Monday, July 09, 2012

Critters and their Crater

The Knowa's Arkive? The Seer's Catalogue? Yeah, I'm as curious as the next guy about what's actually buried down there. It seems like leaves under leaves under leaves dropped from the tree of life, resulting in so mulch humus nonsense. Is it true what they say? You know, the voices in my head? That if you read all 1989 posts you could reassemble the cosmos from scratch?

If so, I wouldn't be the first person charged with feckless driving behind the cosmic wheel. For example, Joseph Campbell, in the Skeleton Key, writes that Finnegans Wake "is a huge time-capsule, a complete and permanent record of our age. If our society should go smash tomorrow... one could find all the pieces together with the forces that broke them" within its pages. It is "a kind of terminal moraine in which lie all the myths, programs, slogans, hopes, prayers, tools, educational theories, and theological bric-a-brac of the past millennium. And here, too, will be found the love that reanimates the debris," for the latter "is not brickdust but humus."

In fact, Joyce even addresses this in the book, in the Manifesto of Alp (Book I, Chapter 5). In it he details the "mamafesta memorializing the Mosthighest" which "has gone by many names at disjointed times" but always comes back to "Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the Bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run, unhemmed as it is uneven!"

In mother worlds, there is the Male principle and there is the Female principle, and the mamafestation obviously has to do with the latter: with existence itself as the "other" scripture and (p)revelation, which complements the first: specifically, it is "Mother Nature's partial revelation of the majesty of God the Father; simultaneously it is the broken communication of that revelation through poetry and myth..." Not to mention rib-takling laughter, the guffah-HA! experience you should be having right about now.

Poetry and myth -- and music and laughter and beauty -- are, one might say, the complement and consort of sober science and teetotalitarian rationality. Which is why so many souls who fall into barren scientism are, ahem, "confirmed old bachelors," which is a polite way of saying compulsive homotextuals in a ghetto of one-storey bildungs.

On to this fallen leaf from exactly four years ago:

Excuse me, orificer! There's a hole in my crater! And a ghost in my post!

Which turns out to be a good thing, because without it, there would be no space for your own understanding in the bewilderness.

Let's talk about this smoking crater at the center of history. First of all, it doesn't just represent a horizontal discontinuity that divides history between BCE and AD, but a permanent vertical entrance -- and exit.

So there is both temporal and a spatial discontinuity; there are horizontal energies memorialized and sent forward by tradition, but vertical energies that continue to rain down and fertilize tradition "from above." (It's also where the saints and bodhisattvas rise and fall in and out, and where Petey and I meet for launch.)

Usually, to forget one of these streams results in a lack of spiritual efficacy, although not always, being that allowances must be made for the spirit blowing where -- and in whom -- it will. Still, the cross serves as an apt reminder of the vertical and horizontal energies that meet and harmonize in the crater of the human heart (or heart-mind). Of course, the heart must be "broken," which is again a kind of bewildering space that lets the light in.

With regard to the horizontal aspect of the crater, "before" and "after" take on absolute meanings instead of just relative ones. This recalls Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which is based on the absoluteness of the speed of light. Just as time slows down as we approach the speed of light, so too does history as we approach the crater. Prayer, contemplation, meditation, ritual, slack retrieval, the 5:00PM tippling point -- these are all vertical modalities that both slow down and dilate time (for the one is a function of the other) and allow us to exit history. Woo hoo!

This is surely what the author must have been referring to on Page 181 of the Encirclopedia, where it is written: "As a consequence of their apparently deathbound little selves, human beings began envisioning and longing for the whole, for an ideal existence located somewhere in the past, an eden, or in the future, a heaven, where all tensions are resolved, the circle is unbroken, and we are returned to the source from whence we came."

On the following page, it is written that a few vertical explorers were able to follow "a newly discovered current of being through to its non-local source upstream, far away from the terminal moraine of the outward-turned senses." They then identified "a passage [which is to say, a w-hole] hidden in plain sight, through which lay yet another altogether surprising but felicitous discovery: A Mighty Strange Attractor at the..."

Hmm. That's strange. The sentence ends just like that, at the end of the chapter. It's like the last stair is missing, and the book just drops off into a big crater or something... Oh well...

Anyway, if you read the pre-Christian pagan literature, you can see that this yearning for redemption or escape was becoming particularly intense and explicit as the Christic singularity approached -- for example, the poet.... what's his name, Jeeves?

I believe you are referring to Virgil, sir.

