Saturday, November 10, 2012

Looking for a Few Good Übermen

For you SubGenius readers out there (and there's obviously an überlap between Raccoons and SubGenii), I think this would be a good time to reflect upon and renew your Citizenship Pledge:

--I declare my allegiance to the SubGenius Race and to my household kingdom, while severing all ties with enemies of the SubGenii (including myself if need be) except where it is fiscally required.

--As a member of this mutant empire, my first concern is Slack for myself, my family and friends.


I will promote divisions and wars among non-SubGenii.

I will work to cast out the False Prophets.

I will work to erase the Conforming Instinct.

I will work for Time Control in my own life.

I will work to preserve this planet from destruction except for the proper reasons.

I will work to unmask the Conspiracy and install a strict anarchy or formal chaos.

I will work to prevent humanity from ever acting with a common will.

I will work to grip the reins of evolution.

And finally:

I pledge that I will not actually "work" at any of the above; moreover that I will never voluntarily allow any shortness of Slack into my home, temple, fane, cathedral, chapel, shrine, priory, abbey, friary, convent, monastery, or place of business.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Gagdad's Greatest Hates

Since we all seem to be in a nabkaish frame of mind -- and since I don't have much time -- I thought I'd revisit the Cosmos of November 2006, and see what we said after that previous Nabka, when the Democrats stole the nation's credit card and haven't stopped spending since. Now, of course, they've moved on to cultural identity theft, but the underlying principles haven't changed.

If nothing else, this verticalisthenic exercise will show that man is always in the same boat, and that we most certainly would have been in this boat regardless of who prevailed last Tuesday. Frankly, there's no way to not be in the boat short of death. And you certainly can't tax your way out of it. Nevertheless, California is trying, so hopefully it will be the first dumino to fail. The sooner we get the coming catastrophe over with, the better.

Actually, since there were several posts on the subject, I think I'll just republish the most relevant extracts, and make it a sort of Best 'o Bob:

I’m trying to imagine what it must feel like for Horizontal Man to win an election. I know that for me and other vertical beings of my acquaintance, there is no great joy upon winning an election, usually just relief that we have managed to temporarily pull the cultural plane out of its death spiral. But for Horizontal Man, politics is his religion, which is the whole problem with his politics.

Vertical man is born again “from above” (on a moment to moment basis), drawing energies from the cosmogonic center and radiating them to the horizontal periphery. But since Horizontal Man is trapped in the bewilderness of his contingent being (i.e., maya), he projects the Above into the Future, and constructs a faux spiritual life that attempts to draw psychic energies from this self-created illusion.

In other words, the spiritually constricted leftist practices the religion of progressivism, in which belief in a transcendent heaven is immanentized and nourishes the place where his shriveled soul ought to be.

In doing so, he receives a kind of existential consolation which may be compared to a form of counterfeit grace, in particular, when he imagines that he is in proximity to this faux heaven and therefore closer to being “saved” from the existential situation that afflicts all humans.

Or you could just cut out the bullshit and say they're idiots.

In any event, you can clearly see this mechanism of horizontal salvation in action. For if reality were actually what the fantasists of the left have been saying it was prior to the election, we would not see manic exaltation among their ranks. Rather, we would see great sobriety and moral seriousness, as they brood on the monumental achievement of having just barely prevented a theo-fascist takeover of America. If this self-evident fantasy had been real, the more appropriate reaction of the left would be sobbing, not fist-pumping and sack dancing.


Regardless of what happens today, it shouldn’t greatly affect the spiritual equilibrium of the seasoned Raccoon, whose invisible combat will continue unabated. Indeed, this is what distinguishes us from the agitated multitude of horizontal men who locate their salvation in politics. To witness the fevered excitement of a crass and loudmouthed vulgarian such as Chris Matthews or the adamantine darkness visible of a Keith Olbermann and the kos-bags for whom he shrieks is to see the human pig in all its naked horizontal glory.

