Friday, October 26, 2012

Finding Your Polar Bearings in Swampland

For the sake of continuity, let's continue with Mouravieff's discussion of what he calls "polar beings" (male and female), and how the interplay of their energies fosters spiritual transformation -- or, a kind of purification and ascent.

To back up for a moment, the spiritual life always consists, in some form or fashion, of purification (or purgation), illumination, and union. None of these can actually be radically separated from the others, and the process is always ongoing.

One of the purposes of marriage is to purge oneself of mind parasites (think of them as "impurities") that drag one down and impede growth. Marriage provides an opportunity to work through and eventually transcend these patterns. In the colorful phrase of Raccoon emeritus Dilys, marriage helps us "drain the swamp" -- which is equally true of any sacrament.

A sacrament may be thought of as a kind of disinfecting light that is noxious to the anaerobic beings of interior swampland. This is probably where the legends of photophobic vampires come from. Lies can only flourish in the dark, and in a very real sense, are the Dark.

"The deepest reason why lying to oneself is forbidden," writes Mouravieff, is that "he who lies to himself will also lie to his alter ego."

And "that will be the end of the miracle. The wonderful side of the meeting will disappear behind a curtain of trivial lies, which will rapidly take the aspect of an impassible wall." (Sounds like he knew my parents.)

Once the Wall is in place, "relations with the polar being will no longer be distinguished from those that a man can have with other women: wives, mistresses and adventures. Once more, the experience will be spoiled."

I often wonder what saved me from ruin -- from diving into the swamp and staying there. I won't pretend to know, but I think part of it may have had to do with a kind of intense romantic longing for my "polar being." From the age of nine or so, I can remember each school year, having an intense "spiritual crush" on a different girl.

But even after I entered my teens, these crushes were not sexual per se. Rather, they consisted of a painfully intense longing for an idealized image of femininity -- almost like an angelic being. This image is completely un-cynical, un-ironic, and un-jaded. It is innocent, chaste, virginal, and radiant with a kind of pure light.

For example, I can still remember thinking about one particular girl in the fifth grade. We're sitting on a picnic blanket or something in a wooded area, and I'm looking at her, and her blonde hair is literally aglow with a numinous energy -- I mean, like a Disney movie, when the prince gazes into the princess's eyes and falls in love.

I have a suspicion that more men are like this than we may realize. Or at least used to be. I can't speak for today's youth culture, which certainly appears bereft of such higher sentiments.

The only theorist I know of who has spoken directly to this developmental reality is Joseph Chilton Pearce, in his Evolution's End. There he writes that "at the age of eleven, an idealistic image of life grows in intensity throughout the middle teens." Then, "somewhere around age fourteen or fifteen a great expectation arises that 'something tremendous is supposed to happen.'"

Just what this tremendous IT is supposed to be is something of a mystery. He references the writer George Leonard, "who spoke of an anguished longing so acute he knew it could never be assuaged." That's what I'm talkin' about!

Pearce goes on to say that "it may be difficult to accept that adolescents are idealistic: often they seem crass and cynical, following the obvious anti-heroes." If you knew me at the time, this is probably how I would have appeared, but it was just a facade to protect the vulnerability underneath.

This pure energy probably also gets deflected into politics, hence the naive and romantic liberalism of the young and stupid, or Obama's base. (One more reason why his cynical and deeply unfunny new ad that conflates sex and voting is so misguided.)

When an archetype is awakened within us, we first look for a model in the external world. In this case, it is the anima, or female archetype, that is awakened. I know the archetype is real, because I can remember dreams in which she appeared, and again, the longing for her was painful beyond words.

An archetype is supposed to function as a psychic attractor that guides development. If there is no external model to "meet with" and correspond to the archetype, it can whither on the vine. It becomes "just a fantasy," instead of an important clue to the innate directionality of life, of spiritual maturation.

Back to Mouravieff for a moment, before I run out of time. He agrees that "the highest expression of divine Beauty on Earth is the human body, especially that of woman, for nothing can equal the harmony of perfect feminine forms."

And "The divine purity of masculine and feminine forms really depicts adamic humanity before the Fall. It presents us with the original types and subtypes of sinless men and women, without vices and without karmic burden."

