning, how birth occurs in the death of winter, followed by death at the peak of spring's mortal coil, even though death can only be a function of life, not vice versa.

We thought of the unique cosmic station of man, of how he is the middle term between God and nature, and how the finite world is given a special significance by virtue of this fact. It is not merely maya, but the exteriorized logos waiting to be unpacked and redeemed by the interior logos.

So, can consciousness change the world? Yes, of course, since the world is a representation within the greater soul-field of consciousness as such.

One of the principle functions of Christianity is to provide intelligible bearings for the soul's journey through this strange and wicked world, which actually is adrift and off its vertical axis.

Therefore, if we merely conform ourselves to this crooked world, we are left up the creek and end up a crook or a crock or crackpot. Rather, the soul must conform itself to the source of its image and likeness, which you might say is only the whole point of life.

Hmm. A child stirs in the next room. My favorite Christmas presence has officially opened.

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Tis the Nought Before Christmas

Lesson up, those with ears to see:

"Religious ideas have the fate of melodies, which, once set afloat in the world, are taken up by all sorts of instruments, some woefully coarse, feeble or out of tune, until people are in danger of crying out that the melody itself is detestable" (George Eliot).

But in any event, as we have discussed a number of times, -- WHAT, ARE YOU DEAF?! --

"Hearing is the central theological act of perception..., certainly here on earth [where] we must strive above all not so much to see (which is too akin to taking possession of what is seen) as to hear (which is to submit to what has been heard).... The beauty of hearing sounds is that sounds always remain ever evanescent and therefore ungraspable, even as they communicate" (Edward Oakes).

So in order to learn our lessons in evanescence and hear the song celestial, we must cultivate an ability to discern the stable spiritual form within our shifting mindscape and distinguish God from the noise in the abasement:

"The central question of so-called 'apologetics' or 'fundamental theology' is the question of perceiving form -- an aesthetic problem.... Whoever is is not capable of seeing and 'reading' the form will, by the same token, fail to perceive the content. Whoever is not illumined by the form will see no light in the content either" (Balthasar).

Science takes us from the unknown to the known. But regardless of how much it deuscovers and uncovers, the knowledge -- by definition -- will represent only a tiny percentage of what may be known scientifically.

This may be understood geometrically in a mythimaginal sense. Picture an expanding sphere of knowledge. The more it expands, the greater the area around the circumference, which shades off into the unknown.

Thus, we can quite literally say that the more science knows, the less it knows. There is nothing "paradoxical" about this. It wasn't too long ago that an autodidactic polymath wiz such as Thomas Jefferson could virtually "know everything," since there wasn't all that much to know.

Conversely, religion, properly understood, takes us from the opaque realm of the known to the trans-lucence of the greater unKnown. And not just any unKnown, but into the mysterious heart of unknowable being. Here, life is not a static riddle to be solved, but a generative mystery to be savored and played with.

Nothing -- let's not kid ourselves, science geeks -- can actually eliminate this living mystery, but it is possible to pass one's days in the blinding light of the merely known, and thereby forego a life of deeper unKnowing.

Oh, it happens, my bobbleheads. It happens.

Some 1500 years ago, the revealed religion of Christianity reached western China and met up with the natural religion of Taoism; or, you could just say that (↓) met (↑) in a big wu wei.

The following is adapted from a wonderful Ode to the mystery of the universal light and logos, written by someone named Jingjing in 8th century China, who spontaneously merged Taoism and Christianity, undoubtedly because, like me, he was a multi-undisciplinarian who didn't know any better. This is not just some old ringing crock of Jingjing's bull, but a 20/ soundvision:

"In the beginning was the natural constant, the true stillness of the Origin, and the primordial void of the Most High. The Spirit of the void emerged as the Most High Lord, moving in mysterious ways to enlighten the holy ones. He is Ye Su, my True Lord of the Void, who embodies the three subtle and wondrous bodies, and who was condemned to the cross so that the people of the four directions might be saved....