Whatever the outcome, our lives will continue to center around our own salvation, not for narcissistic reasons, but for the simple reason that it is not possible to help save others unless we have first saved ourselves. Needless to say, horizontal Republicans will not save us from horizontal Democrats. Both bad religion and bad politics follow from the belief that it is possible for essentially lost souls to help other lost souls, which simply ends up drowning both parties -- the blind leading the bland straight into the abyss.


The project of the left is to make us all useful to the collective, when the only possible justification for the collective can lie in its usefulness to the individual -- again, not in a horizontal, egotistical sense, but in a vertical sense. Assuming that life has a transcendent purpose -- and you cannot be human and not make this assumption -- then the purpose of society should be to help human beings achieve this purpose.

To say that human beings cannot live without an ultimate purpose is another way of saying that man is condemned to transcendence and that he cannot avoid the vertical. The choice is whether he will bow before a manmade idol or stand in the light of the Absolute that is the true source of his quasi-divine dignity and metacosmic stature.

Nor, let it be emphasized, can human beings deny the horizontal, on pain of not existing. In order to be at all, we must be separate from the Absolute. The task before us is to find the proper balance between vertical and horizontal, spirit and matter, time and eternity. Horizontal man, in denying the vertical, necessarily replaces it with a counterfeit, meretrocious version that substitutes the collective for the One and human will for the Divine power.

Taken to its illogical extreme, this manifests as the demagogue or dictator-god who expresses the vitalistic will of the people.

But all forms of leftism lie on this cunningtinuum, including the dark side of American democracy, of “people power,” of class warfare, of the false absolutes of “diversity” and cultural and moral relativism. So much of the pandering of the left is merely totalitarianism in disguise -- a false absolute and a counterfeit vertical.

But we all know -- should know -- that there is a horizontal aspect to the true vertical, which manifests as humility, submission, spontaneous adoration, and a sense of awe before the sacred and hOly. Ironically, horizontal man possesses none of these virtues. Rather, he is proud, vulgar, blasphemous, and blind to the sacred, all of which inflate his own self-importance and, in his myøpia, lift him far above his spiritual superiors.


There is no one so vertical -- in its inverted sense -- as the naive atheist or secular leftist, a contingent being who fraudulently claims absolute metaphysical knowledge for himself.

And there is no one so inflated with narcissistic hubris than the leftist social imagineer who will save mankind from its own self-inflicted need for salvation. The leftist can give man everything but what he most needs, and in so doing, destroys the possibility of man.

For masturbatory horizontality goes hand on gland with exteriority and outwardness, which is the initial direction of the fall: first out, then down. Horizontal man is down and out, whereas salvolution lies up and in.

Animals are almost entirely exterior. They do not actually live in the world, but in the closed system of their own neurology. Only man -- inexplicably and miraculously on any strict scientific basis -- can exit the closed system of his own neurology and enter higher worlds, worlds of truth, beauty, and moral goodness.

To be in contact with these higher worlds is to be man. To neglect or deny these anterior worlds is to destroy man, precisely. It is to starve and sophocate man’s spirit by laying waste to his proper environment, the only environment in which he can grow into full manhood.

You cannot replace the holy grail with the lowly gruel of flatland materialism and expect it to feed the multitudes. Human beings do not draw their spiritual nourishment from outside but from above -- which in turn “spiritualizes” and sacralizes the horizontal.


Being what he is -- and isn’t -- horizontal man externalizes concerns about his own collective suicide and obsesses over the future of the planet, over speculative weather reports one hundred years hence.

But right now there is a hell and there is a handcasket, because we can clearly see both with our own third eyes. Furthermore, we can see exactly who is running with one in both hands.


Now, vertical man never obsesses, let alone enters the state of perpetual hysteria of horizontal man. Nevertheless, vertical man naturally frets about the deteriorating conditions of the interior of the human world, and its seemingly unimpeded slide into barbarism, spiritual exhaustion, scientistic magic, neo-paganism, self-worship, the cult of the body, abstract materialism, and a vapid and rudderless subjectivism.