That sounds vaguely familiar. I do remember something about a garden...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rising and Falling on the Axis of Eve

Eroticism, sensuality, and love, when they do not converge in the same person, are nothing more, in isolation, than a disease, a vice, and foolishness. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

Anything that can go right can go wrong, and love is obviously no exception. It's not as simple as the discernment of truth from error or illusion. For most of us, if we find out that something we think we know is wrong, we make an adjustment. We reject the falsehood and move on.

But love isn't so black and white. We can love the "wrong things," and yet, find it difficult if not impossible to let go of them, even when we know full well they're not good for us.

Then again, perhaps this isn't so different from truth after all, since people also "fall in love" with all sorts of theories and doctrines and ideologies for reasons other than their truth value. President Obama, for example, has seen his entire beloved worldview crumble before his eyes. But has he actually seen it?

Yes and no. As we've discussed in the past, Truth doesn't require a thinker, since it is true regardless of whether or not anyone recognizes or believes it. The world still revolves around the sun, even if everyone thinks the sun revolves around the earth. Perception is not reality. But accurate perception comes close, at least on its own plane.

Conversely, the Lie not only requires a thinker, but requires some prior recognition of the truth (otherwise there would be no need to lie). For example, the lie that the Libyan terror attack was the result of a You Tube video required the prior recognition that it wasn't. When simple truth starts to get so convoluted, you can generally tell that you're actually dealing with lies and liars.

Thomas Sowell mentions this in this new collection I'm reading. He says that he wants the book to "reduce the likelihood that readers will misunderstand what I have said on many controversial issues over the years."

Of note, when you misunderstand someone, you can't actually disagree with them, which is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to talk to a liberal. Almost everything they disagree with may be traced to a misunderstanding, either willful (i.e., a "dis-understanding") or unconscious. Bullshitters think everyone else is one.

Sowell points out that, ironically, "One reason for some misunderstandings is that my approach and my goals have been too plain and straightforward for those people who are looking for hidden agendas or other complex motives."

In other words, liberals unconsciously assume that we are as devious and agenda-driven as they are. For example, they are obsessed with race, or greed, or homosexuality, so they assume we must be.

But let's get back to Love. There is much in the world that is lovely. I mean, right? The beauty is infinite. But just as with knowledge, we must take care to love the right things in the right way.

Women, for example. Who doesn't love 'em? Most men will tell you -- even in the teeth of a restraining order -- that the female body is the most unsurpassably beautiful form in all of creation. Here I am reminded of another aphorism:

The laws of biology alone do not have fingers delicate enough to fashion the beauty of a face. Female beauty evokes a kind of ache, or longing, in men, that easily shades into transcendence. I mean, here it is, in this world, and yet, how could it be?

Another truenbeautiful aphorism: From an aesthetic experience one returns as from a sighting of numinous footprints.

And for men, woman is the quintessential aesthetic experience, whether or not they (women or men, for that matter) wish to believe it. It is as easy for a man to worship a woman -- or women more generally -- as it is to worship a god.

Which is, of course, where the trouble arises. It brings to mind a crack by the unorthodox Orthodox Boris Mouravieff, about how Adam and Eve fall for "the mirage of temporal goods": "Adam turned away from his real 'I' and identified with his personality," or what we call (•). Then "the beauty of the daughters of man did the rest."

And still does. Woman is, writes Perry, "the veil of universal illusion, both seducing and dispersing, for the same veil that refracts the Light also veils it. Thus woman, in spite of herself, can pull man away from the Spirit and therefore needs man's strength to reconvert her energy heavenward."

Dennis Prager has often spoken of how men and women face very different battles with themselves in this world. But our society focuses exclusively on those impulses men must master, e.g., the impulses to dominate, rape, and generally do violence. But I am not aware of any comparable attempts to tutor and channel female nature.

As a result, pathological femininity gets a free hand to do as it pleases, and if you say anything about it, well, you're a misogynist! Which is so far from the truth that one hardly knows where to begin.

For one thing, it is specifically because we love women that we want what is best for them, and by extension, us, since man's nature will generally only rise to the level demanded by women. If women make no demands, men are only too happy to oblige, so long as they are ensured sexual access.