"My Lord Ye Su, the one emanating in three subtle bodies, hid His true power, became a human, and came on behalf of the Lord of Heaven to preach the good teachings. A Virgin gave birth to the Sacred in a dwelling in the Western Empire. The message was given to the Persians, who saw and followed the bright light to offer Him gifts....

"These teachings can restore goodness to sincere believers, deliver those living within the boundaries of the eight territories, refine the dust and transform it into truth, reveal the gate of the three constants, lead us to life, and destroy death. The teachings of the Religion of Light are like the resplendent sun: they have the power to dissolve the dark realm and destroy evil forever.

"The Lord set afloat the raft of salvation and compassion so that we might use it to ascend to the palace of light and be united with Spirit.... He left twenty-seven books of scriptures to inspire our spirit, He revealed the workings of the Origin, and he gave us the method of purification by water. Thus we purify our hearts and return to the simple and natural Way of the truth. This truth cannot be named, but its power surpasses all expectations. When forced to give it a name, we call it the Religion of Light."

So even if you accomplice Him just once a year, take some timelessness to be like Jingjing, and do your verticalisthenics and gymgnostics. Open your heart, mind, and life to the Light, Love, Power, and Mystery of existence. You'd be surprised at how much a noughty girl or boy can learn by making ends meet in the middle of unKnowing.

The birth of the Word is death for the ego.... From the viewpoint of temporal flow, the end of our spiritual destiny is really an origin and spirituality is therefore a return to the beginning, a veritable re-ascent of time back to its non-temporal source. -- Jean Borella

Then came, at a predetermined moment, a moment in time
and of time,
A moment not out of time, but in time, in what we call history:
transecting, bisecting the world of time, a moment in time
but not like a moment of time,
A moment in time but time was made through that moment:
for without the meaning there is no time, and that moment
of time gave the meaning...

And when we have built an altar to the Invisible Light, we may
set thereon the little lights for which our bodily vision is made.
And we thank Thee that darkness reminds us of light.
O Light Invisible, we give Thee thanks for Thy great glory!
--T.S. Eliot

Guide us to that topmost height of mystic lore which surpasses light and more than surpasses knowledge, where the simple, absolute, and unchangeable mysteries of heavenly Truth lie hidden in the dazzling obscurity of the secret Silence, outshining all brilliance with the intensity of of their darkness, and surcharging our blinded intellects with the utterly impalpable and invisible fairness of glories which exceed all beauty. --Dionysios the Areopagite

A divine desire to reveil and find itsoph, unnarcissary nyet ineveateapple, conceived in d'light I-ammaculate (every lila son of adwaita is born of a voidgin) and now swelling in the night-filled womb of unmanifest being, the radiant urizon of an unsindiary Dawn approaches. --The Tasteless Kookbook

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Post of Christmas Past

Since I don't have time for a new post, plus I want to allow some omerging ideas to marinate awhile before I pop off about them, I've descended down into the hull of the arkive to dredge up some old Christmas postings. I haven't yet read them, but I'm assuming they'll be up to standards. As always, I will edit them as I go along, so they are substantially different:

At Christmas we mamaryalize not just the birth of the celestial Word in the terrestrial flesh -- or the vertical I-ambryo in the horizontal voidgin -- but the eternal conception in our own mamamatrix, or womb with a pew, where these two irreconcilable realities somehow become one. It is that little cocʘʘn where the worm turns and goes from crawling to beautiflying.

In short: no conception, no birth, especially again. But birth obviously isn't the end of it. Or, like all births, it is the end of one mode and the dawn of another; every birth conceals a death, and vice versa. Where there's a wake there's awakening. Fin. Again!

Also, many exigencies and habits can prevent conception and/or terminate pregnancy, including such spiritually Ønanistic practices as materialism (it really does cause blandness!) or the various abortofascisms and mourning after bills of the left.

Such verbicidal techniques either prevent the union of Word and flesh, or assure a celestial abortion once it has taken place. For many people, spiritual conception is a disaster, as it would totally interfere with their preferred manner of living, i.e., their wholly narcissism.

