Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The New Science of Hutzpah: Awaken the Sociopath Within!

The next thing I'd like to discuss about the Death card is UF's account of what I symbolize (↑) and (↓). Both arrows are necessary for spiritual development, and various forms of heresy emphasize one to the exclusion of the other -- which is like emphasizing inspiration over expiration. It just won't work. In fact, it will eventually kill you, if not sooner then later.

Emphasis on (↑) alone leads to the construction of a "Tower of Babel," or purely manmade ladder to God. Emphasis on (↓) alone leads to the fatalism of, say, the Islamic world, or to any form of radical predestination that removes human will from the equation.

Not to resort immediately to Godwin's Law, but I'm reading this superb biography of Hitler, and it is all over the purely (↑) nature of his "project."

Indeed, Mein Kampf means My Struggle; it is the exertion of raw will because, in the end, will is all there is. Biological existence itself is a battle of wills, with only one winner. No compromise is possible. Either you are the hammer or you are the anvil:

"Politics are the conduct and course of historical struggle for life of peoples.... It is an iron principle.... The aim of these struggles is the assertion of existence.... The weaker one falls so that the strong one gains life."

The reason why Hitler so hated Bolshevism had nothing to do with economics -- for Hitler too believed in a controlled economy in service to the state -- but was because it directly opposed his principles of national will and the resultant "natural" hierarchy. (Among other deficits, Hitler was completely absent any sense of humor. He did, however, make one humorous remark, albeit unintentionally, describing Stalin as "probably sick in the brain. His bloody regime can otherwise not be explained.")

A major reason -- if "reason" is the right word -- why Hitler despised Judaism and Christianity was their emphasis on virtue over power, individual over blood, and liberty over subordination to the nation. Anything that presumed to constrain the Fuhrer's will represented the essence of evil. While he was very much opposed to class division, it was in the name of blood, not economics.

There are many contemporary spiritual approaches that revolve solely around (↑), probably because they are too sophisticated to believe in God, and therefore grace, and therefore (↓). But they do believe in "evolution," so they just apply it to the vertical, as if they may simply will their own transformation, or pick themselves up by their own buddhastraps. I think we can sum up the integral movement with a single photo:

I mean, if I saw that huckster on my property, I'd call the cops, not sit down to tea... or Red Bull and tofu chips. Robbins must represent the quintessence of (↑) to the exclusion of (↓) -- you know, Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement. Live with Passion!: Stategies for Creating a Compelling Future.

What a hideous pneumapath. How about The New Science of Hutzpah! With his Ultimate Relationship Program, Robbins will sell you the keys to LIFELONG PASSION: just leave that old worn out wife and hook up with a youthful, compliant, idealizing, and featherbrained disciple!

But I suppose these oily snakesmen will always be with us, trying to put the bite on a new generation of rubes. Frankly, there is far more wisdom in a single sentence of the Bob.

Even if "successful," the purely (↑) approach represents a catastrophic failure, for it is a kind of terrestrial victory at the cost of celestial death. For UF, it amounts to "the decision to remain remote from the Father. And it is precisely this which is death in a divine sense. Complete crystallization is therefore complete death from the divine point of view..." It is the fulfillment of the promise of the serpent, which is that "You will live remote from God and it will be I who shall attend to the uninterrupted continuation of your life in the horizontal, for I shall make up for the lack of divine wisdom and love by replacing them with the intellect and with psycho-physical electricity, which will be the source of your life."


(If this doesn't make you cringe, then you have no heart. At first I thought it was parody:

"As I knocked on the door I was greeted by Colin an assistant of Ken’s. I started to hear music as if a chorus of angels were singing. Walking in, Ken came over to me and light was filling the room, we shook hands and I could feel a surge of energy and heat coming from Ken as an uplifted sense took over. A familiar peace came over me, usually felt after working on a painting for some hours.... Then we talked for awhile as I watched angels dancing around Ken and saw images of Moses, Jesus and Nagarjuna fade in and out.")

UF makes a subtle point that the way of Christianity promises not just Life over Death, but Life over life -- horizontal life. The way of Tony Robbins promises horizontal life over life, which amounts to Death on stilts. The lessons of Genesis are not abstract or remote, but extremely practical and experience-near. In order to make the lesson more vivid, when you read of the serpent, perhaps you should imagine a snake with Tony Robbins' freakishly oversized head. The horror....

The whole point of Christianity is the victory of the vertical over the horizontal, not a pseudo-victory of horizontal over horizontal. It is the victory "of radiation over crystallization." Which reminds me of the narrator's last line of Sunset Boulevard: Life, which can be strangely merciful, had taken pity on Norma Desmond. The dream she had clung to so desperately had enfolded her... (Crystallization is synonymous with enfoldment.)

