Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Your Immortal Soles are in Danger!

We're finally up to the canto we've all been waiting for, in which Deepak Chopra gets his just desserts. For this is the valley of rapacious brutes who debauch themselves for gold -- who distort spiritual reality by treating it as a profane thing to be bought and sold.

Folks here are buried head first up to the knee with their feet exposed, the soles of which are on fire. Strange image. I wonder what Dante had in mind?

Upton writes that the souls here "are buried in an inverted position because they have inverted the spiritual hierarchy."

As we know, the principial world is an inverted tree, with its nonlocal roots above and its convenient branches down here below.

Therefore, the inverted position of these vulgar simoniacs -- or maniacs -- is simply an image of what they inverted -- and perverted -- in life. Thus, their feet, which symbolize the terrestrial world, are at the top, while their heads, which symbolize the celestial, are at the bottom. This reveals their true values and motives, which cannot be hidden from God.

This brings to mind what may be my favorite letter of Meditations on the Tarot, The Hermit. The hermit is a properly right side-up man, and for this reason will appear upside-down to the worldly.

Such a man does not deny the world but sees it -- and its contents -- in its proper order. He does not place what is both priceless and of urgent importance above what is ephemeral and insignificant. Which is why The common man lives among phantasms; only the recluse [i.e., hermit] moves among realities ( Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

Furthermore, the hermit is the cosmic locus of the synthesis of heaven and earth, i.e., their union, not polarization. He represents the harmony of intellect, emotion and will, or mind, heart and strength.

But again, such a man will appear upside-down to the tenured, for Modern society works feverishly to put vulgarity within everyone’s reach (DC), and largely succeeds now that so many of us attend college, those somnambulant seminaries of factsimian sophistry.

For the properly spiritually oriented man, his soul is on fire and God is the water. But in this vale of hell, the soles are on fire and there's no water to be found. Dante also notices that the fire flickers back and forth between the heel and toes. Upton suggests that this is another inverted image, this one of the purifying spiritual fire, since in Hell it moves horizontally rather than vertically.

In a foot note, Upton reminds us of the spiritual hucksters who charge good money to teach idiots how to walk barefoot on hot coals. I always suspected that Tony Robbins was a preview of hell.

The valley of the hotfoot is also a parody "of the baptismal font," in that these sinners "are horribly baptized by the fire of the Holy Spirit they sought to buy and sell" (Upton). But the Divine Fire is not a plaything. To imagine that one can control it sufficiently to truck and barter in its activation is about as wise as selling nuclear secrets to Islamists. You end up with the Agni, but no ecstasy.

In the next valley it gets even hotter, for it is the vale of the spiritual pundits, the magicians and diviners who "impiously sought to pierce the veil of the future" (Upton). These people cause much more mischief than you might imagine, for they are spiritual prometheans whose reach exceeds their grasp -- or whose mental being surpasses what they have properly assimilated and actualized. They are engaged in the dangerous practice of driving in front of their headlights; in other words, they are operating in the dark with knowledge (k) in front of being (n).

Therefore, in this valley of hell they are perpetually facing backward. Once again it is an inverted image of how they functioned in life; in being turned backward, they remind us "of a 'vanguard' cadre in politics or an 'avant-garde' movement in the arts, which, after a few years, turns out to be totally reactionary; their attempt to conquer the future binds them to the past" (Upton).

Is there anyone more nauseatingly predictable and reactionary than the political "progressive" or artistic "transgressive"? Even the word "progressive" implies an ability to see into the future. But when their future arrives, it is always an atavistic hell. Obama does not look forward but backward, to Jimmy Carter, LBJ, FDR, and the whole failed ideology of illiberal collectivism and state coercion. Likewise the public employee unions, for whom it is always 1930.

And of course, such people are not only looking backward but down, toward matter. No one pretends that the unions are fighting for any ideal except their own material gain. But in the words of Don Colacho, there is no faster way to corrupt an individual than to teach him to call his personal desires rights and the rights of others abuses. Such a soul is upside-down, inside-out, and assbackward.

Hey, it's a Tony Robbins seminar, and it will only cost your soles!


will said...

