Saturday, March 03, 2012

Immortal Soul

I'd like to get back to "music Saturdays," or at least post about music from time to time...

Am I a serious collector? Well, Uncle Rico, things are getting pretty serious right now. I mean, I spend, like, two hours every day on it, so I guess you could say things are gettin' pretty serious.

But seriously, as a serious collector of all forms of cosmo-American music, one is always on the lookout for something one might have missed, some great-but-unknown artifact of cosmoAmericana.

Let's take, for example, the case of Otis Redding. Otis died in a tragic plane crash in December 1967, at the peak of his powers. No more Otis. Unless...

The amount of music Otis produced became finite -- a thing of the past -- on December 10, 1967. But that doesn't mean we've heard everything he put down and committed to tape. Thus begins the usual exercise in barrel scraping exploitation, in the attempt to squeeze every bit of revenue from his legacy.

The Beatles Anthology series turned barrel scraping into big business, since which time the music industry has attempted to identify every last barrel in its possession in order to dump the contents on boomers with too much money and nostalgia.

Actually, if memory serves, this first started with Jimi Hendrix, whom I believe put out three albums while alive, but, according to Amazon, now has 1,731. When we die, our fingernails keep growing. But do too does our back-catalogue. Truly, death for Hendrix was an exceptionally shrewd business move, as it was for Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin.

After all, had any of these three lived, they would have aged just like their peers, and no one gets excited about the prospect of a new album by Grace Slick or Joe Cocker, or even the Who, the Stones, Ray Davies, etc.

Today Hendrix would be 69. If he were still above the sod, perhaps he'd be like Sly Stone, homeless and living in his van; or imprisoned on drug-and-shootin'-at-the-bitch-made-me-do-it charges, like James Brown; or room temp in a crack house, like doomed Tempt David Ruffin.

Or maybe his dad would have bust a cap through him, like Marvin Gaye. Or maybe just faded into self-parody, like Ray Charles, or living fat on his legend, like Aretha. Or maybe he would have found and lost and found God, like Al Greene; or been a victim of a hideous accident, like Curtis Mayfield and Teddy Pendergrass; or alive but severely brain-damaged, like Jackie Wilson. So many career options!

However, every once in awhile you do find that previously undiscovered gem, such as this demo performance of You Left the Water Running on an outstanding collection called The Fame Studios Story 1961-73. In fact, that set contains many fine examples of Cosmo-southern soul that I hadn't heard before, and like I said, I like to think I'm a pretty serious collector and passionate negrophile in general.

On balance, one probably has the best chance of finding those undiscovered gems in soul music, one reason being that so much of it was recorded on tiny independent -- or even fly-by-night -- labels with no national distribution.

For example, some guy has put together a couple of box sets of obscure gospel music, Raw, Rare & Otherworldly African-American Gospel and This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel on 45RPM. I haven't purchased them, but the samples sound fascinating. I don't know that it's even possible anymore to produce gospel music so spontaneously and unself-consciously, with no eye on market considerations. It really is "other-worldly," from a world that no longer exists.

A seriously anal collector is always on the lookout for that great artist that has eluded his attention. Well, just last week I found one. I'd heard the name before, and even heard a song or two, but only last week did I finally order this collection, The Complete O.V. Wright on Hi Records. If you want everything he did prior to 1975, that will only set you back $254.29. That would be a major commitment.

One often hears the term "criminally underrated" tossed about. Well, I am pleased to report that this guy is the Real Deal. In his case, dying at 41, just a few years after this performance, did nothing for his career. He'll even make you believe fish have hands, that's how strong it is. Take a listen:

Friday, March 02, 2012

The Georgetown Skank & the Pursuit of Horniness

Some scattered brain droppings to get us started:

The following is either paraphrased or a direct quote from Maritain: Each genuine science has its own distinctive light, corresponding to the formal principles by which it attains its object, or makes the object known.

Now, there are also supernatural principles, and these are made known by the light of faith. For there is an "object of pure intelligence" that cannot present itself to us -- or which we cannot make known to ourselves -- in any other way. We must meet it on its home turf, not ours.

There are necessary truths accessible to our reason. To the extent that one denies truths that compel our assent -- such as that the world is intelligible and that truth exists -- one is floating about the earth untethered to anything but the winds of opinion, fashion, preference -- in a word, desire.

What do these ethereal thoughts have to do with, like, anything -- you know, important stuff, like whether it is true that the Constitution forces us to subsidize the hysteromaniacal sex life of some Georgetown skank?