Christmas wasn't celebrated -- at least by Christians -- for the first 400 years or so of Christianity's existence. One way or another, it grafted itself onto pre-Christian celebrations of the winter solstice, which marks the moment when the world arrests its descent into cosmic darkness and imperceptibly moves toward a new life of spring in its step.

But this hardly makes the essential cerebration any less Christian. Rather, it simply makes Christianity the most adequate expression of permanent truths that have always been intuited. As Warren mentioned in a comment the other year,

"Basically, everybody more or less knows this stuff. It's the wisdom and experience of the entire human race speaking here. The only people who claim to deny it are a few little fringe modernist groups (materialists, certain fundie Protestant sects, etc.).

"In fact, this is a big reason why some fundie Protestants view Catholics as 'pagans.' In a way, they're quite correct, because the Catholic tradition includes much wisdom from the pagan world, while trimming away (ideally) the false and/or devilish elements in it. Rejecting the entire pagan worldview, as certain Christians do, is to needlessly throw out a large chunk of the human race's traditional wisdom, thereby making oneself much more clueless than is strictly necessary."

This is absolutely true. Most of the things we call heresies are not so much flat out wrong, but involve doctrines taken out of the context of total truth, and then either over- or underemphasized.

Raccoon emeritus Meister Eckhart agrees with this view, in that "throughout his life, [he] championed the... position that philosophy and theology did not contradict each other and that philosophy was a necessary tool for Christian theology."

The rank-and-foul try to derive metaphysical truth solely from phenomena and/or history, but in reality, what we call "salvation history" involves the serial instantiation of certain meta-cosmic principles (which is why it is living truth).

Furthermore, the Creator is a person. Thus, he has principles. But unlike leftists, his principles are not just fig leaves to obscure or lend legitimacy to what he really wants to do to you and your wallet.

Here is how Eckhart put it: "What philosophers have written about the nature and properties of things agrees with [the Bible], especially since everything that is true, whether in being or in knowing, in scripture or in nature, proceeds from one source and one root of truth."

Thus, philosophy, science, theology and revelation all "teach the same thing, differing only in the way they teach, namely as worthy of belief, as probable and likely, and as truth."

Remember, although Jesus is "Word made flesh," this does not mean that the Word was nowhere to be found in this vale of tears prior to the Incarnation. Rather, I would say (with Augustine) that the Word and Wisdom of the Christic principle were (and are) always here, and couldn't not be here; again, where there is truth there is God.

Eckhart's whole project was guided by an interior conviction "about the conformity between reason and revelation, philosophy and theology." The Meistrʘ -- who often used paradox to convey truth -- expressed it thus: "It does not so much seem to me that God understands because he exists, but rather that he exists because he understands."

Do you see the point? Surely, understanding must be anterior to existence, to such an extent that to understand is to exist (I mean, someone had to have understood all those finely tuned mathematical equations that govern the big bang; surely we can't have been the first).

Naked existence itself is neither here nor there nor anywhere, really. Thus, God is first and foremost "the negation of negation," or perhaps the negation of invincible cosmic stupidity.

I would go so lo as to see that the affirmation of anything is the affirmation of God, and therefore the negation of "nothing" (nothing being the absurd affirmation of a blind nihilism that can affirm nothing). Otherwise there is no ground for any affirmations at all.

If God exists because he understands, it means that trolls who don't understand these truths don't even properly exist. Or, alternatively, they only exist. And existence without Truth is.... well, first of all it's an absurdity, but more to the point, it is hell.

For to know that one is an idiot is to at least know a genuine truth, and thus nurture a conception that may eventually come to full term in the light of deity.

(All of the above quotes are taken from Bernard McGinn's The Harvest of Mysticism.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hey, I Look Familiar: Haven't We Met Before?

Arise you deadbeats and recall that "forgetting, sleep, and death are stages basically of the same process" (Tomberg). In contrast to them are remembering, awakening, and resurrection. Each of the latter is a reflection of the same process of "the return of what had been submerged in the darkness of the unconscious."