Yes, it's true: "depending on his degree of virile self-domination," a man "can be dissipated" by female beauty (Perry). Which means dispersed, spread thin, and deprived of his true vector and purpose. And a man without a transcendent purpose isn't much of one, is he? And besides, Sex does not solve even sexual problems (Don Colacho).

While looking for that quote by Mouravieff, I also found some relevant thoughts in Volume 1. He says that "the role of a woman, on the ascent to Redemption, must be comparable to the part played by woman in the Fall." Makes sense, no?

Recall that Eve inspired Adam, so to speak, to turn away from his higher source: "Having conceived in her fertile and artistic imagination the notion of Illusion, the woman, after tasting its fruits, offered them to her husband" -- which you might say is what gets the whole nightmare of history underway.

Reversal of this tide requires a man to "go in search of the being without whom he is not real."

I am lucky enough to have met and married the person without whom I am not real (we are speaking here of the human-human plane, not divine-human per se). I had this distinct sense of reality, of "ontological heft," as it were, on our first date -- which is not to say that many kinks and mind parasites didn't have to be worked out between then and now, so no idealization please! -- and it is interesting to see Mouravieff so accurately describe such a peculiar phenomenon:

"Without clearly being conscious of it, the polar beings know each other, and this knowledge, as ancient as they are themselves, is expressed by the voice of subconsciousness. This creates an atmosphere of absolute confidence and sincerity from the moment they meet....

"Polar beings do not lie to each other. They do not need to lie, for inwardly both are one single being, from the depths of which the real 'I' issues his call and gives his assent. After this, that absolute, spontaneous sincerity constitutes the basis of their relations, and this in turn will give these two beings the otherwise inconceivable feeling of freedom in unity, which ends the impression of servitude and isolation under which we ordinarily live."

(There's quite a bit of occultish stuff in those Mouravieff books, but also some things it's hard to find elsewhere -- like MOTT, only much more so.)

This rambling post is over for now, but there's a whole lot more to this business of male-female relations. To be continued...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Human and Subhuman Sexuality

Let's begin where we left off yesterday. Yes, let's talk about love, both human and divine.

First of all, love obviously requires two parties. With love itself, that makes three: lover, beloved, and love.

However, if the system is functioning as it should be, there will be two lovers and two beloveds united by one love, which makes five. But two lovers focused solely on each other is a kind of static situation; plus, it is as if the love only radiates "inward" instead of outward, in an essentially narcissistic manner.

Thus, I think real love can only flourish when the two are united by one love, but also focus their mutual love on a beloved "third." The most obvious or "natural" third is the child, but it doesn't have to be, especially after the children are grown. There are any number of "symbolic thirds" that can unite a couple in their exteriorized, or radiated, love.

Recall that we've been discussing the complementarity of individual <--> collective, with a particular focus on how the person is central to Christianity (i.e., infinitely precious and worthwhile in his own right; or let us just say loved by God), whereas in eastern religions the individual is essentially an obstacle to enlightenment or liberation.

I don't know about you, but if I ever achieve enlightenment or liberation, I want to be there when it happens. And of course, from a Christian perspective, it "happens" in love.

My favorite chapter in The Mystery of Individuality is the last one, which deals with love and marriage. It is full of wisdom that people need to know, and yet, are generally unaware of.

By way of contrast, think of "sex education," or indeed, the entire field of secular "human sexuality." Deprived of the type of quintessentially human wisdom discussed by Perry, these disciplines are not even "animal" or "primate" sexuality. A more accurate term would be subhuman sexuality, which is neither human nor animal, but a kind of rebellion against, or rejection of, our human nature.

Perry begins with the observation -- uncontroversial for 99.99% of human history, prior to the ascension of tenured stupidity -- that "the mystery of individuality must include an image of it seen through the prism of the masculine and female duality which divides the individual into two incomplete halves, as it were." He adds that the cosmos is "ruled by polarities," but I prefer to say "complementarities," since this latter term implies an underlying harmony.

And in fact, Perry adds that, "though divided, these polarities presuppose an underlying unity without which they could not oppose each other." In this case, male and female are united in their essential humanness. As Jung observed, within the male is the latent anima archetype, just as within the female is the latent animus archetype.

