Friday, December 30, 2011

Cool Fools and Foolish Tools

All of a suddenlike we're down to dealing the last two cards from the bottom of our deck of Meditations on the Tarot. This series began on October 5, which also marked the six year anniversary of the blog. This will be post #1853 for those keeping score, not counting a couple hundred that have been tossed overboard the Knowa's Arkive on account of being unfit for eternity.

This is good timing, since it means we can start off the new year with a new subject, the substance of which has not yet been revealed to us, if ever.

And this might be an appropriate time to thank readers for using the Cosmic Love Box and other links to amazon, for which we receive a modest kickback when you pull the trigger on a purchase of any kind. Do feel free to spring for that tropical island you've had your eye on, or even this understated Diamond Cluster Fancy Necklace for only $116,849.00. After all, Valentine's Day is right around the corner, not to mention MLK's birthday!

But seriously, you should know that 100% of the paltry proceeds from amazon are plowed directly back into the blog, in that they are mostly used to gamble on books that I would otherwise h-h-hesitate to purchase if I were frittering away my own funds. But since it's "house money," I can venture far afield, which every once in awhile pans out in terms of providing healthy blogfodder. This also provides an invaluable service to you cosmic explorers, as I am able to serve as an advance scout in hyperspace, letting you all know when a seductive little path turns out to be a disappointing nul de slack. In short, I do it all for you.

What kind of fool would do that? A wide-eyed fʘʘl, that's who!

Now, where are we? I mean temporally? Yes, we are "now," just as we are "here," but where is this now in relation to the totality of time? According to our unKnown Friend, "the trial of our epoch is that of Faust. It is the trial of the satisfaction of desires." How very true. But what does this have to do with the Fool?

[A brief sidebar -- just yesterday I read an intriguing comment by Samuel Beckett, who was discussing the Vico-dian temporal structure of Finnegans Wake, which takes us from necessity to utility, convenience, pleasure, luxury, and then abuse of luxury. Is not contemporary western man veritably dissipating in his own abuse of luxury? If not, why is -- are? -- the majority of "poor" people so fat? And why do they have widescreen plasma TVs to park their fat asses in front of? What about the tattoos and other body mutilation? That stuff's not free, is it? I mean, before Obamacare kicks in?]

[And in no way is this intended to apply to the deserving poor, who constitute only a small minority of the Liberal Poor, loosely defined as "people who don't have all the stuff they want."]

[Note that in an absurcular cosmos, "abuse of luxury" comes back around to "necessity," which is one of the motive forces of the OWSers, whose main complaint is that their desires are actually needs which others are obligated to fulfill.]

In contrast, unKnown Friend writes that the fʘʘl "teaches the 'know how' of passing from intellectuality, moved by the desire for knowledge, to the higher knowledge of love." This is "related to the transformation of personal consciousness, where the self (ego) is no longer the author of the act of consciousness but its receiver."

I don't know about you, but this fool can relate to that. Whatever wisdom our little ego can muster on its own is so limited as to be.... well, følly to God, that's for sure. Or, as Rick said in a comment, "it must be grace, because I'm not that smart."

There are two principle ways of dealing with that boastful know-it-all, the (egoic) intellect. One is to jettison it altogether, a la Zen; or, it may be "placed in the service of transcendental consciousness," which is of course the Raccoon way. This involves "the active surpassing of the intellect," which is also a kind of sacrifice. For it is the "method of sacrificing the intellect to spirituality in such a way that it grows and develops instead of becoming enfeebled and atrophied."

This involves a marriage of opposites, "namely discursive intellectuality and illuminative spirituality," the former being male, the latter the female we call Sophia. It is "the union of human wisdom, which is folly in the eyes of God, with the divine wisdom" which is folly in the eyes of the tenured.

Surprisingly, this doesn't produce some kind of hybrid lowbred fool, but rather "a single wisdom which understands both that which is above and that which is below." Again, this is the way of the good ship Raccoon, if your aye-aye be single.

UF then goes into a discussion of scholastic philosophy, which nobly aimed "at an as complete as possible cooperation between spirituality and intellectuality," or the marriage of the sun and moon discussed a few posts back.

Our mission -- i.e., our fʘʘl's errand -- is to advance the progress of this union of spirituality and intellectuality, which is none other than the "philosopher's stone," or the legendary "ark of the Raccoon" that is supposedly stored away somewhere in Toots Mondello's basement, amidst the sacred bowling trophies and beer bottle collection.