Just as a reflection - I wonder if Dante's Hell might not be imagined as the lowest caverns of Purgatory. I suspect the Divine Fire which torments the damned in Dante's vision is, in truth, reserved for those who still have a glimmer of conscience, of Spirit. Thus the Fire is purgative, it burns away the dross so that the soul can eventually ascend.

The truly damned, on the other hand, have surrendered all vestiges of Spirit. Not for them, I think, the purgatorial fires that would eventually release them from bondage. They simply sink down into the darkness and keep sinking, permanently.

>>But the Divine Fire is not a plaything. To imagine that one can control it sufficiently to truck and barter in its activation is about as wise as selling nuclear secrets to Islamists. You end up with the Agni, but no ecstasy<<

Yeah o yeah. That's riding the tiger. It controls you. The very last thing a pilgrim should do is to willingly spark the Fire into activation, particularly when one is unprepared spiritually. But of course, somewhere along the Path, the pilgrim is going to experience the Fire, simply by virtue of being on the Path. Even if one is prepared spiritually, it's going to be a hellacious journey, Dante-esque all the way.

Could it be true that the Fire will envelop the earth per a Divine "scheduling"? Well, "The Fire next time", you know. Here it comes, perhaps, ready or not, and it would be way better to be ready.

Boozy Floozy in a Red Dress said...

This is a fascinating post. The blog author compares the sinners in Dante's work to those in current American public life, the odious Tony Robbins being a stand-out.

Will adds a thoughtful comment about purgatory versus damnation, which is well taken.

Since all agree God is of a single piece, he can't very well damn anyone without commiting sepuku. So that is not, inuitively, how things must operate.

Every soul in hell is also God in hell, and He is involved therein on the basis of the theory of Divine unity, which must either be absolute or not at all.

The conclusion that must be reached is God is collusive in sin and is a sinner along with us, because He is us.

So, the errant soul is a piece of God in rebellion with God, which must be enjoyable on some level for Brahman or He wouldn't indulge in such trifles.

Unless you can figure out a better reduction of this situation, that is where it stands.

will said...

Floozy, a soul in rebellion against God is not a "trifle."

The only way for us to be a true partner to God is for us to possess free will - we must choose to be a partner to Him.

We can choose otherwise, of course, and I doubt very much such a choice would be pleasing/amusing for Him.

Anonymous said...

Kind of curious -- you don't necessarily think the "inverters" such as Chopra are dishonest, or that being dishonest is necessarily a requirement for this sin, it seems. So, does that mean merely being mistaken can send one to this level of hell?

julie said...

...there is no faster way to corrupt an individual than to teach him to call his personal desires rights and the rights of others abuses. Such a soul is upside-down, inside-out, and assbackward.

Along those lines, I caught a bit of Mike Gallagher this morning, discussing a Catholic priest in Wisconsin who decided to speak out in support of the unions. Gallagher wanted to know why a man of the cloth would be in favor of an essentially immoral political movement, noting that demanding other people pay to support one is, in fact, immoral. Though with a bit of Google Fu it's clear that this particular priest, the "associate professor of theological ethics at Marquette University," has more in common with the tenured than with the orthodox. Alas, he's apparently in charge of teaching young minds about theology in particular, and giving them a sickly dose of liberation theology (a doublethink description if ever there was one) instead. I'm guessing there's a hole in the ground and a flaming case of athlete's foot being prepared just for him...

Also apropos in the news is the trial of that guy who ran the sweat lodge in Sedona where three people died during a "vision quest."

julie said...

Hm. Comment went poof; I must have angered blogger somehow.

Ah, well - just came back to say I love that second photo. Awesome.

Comparison Shopping in The Idea-Mall said...

Anon, I take it you've read some Chopra.

If you read the blog author's book, you will discover his and Chopra's work agree on all major points.

They disagree on politics, but philosophically agree on a God-centered unified cosmos.

Politics is a small and I would argue inconsequential difference.

The blog author's MAIN beef with Chopra is that Chopra's making money,lots of it.

So, then why dis Chopra? You do the math.

Van said...

"But in the words of Don Colacho, there is no faster way to corrupt an individual than to teach him to call his personal desires rights and the rights of others abuses. Such a soul is upside-down, inside-out, and assbackward."

