Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Cause and Cure of Time

Again, there are two forms of time; or at least time has its two vectors, one toward dissolution and decay, the other toward growth and creative intensity. Every religion deals with the problem of time in its own way; in fact, religion can largely be seen as a response to this very problem, i.e., to somehow heal or overcome the incompleteness and loss associated with this two-faced two-timer.

Charles Taylor (I think) remarked that "history moves to heal the wounds it made." Taking it one step further, Berdyaev writes that "Time that has recovered from its illness is eternity."

Thus, human beings are in need of a cure for time, a medicine for mortality, otherwise we are in the awkward position of believing that the very same thing which creates us destroys us. Er, thanks for nothing, time! This is like a hundred monkeys playing in the sand and producing a beautiful painting before a windstorm blows it away. Remind me: what was the point?

And why would you believe a monkey, anyway?

But again, as alluded to in yesterday's post, time cannot be fundamental in a creative cosmos, only a side effect of its creativity. Therefore, unlike primitive and timebound progressives, we cannot and should not appeal to time for our salvation, but rather, to.... yes, to creativity, but first we need to lay a foundation.

In addition to the naughty and nice aspects of time, it is divided into past, present, and future. These latter three are so different that it's difficult to see them as one thing. For example, what does the present have to do with the past? Not much. The past is completely objective, frozen in place: it is what it is -- or what it was, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it.

Then again, if time is a single phenomenon, then we can't really draw a rigid boundary between past and present. As is the case inside the Trinity, there are distinctions but no strict separations.

This being the case, it suggests that the past may actually be "changed," since it is prolonged into the present. Employing a spatial analogy, we cannot isolate an infected tooth from the rest of the body, so taking an antibiotic is medicine for, and communion with, the entire organism.

Notice how, subsequent to the Resurrection, one of the first items on the agenda was to situate Jesus in deep historo-scriptural and even pre-ontological time, e.g., in the beginning before the beginning was the Word before language....

Looked at this way, Jesus is the quintessential nonlocal higher-dimensional object passing through our local landscape. Tradition, you might say, is his contrail -- which, of course, can only be seen in the present.

That's weird -- I was about to use the example of an invisible jet's contrail, and there it is, right outside my window, between two trees. You may not see the jet (I don't), but if you see the white streak across the sky, you know it was there. You don't find a turtle on a fencepost unless someone put it there, just as you don't find primates surfing atop the temporal wave unless the Big Kahuna put them there.

In a somewhat obscure passage upon which we will attempt to shed some further bobscurity, Berdyaev writes of how "the problem of the relationship between past and present" may be "expressed in two ways." That is, "how to make the evil, sinful, painful past as though it had not been," and "how to make the dear, kind, beautiful past, which has died and ceased to exist -- how to make this continue its existence."

In short, we are dealing with precisely the problem alluded to in the first paragraph, i.e., good times / bad times. How do we preserve the good and toss out the bad? Or how do we get rid of the tumor without killing the patient?

This goes to the mysteries of repentance on the one hand -- which has to do with the "past" -- and salvation, or resurrection, which have to do with the present and future, respectively. Thus, it makes sense that repentance must precede salvation, just as recovery from illness must precede health, even though these are two sides of the same coin.

What is the worst evil that Time deals us? Death, which, ironically, is the end of time. That doesn't really make much sense, does it, because it reduces life to a kind of gas pain that is cured by farting.


Look, don't blame me. That's how it came out. But contrast this with, say, childbirth. There too we have pain, but the result is life, not just the cessation of tension. Furthermore, the internal tension is then displaced to the outside, where we now live in tension with the infant -- in the loving space between persons. So yes, life is tension. But not only tension.

The upshot, it seems, is that the Christian journey is entirely covalent with the mystery of time, "of the past, the present, the eternal" (ibid.).

I mean, journey, right? A journey is not quite the same thing as just being lost, but nor is it the same thing as being at our destination. Rather, it is an in-between state, which means that it is in the present, although looking in faith toward the future while nursing the wounds of the past.

"The good thing about the future," writes Berdyaev, "is that freedom is associated with it, that the future may be actively created." Here again, creativity is actually prior to time, wrapped up with the freedom that permits "the conquest of the determinism that is connected with the past."

Second from the bottom line: the past is either the fatal disease that infects the present and future; or, the present-and-future are the cure for the past. The former is fate, the latter destiny. And our fate is assured so long as we fail to discover our destiny.

[W]e must discover freedom in regard to the past, as well, the possibility of the transmutation of time. In religious thought, this is the problem of the Resurrection.... This is the victory over death-dealing time. --Berdyaev

So, Happy New, or Same Old, Year, depending.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Time and its Alternatives

It doesn't take long to lose the plot, does it? A few days in ordinary time and one quickly becomes disoriented. So let's see if we can slip into our usual state of deusorientation.