Perry writes of the need for a functioning cosmos to be characterized by complementarities such as positive and negative or attraction and repulsion. Without these, "the universe would collapse and be reabsorbed into Non-being..." It would be like a dead battery, or a lesbian marriage.

First and foremost -- or at the first degree of cosmic manifestation -- we might say that masculine and feminine are personifications of Absolute and Infinite, respectively (a subject we have discussed in a number of previous posts). These terms -- Absolute and Infinite -- may be "prolonged," so to speak, in various iterations.

For example, masculinity, writes Perry, achieves "its purest intensity as Truth and Strength," whereas femininity does so in the modes of Love and Beauty. But again, beneath the complementarity is the oneness of, say, beautiful truth or loving strength (the latter being the Good Father). Dualism implies a kind of battle, whereas complementarity is a dance.

Perry naturally says a lot of things that are politically and academically incorrect, which I suppose is a good gauge of their veracity. For example, "What woman loves in man is essentially his strength and intelligence, or his liberating objectivity, and in this respect man is equated with the motionless center or the static or axial principle..."

Conversely, "what man loves in woman is essentially her beauty and her love, her kindness and mercy, or the mystery of her liberating subjectivity..." It doesn't mean this is all he loves in her, but it is difficult to imagine being attracted to a woman in the first place if she lacked these things; or, conversely, if she were as rigid, severe, cruel, unmysterious, and unyielding as, say, Gloria Allred.

Elsewhere I remember Schuon saying something to the effect that (I'm paraphrasing here) woman finds her axis, or center, in man, whereas man finds his "space" in woman. I think this explains why women become more conservative when they marry, because their vulnerability to emotionalism and flightiness is disciplined by a masculine center (which is already in them, as animus, but is most often first encountered in projected form).

Likewise, this is why we see an Obama campaign specifically tailored to the emotionalism and flightiness of single women (not all of whom, obviously, respond to such childish, illogical, selfish, and generally Fluked up appeals).

There are also "pathologically masculine" appeals, but not so much in the mainstream. For example, there can be an element of this in dogmatic libertarianism, or perhaps in those irrelevant militia groups. Nazis and Islamic supremacists also come to mind.

An important point to bear in mind is that pathological masculinity almost always contains a background of pathological femininity, and vice versa. For example, the angry and dogmatic feminazi is a kind of perverse caricature of masculinity, whereas the aggressive statism of an Obama is bit like mommy with armed thugs.

This is why, as Perry observes, there is something unnatural about a man without courage, just as there is something unnatural about a woman "lacking in tenderness." It hardly means that a man can't be tender and a woman can't be courageous. In fact, in a life properly lived, we will develop and assimilate complementary virtues, in balance with the existing ones.

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Living Beyond the Boundaries of Time and Space

One must live for the moment and for eternity. Not for the disloyalty of time. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

Our lives are bracketed by... by what? Well, looked at temporally we could say conception and death; or perhaps ensoulment and discarnation. In space we are bracketed by the skin-boundary container, but not really, given the realities of language and intersubjectivity, through which we are thoroughly entangled with the world and with others.

Also, since time is a function of eternity and locality a special instance of nonlocality, it seems to me that we are always involved with that which surpasses us, both in space and time.

What do I mean by this? Well, religion, for example, is the "science of the eternal," so to speak, and provides efficacious means of communing with That which transcends our spatial and temporal bounds. Obviously no other animal has this privilege. Animals have no need of religion, since they have no intuition of its object, its sufficient reason. In contrast, even the most premature premodern man looked upon the world as a landscape of infinite immensity bounded by legends (Perry).

To paraphrase Schuon, instinct is the animal's intelligence, while intellection is our instinct. Intellect is "At once mirror of the supra-sensible and itself a supernatural ray of light." Only like may know like, so the world may be thought of as crystalized truth, while knowledge is its fluidic correlate. And both may be traced back up to their pre-bifurcated source in the One being.

The point is, a functional human being is never bracketed or contained by profane time and space. Rather, as Perry writes, we always understand these terms in relation to an "absolute beginning and absolute end," which is to say, Creation and Judgment, the one implying the other.