Yes, that's the geezer. In his Eclogues, he writes of "a new age that is about to begin. A child, the first born of the new age, is on his way from heaven" (Beckett):

A great series of centuries is born from the whole of time. / Now a virgin returns, the golden age returns; / now its firstborn is sent to us, down from the height of heaven. / Look kindly, goddess of childbirth, on the birth of this boy; / for him shall the people of iron fail, and a people of gold / arise in all the world

Come soon (for the hour is at hand) to the greatness of your glory, / dear offspring of the gods, great child of Jove himself! / Look how the round world bends in its weight, / the lands, the tracts of the sea and the deep sky; / look how all things rejoice in the coming time!

In order to be able to think about this, we need to appreciate the effect of a hyperdimensional object crashing down into history ("look how the round world bends in its weight") and then sending its waves both "forward" and "back" ("look how all things rejoice in the coming time!") These temporal waves have been sent "forward" -- not just by the impact of the original event, but amplified (or at least prevented from entropic degradation) through time by the collective ("tradition") and by certain elevated fleshlights (saints, doctors, mystics, etc.). Look at Augustine. He was already 400 years out from the singularity, and yet, still feeling its shockwaves as if it had happened just yesterday.

In fact, just as with physical entropy, it seems that if the original wave isn't renewed and given periodic "boosts," it will begin to fade. I can feel this quite vividly if, say, I read the early fathers -- who were much closer to the impact of the singularity -- and compare them to your uncoontemporary salesman of profit-driven churchianity.

In fact, this is one of the reasons Schuon was such an advocate of tradition, since there is a kind of spiritual entropy that slowly neutralizes the revolutionary effect of the revelation and eventually replaces it with the "human nature" it is designed to remedy. This entropic effect must be constantly battled, both in the individual and collective. Call it "conservative" if you like, but it's trying to conserve an explosive revolution, ya' knucklehead!

Think, for example, of how liberals take us further and further away from the original intent of our timeless "political revelation," the Constitution. The process is very similar -- which is why a so-called "conservative" is simply someone who wishes to preserve the radical spiritual revolution of the Founders.

In truth, all valid spiritual traditions will have something analogous to the Smoking Crater. Certainly the Torah serves this purpose in Judaism, for it is the infinite written in finite form. As such, it "explodes" all attempts to contain or reduce it to any mere human dimension. It's like a bomb that never stops exploding; or perhaps like a bush that burns continuously without being consumed.

Similarly, of Buddhism, Schuon writes that "Like a magnet, the beauty of the Buddha draws all the contradictions of the world and transmutes them into radiant silence; the image deriving therefrom appears as a drop of the nectar of immortality fallen into the chilly world of forms and crystallized into a human form, a form accessible to men."

In this regard, we can see that Christ is also like a lens in which the vertical energies are gathered and focused, just like a magnifying glass that can use the sun's rays to start a brushfire -- which Dupree insists he did not set, because he was here with me at the time throwing water balloons at the school bus.

Schuon calls this an "amazing condensation of the Message in the image of the Messenger," who also represents the "infinite victory of the Spirit," or the priority of the vertical over the horizontal. Note that Jesus said "it is expedient for you that I go away." Why is that? Because he needed to make sure that the crater stayed empty, which is to say, full of mystery.

Now, certain aspects of the teaching -- the "whole truth" -- can only actualize in time, as the waves move forward. This is because, to paraphrase Schuon, the original event must create the context for certain implications to be worked out. This is the necessity of the Church, or of Tradition, which "has the function, not only of communicating vital truths, but also of creating an environment adapted to the manifestation of spiritual modes of a particular character."

He goes on to point out that in religion, "some few centuries after its foundation, one sees a fresh flowering of a kind of second youth, and this is due to the fact that the presence of a collective and material ambience, realized by the religion itself, creates conditions allowing -- or requiring -- an expansion of an apparently new kind." One thinks of the fifth century that produced an Augustine and Denys, or 13th that produced both Eckhart and Aquinas. Or how Hinduism produced Shankara or Buddhism Nagarjuna (the spiritual genius, not the defective troll) only many centuries later.

As Schuon writes, the descent of the Holy Spirit would be inconceivable "without the departure of Jesus," through which he can become "present" for all time. Otherwise, his mere physical presence might have created a kind of idolatry, or "saturation" of the space where God is found. No space, no God, no service.

Again, that space is the smoking crater, but it is where the vertical energies flow. And of course, there are various heresies that essentially get the balance wrong between Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Us, and the Crater. You could also say that the Crater is necessary for man, since his worldly ego is essentially a precipitate or crystallization of a mode of consciousness that mirrors materiality.

But the higher self is a sort of mirror of the empty space of that crater, which has the effect of turning us "inward," toward our own existential crater that can never be filled by worldly things. As our trolls constantly teach us, to think in the material mode is to "think in opposition to intelligence," while to orient ourselves around the mysterious crater helps us to think beyond ourselves, into the Great Within.