Which takes time. What then is the difference between these two kinds of time? Well, it seems to me that one is anabolic while the other is catabolic; one creates while the other decays; one makes you better while the other just makes you older; one is negentropic, the other entropic.

So, creativity "presupposes a change in time" (Berdyaev). But which is more fundamental, creativity or time? Clearly it must be creativity, which means that time must be a kind of side effect of creative novelty. Thus, "it would be more true to say that movement, change, creativity, give birth to time" (ibid.).

As such, we don't need to say that God is "in time" per se; rather, divine time is simply an artifact of his ceaseless creativity. It does, however, mean that time "must exist" if the word "Creator" means what it says.

Then again, one of the features of creativity is its "timelessness." This can be understood in two senses: one subjective, the other objective.

Subjectively, there is the suspension of time that occurs when we are immersed in some creative activity. Objectively, the most exquisite examples of human creativity attain timelessness, i.e., are relevant for all human beings in all times and places.

If we apply this principle by way of analogy to God, it must mean that his creative activity is asymptotically close to timelessness, if that is the correct use of the word. Or, you could just deploy an orthoparadox and say that God's creativity is "timelessly temporal." Revelation, for example -- say, the Incarnation -- occurs "in time." And yet, it would be a quintessential example of timeless truth.

Thus, we need to think of Deep Truth in a more dynamic way, as a kind of serial unfolding. We've discussed this before -- how a higher dimensional truth will require time to disclose its fulness on a plane of lesser dimensions. Just picture a three-dimensional object passing through a two-dimensional plane, and imagine how it would be experienced by the 2D people. Events separated in time are actually just different parts of the higher dimensional object.

I believe this is how Tradition would be interpreted by traditionalists: not so much the accumulation or accretion of arbitrary truths at the human margin (although that also occurs, inevitably), but the temporal residue of creative engagement with the growing seed of revelation over the centuries.

We're just winging it here, so I'm pulling out the Catechism to see if I can get some metaphysical backup. This sounds about right: "Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator." Rather, "the universe was created 'in a state of journeying' toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it."

Yes, that is exactly what I am saying: we are all on a creative journey, an adventure of consciousness into the true, good, and beautiful. Can we reach the end of the journey, i.e., perfection? Of course not. Not without divine assistance, anyway.

Which raises another important point we have discussed in the past, one hammered home in this boring book on the ontological structure of political Tyranny. The gist is similar to Voegelin's central idea that human beings necessarily live in the creative space between immanence and transcendence. For both Voegelin and Newell, tyranny occurs when the would-be tyrant collapses this space with salvific promises of heaven on earth, Obama and his Care being the latest ghastly examples.

Where Newell differs with Voegelin is in drawing a sharp distinction between ancient and modern forms of tyranny. No, I am not being pedantic. Stick with me. This is interesting, and illuminates some weird features of modern as well as postmodern tyrants such as Obama.

I'll try to dumb it down for all of us, including me. You could say that ancient tyrants were at least humanly recognizable, in that they were motivated by such hardy perennials as pleasure, lust, gluttony, envy, etc. But so many of these modern tyrants are almost like religious ascetics. Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot, Robespierre, bin Ladin -- these were not party animals. So, what's their motivation?

Newell writes of a "change in the meaning of tyranny in modern politics from the tyrant's pursuit of pleasure to an impersonal, self-abnegating, and therefore seemingly 'idealistic' destruction of all premodern ties to family, class, and region in the name of a contentless vision of a unified community or state" -- kind of like nihilistic devotion to amorphous change led by a vacuous change agent.

Thus, "what is so frightening about modern terroristic rulers" is "their apparent imperviousness to ordinary greed and hedonistic pleasure in their rigorous dedication to a 'historical mission' of destruction and reconstruction" -- or, as Obama calls the disease, "fundamental transformation."

The aggression of such rulers "becomes a duty that cannot be 'compromised' by their own self-interest, or love of noble reputation..." Obama at 39%? Doesn't matter. The grim world-historical goal of socialized medicine cannot be compromised by reputation or self-interest.

For the ancients, "the tyrant is a monster of desire who plunders and ravishes his subjects." But the modern Machiavellian prince dispenses "terror in a disciplined and dispassionate manner." Before ruling the city, such a prince must first conquer his own human soul -- which is again why so many modern tyrants are not recognizably human.

Didn't mean to get sidetracked. Back to the point about tradition: "God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures' cooperation," which is "not a sign of weakness," but rather, goodness.

"For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of cooperating in the accomplishment of his plan." God is "the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes."

The following passage goes to exactly what we said above about the dual nature of time: in its "state of journeying," we see in the world "the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature." Good times, bad times, until the end.