Perry further relates these to loyalty and faith, respectively. In other words, "the root of man's integral happiness" involves both "loyalty on earth to a divine origin," and "faith in a saving mercy at the end." In between our lives are woven by the play of contingency and co-creation. I'm guessing that judgment applies only to what we create, whereas the fact of contingency requires a degree of slackful mercy, or merciful slack.

Let's get further into this question of boundaries and brackets. "In pneumatology," writes Perry, "the ideas of Origin, Center, Goal, and Objectivity" represent the "sacred structural framework" for understanding man -- both his existence and, more importantly, his purpose, or end. It should go without saying that man can have no purpose in the absence of these metacosmic orientations; again, it is either God or nihilism, O or Ø.

We all have a local, egoic center (•) that ultimately links to a divine and nonlocal center, ʘ. These two are obviously not on the same "plane," as the former is a declension from the latter; it is in a "lower dimension," so to speak, like moving from a sphere to a circle, or circle to point, with a kind of "divine rope" in between. The fact of the higher center "means we can live partially outside the world and outside of time, and, as it were, with one foot in paradise" (Perry).

Or, in the words of Schuon, "The spiritual man is not completely here, nor completely there, he is neither before nor afterwards, he is always in the Center and in the blessed Now of God."

Or, in the words of Don Colacho, "Only God [O] and the central point of my consciousness [ʘ] are not accidental to me."

Through this higher center, we need to somehow bear in mind -- or live close to, or be in communion with -- our Origin. This falls under the heading of "vertical recollection," hence our need for daily verticalisthenics, whatever your particular practice (e.g., prayer, meditation, lectio divina, etc.). As Perry explains, "our awareness of a divine Origin serves to remind us of our essence and guides us therefore to not live beneath ourselves."

At the other end is, well, our End. Yes, we are always stalked by death, and if death is all there is, then this results in honest existentialism (or nihilism). But as alluded to above, beyond death is Judgment, because freedom is real. Thus, "our awareness of a divine End guides us in truthfulness and sincerity as well as in generosity..."

I am reminded of a passage from the Isha Upanishad that is supposed to be read at the moment of death, and is said to be employed in funeral rites: Let my life now merge in the all-pervading life. Ashes are my body's end. OM... O mind, remember Brahman. O mind, remember thy past deeds. Remember Brahman. Remember thy past deeds.... Thou knowest our deeds. Preserve us from the deceitful attraction of sin...

Which brings to mind another passage -- or rather, vice verse, since I was thinking of the Upanishads when I wrote it -- this one from the Cosmobliteration section of the Encirclopedia: O Death, you old mahahasamadhi.... Take us before and beyond this womentary maninfestation, reveal not the horizontal but our inmost upmost vertical bigending.

You see? I think it's actually as clear as obscurity can be. It incorporates just about everything discussed in this post, only in a compact and holofractal manner.

Now interestingly, it is possible to find "contentment" on a plane lower than the one we were meant to inhabit. But in order to pull this off, you have to essentially kill, or at least become insensible to, the higher self and all its needs. Which is why it is difficult for me to relate to my so-called profession of clinical psychology. Yeah, I can do it, but mostly by limiting myself to (•) and ignoring ʘ. But the younger I get, the more artificial this seems.

In order to escape from this prison, one must learn not to come to an arrangement with its indisputable comforts. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

I wish there were a field called, I don't know, "clinical pneumatology." Then again, as soon as you professionalize something, you sow the seeds of its ruin. And "amateur" comes from the Latin amator or Lover. Which is why the OC mysthead includes the crack about Much Amor!

So, I guess that's the end for now, but there'll be much amor tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Compulsory Miseducation and Ontological Duty

To review: we've been sporadically discussing the meaning of the person -- or of the whole category of Personhood as such. Assisting us today is Mark Perry, whose The Mystery of Individuality deals with just this subject.

Again, we want to get at the interior essence of man, beyond just the outward form. This isn't an issue for most contemporary thinkers, since they don't believe in essences at all. As always, let the dead bury the tenured.

For the rest of us, it is pretty obvious that man is, as outlined in the previous post, "composed of will (i.e., freedom and virtue), sentiment (i.e., love), and knowledge (i.e., disinterested truth and detached objectivity)"; or in other words, "that man is free, that he has a conscience that distinguishes good from evil, and that he has a mind that may discern the reality behind appearances."

