Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Aliens Among Us and the Final Frontier

As we were saying yesterday, free will is an acquired taste. You might say that it must be freely chosen; it is only offered, never forced upon unwilling victims.

It is also on a continuum, and is essentially indistinguishable from spiritual growth, the reason being that the latter expands the "space" from where free will arises. Free will may be thought of as a spark of the uncaused cause within. It would not be inaccurate to call it the "caused uncaused cause" or the "created creator."

In Foundations of Free Will, Bolton notes that we begin life being almost "wholly determined by the external." However, some of us move on from there. By transforming ourselves, these external causes no longer act on the same entity; a kind of "break" is created in nature, where linear causation becomes discontinuous.

It reminds me of Leonard Cohen's line: There's a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in. Indeed, Bolton writes that "every breakdown of a culture is also an opening through which a way back to its spiritual foundation can be found by those who are alert for it."

Which is why, as bad as things might appear to be at the moment -- and they are bad indeed -- it is nevertheless an auspicious time to be alive for extreme seekers and off-road spiritual aspirants. Law of Compensation, and all that.

I discussed this somewhere in the Coonifesto -- here it is, p. 233, amongst the commanishads and upanishalts. Believe it or not, it falls under the heading of the Second Law of Reversed Thermodynamics, right after the self-tautology that there is no O but O. Being that there is no O but O, you shall not deify Ø, much less (k).

I won't remumbo the entire jumbo here, but there is also some relevant material on p. 236, on observing the sabbath speed limit: "ultimately the sabbath must be internalized, so that the very real and tangible presence of the world cannot sink its teeth into you and remake you in its image." Various Raccoon techniques for accomplicing this include lowering the Zone of Silence, internalizing the the PortaPew, mastering the UnderReaction, achieving TimeDilation, and of course, installing the DePakinator.

Now, just because we are subject to external and internal causes of various kinds, it hardly means that we lack free will. For one thing, we couldn't be aware of these causes unless they were pushing against a part of us that may or may not be happy about it, and is capable of resisting.

This is why only human beings may become neurotic, which essentially means that they may be at cross-purposes with themselves, and subject to internalized causes that clash with the will of our true self.

As we mentioned yesterday, it is critical to understand how truth and freedom are intrinsically linked, and how one is strictly impossible in the absence of the other. As Bolton explains, freedom cannot occur in the absence of truth, because if our actions are based upon falsehood, we cannot say that they were free in any meaningful sense.

In other words, if I believe something that is utterly false, and then organize my life around that falsehood, no freedom can result. Rather, freedom results from acknowledging truth and acting upon it. Conversely, actions can "always be made involuntary by ignorance of matters of fact" (Bolton). We are only free to act on truth.

Think of a courtroom scene in which false evidence is offered in order to convict someone and send them to prison, thus eliminating their freedom. But the identical thing happens if we convict ourselves with false evidence. We end up in a prison of our own making.

This must also mean that the free act is "one which is motivated toward the intelligible good" and which "must have a final cause in something higher in the scale of values in respect of truth and moral and aesthetic value" (Bolton). Thus, we are only free to do good. Those who do evil are slaves, irrespective of how it may subjectively feel to be operating outside the Law.

We all know that our liberty is rooted in the rule of law. But terrestrial laws are (or should be) merely instantiations of celestial ones, eg. don't murder, steal, bear false witness, etc. If theft is legal -- as, for example, under socialism -- there can be no freedom (or a severe limitation of it).

But nor can there be the free pursuit of truth under socialism, because the state must prevent certain threatening avenues from being explored. Thus, it is no surprise that the state-run media is on the warpath against those of us who simply want to diminish the power of the state. They are only acting in their perceived self-interest, which comes down to power, not truth.

Speaking of which, is it not ironic that a new hero of the left is "a septuagenarian white sheriff from Arizona with a hostility to free speech"? Here again we see a tool of the state bearing false witness, ultimately in order to diminish our freedom.

Sheriff Dupeschtick is a quintessential sleazy reicher. As Bolton writes, "the typical result of such actions is for the will to become the prisoner of other wills." In other words, to the extent that one agrees with the Sheriff, one become a prisoner of his lies (just as the left remains a prisoner of the lie that "Bush lied").