Speaking of the media and, other inversions, I didn't watch the Oscar's this year, but apParently Natalie Portman said something Salon found very controversial:

" “In her acceptance speech, the “Black Swan” star suggests that pregnancy trumps a career. She’s wrong.”

and for those who needed more clarification, the article endarkened how,

"...thanking her fellow nominees, her parents, the directors who’ve guided her career, and then at last “my beautiful love,” dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, for giving her “the most important role of my life.” That’d be when he impregnated her, I’d wager.

At the time, the comment jarred me, as it does every time anyone refers to motherhood as the most important thing a woman can possibly do. But the reason why didn’t hit until I saw the ever razor sharp Lizzie Skurnick comment on Twitter today that, “Like, my garbageman could give you your greatest role in life, too, lady.”

Soul soles.

julie said...

Van, I've seen some of the freakout over that. There was a nice article about her in the Times that wasn't a rebuttal, but simply made note of some of the other things she's accomplished aside from acting. Given that she's done that much already, the fact that she still considers motherhood to be her most important role strikes me as extremely admirable.

Good for her.

Anna said...

Julie -

Your comment appears to be there now. Unless it was a different one that disappeared.

julie said...

Anna - yep, it's back. I asked nicely and Foop! there it is :)

I figured it was easier to ask Bob to unspam it than to try and rehash it over and over in minute variations to get Blogger to accept it.

Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, at least garbagemen take the garbage away. Unlike Hollywood, which brings it into your house.

sehoy said...

I really was waiting for this canto. Any whack at Deepak is just a bonus for me.

Speaking of fire:

On 31 Dec 10, I bought some fireworks… mortars to be exact…called “Excalibur.” At the same time I was buying the mortars, my husband was asking the volunteer fire dept. man to come back later to collect his yearly donation, as my husband had no money on him at the moment.

On the evening of the 31st, we set off 12 of those mortars and accidentally caught the property on fire. Freak accident. Four acres of burning grass. We managed to beat out most of the flames before the fire dept. arrived, but unfortunately all the straw in my garden was glowing, so the fire dept . dumped 500 gallons of water on the garden. Oh boy!

The next morning the volunteer fire dept man came by to collect his donation. Due to the circumstances, he got ten times the amount he normally would have received. He handed us the receipt and a coupon for a free family portrait for our donation. The name of the photography company is “Excalibur.”

One of those moments of synchrony?

Northern Bandit said...

Public service unions are have become a serious practical problem due to their sheer size and clout.

That's not to pretend that all is well out here on the battlefield of raw capitalism. Due to happenstance, luck and perseverance I'm now fairly well connected in certain business circles. The products we have created are certainly strong, but not that much better than what many other equally hard-working, but less well-connected people could manage.

The Rolodex entries make a profound difference in the likelihood you will succeed. Furthermore a part of the effort of pulling off an IPO is basically just collusion and manipulation between bankers, lawyers and the IP holders (i.e., moi). In my case we're way too small to cause damage, but valuations of $15B for a fucking coupon-clipping website strike me as wholly immoral -- especially since so few years have elapsed since the last bubble (which made about a dozen of my friends incredibly rich, but many more friends and their families quite a bit worse off).

It is what it is, but it makes me queasy.

Northern Bandit said...

One thing I suppose I mean to say is that most of the people on "the right" (not so much well-grounded classical liberals) who have this starry-eyed view of a perfect world governed by the principles of Hayek, von Mises, et al have not actually started, grown and sold a company. They don't really understand what happens at that level. I'm only a small fry, to be sure, but I certainly know that it ain't all classical supply and demand marinated in freedom out there. And it ain't all the fault of the Left.

Maybe Van or someone can straighten out what I'm getting at here. Or refudiate me, as required.

Freud said...

That is another fucking awesome comment about your fucking self! Still, it would be slightly more believable -- and less pathetic -- if you didn't have to say it.

julie said...

Bob - have you started reading The Information yet? I'm curious if it's as good as Dyson made it sound.

Gagdad Bob said...

Too soon to tell -- only read the first few chapters. He is one of the best science writers, however.

julie said...

Thanks; I may have to pick that one up.

I see I've finally talked you into the Schmemann, too...

debass said...

--only the recluse [i.e., hermit] moves among realities (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

Is this why I don't have any friends?