Berdyaev: "[T]he free creative act is accomplished outside the power of time, for there is no predetermination in it: it proceeds out of that depth of being which is not subject to time; it is a break-through from another order of being.... In essence it is the opposite of the worry which our fear of time produces. And if man's whole life could become one creative act, time would be no more." Or at least it would be a good start.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Life of Brian, Death of Saul, Confessions of Augustine

I suppose there are some individual differences even among lesser species, in particular, social animals. But those differences don't amount to much: one dog or gorilla is alpha, and the rest are either contented betas or scheming and resentful opportunists looking for the first sign of weakness.

On Christmas eve we attended a children's mass, in which the priest gave a sermon -- or is it a homily? -- on this very subject. With all the children gathered around him -- at least a hundred, of all different ages -- he distributed puzzle pieces to each of them, in order to bring home the point that every piece is utterly unique, and yet, a necessary part of the whole.

In turn -- he didn't exactly say it this way, but it was my tykeaway -- the whole is Christ, for the second person of the Trinity didn't just become "a" man, but rather, becomes mankind, here and now. Or better, mankind as such is ultimately "the body of Christ," at least in potential. But I'm not sure the children would be able to assimilate it on that abstract a level, for which reason it was transmitted to them in concrete form.

Difference creates tension, as it involves separating oneself from the group, which can be interpreted by the group as aggression, e.g., "rejection," or "superiority." For Rank, the space opened up by difference can often end up being filled by angst, which has a different connotation than anxiety, as it is more existential, or even ontological, in nature. Animals do not experience angst, since it is a direct consequence of individuation, of difference, of standing apart.

Last night I came across a vivid example of angst in the new Beatles biography, having to do with their manager, Brian Epstein. In addition to being homosexual at a time it was still a crime in England, he was just plain different from the rest of his family. He had no interest in joining the successful family business, but rather, was an artistic type, especially drawn to the theatre (there's lots more, but I'm condensing).

Long story short, he received zero support from his exasperated parents, when the very job of a parent is to assist a child in discovering and articulating his identity. Thus, as predicted by Rank, Epstein interpreted his difference in a self-loathing, angst-ridden manner. After his death, an adolescent diary was discovered, in which he had penned the following:

Help me. I am lost. Help me. I am lost. Help me [if] I am to stop. Give me peace, rest. That world, it's too big for me. O Lord God, I've asked these questions before. Where is the answer? Why am I here? Help me. What am I to do? O Lord God tell me where is my faith? Give guidance. This is hell. A hell of madness.

No doubt his homosexual impulses were a factor in his pain, but in this context it is difficult to tell if they are a cause or effect of his identity disturbance -- for clearly, at the root of his trouble was an absolute rejection by his father, which can set the stage for a later search for one's missing masculine identity via sexual relationships.

Thus, in Epstein's case, he spent the rest of his adult life in compulsive pursuit of violent, sado-masochistic homosexual encounters, in a kind of simultaneous attraction to, and rejection by, primitive manhood. And of course, he ended up doing himself in from a drug overdose at the age of 32.

But the suicide (supposedly accidental) was just the concrete expression of a death that had occurred much earlier. Long prior to that, he had been denied permission to be, even (or especially) from earliest childhood. When being is lost that early, it is difficult to recover it, virtually impossible if one doesn't later find an environment to support and nurture it.

So, that's an extreme case, but in psychology, extreme cases are sometimes helpful in illuminating processes that are more subtle in the "normal." You could say that they are somewhat like the microscope is to the biologist. It can be difficult to know what makes human beings tick until they stop ticking, or are prevented from ticking.

I suppose this is no different from how medicine developed. No one gives much thought to their heart, or lungs, or stomach, until something goes wrong with them. But by studying illness, we learn about how to prevent it, and about the proper function of the organ in question.

As we've discussed before, the mind is an organ. Okay, but what is it for? Depending upon your answer, you will have an entirely different conception of man, and of the purpose of life. For a Darwinian, for example, the "purpose" of the mind is adaptation to the environment in furtherance of the Prime Directive, reproduction. Everything else is just genetic window dressing.

Let's forget about tenured fairy tales. What is the mind really for? What I would say is that the mind is an organ for the perception of reality. However, I would add that this involves the perception of both exterior and interior realities. Humanly speaking, the most important interior reality is the self, and the case of Brian Epstein shows what can happen when this perception is systematically thwarted, suppressed, denied, and rejected.

Ironically, Rank traces the emergence of individuality -- i.e., of interior perception -- to the Judeo-Christian revolution, which brought about "a consequent change in the human psychological type" (Menaker). That is,

"The old world of antiquity was disintegrating at this time, and the standards for social conduct were being modified from a communal behavioral code to a more individualistic one. The new code gave the individual more responsibility for his own actions and his destiny than had previously been the case."

This had the added effect of lifting man out of the stream of fate and predestination, "to a plane spiritually much higher":

"The emergence of the idea that through faith and one's own efforts an individual can effect a change in his or her personality is a new development in the psychological history of mankind."