Glad you raised that point, because it is a perfect example of the distinction between a legal system rooted in principle and one based upon getting laid.

Call me an old-fashioned liberal, but it never occurred to me that one of the state's enumerated powers is to assure me abundant sex without consequences. Indeed, if the government were in charge of sex, then I'm sure that all women would look like DMV clerks, or maybe Miss Fluke herself (that's the DMV clerk on the left).

I know what you're thinking: Bob, you silly assoul, you never attended law school! What makes you think you understand the Constitution?

Fair question, but I've done some research, and it turns out that this Constitution thingy wasn't actually ratified by the Harvard Law School faculty.

Rather, it was presented for approval to the people, who are its author and its source. Our Constitution is sovereign over the people only to the extent that we are sovereign over it.

I know. Weird!

And of course, we can only be sovereign over it to the extent that we are sovereign over ourselves. But it sounds to me like the Georgetown Skank has no such auto-sovereignty, because you've got to be either really stupid or quite the bimbo -- or maybe just Paris Hilton -- to spend a thousand dollars a year on birth control.

I'll be frank: back when I was in college, I was never that lucky. Nor is it any measure of Cupid's favor to end up in the sack with the indiscriminate Miss Fluke. Rather, if one attends Georgetown -- or maybe just lives in the greater Georgetown area -- that is inevitable.

In fact, having sex three times a day for three years is beyond lucky. Rather, it's a compulsion. So does Obamacare cover the Georgetown Skank's sexual addiction? Because if she doesn't get treated, I don't know how she's ever going to graduate. Unless she's sleeping with her professors. Right.

Besides, if she wants to screw that many people, why not do it the old-fashioned way, by getting a judicial appointment?

About the question of law reducing to libido, or desire. That's no gag, because as Arkes points out, constitutional law took a one hundred eighty degree turn with the Griswold case of 1965.

In fact, you might say that it took a three hundred sixty degree turn, in the sense that it represented a "new start" for the forces that had been trying to undermine the Constitution for decades.

Griswold is only superficially about birth control. Rather, it simply used that as a pretext to usher in a new epoch of state intrusion into our lives. As Arkes explains, Griswold and Roe have become "the new touchstones in our jurisprudence," to such an extent that "any theory, any doctrine, of the law" which yields "the 'wrong' result" is "instantly marked as suspect or invalid."

In other words, instead of using the powers of deduction to apply constitutional principles to individual cases, we have a new standard that insists that we must toss out the principle if it clashes with the desires of the new vulgarians. For example, if I don't want the states to legislate abortion, then I conjure a constitutional reason to make it illegal for states to do so. That's what you call conjurisprudence.

Arkes says that "It could hardly be an overstatement then to say that Griswold and Roe mark the center, the core, of liberal jurisprudence in our own time."

The irony, of course, is that in reality the state -- the state, of all things! -- couldn't care less about your privacy. For example, it can reach into your wallet and force you to buy products you don't want and enter contracts you'd rather not.

But even leaving Obamacare to the side, have you ever been audited by the IRS? I mean, not over some small error, but the full proctological exam? That's when you find out that your privacy is a joke. And, for that matter, that you are guilty until proven innocent.

Another irony is that, in order to force the New Deal and Great Society upon us, the court had to take an entirely different tack prior to Griswold. Otherwise, how does one justify the huge expansion of state power to regulate every aspect of our economic behavior? Protest to FDR that you have a right to privacy -- for example, that you are free to charge as much as you want for a fucking chicken -- and you would have been arrested and tried.

But choking your chicken?

No, that's a poor example. Statists want to get involved in that activity as well.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Cosmoanalysis: The More We Change, the More We Become the Same

Disclaimer: this post veered off in an unexpectedly self-indulgent direction. It was interesting for me, however, because it again reminded me of how little and much I've changed. Or, one might say that the essence is the same. Only the contingencies have been eliminated...

I remember back in graduate school when it dawned on me that I wasn't studying "knowledge," but rather, being.

This came as a shock to a would-be intellectual, because it meant that no amount of memorization -- of conforming the mind to the body of knowledge called "psychology" -- would render me superior to the uncredentialed, the un-overeducated, the untenured rabble. Rather, I was just like everyone else, except that my particular form of knowledge was useless.

Where's the point? I mean, if one doesn't have what it takes to become wealthy, a person of average intelligence can at least console himself by pretending to be smarter than everyone else. But now that rug was pulled out from under me as well. All your wisdom is folly to the unconscious!