In this regard, negation or "unKnowing" has always been understood to be a kind of ultimate affirmation; for in the end, the Void turns out to be a kind of plenum, whereas the solidity of the world turns out to be a kind of existential nothingness, or samsaric void. As such, we must practice a certain detachment from the empty void in order to allow a Voidgin birth in the plenary Real. Me? I'm just an empty space cadet, apophatic nobody.


julie said...

Yeah, I'm as curious as the next guy about what's actually buried down there.

Twinkielike, it remains fresh four years later.

Van Harvey said...

"Poetry and myth -- not to mention music and laughter -- are, one might say, the complement and consort of sober science and teetotalitarian rationality."

They certainly should be. How can you know what you've got, is worth having, without them?

"Which is why so many souls who fall into barren scientism are, ahem, "confirmed old bachelors," which is a polite way of saying compulsive homotextuals in a ghetto of one-storey bildungs."

You never really appreciate what you've got, until it's gone.

And back.


Naugfish said...

Waa Hooo-back in the saddle.

mushroom said...

Jesus told Mary on the morning of the Resurrection, "Do not cling to Me." We have a tendency to do exactly that, to cling to an image or a form and miss the essence.

This also reminds me of Jesus speaking in John 7 where He said those who believe in Him would have rivers of living water flowing out of their innermost being -- that is "belly" in the the KJV -- a void. And for some Pentecostal preachers of my acquaintance, it is a great emptiness, indeed.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"No space, no God, no service."

Aye! And we can go from lost in space to found in space.

From spaced out to spaced in.

Gagdad Bob said...

Hmm. Comment Moderation was on all day. News to me.

Gagdad Bob said...

More like a week. So I guess it's not news.

mushroom said...

I thought it was kinda cool. Everything pops up at once -- like mushrooms.

julie said...

OT but interesting (in an obvious sort of way), conservatives are happier than liberals.

The question in the article isn't whether it's so, but why. While many of the answers are obvious, the author tiptoes around one of the biggest: envy. Generally speaking, conservatives have it relatively under control, whereas leftists are pretty much driven by it. It's why they marry less and spend more time worrying about the lives of others; further, if you spend all your time wailing about the unfairness in the world, you don't have time to be grateful - and therefore happy - for what you already have.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Julie: Good point.

Of course, most leftists would either deny that they have envy or say it's justified.

Either way, it couldn't be more obvious as is their bitterness.

Gagdad Bob said...

Interesting that in order to become a viable liberal politician, Obama had to fraudulently "darken the canvas" and depict himself as blacker and more disaffected than he actually was. Happy and well-adjusted blacks need not apply.

Joan of Argghh! said...

This is still awesome, Bob. It's like writing in tongues, and yet each of us hears you in our own languish, and we are revivaled.

Gagdad Bob said...

I just came up with the first sentence of my next book:

I was born a poor Tongan child.

Magister said...

Hooray Wodehouse, always.

Leftists are like Shi'ites, agitating on the basis of a grudge, wanting to call the shots, crying "Ali, Ali, in for free!"

Hence the only craters they know: the spike of 15 trillion in debt, and the crater of "nationalism," which they hope to fill with yet another Glorious Teetotalitarian Tower of Bubble

Not realizing they're stooges, of course

Gagdad Bob said...

I read the entire canon of Jeeves stories to Tristan while he was in Mommy's tummy. Sure enough, he has turned out to have a highly developed sense of humor. But I also made sure that Mommy ate lots of high-omega 3 eggs during her pregnancy, so as to enhance brain development. So don't know whether to credit the jokes or the yokes, the henhouse or the Wodehouse.

Gagdad Bob said...

And no, there won't be a post today. Too late.

mushroom said...

It's called the All-Star Break for a reason.

julie said...

From the Obama article:
As to the bridge incident, Ali's best friend Howard Bingham would later admit the story was "concocted." "Honkies sure bought into that one," affirmed Ali sidekick Bundini Brown.

Some things never change.

Van Harvey said...

(wow, anonymous is sure trying hard to offer you some recreational ideas)

Magister said...


Amazing what kids these days learn in utero.

I read any book within arm's reach, so if they have trouble deciding what they want to do in life, I'll know why.

In retrospect, I should've piped in some soul jazz. My wife recommended whale songs, but then we'd have had to deal with their pining for the fjords every morning.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Don't mess with Raccoon mamas and their kits.

Righteous raccoon knocked the woman down and schooled her all the way to the hospital!

Joan of Argghh! said...

And the raccoon even struck a fierce pose for the camera.

"Oh the jogger set her dog onto us and I was all teeth and claws and rage. I sort of blacked out, I guess."

Leslie Godwin said...

I am getting a psychic vibe that Will is going to microblog while Bob is slacking off. Will? You out there?