To cite just one dramatic example, "the possibility of a change through inner experience... was testified to by Paul's conversion on the way to Damascus.... It is the juxtaposition of two differing self-experiences that elicits the awareness of both self and of the possibility of change."

Thus, we are ultimately talking about a death-and-life experience -- i.e., the death and rebirth of the self (so much so that he has a new name for the self reborn: Saul is dead. Long love Paul).

It is said that Augustine's Confessions is the first real autobiography ever written. I suppose this would explain why. However, even if we never put pen to paper, we in the Christian west are always cowriting our unique autobiographies -- unless some unholy-ghostwriter is forging our biography with a hammer, gun, or ideology.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cosmotherapy for Your Holiday on Earth

I once coined a word for the kind of therapy I'd want to to do if I wanted to do it: cosmotherapy. That way, if anyone ever invents it, I can sue for copyright infringement and get a piece of the action.

Well, it looks like someone already did. Almost, anyway. It's striking how often the word "cosmos" (or universe) is used in reference to Rank's work. Yesterday I mentioned in a comment that psychoanalysis became for many of its founders a kind of transparently substitute religious quest. Thus, Rank discusses the Oneness that is achieved via love, art, or any other activity that helps us transcend the difference -- or Twoness -- discussed in yesterday's post:

This Oneness "produces a satisfaction... that is the potential restoration of a union with the Cosmos, which once existed and was then lost." Thus there is a kind of oneness both before and beyond twoness. However, they are quite different, since the first is an undifferentiated oneness while the second is a differentiated one. Which reminds us of another Rock Bottom Mythematical Raccoon Orthoparadox: two is better than one, and One is better than two.

In twoness there is both gain and pain: the loss of security in undifferentiated union is partly compensated for by the forging of one's identity. But the latter is never enough, and probably more often than not, is too much.

By which I mean that individuality is fraught with ambivalence, and therefore full of potential pain. To cut to the bottom line, it can frankly be painful to be different, and many people naturally recoil from this pain -- especially in environments where difference isn't tolerated, say, Iran, or university campuses, or newsrooms. Or certain families.

Yesterday I mentioned that I didn't retain anything from reading Rank 25 odd years ago, but I now see that I did: the idea of the pain associated with difference always stuck with me. I'd just forgotten where I'd found it.

At any rate, I personally related to it in a profound way, because I was always aware of being Different, and for a very long time I tried to suppress this in favor of fitting in and being like the Others. Or in other words, I very nearly successfully committed cluelesside so as to become part of the Conspiracy. Thank God I was just too different to fake it.

Indeed, part of the purpose of this blog is to help others with a cosmic orientation to not feel so alone. In turn, it helps me to help others. Let's face it: we're different. Might as well explore and expand it rather than recoil from it. Besides, you're not fooling anyone, weirdo.

Along these lines, it is weird to be thought of as "conservative," since conservatism as such would be at the far end of the spectrum between conservatism <--> novelty. What I really want to conserve are the means to creative novelty -- means which are attacked and suppressed by the left, e.g., free markets, free minds, and free speech, in favor of compulsory statism, political correctness, and inquisitorial tolerance.

As alluded to in yesterday's post, "Without difference, there would be no individual will and no creative expression" (Menaker). Thus, freedom, creativity, and will are what account for the emergence of self-aware difference.

Other animals are essentially the same. Of course they notice some differences, such as the distinction between male and female (a vital difference which only human beings can forget), along with the differences between species. But they don't so much notice the latter as much as disregard them, unless said species falls under the heading of predator or prey.

So again, the emergence of humanness is entirely bound up with this question of difference. There is a hint of this in the psychogenesis section of Genesis, where it states that man is permitted to name all the animals. In order to do this, he obviously must notice all the differences.

But what about the pain of man's own difference from all the animals? Not good. So God gives him someone comparable, not identical. If Eve were identical, this would efface the differences, which God clearly doesn't want to do. God is not some androgynous feminist new castrati Pajama Boy.

Anyway, Rank noticed that a fundamental problem for humans is "individual difference," which we are prone "to interpret as inferiority unless it can be proved by achievement to be superiority."

This is the One Idea mentioned above that I internalized, because it rang a major gong in me. Some people are extremely cocky and confident in their difference. That wasn't me. And in any event, the confidence often has a downside, as it can merge with other pathological trends in the personality, such as narcissism and hubris, which can result in, say, over-confident buffoons such as an Obama or Clinton. No, there's no easy way out of Difference.

For example, I'm reading this new biography of the Beatles, and one theme that emerges early on is just how different John Lennon was, both to himself and to anyone else who was fortunate or unfortunate enough to run into him. (No one I think is in my tree / I mean it must be high or low.) In Lennon's case, he embraced his difference in an extremely obnoxious and often aggressive manner, basically out of insecurity. It was one way of coping with it, but not very healthy.