The point about being taking priority over knowing is especially true of my racket, clinical psychology. In fact, I can't think of a field in which it is more true, with the possible exception of theology. But even there, we have dogma and revelation, which are given, not anything we come up with on our own.

I suppose mystical theology would be the closest approximation, because that too is a reality inaccessible to mere knowledge (k). Rather, it is experiential, so that real knowledge of it must proceed from experience, knowing from being.

In contrast, an experimental psychologist can spend his entire career designing various moronic studies and convince even himself that this constitutes real knowledge of man. Or, one can be a neuropsychologist and administer tests showing a correlation between this deficit over here and that part of the brain over there. Or, one can be an evolutionary psychologist and make up Darwinian fairy tales to account for this or that human trait or ability. Music? Poetry? Art? All just genetic booty-calls. Now, where's my Ph.D.?!

In the words of J. Winston Lennon, one thing you can't hide is when you're crippled inside. You cannot fake being, because doing so is the very quintessence of fakery. To not be who you are -- to pretend to be someone or something else -- immediately exiles one from being. It seems that most people (for reasons we will get into) cannot tolerate being, so it is preferable to be something else. But then you're not being, are you? You've just rendered yourself null and void. D'oh!

Now that I'm in this wistful and reminiscent frame of mind, I'm flipping through my dissertation, which was completed in 1988 and unread since. In it I see that there is a section entitled I Think Therefore I Am: Knowing Separated From Being. Let's see if it contains anything relevant to our present endeavors, shall we?

"Philosophy and science -- that is, mind and matter -- were not always in the incommensurable position they find themselves in today."

Okay. Tell me more.

Well, this oldBob -- who was quite the intellectual romantic -- goes on about the "mystical and transforming power" of real knowledge. But in a world in which knowledge is excised from being, it inevitably devolves to a function of desire" (which I would now say includes power, not to mention control).

Blah blah yada yada, this Descartes fellow, with his "I think therefore I am" business, helped usher in "the erroneous belief that knowledge can be totally separated from being, and furthermore, that 'being' is the inferior side of the equation."

As it applies to psychoanalysis, it resulted in the implicit idea that the "cure" is "the result of gaining proper knowledge about the workings of the unconscious mind." But this only ends up trying to "contain" what cannot be contained by mere knowledge, for the drop cannot contain the ocean.

"It took some time for psychoanalysts to realize that the true reality of psychic life had to do with intimate emotional experiences, and that knowledge could never be made separate from this underlying matrix.

"[T]he mystery of the mind must be tolerated, and one must not eliminate the pain of 'not knowing' by formulating doctrines and explanations which claim a final understanding.

"When knowledge becomes a completely rigid or closed cycle, it leads to alienation from the generative ground of reality: enchantment and wonder are bartered away for security and safety," contributing profoundly to what oldBob calls "the demystification of being."

What we call "treatment" actually revolves around explicating the patient's relationship to truth. This "must be investigated freely, as freely as the patient's associations, only at a higher level of abstraction.... only by arresting habitual thought patterns can one sever the threads that bind one to the explicate order."

Wait, there's more!

Believe it or not, this knowledge is "deeply and mythologically rooted in the firmament of the sacred," the latter of which "cannot in any way be detached from being.... Psychoanalytic change proceeds first from being what one is, and then knowing one's experience."

Tell us more about this ultimate knowledge rooted in being, oldBob.

Okay. This knowledge "binds one to the whole of things, 'the primordial ground, the ever-present starting point of all creation.'" Suffering in this view "is indeed conceived as ignorance, but not in the same sense of being ignorant of mere information. It is a much greater kind of ignorance, which has to do with alienation from the ground of being."

Bottom line:

"Human beings have the capacity to participate in a perpetually open cycle of creativity arising from a timeless, implicate order. This is the realm from which spring not only creativity and art, but genuine in-sight."

The common core of the sacred is "the experience of a completely ineffable and transcendent, and yet immanent and and prehensible, fact. The nature of this fact relates to the 'cosmic dimension' of human beings."

Yeah, I guess I pretty much invented cosmoanalysis, so I got that going for me.

Plus le Bob change...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Whaddya Know? And Whodya Be?