UF explains the centrality of (n) vs. (k) in this endeavor, or of be-who over know-how. Again, the whole project only works to the extent that the tradition is alive and one's knowledge is living: "the tradition lives only when it is deepened"; mere "conservation alone does not suffice at all," as it can all too easily be reduced to a kind of glorified mummification. We are not embalmers. Nor is it like operating on a corpse.

Reminds me of something Schuon said: "When God is removed from the universe, it becomes a desert of rocks or ice; it is deprived of life and warmth.... the soul becomes impoverished, chilled, rigid and embittered, or it falls into a hedonism unworthy of the human state; moreover, the one does not preclude the other, for blind passions always overlay a heart of ice, in short, a heart that is 'dead'." (And this comes back to the "excess of luxury" which is needed by people so spiritually numb as to not notice the luxuries we take for granted, and what they're Good for.)

One must start with faithful reverence for the "heritage of the past," even while humbly bumbling to deepen and expand it. Since this verticalisthenic takes place at the innersection of the vertical and horizontal, it is always necessary to do the work of assimilating new "horizontal revelations" into Revelation as such, and working out their interior harmony. This is the fruit of "two faiths," of which Jesus is a quintessential archetype, that is, "the perfect union of divine revelation and the most pure humanism." To isolate one at the expense of the other is intrinsic heresy.

In fact, it is only because of this fusion that Jesus was uniquely able to combine a divine birth with a divine death, which is another thing entirely, isn't it? As UF states, prior to this, man "had only the choice between renunciation and affirmation of the world of birth and death," but now we may participate in its actual transformation, you know, one bloody fʘʘl at a time.

And it apparently renders death a kind of gnuclear fission instead of linear division, and initiates what we call God's "scorched birth policy."

The paradox of the human condition is that nothing is so contrary to us as the requirement to transcend ourselves, and nothing so fundamentally ourselves as the essence of this requirement, or the fruit of this transcending. --Schuon

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Floating on Truth while Watching the Lies Roll By

Chapter XX, The Judgement. Or as we say in America, Judgment.

We remember Schuon writing something to the effect that there is birth, death, and judgment. Elsewhere he writes that "Human life is studded with uncertainties," and that "man loses himself in what is uncertain instead of holding onto what is absolutely certain in his destiny: death, Judgment, Eternity."

But there is a fourth certainty, always accessible to man, that partakes of the other three. It is none other than "the present moment, in which man is free to choose either the Real or the illusory..."

Thus, in our fractally organized cosmos, each moment is birth-death-judgment-eternity, rooted in Freedom and Truth (which are two cidens of the same coin-).

Yes, it would take a whole lifetome to do justice to judgment, which I suppose is why we have one. It's difficult enough to know what happens when we live, let alone when we die, and we claim no first hand knowledge of the latter -- although we did the other day catch a glimpse of Barbara Walters on TV. Rumor has it she uses Larry King's mortician.

Still, if we were to say anything more definitive about the post-biological judicial system, we would be pretending, which would make us be no better than our grubby competitors. It would violate the sacred trust with readers if we were to merely spookulate and call it truth.

There are more than a few dilettantric yokers who obtain a nugget of genuine occult (which simply means "hidden") knowledge, and then proceed to fake the rest, sometimes without even being consciously aware of it. The result is that truth is mingled with falsehood in an indiscriminate manner, making it impossible to separate the ice cream from the pøøp.

The One Cosmos flavor may not be as exo-tic, but we use only ingredients that can be independently and esoterically tasted by readers.

To put it another way, we eliminate the oogedy-boogedy factor, but try to compensate by emphasizing the guffah-HA! experience of the Ho-ho-holy jest -- and laughter is the best medicine for a dedalus nightmare, so long as it's not the hollow and bitter kind.

Theology is formally no different than any other field, in which so-called experts routinely exceed the limits of their competence and bloviate on all sorts of subjects, thereby rendering themselves buffoons -- Paul Krugman, Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher, movie stars, MSM journalists, etc. Likewise, for every one of these secular unworthies there is a Spongworthless Rowan Williams or Jeremiah Wright.

It's quite easy for intelligence to be hijacked by narcissism in the service of omniscience. I could do that! But being a master of one area confers no guarantee of competence in another. And this is news?