Because of his rank atheism, Rank thought of life as "a fleeting moment of light, a holiday on earth, between two eternities of darkness" (Robert Kramer, in Menaker) -- which it surely is without a religious orientation. Some holiday! Worse yet, some holy-day!

So, Sisyphus-like, we fool ourselves into thinking we can somehow immortalize our difference by some earthly achievement. This is the willed self-deception at the heart of Rankian therapy, because you can't do that. What's that wise crack about fame? That it means being known by a multitude of dorklings who don't know you? How can one confuse this with eternity, i.e., being known by God?

Any port in a storm, I guess. Or, speaking of cliches, so near yet so far. That is, Rank went further than Freud in peering "below biological bedrock to confront the ontological or, better, the pre-ontological mystery of Being itself. This is the difference -- the ineffable difference -- between nonexistence and existence" (Kramer).

That's pretty far, but why stop there? And besides, did he think he was the first to go there? I mean, Judaism (Rank was a secular Jew) is all about difference. Maybe he just forgot where he got his Big Idea.

For the very first act of God is to separate order from chaos -- followed by heavens from earth, light from dark, day from night, water from land, time from absurcularity, man from woman, etc. Furthermore, the original covenant is about the offer of a restoration of cosmic oneness to this wandering tribe of stiffneckleheads. In accepting it, they become even more different from the rest, which history proves was a recipe for pain. For the Cosmically Different may be recognized by the target on their backs.

And let's not even talk about what happened to Jesus. Maybe after his birthday.

To be continued, maybe even tomorrow...

Monday, December 23, 2013

What's the Difference?

Last night I had that dream again -- the one in which I can do anything.

What I mean is that it occurs to me that I somehow have this power to do whatever I want.

In your dreams, Bob! Yes, in my dreams. Stop taunting me. We've already stipulated that.

It's happened countless times before: poems, novels, songs, paintings, landscapes, architecture, all produced by my dreamer -- whoever that is -- in my dreams. In fact, why say "my" dreams, when it is the dream that contains us, not vice versa?

In any event, last night I had the clear and distinct experience of producing several novel jazz performances in my dreamscape, with unique arrangements and solos I'm sure I've never heard in this world. So, how did I do that?

More generally, I've done any number of things in my dreams -- as have you -- that I've never done out here, for example, being a professional athlete, or having more children, or public speaking, the latter of which would make me nervous in this world.

The bottom line is that there appears to be a huge disconnect between man's potentialities and his achievements. Yeah, well, duh.

What I mean is, if we can do anything, but end up doing just this, what went wrong? Who goofed?

Now, in point of fact, that is not at all how I feel about what I have "accomplished." Rather, I am astonished by my creativity, such as it is. Let me quickly emphasize that I don't mean this in any egocentric way, any more than I mean it in such a way when I boast of the inexhaustible creativity of my Dreamer, the original Fertile Egghead.

Rather, I mean it in a more impersonal and general way, just the very fact of generating meaningful novelty, which is something for which Darwinism (or any other reductionistic scheme) cannot account, and which places us at the leading fringe of cosmic evolution -- if by evolution we mean the unfolding of new and unprecedented developments, for I am quite sure this completely unplanned post has never occurred before and will never occur again.

Although I am a psychologist by trade, for a long time I've been alienated from the discipline, because it deals with a Man I don't recognize, and to whom I don't relate. I don't even remember how it happened, but over the weekend I stumbled upon some old books -- or they me -- which I hadn't looked at since I was in graduate school, and even then didn't finish reading. Nor, clearly, did I understand the implications, as indicated by what I highlighted then as opposed to what I highlighted over the weekend. Different Bob, different concerns.

My present concerns are entirely wrapped up in the freedom-creativity-individuality triad we've been paddling in ever since we ventured down this Hartshorne-Berdyaev stream. I am now more convinced than ever that Freedom is Of the Essence, the transcendental of transcendentals, although inconceivable in the absence of the others; for individualism is freedom creatively lived, just as creativity is an expression of the free individual.

That being the case, we need a psychology that reflects this reality, not a psychology that reduces us to, say, selfish genes, or blind instincts, or social adaptation, or creatures of the State, or anything less than the fullest articulation of our creative freedom.

The first book that fell into my lap this weekend was this well known blockbuster (ranked #4,464,231 on amazon), Separation, Will, and Creativity, by the psychoanalyst Esther Menaker. In it I discovered a psychology that is entirely consistent with the Raccoon Way, albeit missing the explicitly spiritual element (since psychoanalysis, like the science it attempts to ape, is an a priori secular enterprise).

I'm a little surprised I didn't steal some of this for my own SIGNED COPIES!, but perhaps this is because I was more focused on the mystical than the creative element, even though the latter is implicitly there.