Now that I think about it, the film is all about crystallization, or about death in life. For that is what Norma is: a breathing corpse, a living death, a monster. She no longer radiates as a living star, but is a dying star from which no light escapes.

The film is even narrated by a dead man, who shares his sardonic insights: "There's nothing tragic about being fifty. Not unless you're trying to be twenty-five." "You don't yell at a sleepwalker -- he may fall and break his neck. That's it: she was still sleepwalking along the giddy heights of a lost career." "How could she breathe in that house full of Norma Desmonds? Around every corner, Norma Desmonds... more Norma Desmonds... and still more Norma Desmonds." Trying to stop the aging process doesn't really make you younger. Rather, it turns you into a corpse. It is not life, but death-resistance.

(Hitler: "I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleepwalker.")

The dead chimp at the beginning is highly symbolic, for that is what a human being is in the absence of the Divine. Norma says, "I'd like the coffin to be white, and I want it specially lined with satin. White... or pink. Maybe red! Bright flaming red! Let's make it gay!"

Even the name: Sunset Boulevard. Not only does it convey the dying of the light, but in case you don't live here, Sunset Boulevard is a street that starts in the bowels of Los Angeles, makes its way through Beverly Hills, and empties to the sea.

So, let us follow UF's advice, and "no longer seek amongst the dead for he who is living, and above all let us not seek for immortal Life in the domain of death."

The spiritual ascent is everywhere the same, and always consists of purification, illumination, and union; or rejection, aspiration, and surrender. "This is the eternal way, and no one can invent or find another," not even Tony Robbins and Ken Wilber combined.

Yes, as UF says, you can divide and subdivide it "into thirty-three stages -- or even into ninety-nine," but it always comes back to that same dynamic and interlocking trinity that takes place on a moment-by-moment basis, for purification is illumination -- or consciousness of a Divine reality -- and union with the Divine Will.

Likewise, illumination is purification of the intellect and union with the Divine Mind. And union is a purified heart, which is now the center of one's thought and being.

Or, to turn it around, "a non-illuminated gnostic would not be a gnostic, but rather an 'oddball'; a non-illuminated mage would be only a sorceror; and a non-illuminated philosopher would be either a complete skeptic or an amateur at 'intellectual play.'"

And a non-illuminated gnostic tyrant brings hell to earth.


Gagdad Bob said...

Somehow, even worse than I imagined:

"That mentality, I can bring back by going into that memory, which is etched into my mind for the rest of my life. It gives me utter confidence, and a fierce belief in myself. I feel unstoppable.... So my advice on walking on fire: if you truly, deep down to the depths of your soul, believe you can do it, you can. And after you have that experience to prove it to you, you can do anything you completely set your mind to."

Yes, if you can somehow do something stupid and meaningless, you can accomplish anything!

julie said...

Oh, good grief. I'm way more impressed by the Indian boy band where they smash light bulbs on each other, hit each other with sledge hammers and drive motorcycles over their heads. At least those fakirs aren't trying to make it out to be a matter of deep spirituality. You, too can harness the laws of physics!

Also, the picture accompanying that Wilber article was absolutely cringeworthy.

"Look, we're bros with our shirts off! BFFs for reals!"


But they do believe in "evolution," so they just apply it to the vertical, as if they may simply will their own transformation, or pick themselves up by their own buddhastraps

Last night, I saw a terrible episode of The Outer Limits about a scientist professor who mocks creationists, then theorizes that junk DNA is actually a hidden blueprint of the ultimate evolutionary stage of mankind. Completely missing the fact that if an endpoint or a blueprint of any kind is hidden there, waiting to be unlocked, it could not possibly have happened by itself. Of course, the story gets around that idea by positing super-advanced aliens, but of course they quietly skip the question of where the aliens come from. I guess it's aliens all the way down.

Somehow that's considered much more plausible than anything Above...

Anonymous said...

Oh Bob, funny as usual...but don't beat up on Ken too much for having tea with Robbins. It's Ken attempt to bring in all the spiral memes, despite some of them not being in touch with the ultimate ground. I agree evolutionary thinking without Godhead is distorted and potentially evil, but Ken is trying to be post-metaphysical -- which shouldn't mean non-metaphysical, but some of the integralites misinterpret it as such get caught up in all kinds of traps. Robbins falls short of humility which means he misses one big side, but there is always time for him to get it.

Cousin Dupree said...

Turds of a feather... fleece together.

Gagdad Bob said...

Seriously, if I had hailed the egregious Bubba Frank Jones as the new messiah, I'd STFU for a good long time.

Van said...

"The reason why Hitler so hated Bolshevism had nothing to do with economics -- for Hitler too believed in a controlled economy in service to the state -- but was because it directly opposed his principles of national will and the resultant "natural" hierarchy."