O Wisdom which reaches with strength from one end of the world to the other and makes extremes one! --Jacques Maritain

It seems to me that everything hinges upon whether or not man may know. If we cannot know, then our whole pretentious house of cards collapses, and we are reduced to competing forms of nihilism, or survival of the frivolous. But if we can know, then...

To approach this question is truly to begin at the beginning, because no other questions can be answered until we establish the fact that questions are answerable -- i.e., that man may possess true knowledge of himself and the world.

Indeed, some thinkers believe we must go even further back, and first establish the existence of the world. For example, this is what Kant does, and concludes that it doesn't exist. That being the case, we cannot know anything about it. The end.

That's an exaggeration, but only an uncharitable one. The point is that Kant placed a dark line between What Is and What We May Know About It, which ultimately results in an unbridgeable chasm between being and knowing.

Yes, we can still know, but this knowledge is ultimately of our own neuropsychology, not of the Real. We don't perceive the world, only (through) our categories. We are in the position of a submarine captain who navigates by instrument but never sees or touches water.

Since truth is the conformity of mind to reality, the very notion of truth is poisoned at the root. Thought and Thing go through an ugly divorce, and Thing gets to keep all the real properties to herself, since you Kant take 'em with you. Man becomes closed upon himself, and tenure takes care of the rest.

The whole thing can be boiled down even further, which is why I developed my irritating system of unsaturated pneumaticons. For truly, it all comes down to O and/or Ø, does it not?

For Kant, O supposedly exists (hello, noumena!), except that there is absolutely nothing we can know or say about it. That being the case, it is but a small giant step backward to jettison O altogether, because even to say that we can't say anything about O is to say something about it. Therefore, it makes much more sense to simply dismiss O and stick with Ønly.

In short, Kant pulled his punches and tried to have his crock and eat it too. But you cannot eat from an imaginary crock pot. Likewise, you cannot have knowledge of an unknowable world. But still, these postmodern crackpots insist with a straight farce on calling it knowledge.

In approaching this question of knowledge we need to bear in mind Maritain's reference to the "freshness of vision that is lost today," to "the youth, the virginity of observation, the intuitive upsurge of intellect, as yet unwearied, toward the delicious novelty of the real."

Specifically, even if we ultimately conclude with modern man that we may only have knowledge of phenomena, we shouldn't start there, because we cannot start there. In other words all men -- as men -- start with the pre-philosophical and pre-scientific conviction that of course there's a real world, doofus. WTF are you talking about?

Indeed, it takes many years of schooling to eradicate this conviction and replace it with its converse. Of course, no one actually believes it, but that's the subject of a different post. Let's just stick with what people think they believe.

"Every metaphysics that is not measured by the mystery of what is, but by the state of positive science at such and such an instant, is false from the beginning" (ibid.). Man is uniquely instructed by O, which is why the rigorous discipline of Truth is a transfiguring and purifying process. For man, as he inevitably finds himself in the herebelow, is a mixture of substance and accident, or truth and error.

In other words, we all have an essential nature -- the soul -- but the exigencies of life and the imperatives of adaptation result in the importation of various impurities that we call "mind parasites," or a condition of (•••), of multiples subselves with varying agendas, the most fundamental of which is a desire to go on being. We might say that (•) is to world (or a world) as (¶) is to O.

Let us say that man may know. But what does this mean, to know? What is going on when we know something? The answer isn't obvious -- at least not anymore -- but for Maritain it is an irreducibly spiritual event through and through. For

"There is a vigorous correspondance between knowledge and immateriality. A being is known to being to the extent that it is immaterial."

This formulation, so obvious to common sense, is nevertheless filled with paradoxes that need to be resolved. For example, "to know is to be in a certain way something other than what one is: it is to become a thing other than the self..." Thus, knowledge isn't the thing, but nor is it the self. So what is it?

To be continued...

Being is, indeed, the proper object of the intellect.... [T]he intellect, if I may say so, "loops the loop," in coming back, to grasp metaphysically and transcendentally, to that very same thing which was first given to it in its first understanding of the sensible. --Maritain

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Human Nature: The Adventure of a Lifetime

According to my unofficial records, I originally read Maritain's The Degrees of Knowledge over a decade ago, when I was so much older and couldn't possibly have understood what he's on about. While I clearly grasped some of it -- the highlighted passages tell me so -- attempting to read it cold, with no background in AristThomilean philosophy, is a little like pulling a textbook on quantum chemistry off the shelf and expecting to get anything out of it but a headache.