Long story short, Esther Menaker was a disciple of the dissident psychoanalyst Otto Rank, who started out as Sigmund Freud's young BFF -- the Heir Apparent -- but who had a falling out with the Master as a result of having the temerity to nurture his own ideas. And his biggest idea revolves around Creativity, which really has no place in Freud's metapsychology, since the latter is firmly rooted in a scientistic metaphysic in which the present is reducible to the past. You know, blame your mother, blah blah yada yada.

Thus, for Freud, creativity might be interpreted as, I don't know, symbolically playing with one's own feces, or exposing oneself, or masturbation. And before you laugh at Freud, I advise you to tour a contemporary museum, read a contemporary novel, or turn on the television. Indeed, you have to really search to not find the feces.

Which leads to the question: why all the feces? Now that I think about it, could it be because our psychological models are full of shit? Yes, no doubt. However, I don't want to pursue that particular line of thought at the moment. Back to Menaker.

That title: Separation. Will. Creativity. These three are linked in surprising ways, for without "will," we cannot separate from the maternal matrix, but if the separation is only accomplished via will (i.e., the oppositionalism of the two year-old), then there is no creativity.

No. I mean Yes. Our separation has a purpose, which is the creative discovery and elaboration of our unique individuality. And clearly "unique" and "creative" are essentially synonymous terms, humanly speaking. To become an individual is to be unique.

But in reality, we now know, thanks to science, that we are absolutely unique from the moment of conception. So, er, why are all these human robots the same?

Good question! It really gets to the heart of how we ought to think of psychopathology in this new model of creative freedom as normative. For, as expressed in the Raccoon Companion of Bombastic Adages, if you're not eccentric, you're wrong.

Because of the ban on Religion, Menaker comes right to the threshold of Raccoon orthoparadoxy, without being able to cross it. Example?

"The will... is a representative of the life force: a force expressive of the creative principle in the universe." "Life force?" "Creative principle?" What unnecessary mystagogy!

"For Rank, two principles were operative in the universe: the causal and the creative." Okay. Agreed. But can the latter be reduced to the former? Of course not. That leaves us with the Creative. Where did that come from?

C'mon now. Think. Don't just assume, so as to fit it into your uncreative preconceptions.

Let's go back to the beginning: "Without difference," writes Menaker, "there would be no individual will and no creative expression." Ah ha. Difference. What is difference then, and why is it here? In other words, why should there be anything other than oneness?

Well, we could say that there is nothing but oneness prior to the appearance of man. I mean, right? For what is man but the realization of difference, of separation from the source?

You might even say that "man" and "consciousness of separation" co-arise -- which, I believe, goes to Genesis 3, which clearly and unambiguously relates separateness to self-awareness, the former being the price of the latter -- at least until a novel restoration is achieved.

Well, that's about all the time we have today. To be continued...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Truth Served Here

I can't tell if this post is difficult because the subject is difficult or because my brain is just being difficult. Nevertheless, here it it. If nothing else, it demonstrates why this blog will always have an upper limit of popularity.

I am in 100% agreement with Berdyaev in his assertion that "Truth is revealed only by the creative activity of the spirit; outside this, truth is incomprehensible and unattainable." Here again, this goes to the freedom without which truth cannot be known. So, in freedom we discover the truth that truth may only be discovered in freedom.

The bottom line is that freedom, truth, and creativity are all bound together, to such an extent that they are really three sides of the same object. What could be this higher object? Person, perhaps? Well, for Berdyaev, "I am the Truth" equates to "The Absolute Man is Truth," so we seem to be sniffing around in the same attractor.

Or, if we reverse imagineer Person, what do we discover? Freedom. Creativity. Truth. What else? Love, which is free and creative goodness; beauty, which is the truth of creativity; virtue, which is the beauty of freedom.

These seem to be the biggies. There is also courage, which is fighting for what is good and true; prudence, which is the balanced consideration and application of all these general factors in particular situations; and justice, which, according to my son, means treating others the same way they mess with you.

What about personal failure, i.e., the failure to become a proper person? What are these assouls missing? Well, let's see, it depends. There is Harry Reid, who is soulless; Nancy Pelosi, who is brainless; Barack Obama, who is ruthless; the media-academic complex, which is truthless; the politico-cultural left, which is freedomless; etc.

Each of these testifies to a "social accumulation of lies which have been made into social norms," and to sub-persons who "consider falsehood more useful than truth." Indeed, falsehood is always useful, even pragmatic, whereas the highest truths are completely useless to the depraved worldlings who worship power instead of truth. Their falsehood is "holy duty" for the sake of some higher purpose revealed only to them, e.g., socialized medicine.

In contrast to these fractured fairytools, "Truth, the one integral truth, is God, and to perceive Truth, is to enter divine life."