Such lost souls and last men cannot discern the signs of the times, much less the direction of history. For them, history can be nothing more than a meaningless tale told by a tenured idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying a nice paycheck and adoring coeds. Horizontal man scoffs at spiritual reality on the peculiar grounds that it cannot exist, denying its presence with that which affirms it by virtue of its self-evident existence.

It is a truism that vertical man paradoxically lives very close to the ground, hence the cautionary tales of Eden, of Icarus, of Babel, and of various episodes of the Honeymooners. In contrast, horizontal man seizes what does not properly belong to him, not just recrapitulating the fall but enshrining it in his ideology.

But when you cast your vote for horizontal man, you are unwittingly chipping away at the foundation of the very tower in which horizontal man is privileged to sit despite his metaphysical ignorance.

For in reality, we only have the luxury of superfluous and slumbering horizontal men because of the vertical men -- real men -- who came before and built the foundation brick by brick (except for the cornerstone, which was not made by human hands).

Thus we can see our own possible future by casting our gaze at Europe, which is too high and top-heavy for its own long-forgotten foundations, and is in the process of toppling into dust. For when horizontal man falls, he doesn’t actually fall far, only back down to the ground where vertical man awaits him.

Yes, we are exiled in time, but for vertical man, time does not alter the basic existential situation which religion is here to address. It is believed by our intellectually and spiritually shallow elites that religion is no longer relevant.

In so believing, they underscore their own irrelevance, for they blame Truth for their own lack of qualification to understand and accept it. Suffice it to say that to be eternally young is to forever grow -- only inward and upward, toward the primordial light that has already defeated horizontal darkness, today and forever.

So render unto the horizontal the things that belong to the horizontal, but do not store your treasures there, where myths corrupt and chickens come home to roost. As always, be as wise as the horizontal serpents who stand on their bellies, but innocent as vertical doves who kneel on wings.

There's actually a lot more, but now I'm out of time, so maybe I'll continue tomorrow...

Thursday, November 08, 2012

I'd Rather Have a Battle in Front of Me than a Frontal Lobotomy

I was reading this sobering editorial by Melanie Phillips, which highlights all of the reasons to dread the future which began stalking us last Tuesday. Truly, it isn't just policies that are at stake, but our entire way of life.

And even then, it goes deeper than existential issues, all the way down to the ontological and spiritual. The latter two categories have to do with who we are and why we are here. For Obama, it's pretty simple: we are nobody special, and I am here to control you. Or, he is special and you are not.

Ironic, to say the least -- but this is always true of the left -- that Obama wants to stop policing the world. Instead, he just wants to police us. For him, we are the problem, not Iran or Egypt or Libya or Russia or North Korea. Which is the same problem Iran, Egypt, Libya, Russia, and North Korea have with their subjects.

This is precisely what Phillips is saying: "Obama’s agenda has been crystal clear from the get-go: to increase the power of the state over the citizen at home, and to neutralise American power abroad. Four more years of this and he’ll almost certainly have succeeded. The impact upon western security could be cataclysmic."

She speaks of security, which is again an existential issue. But then she gets to the ontological: "Britain and the Europeans love Obama because they think he will end American exceptionalism and turn the US into a pale shadow of themselves" (emphasis mine). We will become someone else, someone we have never been and were never intended to be.

However, Phillips then says something that leapt out at me: "What they don’t realise is that, all but lobotomised by consumerist rights, state dependency, victim culture, sentimentality, post-religion, post-nationalism and post-Holocaust and Empire guilt, Britain and Europe are themselves fast going down the civilisational tubes."

If you don't believe her, I would suggest you read some of Theodore Dalrymple's b-o-o-k-s, unless you're already dispirited enough, thank you.

But that word, lobotomized. First of all, we spell it with a 'z.' But as it so happens, the other night I watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with my son. I've seen it so many times that I was able to mute or fast forward the age-inappropriate parts.