To withhold our assent to the Lie is to commit a flagrant act of freedom. Conversely, "evil actions are therefore never more than semi-free at their inception." And they only progress from there, "toward states [that are] are ever-increasingly under the power of alien causes, owing to which their freedom would tend almost to disappear" (Bolton).

Now, what is an "alien cause" but a mind parasite? To be perfectly accurate, the latter is an internalized alien cause. We are all subject to alien causes all day long, but it doesn't mean we must act on them. Just because I hear neo-Marxist rhetoric from my government, I don't have to believe it.

But if I do assent to these liars, then I have internalized a vicious and self-defeating mind parasite that now has influence over me, and is limiting my freedom. Then one's life is given over to fate; we have sunk beneath ourselves into the world of these lower causes, so that one is dragged along on the Darwinian monkeygoround instead of rising upon the spiral stairs / That lead up to that heart of light.

In short, what would have become your individuated self "will remain a more or less undifferentiated part of the macrocosm, and will not develop into a microcosm" (Bolton). You have committed a self-administered celestial abortion.

And this also explains how the key to state control is in the Lie. You must assent to lies in order to give control over to the state. As Ronald Reagan said, "A government cannot control the economy without controlling people," which means lying to them -- not accidentally, but essentially.

Nor can there be socialism without unhinged moralizing. The left doesn't actually offer economic arguments, but substitutes moral arguments in the space where economics should be. You only have to read a single column by the left's most influential economist, Paul Krugman, to understand this. Instead of thought, we are treated to another bout of encopresis, fecal smearing, and political tourette's syndrome.

For the Raccoon, the interior "space of freedom" is the final (and only) frontier. Of it, Bolton writes that "ignoring the 'empty' aspect of the soul-life is by no means immediately evident, but it inevitably leads to relations with alien wills and forces in which one's own will has less and less relevance."

These alien powers and principalities are what we call the "tissue of mind parasites," or the conspiracy to rob you of your slack.

To be continued...


julie said...

But the identical thing happens if we convict ourselves with false evidence. We end up in a prison of our own making.

Oh, that is such an important point. It's the key both to the process of being able to forgive oneself and to being truly humble, and yet with man's capacity to lie to himself (and thus avoid responsibility to the truth) it can be extremely difficult to break free.

julie said...

Speaking of the lie, take a look at the recent magazine covers of the msm.

The only one that makes it look like the madman is even remotely guilty also screams "GUNS" over the top, just so we all know what's actually, primarily to blame. After that it's "SPEECH," presumably not Jared's tortured screeds but all the verbal acid that's been spewed by those mean Rethugs, while "MADNESS" comes in as merely a tertiary cause.

The trouble with the visual narrative as presented by magazine covers is that so much is said in that tiny amount of visual space, while at the same time they can deny that they meant what is clearly implied, should anyone call them on it. Additionally, whether people read the verbal contents of these ugly containers or not, simply seeing them in the newsstands and the magazine racks at the grocery store is enough for the inattentive and unwary to download the virus.

Magnus Itland said...

In modern Buddhism, Hell itself is seen as a "prison of our own making". Rather than being pointed toward Hell by an angry God, the sinner will find Hell oddly familiar and be drawn toward it, and then trap himself inside.

Whether this actually happens in the afterlife or not, it certainly happens in this world, where people frequently bring their own worms and fire, which they pour out on themselves in the hope of hurting others.

Rick said...

Great post, Bob. Glad you are continuing with where it seems you are going..with the mind parasites.

Which reminds me, I keep meaning to ask, did you coin the term "mind parasite"? I think I Googled it once and nothing really came up as I recall..

Also, because I am watching play-out the game plan (as you've often described, especially today) of a mind parasite in a family member (x 10 since around Christmas time) the whole subject is more interesting than usual, likely helpful...if it weren't so painful for being someone so close to boot.