Memory is an everynow mystery that is easy to take for granted, since without it we could not be. In a way, it is everything; nothing can exist if it isn't somehow "remembered." In other words, to exist is to endure, and to endure is to be essentially remembered. What endures is the essence of the thing, through its various transformations.

Memory is also one of those things that the cold hand of scientism unwittingly disfigures as a result of the very manner with which it understands. For to reduce the magic of memory to a mechanistic process -- as if it were analogous to pulling up a file in one's hard drive -- is to do great violence to something quasi-sacred. With memory, one is ultimately touching on the mystery of time itself, which is the substance of our being.

Specifically, we are made of "lived time," which is nothing less than the extended or prolonged interior of the cosmos (the "moving image of eternity"); one might even say "word made flesh," to coin a money quote.

In order to be prolonged into the horizontal, this vertical interior must in some fashion be "remembered." True, we can continue to exist if we sever ourselves from this source, but only in the same way that the Alzheimer's patient goes on living despite being "outside" his personal memories.

I, for example -- and I'm sure you do too -- have certain memories that live inside me "in eternity." There is even some suggestion -- I've overheard Petey thinking about it -- that these moments stamped with eternity -- or is it the other way around? -- are what we "take with us when we go," so to speak. For when we have touched the eternal, the eternal has also in-formed us most deeply, which is what makes the moment eternal.

Of course, we always "live in eternity," for it could not be otherwise. But one might say that the point of life is to lend eternity the stamp of our personal essence -- or again, the reverse: to imbue our essence with the eternal. Not that many people bother to do this. But some do.

For example, I'm currently reading the wonderful Team of Rivals, and it is quite apparent that Lincoln was of this cast of mind, his apparently unorthodox religious views to the contrary notwithstanding. (In other words, he may have been outwardly unorthodox but was inwardly one hundred percent orthoparadoxical).

Interestingly, Schuon felt that Lincoln was a man of great spiritual attainment. There are numberless "false geniuses" whose works and ideas are worthless to man, but also "the true genius of which people are unaware: Lincoln is one such example, he who owes a large part of his popularity to the fact that people took him -- and still take him -- for the incarnation of the average American."

But in reality, his "intelligence, capacity and nobility of character went far beyond the level of the average." To think that just a couple of years ago people were comparing Obama -- who must strain his capacities just to be mediocre -- to Lincoln! It only demonstrates the absence of spiritual discernment in these inverted and O-ccluded times.

Interestingly, we usually don't know at the time it is happening that we are having an experience that partakes of the eternal, but we can call up these moments in hindsight. Often they are quite random. I know that for me, for example, there was a "golden time" between the ages of 9 and 12 that endures like a kind of touchstone of eternity inside of me.

Perhaps it is just the natural mysticism of childhood, but to look at it from the outside is to miss the point. It is impossible for me to put it into words, but perhaps a poet could do it.

In fact, that's why we revere and even tolerate poets, isn't it? -- because the less annoying ones conjure eternity within time, or reincarnate a hidden selfinus, or "take upon the mystery of things, as if they were God's spies" (Shakespeare).

Let us suppose that we have actually chosen to be here in this life and this incarnation. Who is the "we" that chooses? Yes, you could say it is our "soul," but what is that? It is not the same as the mind. In fact, the mind often interferes with the soul's project and mission, for if the soul has chosen to be here, it has done so for reasons of something it is impelled to accomplish, or experience, or learn.

What the soul ultimately wishes to learn about is itself, and the terrestrial condition of human embodiment is the only way -- perhaps -- to do this. Remember, we're just supposing, but let's further suppose that our soul thirsts for a lived experience of itself.

It is one thing to "have a self," but it doesn't really mean much -- that is, it is a rather dry and abstract thing, an "empty category" -- unless we are able to discover and articulate the unique "idiom" (as the psychoanalyst Bollas calls it) of our authentic self. (One is immediately reminded of the question of why God creates, which must be for analogous reasons.)

Now, just the fact that we are born with an unarticulated true self -- and essence -- is a great mystery to ponder. It is another reason why we reject the cosmically inverted ideology of leftism, for all forms of leftism are at war with the Self, which may only articulate itself under conditions of ordered liberty.