I must have seen the film five times within the month it was released in 1975. The question is, why did it speak to me? After all, I was only 19, but more to the point, still a quasi-animal, although a harmless and good-natured one -- an amiable barbarian.

I was in college at the time, but it is fair to say that "learning" was the last thing on the agenda. I'm not sure I even knew there was such a thing as "graduate school," but the idea of continuing school beyond the bare minimum would have struck me as absurd -- unless there were some kind of dramatic payoff, such as extending adolescence into my late 20s. And so there was.

I suppose that many on the left would interpret OFOtCN in sociological or political terms, and this may even have been the author's conscious intent, for all I know. But for me it has deeply religious overtones, and is spiritual through and through.

Anyway, one reason I wanted the boy to see it is that lately we'd been watching a lot of crappy horror movies. It seems that every horror/monster movie ever made is shown in October. Boys have no qualms whatsoever about blood and gore, so I'm not worried about that -- so long as it isn't the propagandistic kind of gore that deals with "climate change."

After watching a dozen or so of these artistically vacant horror films, he could tell how truly bad and emotionally unsatisfying they are -- he could see that something vital was missing, something that defines the difference between art and dreck. So it was an auspicious Teaching Moment.

We actually had some preliminary conversations about this -- for example, how in a poorly done film you don't care about the characters, or how these films teach nothing, or how they have no satisfying resolution. Toward the end of one of them, he said "I don't see how they're gonna wrap this up in five minutes." And he was right. Everybody dies. The end.

Anyway, I wanted to contrast these with a great film, so he could see the difference. We actually watched The Gladiator too, and he could see right away that its violence is entirely different from the gratuitous violence of the horror films. But he could also see how the film made you care about Maximus from the very start, and how you identified more deeply with his character as the film proceeds.

Back to OFOtCN. I didn't expect him to say this, but Tristan discerned right away that R.P. McMurphy is Maximus, while Nurse Ratched is the evil Commodus (played by Joaquin Phoenix). Clearly, in both cases we're seeing a kind of dance between light and darkness, which he picked up right away.

He also totally understood the idea that McMurphy is Jesus. In this view, the insane asylum isn't "corporate America," "the establishment," "fascist Christianism," or some other leftist bogieperson.

Rather, it is the world, a fallen world in desperate need of redemption. From the opening scene, McMurphy provides this redemption, as his "spirit" at first disturbs this stifling world, and then begins "entering" the other patients.

After all, at the time, 2000 years ago, Jesus was also understood to be nothing more than a common criminal who was a nuisance to the world of Rome (which was the world). His Light was deeply disturbing to the darkness, so it had to be eliminated and deluminated. Or at least that was the best laid plan of mousy men.

Speaking of Jesus, there is a scene in which McMurphy hijacks the bus and takes the patients out on a boat. He says to them You're not nuts, you're fishermen! You don't say.

And just as Jesus heals the deaf and blind, McMurphy "heals" the "deaf and dumb" Big Chief. He also heals Billy of his stutter, at least until Nurse Ratched cracks down on him with the threat to inform his mother.

This occurs the morning after the "last supper," when McMurphy bribes the night watchman and they have a spirited all night party (with lots of spirits smuggled in). Remember, they're still in the mental institution/world, but no longer "of" it; somehow they are "set free" within its confines. Nothing has changed except their interior horizon.

But that won't fly, any more than it flew for the Romans. In the end McMurphy is crucified -- in his case, lobotomized -- and order is restored.

But not so fast. Something strange then happens. Because of McMurphy's influence, the Chief realizes his true stature. He has become "big as a mountain," and is ready to escape with him. (McMurphy's first words to the him are something like "Goddamn it Chief, you're about as big as a damn mountain!")

But the lobotomized McMurphy is "gone," without two cerebral cortexes to rub together. For him to remain in that condition would be analogous to leaving Jesus up on the cross to serve as a warning to all: come to life, and you too will die. The Chief won't allow this to happen, so he smothers McMurphy under a pillow.