Jung said...


Your thoughful comment is well taken and I believe what you are trying to say: capitalism does need some mitigation or regulation, and it ain't because some commie wants it that way. It's because decent Americans need some protection from corporate rapacity.

"Freud" can go @#$% a !@#$ in the @#^ and mind his own %^&&**% business.

NB up, way up.

Walter said...

Freud can go find a stranger in the Alps?

Van said...

NB said "Maybe Van or someone can straighten out what I'm getting at here. Or refudiate me, as required."

Hey NB, first chance I had to respond... though I'm not sure of the scope here... so I'll just let the long winds blow.

I don't think the issue is whether or not all business people are idealized Ayn Rand-like industrialist heroes of integrity, but where it is that the govt can rightfully step in to correct things, without causing even more harm to all concerned... and even to those who didn't realize that they had any concerns in the matter to begin with.

A govt who derives it's just powers from the consent of the people, can have no powers not delegated to it by the people, and no person can delegate a power to the govt to use in its name, which they didn't have in the first place to give. Since govt isn't God (!), it isn't all seeing, all knowing and all understanding, it can't claim to know your soul or your intentions, it has to confine itself to complying with the evidence that can be publicly and reasonably verified before We The People, and it has to confine itself to actions within its just powers.

All of our political Rights, and so laws, rest upon property rights, they serve as defensive moats protecting your life, actions and possessions against the designs and trespasses of others - they define the boundary between private and public - and without them, no part of your life would be safe from anyone who felt they had the power to violate, damage or take it.

Since, to the surprise of leftists and not a few republicans, govt ain't God, it can't claim to know your soul or your intentions, it has to confine itself to complying with the evidence that can be publicly and reasonably verified and it must respect the real rights which each person has, and work from that point forward.

Just as you may not like how your neighbor waters their lawn, speaks to their spouse or how much they pay the neighbor kid to mow their lawn, you have no right to tell them how to water their lawn or speak to their spouse, or what to pay the neighbor kid to mow their lawn, unless the manner they are doing so manages to infringe on what you do have a right to - their watering floods your property, their speaking turns to shouting at three a.m. or they violate a contract (a personal agreement which is able to be made publicly visible and verifiable) with the neighbor kid, or if he ties to pay him with a shrubbery stolen from your yard - and govt must confine itself to those same boundaries.

If someone is behaving unreasonably, they might be in the wrong - and our sense of justice cries out against them (Cicero's idea of Natural Law was acting in accordance with Right Reason, and unreasonable behavior must in some way violate that) - but our govt can't trespass on the jurisdiction of God, it can only act on what is within it's physical jurisdiction and with those powers justly delegated to it by We The People; it isn't all seeing, all knowing and all understanding, it has to comply with the evidence that can be publicly seen and reasonably verified and respect those real rights and boundaries which each person has, and confine itself to those boundaries.

Van said...


If one business is behaving unreasonably, rudely and/or miserly in it's dealings with either employees or other businesses, we might have a moral right and duty to publicly denounce them (and I think we do - our 'tolerance' has made a swamp of our society), but unless they are violating the property rights of another, then those property rights which serve as defensive moats protecting your life, privacy and possessions against the trespasses of others, they must also be allowed to defend and preserve the Scrooge's as well.

It's either that, or all political and legal rights for everyone are in principle discarded, and the only thing protecting you from another, or from govt, is whether someone who suspects they have the power to violate your rights... feels it's worth it, and feels that they can get away with it with minimal blowback... and it's just a quick stroll from there to Hobbes's world of nature red in tooth and claw.

A nation of Laws... or one of "♫ ♪ ♬feelings... nothing more than feeeeelings...♬ ♪ ♫"

Now of course, anyone who violates proper law, should be dealt with swiftly and as harshly as is possible and justifiable to the fullest extent of the law, and NO position, power or wealth should save them from that. And of course, no position, power or wealth could defend them, unless some improper law or regulations had already been allowed by a careless We The People, to be imposed on We The People, in order to provide them with the loopholes to do so.

A nation of Laws... or one of "♫ ♪ ♬feelings... nothing more than feeeeelings...♬ ♪ ♫"

wv: ponsi
It's gotta be alive