Much of what our unKnown Friend says about the Akashic Record makes sense, but for us personally it is nevertheless (k) and not (n). While there is nothing objectionable about the idea that all of history is somehow "preserved" in a manner we cannot comprehend -- indeed, this was one of Whitehead's conclusions, and it is certainly true of biology -- we are content to leave it an unsaturated mystery.

The bottom line is that since we have a memory, there is no reason why the cosmos shouldn't. In fact, if memory weren't woven into the fabric of reality, there could be only a random chaos. Memory, among other things, always unifies the disparate strands of existence, both in space and time.

Is it true that the Book of Life is the "moral memory of the world?" This also makes sense to us, but we are content to know that the purpose of life is to hold fast to truth, beauty, and virtue, and know that there will be post-mortem consequences for how poorly or how well we have accomplished this. As Schuon writes,

"If someone asks us what are the most important things a man should do, placed as he is in this world of enigmas and fluctuations, we would reply that there are four things to be done or four jewels that should never be lost from sight: first, to accept the Truth; second, to keep it in mind continually; third, to avoid what is contrary to Truth... and fourth, to accomplish whatever is in conformity with Truth."

The unredeemed assoul has an impulse born of narcissism to make life more complicated than it actually is, and then to swim "in the water of worldly agitation."

Conversely, "instead of swimming in the water of illusion, the saint himself becomes spring or stream; illusion swims in the stream of his knowledge, and not the other way round" (Schuon).

So, either you're drowning in lies and grasping at straws of truth; or, floating on truth while watching the lies drift past like bits of straw. If memory surfs.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Post of Christmas Past & Presence

Last night we attended the family mass. While wife and child are fully immersed members who are completely afloat there, we remain a half-civilized wolf of the steppes -- a little jangled by the commotion, but curious enough to sniff around.

In the priest's homily he touched on some themes that were right up our alley, lujah! We wonder if he knows he was talking pure Eckhart -- proBobally, no?

He reminded us of why we cannot make a big deal out of Christmas per se. Don't get us wrong -- we get into the Christmas spirit just like anyone else. But that's more of a cultural thing, not the essence of the point of the gist of the crux of the martyr.

For if we heard Father Bill brightly, on Christmas we remama the eternal birth of the celestial Word in the terrestrial flesh. The whole thing is a silent nought unless we do the same, and give birth to the Word in our own ground, heart, matrix, womb, or what have you, and then grow our own Mary way.

But this is not, and cannot be, something that happens just once a year. Rather, it must be a perpetual labor; or really, conception-gestation-labor-birth, in a kind of continuous cycle.

Esoterism can apparently sound cold or excessively abstract to some. We understand. But for us, it is the other wayround to the same end: straight exoterism with no esoteric chaser always leaves us a little too sober. More blood, please!

Out of our own dark voidgin soil, two irreconcilable realities somehow become one. In short: no conception, no birth -- especially again.

And there are any number of spiritual verbicides on the cultural market, which either prevent or terminate the union of Word and flesh. All of them result in a mourning after pall being cast over everything.

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, coincidentally, 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 of it 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 correct. 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.

The rank-and-foul try to derive metaphysical truth solely from phenomena and/or history, but in reality, what we call "salvation history" (or salvolution) involves the serial conception and fruition of certain meta-cosmic seed-principles -- which is why they are living truths that must beleafed, topped, baked, and smoked each morning. In a manner of speaking, bongbrain.

Furthermore, the Creator is a person. Thus, he has principles. But unlike leftists, his principles are not just convenient fig leaves to obscure or lend legitimacy to a tawdry snakedown operation.

Remember, although Jesus is "Word made flesh," this does not mean that the eternal Word was nowhere to be heard in this vale of ears prior to the Incarnation.

Rather, we 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, and vice versa. Tear down your temporal and he can build an eternal One in three deities, see?

We 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 at all, not even itself). Otherwise there is no firm ground for any of your flimsy affirmations.

If, as Eckhart suggests, God ex-ists (for us) because he under-stands, it means that the poor toolish 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. Which is why they refuse to put us out of their misery. The bad word must be shared, for it is lonely at the bottom.

But to know that one is a real idiot is to at least know a genuine truth, and thus nurture an inchoate conception that may eventually come to full term in the light of deity. We ourselves were once (okay, more than once) just such an idiot, and were only saved, if at all, by a much greater and wide-eyed fʘʘlishness.

So, I guess this is just our peculiar way of saying Merry Christmas 24/7/356/∞, and back roundagain...

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