Then it is Pentecost: the spirit fully enters the Chief, he hoists the hydrotherapy console from the floor (lots of water imagery in the film), chucks it through the barred windows, and escapes over the horizon into the great wide open.

I try not to talk about politics too much around the boy, since he's entitled to his childhood slack. Thus, I was a little taken aback when he pointed out that Nurse Ratched = Obama and that his supporters are lobotimized.

And lately the boy has taken to asking, Which one of you nuts has got any guts?


Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Well, that will be Petey's last prediction for awhile -- or at least the last one I'll take seriously.

Get this: now he's blaming Hurricane Sandy and that bloated Springsteen-loving Jersey retard -- as if we wouldn't be totally f*cked anyway because impressionable independents are even stupider than we thought.

After all that money, does it really come down to a bunch of impressionable idiots watching pictures on TV?

C'mon. When was it ever any different?

Oh well. At least the country will be ungovernable now that Obama has waged the most expensive campaign of character assassination in world history.

Yeah, he got his revenge against us, we'll give him that. Well done, assoul. Finally you've earned your Peace Prize and can stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Yasser Arafat without feeling a little embarrassed. Welcome to the club. You've made your bones.

But it's going to be a bit like Michael Corleone staring out over Lake Tahoe after whacking everyone who stood in his way. One of those... something victories. What's the word, Jeeves? Yes, pyrrhic.

One consolation is that a Romney victory would have hardly augured a pleasant four years. Rather, journalists would have suddenly remembered their vocation, and their latent Bush Derangement virus would have again become florid.

Homelessness would have suddenly been rediscovered. Al Qaeda would again be on the move. The dramatic increase in Black poverty would be a scandal. Snatching defeat from victory in Iraq. Nuclear mullahfolkers. An unsustainable level of government debt would provoke shock, shock.

To say nothing of the new War on Women, the rampant racism, the Mormon Theocracy, our outraged frenemies in Old Europe.... Pulitzers all around!

I'm with Taranto, but then I'm always with Taranto. In any event, if the Cosmos sees fit to grant our modern-day Lincoln a second term, he asks, "how bad could it be?"

"Obama has spent the past four years explaining away his failings by essentially arguing he is the best of all possible presidents -- that he has done as well as any man could given the 'mess' he 'inherited' from his predecessor."

Yes, but "things are about to get a lot worse because of decisions taken but deferred during the Obama years." If he thought the Bushmess was bad, wait until he gets a load of the Obamamess.

The mess "includes not only high unemployment and slow growth but impending policy changes that threaten to make those problems worse. On Jan. 1, unless Congress acts, the Bush tax cuts expire" -- or in Obama's more accurate words, we're about to be hit with "massive, job-killing tax increases."

And ObamaCare was of course written so deceptively "that most of its provisions would not take effect until the next presidential term," not the least of which being "an additional massive, job-killing tax increase (on investment income), also scheduled to take effect Jan. 1."

The state-run media will have its laziness cut out for it this time, but it would be a mistake to underestimate their determination to lie and deceive. With this presidential campaign they crossed a rubiconjob from merely shaping and imposing their narrative to outright fabrication and brazen denial of reality.

The election proved that a lot of semiconscious Americans still take the MSMistry of Truth seriously.

As a result, I would say that we'll really have to reach bottom in a completely undeniable way before things can turn around -- like a guy who finally stops chewing tobacco after they remove his jaw.

Look at California, which is totally run by Democrats who betray absolutely no ability to see that yawning fiscal abyss up ahead or to take their foot off the gas. For them, a red inklight means gun it!

But if things cannot go on, they will not go on. It's just a matter of when, which cannot be predicted by any linear model. Rather, it's going to be like chaos theory, and occur with no hiatus, allofasudden: a fold catastrophe.

Of course, no one knows the hour, but Petey still thinks it will be on or about 12.12.12.