That is, the latent self specifically requires the existence of an open future, which is the necessary condition to live in the hope that we will eventually "re-member" ourselves and then truly use the time we are given as a medium for the self's joyful articulation. This is the "art of living": the exteriorization of the soul for the purposes of the interiorization of eternity. One might say that soul becomes person so that person might become soul.

Conversely, to indoctrinate people into identifying with their skin color, or their dopey culture, or their socioeconomic class, is to reverse the ontological order; ultimately it is to teach that the self is here to serve the collective, rather than vice versa.

This is the horror of liberal academia. The original meaning of "educate" is from the Latin educare, meaning to "draw out." But for our tenured radicals, it is the opposite: these are doctors who indoctrinate, or shove it in, big time.

This is why you will have noticed that radicals are always -- always -- such existential phonies and frauds. In fact, the more genuine they are, the more deeply phony. They are ontologically weightless, but weightless in such a way that it takes the form of a heavy, spiritually opaque darkness that pulls them and the luckless souls under their influence further into the abyss, 32 feet per second per second, to be exact. They incarnate the Fall of man.

We cannot pretend that this leftist brainwashing and soultarnishing don't do real harm. If I were a bitter man -- which a Coon never is -- I would be furious at what this indoctrination did to me -- specifically, the precious time it stole from my life, time that should have been spent discovering, "drawing out," and articulating my true self and its idiom.

My book and blog represent the culmination -- or let us say, the ongrowing fillfullment -- or maybe the detritus -- of this idiom, and it is truly a miracle of providence that I climbed off the bleak scaffolding of a spiritually empty academonic world which would have me be what I am not -- which no one truly is, as a matter of fact. For no person is actually a Darwinian machine, or a gender, or a race, or a talking monkey. But as always, Light is the best disinfuckedup, if you'll pardon the French, which I'll never do.

They say you never forget the face before you were born. Once the true self is remembered, one finds that it is generative, or "fruitful." It is as if it produces waves from a hidden but intelligent ocean that lap upon the distant shore of consciousness. Anything that denies the ocean and prevents our river from finding its shore is a priori satanic, whatever the context, for it is the foreclosure of the self and the end of our reason for being.

In the words of Bollas, "From the beginning of life one's idiom is rather like a vision-in-waiting, a preconception, as Bion would say, of things to come, which takes shape over time. Idiom seeks objects because they materialize form which realizes itself as it shapes these contents of a life. This is a deep pleasure [emphasis mine]. It is a manifestation of the drive to present the particularity of one's being, a form which suggests itself as a visionary movement through the object world."

In another book, Bollas characterizes the articulation of one's idiom as the "erotics of being," surely an accurate description. We live in strange times, for never before in human history have more people had the opportunity to enjoy the erotics of their being, and yet, they imagine they are deprived. They are deprived, because they are misusing their time and therefore abusing their self -- and punishing God. But really they're just cutting off the nous to spite the face before they were born.

When we find and live our authentic selves -- and therefore, God -- it is analogous to a highlight in one of the books in his vast liberatory: the famous Book of Life. It gives him great delight, for each human book is full of surprises. Sure, he "knows" us before we do, but so do we. That doesn't take away the fun. Rather, it just adds to it. For it is the first day of creation all over again.

Which is God's favorite rememberme, because it's the gift that keeps giving like One←→Two←→Three -- to oneself and to others and to the Creator. It's that feeling you get when you see your child growing up to become himself, someone good, true, beautiful, and unique.

The essential act of faith is the remembrance of God; “to remember,” in Latin, is recordare, that is re-cordare, which indicates a return to the heart, cor. --Frithjof Schuon

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Remember Me to the One Who Lives There

I notice that the Anchoress put up a video that touches on some of the same themes we've been discussing vis-a-vis the the harmonic resonance between Genesis and John.