Two of the things I did understand are playgiarised within the bʘʘk (on pp. 73 and 93 for those keeping score at home):

"The mind, even more so than the physical world and bodily organisms, possesses its own dimensions, its structure and internal hierarchy of causalities and values -- immaterial though they may be" (emphasis mine, because that is a bold statement: the mind has more structure than the physical world? Well, it's true, otherwise we couldn't apprehend all the structure in this mythterious world of boundless intelligibility.).

The other passage is this: "Existing reality is therefore composed of nature and adventure. This is why it has a direction in time and by its duration constitutes an (irreversible) history -- these two elements are demanded by history, for a world of pure natures would not stir in time; there is no history for Platonic archetypes; nor would a world of pure adventure have any direction; there is no history for thermodynamic equilibrium."

These two statements bear upon ultimate reality, the former on the substance of human beings, the latter on the form of history. But the two cannot be separated, since history is what happens to humans; in a way, it is the substance of our lives. Therefore, an individual life is also comprised of nature and adventure. Your life is an adventure in nature, or nature having an adventure. Bon voyage! And véridique, while you're at it.

In this context, the word "nature" has nothing to do with vulgar naturalism. Rather, it is a term of art referring to the "nature of things," i.e., their essential nature (which is what the Founders intend when they refer in the first sentence of the Declaration to the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"; they are referring to natural law, not to physics or biology).

A common caricature of conservatives is that we are all for nature (i.e., transcendent order), but not so big on adventure. Conversely, contemporary liberals are all about adventure, but reject any essential, God-given order.

But the True Path, as suggested by Maritain and reaffirmed by Petey just this morning, again involves nature and adventure. Except that the former word, because of contemporary accretions, no longer captures and conveys the intended meaning.

Nor, for that matter, does the phrase Chance & Necessity, in Monod's formulation; or Order Out of Chaos, in Prigogine's; or Adventures of Ideas, in Whitehead's; or Design for Evolution, in Jantsch's; or Science, Order, & Creativity, in Bohm's; or Psychoanalysis, Chaos, and Complexity: The Evolving Mind as a Dissipative Structure, in oldBøb's; etc.

There was a time that I believed those works did the job, but again, I was so much older then. Only now that I am far younger is this blog even possible, in the sense that its operation involves grabbing the wheel of the cosmic bus and plunging forward on an adventure in nature -- into the nature of things. If this latter did not exist -- if there were no road, or worse yet, a road to nowhere -- then our path would be just a big nul de slack.

Or, to be perfectly accurate, the plunge into chaos would at first feel like an adventure. That part is true, because I remember it. But the absence of order would get old very quickly. Then we'd be flailing around for some kind of order to replace the one we denied.

Now you understand how the chaologists of the left inevitably veer into tyranny, with an "unnatural nature" of their own invention imposed upon us. The anarchic Summer of Love quickly devolves to the coercive and bullying Climate of Hate (that part of manmade climate change is true).

In other worlds, only by denying our real nature, our essence, can leftists proceed with their grim project. Once one denies human nature, then one can do anything with impunity: redefine marriage, jettison liberty, appropriate private property, break (or coerce) contracts, steal from future generations (or just kill them), whatever.

Back to this world. Maritain discusses the question of how the cosmic laws can be necessary, while the events are contingent.

Well, just because there is a Law, this doesn't imply any mechanistic/deterministic framework. For example, there are strict rules in baseball, but every game is different. I've been a baseball fan since I was nine years old, and I still see things I've never seen before.

One reason science is inadequate to disclose reality is that it deals in the necessary, not the contingent. A wholly contingent reality would not be susceptible to scientific description.

Interestingly, this bears on the human adventure, in that science obviously applies to human beings. And yet, every human is unique, an unrepeatable individual. How does that work?

Again, our nature is on an adventure. And the nature of human nature is diversity within form, so no one is having the same adventure, even though there's only one nature and one world.

This post shall be called Human Nature: The Adventure of a Lifetime. But I guess it could equally be called Human Adventure: The Nature of a Lifetime. Or Human Lifetime: The Nature of an Adventure.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Was So Much Older Then...

There are only three areas in which the ancients still speak to us -- intimately, profoundly, universally. These would be in the domains of truth, of virtue, and of beauty; or, how to know, what to do, and why to create. Otherwise, there's pretty much no point in wasting one's time familiarizing oneself with these dead white sages, prophets, and saints.

I am once again reminded of this by Maritain, who suggests that we consult these great souls "because we want to hark back to a freshness of vision that is lost today."