I didn't want this post to be about the election, but what can you do? I don't want pretend it's not on my mind, and try to write around it. It takes a moment to gather yourself after you've been kicked in the nuts. But I promise that tomorrow everything around here will be back to abnormal. And this is the last time I'll forget to gird myself with the Cup of Righteousness.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Strange Things are Afoot: Malicious Software in the Human Brainframe

So, I think we've established that the body -- AKA Brother Ass -- is Not Guilty by reason of mental incompetence. Rather, the body (to the extent that it is naughty) is just shoved around by the malware that makes its way into the human mainframe:

"Malware, short for malicious software, is software used or created to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems." It "is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software."

You mean like mind parasites?

Yes, it "includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware, and other malicious programs." "Sometimes known as a computer contaminant," it "is not the same as defective software, which is software that has a legitimate purpose but contains harmful bugs that were not corrected before release."

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? If so, that's a lot to digest.

First of all, how does the malware get into the hominid wetware? Where does it come from? If we stipulate that God didn't create it, then how does it get here?

And by "here" we are of course referring to Genesis 3, which is perpetually speaking to us from There to Here in vertical phase space, i.e., from Celestial Central to our 4D outpost at the edge of the subjective horizon.

Again, the real trouble can't come from the body, which only has a few simple needs and impulses that are easily satisfied. Indeed, since the body as such doesn't exist within the infinite subject, it doesn't even know about tomorrow (as is true of any animal).

However, it is incorrect to say that human beings "have" a body -- or even "have" a mind. Such thinking betrays an ontological (and ultimately Gnostic) dualism that just isn't there.

Rather, human beings are always a "bodymind." You can't even say that "we" are "embodied," because you've again separated the subject from its matrix in a way that we never encounter in the real world.

I think also that we need to widen out our conception of what it means to be embodied.

Language, for example, is an extension of the body. When we speak, we are simply using a thingy inside our necks to vibrate the air around us in order to tickle a bunch of little hairs within the listener's inner ear. In this context, it's a miracle that anyone understands a thing I'm saying (even leaving aside distortions resulting from the malware).

The question was raised in yesterday's comments as to whether our fallen condition is necessary or contingent. Was it inevitable that the humans would mess things up so badly? If so, how come God didn't foresee it?

There seems to be a genuine orthoparadox at work here, similar to the idea that we are created in the image of God, and yet, in need of redemption. The former would seem to obviate the need for the latter, but there you go. We all need a vertical lifeline.

Similarly, we are told that the creation -- man included -- is "good." Why then the mischief and mayhem?

Commenter Gandalin is on the bright track, noting that there must be some sort of "fall" woven into the very idea of creation, since it implies an existence separate from the Creator:

"And yet, in another sense... the material Creation is the apex and pinnacle and purpose of all of the 'higher' levels that progressively (or perhaps discontinuously) lead to Malkuth" (the latter term referring to the crystallized and coagulated material ghetto unhappyted by us I-ambodied malkutents).

But if I understand rightly, we actually inhabit the entirety of the Sephirot, at least implicitly or in potential (which is sort of the Whole Point). The Sephirot essentially maps the possibilities of Spirit, from top to bottom, Keter to Malkut.

Antother subtle point: the Sephirot may be thought of as a kind of manifestation of the unmanifest God. Behind it -- and totally infused by it -- is the Ain Sof, which I believe literally means No End. It is uncontainable, unimaginable, beyond all categories. It is utterly transcendent, for which reason it is also immanent in everything.

In other words, since it cannot be contained, it is present in every where and every thing. It is the mOther of all, the womb with all views and the mamamatrix of all Neovelty.

Wo! Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K!

Yes, you might call this ainsoferable mystery 'O' for short.

It just so happens that I am reading a book that hardy-har-harmonizes with these thoughts, Foundations of Christian Faith, by Karl Rahner. It's extremely challenging, so I cannot give a general raccoomendation -- like a combination of Heidegger and the Philokalia. If this is the Foundation, the mansion must be something else.