So anyway, it comes to pass that when Jesus is given the news that Lazarus is sick (John 11:3), he responds in that typically confident but paradoxable way of his, to the effect that Lazarus' illness is "not a sickness unto death" but "for the glory of God." Jesus then cools his heels "in the place where he was" for a couple of days, and seemingly forgets all about Lazarus.

After that, Jesus makes another curious comment about how there are twelve hours in the day, and how easy it is to walk around by daylight without stumbling, but "if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."

Hmmm. Okay.

Note that immediately after this cryptic comment about stumbling at night, Jesus abruptly decides to pick up and visit Lazarus, "who sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up." Then there is some confusion among the disciples about the meaning of Jesus' statement. Finally, Jesus says words to the effect of, "Get a clue, people. Don't be so literal. When I said 'asleep' I meant 'dead.'"

All of the themes we've been discussing are present: day, night, sleeping, waking, forgetting, darkness, light, walking, stumbling, sickness, death. What's going on here?

Tomberg recalls that in the case of the healing of the nobleman's son, Jesus' physical proximity was not required. Rather, it was accompliced through the nonlocal intermediary of the father's faith.

But in this instance, the pattern is entirely different. That is, rather than immediately healing Lazarus at a distance, he lets him go. He "forgets" about him for two days, banishing him from consciousness. Lazarus is not only gone but forgotten. Or is he gone because forgotten?

Then another curious statement, this one by Thomas, a fascinating character in his own right, who says, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." The "him" is ambiguous, but Tomberg feels that it is actually in reference to Lazarus, not Jesus; that is, "Let us share the fate of Lazarus, since it is the will of the Master -- that which can only intend the highest good."

Now, is Thomas suggesting that they all commit suicide? No, that makes no sense. Rather, he is talking about committing cluelesscide, i.e., "let us put put ourselves into the inner situation of Lazarus, identify ourselves with his path of destiny, so that we also may die."

Death represents the culmination or boundary of horizontal existence. As such, Lazarus represents pure verticality, detached from the world of sickness, suffering, and toil. In Buddhism, there is a concept that is similar to divine incarnation, that is, the bodhisattva principle. A bodhisattva voluntarily renounces his verticality for horizontality, willingly taking on the suffering of existence until all beings have achieved liberation.

Christianity takes this principle to its translogical extreme, in that Jesus may be thought of as the ultimate bodhisattva, giving up an endowed chair in the Department of Trinitarian Studies in order to take his place with the struggling creatures below.

If death is the foreclosing of the horizontal for the vertical, this is the opposite, the renunciation of the vertical for the horizontal. And as Tomberg says, "there is no greater love than that of the sacrifice of eternity for the limitations of existence in the transient moment" -- and which is why, in the words of Petey, we are grateful for this undertaking of mortality, for our daily lessons in evanescence, for this manifestivus for the rest of us.

"Christian yoga," if we may call it such ("my yoka's easy"), is a strict balance between verticality and horizontality. One does not renounce the horizontal world. But nor does one cling to it as if it were the ultimate reality. Rather, one must always be in the horizontal but not of the horizontal. Excessive entanglement in the horizontal entails one kind of sleep, forgetting, and death; giving it up entirely for the vertical represents another kind: Lazarus' kind.

Shankara refers to horizontal men -- those flatlanders who are dead to the vertical -- as “suicides” who “clutch at the unreal and destroy themselves. What greater fool can there be than the man who has obtained this rare human birth... and yet fails, through delusion, to realize his own highest good? Know that the deluded man who walks the dreadful path of sense-craving moves nearer to his ruin with every step.”

Similarly, the Upanishads say that “Rare is he who, looking for immortality, shuts his eyes to what is without and beholds the Self. Fools follow the desires of the flesh and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death.... Worlds there are without suns, covered up with darkness. To these after death go the ignorant, slayers of the Self.”

In other words, pure horizontality entails not just the end of verticality, but the death of the Self -- or banishment to a world without the central Sun (of which our sun is only a symbol), "covered in darkness."

Let's refer back to Jesus' cryptic words in John 11:10, that "if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." Note that one does not stumble because of an absence of external light, but because there is no interior light: the light is not in him.