Jesus makes a point of counseling us to be as children, but surely he doesn't mean this in any pejorative sense, e.g., credulous, naive, easily led, Democrat.

For what is a child? Well, for starters, it is what man uniquely is, in the sense that -- alone among the animals -- he specializes in immaturity because his neoteny never ceases.

Except when it does, which is when man dies, precisely. In other words, man is quintessentially an open system, not just biologically (which is obvious), but psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. To the extent that one becomes closed, or at equilibrium, in any of these areas, then one is dead on that particular level.

To say neoteny is to say neo-nate, which simply means "new birth." Thus, to say that man must be "born again" implies that one must not conflate, say, biological and spiritual birth.

Now, one of the soul's most important powers is, of course, abstraction. For example, we may consider physical and spiritual birth, and ask ourselves, what is common of the two? Birth as such represents the crossing of an ontological caesura; it is a kind of new being in a new environment -- except that something of the old being must persist, otherwise there would be nothing to undergo the change, which would be absurd.

"I was blind, but now I see." Among other things, this is a statement about birth. A new being has been born, but it is nevertheless the same "I" who was once blind but now sighted. So don't you ever forget it!

Anyway, Maritain writes of the ancients that "No treasuring up of experience, none of the advantages, none of the graces of thought's advancing age can possibly replace the youth, the virginity of observation, the intuitive upsurge of intellect, as yet unwearied, toward the delicious novelty of the real."

Allow that to sink in for a moment. While you're at it, allow something else to slink out.

I remember reading a record review of a new anthology of a musician who had peaked some half century ago. It doesn't matter who the artist was, but the critic said words to the effect that he envied the person who would be hearing this music for the first time, with fresh ears: "And when they say, 'Uncle, this has changed my life,' you can reminisce about how it changed yours as well."

However, as we know, one of the magical properties of grace is to "make all things new." It especially makes love new, but also knowledge and beauty. In the absence of this vertical renewal, life would pretty much be the worst day ever, gosh!

Speaking of which -- no, not Napoleon, but Jacques -- the latter recognized this unpleasant truth by the age of 20 or so. He must have been a rather intense lad, for

"In 1901, Maritain met Raïssa Oumansoff, a fellow student at the Sorbonne.... Both were struck by the spiritual aridity of French intellectual life and made a vow to commit suicide within a year should they not find some answer to the apparent meaninglessness of life. Bergson's challenges to the then-dominant positivism sufficed to lead them to give up their thoughts of suicide, and Jacques and Raïssa married in 1904. Soon thereafter... both Maritains sought baptism in the Roman Catholic Church (1906)."

Once again we see confirmation of my point about the only cure for cynicism being more of it. I too arrived at this completely skeptical and cynical point of view by my twenties, at least in terms of mind and spirit, or what we may know and who we are. Perhaps I was saved by my emotional immaturity, which caused me to remain rather innocent and viscerally (and even painfully) idealistic in that area. Compared to emotional reality, one's mental superstructure (if not grounded in the transcendent real) is just a shack in a hurricane, so I couldn't find that old crackerbox now if I tried.

Camus made the point that the only important philosophical question is whether or not to commit suicide. He's right. It doesn't mean you have to kill yourself all at once. Rather, you can spend your whole life doing it, like the finest rock stars and jazz greats. Or, more to the point, once one has committed spiritual suicide, then one is a dead man walking this way anyway, a grotesquely living corpse, like Steven Tyler.

Now a child, just because he is constantly learning and therefore "permanently immature," is not thereby a nothing. Rather, he represents our very own eros shot into the heart of the divine center, and my, getting bigger each day! -- which is to say, more height, more length, more breadth, and more depth (which are the measures of the soul's dimensions).

Schuon expresses it beautifully in observing that the child "of whatever age remains close to the paradise not yet fully lost": “And it is for that reason that childhood constitutes a necessary aspect of the integral man: the man who is fully mature always keeps, in equilibrium with wisdom, the qualities of simplicity and freshness, of gratitude and trust, that he possessed in the springtime of his life.”

Or, in the words of our young unKnown Friend,

"There is nothing which is more necessary and more precious in the experience of human childhood than parental love.... nothing more precious, because the parental love experienced in childhood is moral capital for the whole of life.... It is so precious, this experience, that it renders us capable of elevating ourselves to more sublime things--even divine things. It is thanks to the experience of parental love that our soul is capable of raising itself to the love of God."

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