In discussing this "foundation," Rahner does just that: he drills all the way to the bottom, in the effort to establish the cosmic and ontological principles that make such a weird thing as Christianity possible. In other words, Christianity, if it is to make sense to human beings, must be in conformity with "the way things are," including all of the things that are prior to Christianity as such -- things like embodiment, for example, or having a language, or being a person.

For example, this word "God." Note that the apostles didn't first have to establish the existence of this entity, and then go about describing Him. Rather, they go straight to the description, and waste no time establishing the principle of God.

But as I said, Rahner digs deeper. Which is clearly necessary in our day and age, when so many people doubt the very existence of God. You can't just tell someone what God is like, if they have already rejected his existence. So we moderns have a lot more spadework in terms of building the foundation.

In practical terms, this means that it is much more difficult to be a believer today than it was 1,500 or 1,000 or 2,000 years ago. It's not even clear what sort of conscious "decision" was necessary to be a believer back then, since there were no unbelievers.

There is a kind of reverse analogy to contemporary times, since no one today has to make a conscious decision to accept science. Rather, you have to make a conscious decision to reject it, and even then you have to be more than a little crazy to do so.

Conversely, no longer can faith be "taken for granted" and "supported by a homogeneous religious milieu common to everyone" (Rahner). Look at the Islamists, who want to shove all this novelty back into the tiny bottle that existed in 800 AD. That's pathetic, and unworthy of any God deserving of worship.

Rahner wants to show that it is possible to live a Christian existence with "intellectual honesty," but again, an honesty that penetrates all the way down, deeper than both science and typical churchianity. This requires no less than an integration of everything, and you have to admit that there is a helluva lot more to integrate today than there was 2,000 -- or even 100 -- years ago.

But ironically, as we shall see, even the fact of so much new stuff to integrate speaks of the Hidden God alluded to above, who is again the source of novelty, and why things never get boring around here. Not only is God the cure for boredom, He is its radical antithesis. If nothing else, He is the highest form of entertainment.

Remember, we're not just talking about scientific developments, but "all the various non-scientific manifestations of the life of the spirit in art, in poetry, and in society..."

Rahner describes a kind of "anonymous" and preconceptual knowledge of God that is present in, and available to, anyone, theist and atheist alike. It is frankly why we -- and all cultures -- have the word "God," and why the word can never be eliminated from the human vocabulary.

Even if all people were self-described "atheists," we would still have this word, since the very existence of human beings is unthinkable without it. To put it another way, the moment we have persons, we are going to have the concept of God.

Why is this?

That's a big subject. To be continued...

Monday, November 05, 2012


We were discussing the Two Natures or tendencies that seem to coexist in man, one lower, the other higher.

Here again, we all realize -- any normal person does, anyway -- that we have these two trends, and you have to engage in an awful lot of self-obfuscation, or auto-pullwoolery, to deny their existence. Frankly, you have to be as adept at self-deception as is our current future ex-president tomorrow, and not a moment too soon!

But the bottom lyin' for any full-blown secular maniac is that the higher and lower cannot exist, despite the fact that they so obviously do -- which leads to all sorts of confusion, ending in the intellectual and spiritual deadzone of diversity, multiculturalism, moral relativism, etc.

One problem with the modern mind is that it wants to search for explanations that cease to be explanations once they leave the human plane.

This is a Very Large Subject, but we all know, for example, that there are decent people and cruel people. Simple as. But if you analyze those terms too far, it's analogous to dissecting a body to find out where the life is: it results in the destruction of what one is looking for. In a different context, Alan Watts said it's like chasing a fugitive while banging a drum.

Which is why such vehicles as mythology, literature, and film are so much more effective at explicating this quintessentially human territory than is naive science. The same is obviously true of scripture and revelation. I have explained this to my son, so his brain won't get spoiled by trying to understand religious wisdom in a less than human way.