So if we ask what man is "for," the answer should be clear, unless you just enjoy being oppositional. "Being intelligence," writes Perry, man is "meant to know the Truth, and being love he is meant to unite with the Good, and having free will he is therefore obligated, by ontological duty, to choose true over false, right over wrong, and good over evil..."

These are the sorts of things we all learn by kindergarten, and can only unlearn after years of graduate school.

With privileges come obligations, and since man is uniquely privileged to have access to truth, he is obliged to know it. The very possibility of civilization depends upon this meta-truth.

To turn it around, a civilization based upon lies cannot stand; or, to the extent that it "exists," it must do so at the cost of full personhood. Assimilating a lie always does violence to the person

Certain lie-based cultures are obvious, for example, the Soviet Union, the Palestinian terrortories, or the Arab-Muslim world more generally. But it also happens in more subtle ways here in the US. At PowerLine, Scott Johnson cites the entirely bogus statistic that females earn "only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn."

As Johnson writes, this silly charge "has been examined and disproved many times over." Nor can it survive mere logic, since any businessman would be a fool to pay male employees 40% more than what he can pay female employees to do the identical work. If the statistic were true, it would only mean that men are bizarrely overpaid, not that women are underpaid.

With a little research, any interested person can discover for himself that the 72% canard has no basis in reality. Therefore, to the extent that a person believes it, he or she must want to believe it -- not because it is true, but because they want it to be true. But why would someone want to believe such an unpleasant "truth"? What's the payoff?

Note that a so-called "independent" asked the question about this statistic during the last presidential debate. But the fact that the questioner had already swallowed this quintessential liberal lie puts an interesting twist on what it means to be "independent."

In this case, it means that the independent in question believes the lie, but is just uncertain as to how to go about "solving" the problem embedded in the lie. It's like the old joke about being unable to tell the crazy person he's not a chicken, since we need the eggs. We can't tell the woman that she's not a victim because we need the... the what, exactly?

Candy Crowley obviously believes the lie, or else she wouldn't have chosen it to be one of the precious few questions asked of the candidates. Why not ask what the candidates plan to do about the unicorn problem?

Crowley's role in propagating the fantasy should come as no surprise, as the purpose of the MSM is not to inform, but, to paraphrase the Sultan, to serve as a conduit between the state and the individual. State power is rooted in the Democratic party, which in turn depends upon millions of dysfunctional women supporting the party that will prop up the state that will then "rescue" these women from their illusions, mostly by forcing someone else to pay for their birth control. Why all women aren't insulted by this is something of a mystery. Then again perhaps not, since all women aren't real women, any more than all men are real men.

The simple truth of the matter would cut like a sword through this Rube Goldberg machine of lies. But it cannot be uttered by a presidential candidate. How weird is that? What does it say about these women that one is not politically viable if one doesn't patronize their lie? You can't just say to these women: Hey, guess what? Good news! That whole 72% thing is just a lie designed to keep you on the Democrat plantation. You're not a victim of the patriarchy. You're free!

These women no more want to hear this than the Heaven's Gate cult wanted to hear that the spaceship wasn't arriving to take them away. Since human beings are by nature hedonistic, it must mean that these types of painful lies must harbor a secret payoff. Pain in one area of the psyche may redound to pleasure in another.

I think it's fair to say that most people are unaware of the covert thrill up the leg when expressing certain painful emotions. But if you listen to that stillsmallvoice, you can sometimes hear one of them saying: "hey, I'm digging this!"

One often sees this in squabbles between spouses, who get a perverse kick out of plunging in the blade, or who derive sadistic pleasure in playing the self-righteous victim. More generally -- to paraphrase a long forgotten source -- we shouldn't underestimate the pleasure involved in participating in one's own subjugation. It explains a lot about the left, if not quite everything.

Johnson wonders what other Big Lies "have moved beyond the pale of our public discourse?" I wonder too. What other mandatory lies must we tell ourselves, or at least pretend to believe, just because neurotic liberals need to believe them?

I would suggest that there is a lie at the heart of most every liberal assumption. I say this because, in the words of Don Colacho, "The left’s theses are trains of thought that are carefully stopped before they reach the argument that demolishes them."

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