And "truth serves no one and nothing." Rather, "we must serve truth" (Berdyaev, emphasis mine).

Now, here is a subtle point: can truth be "proved?" Yes and no. The answer is "no" if by proof we mean by using only the tools of the tenured, because such tools are ultimately tautologous.

In reality, the world is an open system, so nothing within the world can possibly contain the world in its own truth. Thus, according to Berdyaev, what is called "proof" may well be "an obstacle of necessity encountered in the way of knowing the truth," for "every proof rests in the unproven."

For this reason, "Creative philosophy must free itself from the tempting power of proof, must fulfill the act of renouncing this safe adaptation to necessity." The operative word there is creative philosophy, for there can be no end to creativity, even while it must be oriented to a truth that can never be attained, i.e., proved.

Rather, it seems that truth must be assumed, or better, lived, in free creativity. To simply "prove" it in the mundane way would be an end of the adventure, would it not? After all, no one spends their life in search of a truth already proved.

Indeed, that word: "proved." It is in the past tense. But what if truth is in the future, or vertically above? In that case it can never be proved, if only because of the temporal structure of reality. You could say that to prove it would spell the end of time. In other words, if there were a fully attainable timeless truth, it would deny the distinct -- and humanly vital -- differences between past, present, and future.

In the closed world of scientistic proof, truths are necessary truths, and therefore undermine creativity, i.e, truth lived. This kind of truth is adaptation to the world, whereas the very different truth we are advocating involves adaptation to... to what?

We can't say what, because to say it would be to contain it in language, which is the one thing we cannot do, on pain of neutralizing it. Which is why we use the placeholder O to accumulate the truth-meaning which never stops. I hope. Its most important feature is the hole in the middle, which, thankfully, is always half empty. If it weren't, I would have nothing left to say with this big shovel.

"In philosophy, what had been proved would not be creative knowledge: it would only be adaptation." This latter type of proof "lies always in the middle, neither at the beginning nor at the end, and hence there can be no proof of initial or final truths."

Except perhaps in the appearance of the first and last, Absolute Man, i.e., Alpha and Omega. Thus, "The reason why Jesus did not reply to Pilate's question, 'What is truth?,' is related to this. He was Truth, but Truth which is to be divined and discovered through the whole course of history."

"There is no criterion of truth outside the witness of truth itself, and it is wrong to seek absolute guarantees, which always demean the truth. Such is the consciousness of man, at the borderline between two worlds."

And in this confined area, "pure truth" would "burst the world apart" (Berdyaev).

Thursday, December 19, 2013

On the Virtue of Moderate Vice

Not much time again this morning, so I suppose we can complete our list of top ten favorite releases of 2013.

Nah, I'd just ignore this post, which is both substandard and self-indulgent. See you tomorrow!

You will have noticed that I like to collect box sets. Why is this? Because I am the ideal sucker identified by Big Music back in the early '90s, when the music industry started to go south. At the same time, it dawned on them that they made more money from their back catalogs than from new product, and with the conversion to CD, it was an opportunity to re-sell everything to aging boomers -- precisely the demographic that regarded music as a substitute religion and albums as a kind of sacred object.

They know my weakness. They know that I could never be satisfied with just having my music on my computer or in the cloud, whatever that is. Rather, I must have the physical object. It's the same way with books, of course, but there's a good reason for that, since my books are my files, what with all the gnotes and thoughtlets contained therein

Have I ever recovered from this curious illness of my youth? No. However, I place it under the heading of "moderate vice." That's a phrase Dennis Prager uses to describe the legitimate human need to let off steam, or waste one's time, or be selfish, or engage in stupid or indulgent things.

If we try to be perfect, we will of course fail, or just get frustrated, or feel guilty. But we can't just stop trying, and give ourselves over to the dark side. Therefore, Prager advocates moderate vice as a way to manage our subrational impulses. In his case, I know he spends a queer amount of time at the camera store, ogling the products. And he too spends too much money on music and audio equipment.

But in my case, I actually sell quite a few things on amazon -- either that or trade them in for credit at Amoeba, my favorite record store, which reduces the guilt. But sometimes I just can't stop myself, especially when I see a Fantastic Bargain.

Example: I've had a particular item in my shopping cart for months, hoping the price would come down. It was a 10 CD box set of Jerry Lee Lewis from the legendary Bear Family Records in Germany, renowned for its loving reissues of CosmoAmerican music. The list price is like $250, but someone was selling one for close to $100. So, how was I supposed to resist? Even so, Mrs. G. doesn't need to know about this, okay?

For those of you who only know Jerry Lee from the handful of hits in the 1950s, you don't know Jerry Lee, for in latter half of the '60s and into the '70s, he became the finest interpreter of country music ever. Some people think it was George Jones, but he just doesn't do much for me. Too hick sounding. To my ears, Jerry Lee is the Sinatra of country music, so inimitable is his phrasing. He is such a stylist that he can inhabit any song and make it his own -- even signature songs of others, for example, Me & Bobby McGee, or even Somewhere Over the Rainbow (he sings it with such weariness and resignation).