For example, the other day he was asking about the story of the Flood, and I explained that it isn't just a mundane weather report, but is supposed to tell human beings something very important about themselves -- in this case, that we are, or can be, so rotten that even God has grave second thoughts about whether to continue the ghastly experiment.

"The Bible's picture of human nature," writes Leon Kass, "is, to say the least, sobering." No political correctness here, no punches pulled, no liberal appeal to sociological "root causes" of the widespread depravity.

Rather, "The tales of the primordial family underline the dangers of freedom and reason, speech and desire, pride and shame, jealousy and anger." The narratives "make us suspicious not only about politics and the arts, but even about man's interest in the divine." Truly, it seems there is nothing that can't be ruined by human involvement.

Nevertheless, these "first stories of human life" accurately depict "the explosive tensions lurking in any human family, both between husband and wife and (especially) between siblings." For example, I have a relative who is one of those diversity tools at a fourth-tier cow college. Not surprisingly, we haven't spoken in years, not least because intra-vertical communication becomes tense at such extremes.

Kass makes the interesting point that not a lot happens between the accounts of the prototypical humans -- Adam, Even, Abel, Cain -- and the Flood, mostly a lot of begetting. But this begetting, in Kass's interpretation (which is too long to provide in full here), results in kind of indiscriminate blending of divine and human qualities, and with it, a gradual loss of contact with the "divine within."

Thus, we may understand God's otherwise cryptic comment in 6:3, to the effect that His spirit shall not judge from within man. In other words, to put it plainly, man gradually loses touch with his divine conscience -- which is obviously a central component of our higher nature -- or at least it is contaminated by various other strands, e.g., rationalization, the lust for glory, self-worship, tenure, etc.

As a result, it seems that "Only two ways are open: total destruction of the world or the imposition of external law" (Robert Sacks, in Kass). This would also explain why we so detest lawyers, because the vast majority of their thousands upon thousands of laws are aimed only at bad people, and in a way, create bad people, because we start confusing morality with obedience to the exteriorized law.

Think, for example, of how liberals conflate big government and charity, when in reality big government displaces and even eliminates man's charitable impulses; real charity is actually in competition with the state, the latter of which is just the quest for power mesmerauding as charity or "public service."

So God can't help gnosissing that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the day. And God says something similar to Colonel Nicholson in Bridge on the River Kwai, in his case, What have I done?

Interesting too that Colonel Nicholson's moral crime fits right into the scheme of what man was up to in those antediluvian days, telling his troops that "One day the war will be over. And I hope that the people that use this bridge in years to come will remember how it was built and who built it."

Rrriiiiiiiiight. It's really about the Colonel's own unhinged lust for glory. Indeed, after the bridge is completed and he is dining with Colonel Saito, he reflects on being "nearer the end than the beginning" of his life: "And you wonder, you ask yourself, what the sum total of your life represents. What difference your being there at any time made to anything.... I don't know whether that kind of thinking's very healthy; but I must admit I've had some thoughts on those lines from time to time."

No, it's not very healthy at all, as Nicholson discovers too late. In short, his higher impulses -- honor, duty, self-discipline -- were totally contaminated by the lower.

As it all plays out below, Major Clipton famously mutters in astonished disgust, Madness! Madness!

That seems to echo God's sentiment as he surveys the human wreckage below: "The experiment in anarchy -- in living law-less-ly -- has failed miserably, so much so that God despairs of His creation. In an extraordinary remark," the Creator "says that he repents His creation of man and the other animals."

Blah blah yada yada, God ends up finding a righteous, pure, and simple heart in the figure of Noah, so all is not lost. For "blessed are the pure in heart."

I'm just consulting the Catholic catechism for any further insights into this issue, and it says that "Because man is a composite being... there already exists a kind of tension in him; a certain struggle of tendencies between 'spirit' and 'flesh' develops."

However, "it is not a matter of despising and condemning the body," but rather, cultivating certain "permanent dispositions" which result from submission or resistance to "the saving action of the Holy Spirit" (which we have symbolized (o) for the submission and (↓) for the saving action).

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