Which reminds me too, is it possible to be a little bit paranoid schizophrenic? Or at least so little you can most of the time 'keep it together' and function? As in certain events may set it off. Maybe everyone is, and maybe it's required to a certain degree. As in, you couldn't have an improving 'keeping it together' without some non-linear internal struggle going on.

Words of wisdom said...

Father Stephen:

"In the struggle to come to the wholeness of Personhood – to become the “true self” rather than to sink into the “false self” our very existence as spiritual beings is at stake. If you read across Orthodox books that center on the issue of Personhood – a common theme becomes visible. Our fall and our brokenness leave us vulnerable, even in our religious efforts, to the development of a “false self” something quite other than the wholeness of true Personhood. Indeed, religion might be more than just a little vulnerable to this – it may be one of the best ways to pursue a false mode of existence. It should be quickly added that most of our activities contribute to this false self – for it is simply another way in which our sinfulness manifests itself. The movement from false to true self is another way of describing the work of salvation that is wrought in us through grace."

Rick said...

Oh, and how was the Larchet book? I thought the Introduction was fantastic. I was practically cheering in my Barcalounger.

julie said...

Mockery and exposure; oh, how they hate it!

I don't watch award shows, and so perhaps he went too far here and there (that seems to be his shtick, really), but unless you're Brangelina this is just funny:

After pointing out Hollywood’s self-love, he continued by referring to the way some movie stars jaunt out to the world’s poorest countries and pat the heads of starving children. ‘You can be a little child, a little Asian child, with no possessions, no money – but you see a picture of Angelina Jolie and you think, “Mummy!”’

julie said...

Via the Anchoress, more on the lie.

Heh: "[Oprah] is a New Agey guru, luring millions into the cult of self-betterment."

My brain insisted that last word was "self-bitterment." In my experience, the latter is far closer to reality, as so much of daytime talk capitalizes on the misery of its viewers by offering first a set of "problems" its viewers are likely to suffer (and if they don't already, the suggestion that something is wrong is often all it takes to manufacture a crisis), followed by promises of hope (How I Lost Weight, and You Can Too!! How to Tell if Your Husband is Cheating on You!! How to Get the Perfect Hair/ Tan/ Kitchen/ Child!!) and fulfillment which it can never provide. And so the cycle of envy is fed, day in and day out...

Van said...

"To withhold our assent to the Lie is to commit a flagrant act of freedom. Conversely, "evil actions are therefore never more than semi-free at their inception." And they only progress from there, "toward states [that are] are ever-increasingly under the power of alien causes, owing to which their freedom would tend almost to disappear" (Bolton)."

Yep, the more you pay attention to the bad stuff, the more you deplete your freedom account. I think just as there's no free lunch, there's no free Free Will either, you've got to pay for it.

Individuality, self control, self governance, they aren't free, and have to be paid for by practicing and habituating the virtues to build up your moral bank account. If you tank your credit through unthrifty impulse shopping in the 'pleasure I'll' of the immediate moment, instead of prudently sticking to a longterm budget and savings plan... man it's so easy to get overdrawn, and with no credit in the character dept, your freedom gets repo'd.

Nope, Free Will ain't free. I wonder how in the hole you can go and still have a chance at developing a moral credit rating again? I hear the loan officer is more than willing to take another chance on you, but if your account ever goes to collections...(shiver).

mushroom said...

This post presents a good opportunity to thank you for slapping me in the face with the rubber chicken of revelation the other day. I wondered if we should change the phrase "rotten to the core" to "rotten from the core". You explained why that was not the case -- which got me to thinking about "putting off the old man" and related issues that have been beneficial.

katzxy said...

"... which means lying to them -- not accidentally, but essentially. "

Looking back, I see this often.
(1) it's vital to get into and attend a 'good' college,
(2) since actual judges are never truly impartial, we might as well be partial in a sensible and compassionate way,
(3) moral equivalence between say the US and the USSR: we did some bad things, they did some good ones so we're pretty much the same,
(4) the living constitution.
More available on request.

wv: nolog

julie said...

Oh, and about that college education...

Gagdad Bob said...

Rick: "Mind Parasite" was playgiarized from Colin Wilson, who wrote a book by that name, although he uses it in a completely different way.