Yep. It's always fun to hear the leftist squeal over the Hitler hits, but was an uber-leftist and entirely for a socialist state, just one that had a different flavor - Him.

"(If this doesn't make you cringe, then you have no heart. At first I thought it was parody:..."

You know what's missing from that picture? A cat. And a willian playing guitar. That'd make for an excellent instance of Godwin's law.

Cousin Dupree said...

Van, I hate to break it to you, but William's cat Pickles is... is d... No, I can't say it!

Gagdad Bob said...

Van -- the book also makes it clear that "conservatives" were among Hitler's greatest opponents, although even then, they weren't at all analogous to our conservatives -- more like extreme nationalists minus the genocide.

Van said...

Cuz said "...William's cat Pickles is... is d... No, I can't say it!"

Hmmm... awkward.

But... then again I’m sure he had it stuffed – why not, right? Keep the positive response inducing focal point around, right? And... it’s not as if they’d know the difference anyway....


mushroom said...

I am genuinely sorry to hear about Pickles. And far be it from me to make any comments about freakishly oversized heads. Let him without a Seven and Three-Quarters cast the first five-gallon brain-bucket. And it's not just the circumference, every time I shave off my mustache, my wife says I look like Jay Leno, so I'm keeping this one until I die or Leno goes off the air.

But anyway, this is a great post. If you can do it yourself, then you don't have any reason to be humble.

Far better to give thanks to than expect thanks from 0.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Bob, yes Ken said Adi Da was an avatar in our midst in the early 80s, and retracted it when he heard about the problems going on in the community. We all make mistakes. Heck, even you were a liberal once. Snort. So give the guy a break. He had a lot to say after that debacle, which some great pubications that even influenced you. So STFU isn't probably the best response -- even if he has Robbins over again for some coal-walking yucks!

Gagdad Bob said...

Not quite.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that link Bob. Well, maybe I am wrong. But it appears Ken did distance himself without disparaging a community he was part of. Unlike the traditional religions, these newer forms of intentional communities are all experiments w/out the checks & balances. So every so often, they misstep as some guru falls over his unbuttoned pants. So be it. I love your work, and I also respect Ken's work. Not sure we'll ever have a clean house in guru-land. Yet, we need more living exemplars in a land of so few Christs. Brother, can you spare a living saint (and give me his/her twitter account)?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Even if "successful," the purely (↑) approach represents a catastrophic failure, for it is a kind of terrestrial victory at the cost of celestial death."

Well said, Bob!

Not a good deal in any sense.

Those photos...the pain! The pain!
Excuse me while I disinfect my mind.

BTW, irt Sunset Boulevard: good example of crystalization.

Gagdad Bob said...

Anon -- If sanctity is what you're looking for, I don't believe you'll find it in made-up religions or self-appointed gurus. To think otherwise is to not know what a religion or a saint is. Just my opinion.

Skully said...

Ano said:

"Unlike the traditional religions, these newer forms of intentional communities are all experiments w/out the checks & balances."

That's funny. Kind of like spiritual Jackass without any of the redeeming value.

Matthew Casey Smallwood said...

Does Tomberg have much to say about Hitler? I've only found a reference to socialism or national socialism, so far...

julie said...

@Skully - yes! :D

julie said...

OT - Via Vanderleun,this guy is no Don Colacho, but he does have a few good zingers:

"Secular humanism, which basically means the Christian morality but without any belief in God, is like a bottle of Stoli but without the alcohol."

julie said...

Here's that link again. Stupid autocorrect.

Rick said...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
God Bless you and yer families and peeps.

Anonymous said...

Good point Bob. Neverthless, each of us has to make spirit come alive in each of us in a way that is culturally relevant. If the traditions don't do that for some of us, then we must augment as you do - or in some cases create something new. There is no point in belonging to something if it feels stale or dead. I am not advocating for the guru model in most cases, but its not so easy to release ourselves from the ego. Some will want sanctity in purification via the relationship to the other. Jesus may suffice, yet the heathen Adi Da did have one good quote: "Dead gurus can't kick ass."

Gagdad Bob said...

Not so sure about that. I think the problem is typically more the dead devotee whose ass cannot be kicked, or the rebellious devotee who refuses to have it kicked, or the picky devotee who wants it kicked in a particular way, or the narcissistic devotee who wants to kick other asses as a way of avoiding his own asskicking.

Anonymous said...

Yes, all true. And I have seen each pathology in the spiritual circles. But without naming paricular teachers or communities, I have seen some aspirants go through some profound vertical transformations that I am not sure may have been achieved without some pointing out by the other. Again, guru-yoga is only for some who are willing to treat their lives as an experiment. It could back-fire, or they may really push through to something deeper. Great discussion though. Happy T-Day!