I find it interesting that Thomas is the disciple who supposedly evangelized India. Naturally, this would have been known when the gospels were written. But when Thomas says, "Let us also go, that we may die with Lazarus," he is saying something rather suggestive.

Let's set aside the literal meaning for the moment, and interpret it to convey something like, "let us all die to the world and go entirely vertical, like one of those Upanishadic seers so that we too may be reborn 'for the glory of God, that the son of God may be glorified through our rebirth' (referring again to John 11:4). Let's be his glowdisciples and bring the vertical Light into the horizontal darkness that the latter doesn't comprehend!" (Also interesting that Jesus mentions there being "twelve hours in the day," which suggests to me that there shall be "twelve evangelists in the Light.")

Now, since we are dealing with principial truth, it is surely no coincidence that the Isha Upanishad warns that "To darkness are they doomed who devote themselves only to life in the world, and to a greater darkness they who devote themselves only to meditation.”

Rather, “Those who combine action and meditation cross the sea of death through action and enter immortality” -- that is, through the sacred union of soul and body, spirit and matter, vertical and horizontal, wave and particle, infinite and absolute, truth and beauty, music and geometry, male and female, (↑) and (↓).

I am reminded of a long dead and little remumbled post about those coal miners in West Virginia who were buried alive. Facing death, one of the miners left us with these words:

Tell all --
I see them on the other side
It wasn't bad
I just went to sleep
I love you

It wasn't bad. I just went to sleep

Lazarus, March Fourth!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pounding Red Pills in the Matrix of the Soul

Forgetting, sleeping, and deathing are all somehow related -- or so we have heard from the wise. The first two -- forgetting and sleep -- are reversible, although the process is working a little slowly in me this morning. Or is there something actively opposing my rebirth? Better get out the forceps.

Thoughts fall like dead leaves into the unconscious, where they are worked over and composted by the night logic of the unconscious, only to releaf with arising on our morning wood. If this weren't the case, then thinking -- or the joys of the interior life -- would be a rather modest thing, even if thine own.

In fact, this may be one of the evolutionary purposes of sleep. We know that it plays an important role in both memory and cognition, but no one knows exactly what or how (as far as I know). It may well be that it is an intrinsic aspect of deep thought, without which it would rapidly become saturated and reach its limit. Thanks to the Dreamer, there is no end to thought, so each thought becomes verticalizer for the next.

If we reverse-imagineer the mind and try to imagine what it would be like without sleep and forgetting, it is clear that we couldn't function in the human sense. We don't stop thinking at night when we fall into our dark forgettery. Rather, all sorts of vital pitch-blacktivity is going on -- sorting, connecting, assimilating, contextualizing, rejecting, strengthening, categorizing, synthesizing.

This is why "sleeping on a problem" is often so beneficial. We cannot see or know what our mind is doing with the problem, any more than we can see our digestive system at work, and understand how it ultimately weaves exterior matter into our very substance. We are only privy to the visible effects. We only pretend to understand how sunlight transforms into vegetation which our bodies assimilate and use to produce thoughts about sunlight, vegetation, and thinking about them.

Tomberg writes that "when the to-and-fro of forgetting and remembering is disturbed, i.e. when one cannot forget, or is unable to call something back into memory, then it is a matter of an abnormal state." He likens the former situation (the "fixed idea") to Ahasuerus, the mythical wandering Jew who must eternally walk the earth and cannot die, the latter ("partial amnesia") to Orpheus, who cannot bring Eurydice back from Hades.

Likewise, insomnia is the state of being unable to forget and ultimately fall into the embrace of death, while amnesia is analogous to narcolepsy, i.e., being unable to stay awake and alive.

Now, it is human beings who draw these sharp distinctions between asleep vs. awake, conscious vs. unconscious, and life vs. death. In reality, they are all on a single continuum and are a function of each other.

For example, there is actually no bright line -- or any line at all -- between the conscious and unconscious mind. Rather, the whole idea of the "unconscious" is really just a heuristic device, a way to "think about thinking," which is otherwise invisible and inaccessible.