No, one cannot be a little bit paranoid schizophrenic, although there are prodromal and residual symptoms of the acute phase.

There are other conditions such as Paranoid or Schizotypal personality disorders that might describe your suspect. Also Persecutory Delusional Disorder.

The Schizotypal personality in particular combines elements of extreme eccentricity, interpersonal cluelessness, and paranoia, without frank loss of contact with reality.

Gagdad Bob said...

Schizotypal personality.

Rick said...

Thanks, Bob. The variety in the illness seems pretty complex. I was mostly just curious. In a perfect world, my family member could find someone like you and sit down and have an honest discussion. Unfortunately, his condition, or at least the way it seems to operate, won't sincerely accept that there is a problem. In the past it has only looked sincere. I'm not sure that type of honesty, if you can even call it that, is even on the map. Everyone is against him, plotting. Yet, he must be the most important person in the room. He will turn on anyone. The remaining friends/family (and he is just about out of them now) he keeps afloat on the most complex concocted stories about ex-friends/family. Has a talent for it it seems. Maybe because he believes it. Eventually, people run into each other or just eventually catch on. Outbursts of rage or just plain paranoid crazy talk is usually the cause of a friend or a co-worker to cut him loose. That's why I was wondering if it may be a form of schizophrenia.

Mizz E said...

Just before heading over here and reading today's post, I had read this short reflection from Saint Basil on "What is sin?" ; a sweet condiment to your wonderful post.

This is the definition of sin: the misuse of powers given us by God for doing good, a use contrary to God’s commands. On the other hand, the virtue that God asks of us is the use of the same powers based on a good conscience in accordance with God’s command.

 Since this is so, we can say the same about love. Since we received a command to love God, we possess from the first moment of our existence an innate power and ability to love. The proof of this is not to be sought outside ourselves, but each one can learn this from himself and in himself. It is natural for us to want things that are good and pleasing to the eye, even though at first different things seem beautiful and good to different people. In the same way, we love what is related to us or near to us, though we have not been taught to do so, and we spontaneously feel well disposed to our benefactors.

What, I ask, is more wonderful than the beauty of God? What thought is more pleasing and wonderful than God’s majesty? What desire is as urgent and overpowering as the desire implanted by God in a soul that is completely purified of sin and cries out in its love: I am wounded by love? The radiance of divine beauty is altogether beyond the power of words to describe.

Van said...

Ok, my brother just sent me this one, OT but fun. The Rat Pack on stage, Frank, Dino, Sammy and Johnny... Johnny?

Yep, Johnny Carson, the message says it's from a show at Kiel Opera House in St Louis -- June 1965 --
The Rat Pack were playing Vegas, but visited while Carson was hosting The Tonight Show there, and Carson actually joins in on the singing - supposedly the only time Carson ever sang in public.

Quincy Jones was conducting the Count Basie band, and he is visible in the background.

No major musical chops on display, but fun all the same.

(I think that was meant for The Bug Spite Mediocre)

mushroom said...

Kiel used to be a really good venue with headliners even up into the '70's when I was listening to KSHE all the time. But it is very cool to see those guys there.

Northern Bandit said...

Schizotypal personality.

Interesting. So... being an oddball eccentric is in the DSM, but believing you are a woman trapped in a man's body to the extent that you will mutilate your genitals is considered a normal, healthy personality characteristic?

Gagdad Bob said...

I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually eliminate it from the DSM, just as they have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It's getting more and more like Soviet psychiatry.

philmon said...

Man, this place is a veritible verbal ammunition depot.

"Political tourrettes"... I think I'm going to have to pick myself up off the floor again if my fists aren't too sore to support me -- from pounding it to release the mirth within.

philmon said...

Julie ... I've noticed this over the years. Sometimes, the content of the story even basically gets it right, but the headlines stick in the heads of people ... even most of those who actually read the full articles (whether or not the articles are compatible with the headlines) ... and that's all that matters.

The journalist says "yeah, I mentioned those things in the story", but the headline prevails in the manufactured "reality" of the MSM.

It's the war of headlines. So many of my acquaintances succumb to them so easily. It is frustrating.