If we take our model too seriously -- i.e., if we begin to confuse the abstraction with the reality -- then we end up in the situation of the global warming hysterics who assured us a few years ago that we could say goodbye to snow in England. Their models have failed, so they reject reality. Who are you going to believe, Al Gore or your freezin' ass?

Back when I was in graduate school, I could see that many psychoanalysts reified their models, and then saw an abstraction instead of a person. But we can never see or know the unconscious directly, only insofar as our conscious thoughts, feelings, and acts are imbued with unconsciousness.

There is a reason why I can only do these posts first thing in the morning. They could never be produced in the wideawake and cutandry consciousness of the day. It is said that "dawn is the friend of the muses," the reason being that we are still close to the night time forgettery of death, where ideas go to die and be resurrected in a new form.

Tomberg notes that we all routinely have the experience of going to sleep in one state of mind, only to awaken in another. A change has taken place, a transformation, a process of consciousness "whose results and fruits one finds upon awakening."

For example, one may go to sleep in a state of dysphoria, or doubt, or uncertainty, but awaken with lightness, or conviction, or certainty. Not only has the night womb "given birth," but something else has been "extinguished" -- or at least transformed -- in the process. Thus, sleep is also a kind of chrysalis gift into which we caterpulter and out of which we get the butterflies for free.

What can any of this tell us about death? People routinely say that we cannot know anything of the post-mortem state, since no one has come back to tell us about it. First of all that's not quite true, and therefore not true at all. Secondly, as indicated by my example about the unconscious, we routinely employ analogies and models in order to deepen our understanding of realms and dimensions that are strictly beyond our ken, like thy wilber done, for example.

In fact, we analogize in this way so often that we don't even know we are doing it. There are a number of fundamental "limit cases" that our unaided human consciousness cannot ultimately understand -- human consciousness being one of them. No scientist has any idea what consciousness actually is; rather, there are only models and theories which are a product of consciousness. I dare them to develop a model of consciousness that doesn't depend on human consciousness. Thus the necessity of revelation, which informs us of realities beyond our horizon of knowability.

Likewise, no physicist knows what Energy is, no biologist knows what Life itself is, and no historian knows what History is. History is only known by the telling of it, but the telling is not the thing in itself. It's just a magical theatre. Nevertheless, we must insist that history exists, unless we have swallowed the blue state pill of deconstruction and relativism.

Raccoons pound the red pills like candy. Some people even say that Toots and Herman accidentally invented the red pill in Toots' tool shed while seeking a cure for the common hangover, but that's another story. If it were true, Petey says I can't talk about it anyway.

Now, all realigions agree that human beings possess something like an immortal soul-thingy. Before we dismiss such assertions out of hand as primitive mythology or wishful thinking, let's first stop to consider how much preternatural wisdom is embedded in scripture and revelation, just who speaks it, and to whom it is spoken.

I've now surpassed 1,600 posts, probably 75% of which deal with timeless wisdom that was somehow -- we know not how -- possessed and encoded by peoples that were quite primitive by our standards. "How did they know so much?" is a question we often ask ourselves. "How does scripture know so much more about us than we can ever know about it?" is another. Therefore, if scripture provides a model of death, or a fruitful way to think "beyond the horizon of life," who are we to reject it outright?

Alternatively, what can the modern philosophies of materialism, or positivism, or empiricism, or scientism, or existentialism, tell us about the subject? Each of these closed-minded pseudo-philosophies dresses up assumptions as conclusions, thus becoming a graveyard of dead answers rather than a garden of fruitful questions. As Schuon has commented, there is more Light in a good question than in most manmode answers.

The latter are analogous to the behaviorist who spuriously eliminates the unconscious by insisting that only behavior is real, or a feminist who makes her own persecutory sexuality go away by insisting that there is only culturally conditioned "gender," or a leftist who magically eliminates human evil by chanting "war is not the answer," or the greedy econmen who pretend to reduce poverty by confiscating wealth. Blue state pill poppers one and all.

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