Jerry Lee is without question one of a handful of touchstones of CosmoAmericana, others being, for example, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Dylan, Brian Wilson, Aretha, Sinatra, James Brown -- people who stand so far above the crowd, that they are consistently coming from some transcendental place. You know, where the soul of man never dies.

Hmm. Rather than the best releases this year, how about the best Cosmo-American releases ever -- the ones that would be the foundation of any comprehensive collection?

How about this four CD collection of Aretha's legendary Atlantic recordings, Queen of Soul. It is just insanely great, and I envy the person hearing her for the first time. Lots of chills & tingles.

Or how about Ray Charles' seminal Atlantic recordings, The Birth of Soul? Again, it's coming from some other place, either beyond music or the source of music. Neither he nor Aretha ever reached this pinnacle after leaving Atlantic.

James Brown? Best place to begin is no doubt Star Time, although I ended up trading that one in and collecting the complete singles, at least up to volume seven. That's 14 discs, and still only scratches the surface of his output.

Well, out of time. Maybe I'll continue this at a later date, if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Natural Evolution vs. Supernatural Revolution

This post brings up a self-important point, one where I differ from the so-called "evolutionist," "integralist," "evolutionary enlightenment" type thinkers (although I once would have counted myself among their number).

These folks think of our humanness as a sort of inevitable development in an evolutionary chain that extends not only back to the dawn of life, but to the origins of the cosmos itself. It has been most thoroughly explicated by Ken Wilber, probably most comprehensively in his weirdly titled Sex, Ecology, Spirituality. I read it back when it came out in 1995, and it may even have had a hand in inspiraling me to come up with my own "comprehensive paradigm," so to speak.

No, I would say it definitely did, since Wilber was pretty much the only guy, or at least the most famous, who was attempting this sort of total synthesis of science, religion, philosophy, psychology, and everything else. However, once I plunged more deeply into the primary literature, it led me in different directions that are still being worked out, one post at a time, here in blogsville.

The above three paragraphs were provoked by a statement by Berdyaev, to the effect that human consciousness is a revolutionary development "which cannot be arrived at by means of either logic or evolution." This revolution is outside and beyond the boundaries of all science and all philosophy, for it represents a radical discontinuity with all that has come before.

Yes, there are continuities, obviously; but in its essence, human consciousness is absolutely unlike anything else in all of creation. Evolution doesn't really have room for true creative novelty, since its apparent novelty is just an illusory result of random accidents, not any conscious intent.

Furthermore, evolution does not, and cannot, confer meaning on existence. Rather, it is only humans who decipher meaning in an evolutionary process that cannot account for it. Humanly speaking, there can be nothing "higher" than the love of truth. It is not as if we will "evolve" beyond such love; rather, one can only progress backward, as in deconstruction, multiculturalism, leftism, etc.

The only thing we can really compare ourselves to is God, for only God could have such godlike faculties. Certainly animals don't, no matter how hard sociobiologists try to straighten the squeer.

In short, the gap between man and animal is infinite, which is one of the things that gives rise to an intuition of the infinite (no animal contemplates the infinite). Likewise, the distinction between truth and untruth is absolute, which testifies to our conformity to the Absolute.

Wilber posits a kind of implicate cosmic ladder upon which existence ascends on its way back to being. He wouldn't put it that way, but one of his main principles is that evolution is ontologically preceded by involution, so evolution is essentially a recovery of what is implicate in existence.

This is too neat, too linear, too rationalistic for my taste. It especially overlooks the role of freedom and of creativity, each of which is the very essence of nonlinearity, and irreducible to anything else.

In fact, it can be said that discontinuity as such is a function of freedom and creativity, which are after all the opposite of determinism and reductionism. No great work of art can be predicted by its antecedents or reduced to its particulars. Rather, it is an entirely new Cosmic Fact, not any kind of predictable evolutionary advance.

So, "Man's creative act is accomplished on a plane of being over which the competence of science does not extend..." And "only he who is free, creates," just as creativity is one of the highest expressions of freedom lived. For "true creativity is theurgy, God-activity, activity together with God." It is a reflection of the original "creation from nothing" that characterizes God's own creativity:

"Creativity is the supreme mystery of life, the mystery of the appearance of something new, hitherto unknown, derived from nothing, proceeding from nothing, born of nothing other.... Man's creation of something from nothing must be understood as his creativity out of freedom" (Berdyaev) -- again implying that freedom is "nothing" until it meets with the creative response. Thus, in the end, we can truly say that the human world is "made of nothing," otherwise we would be like animals, who essentially have only preprogrammed responses to environmental stimuli.

Man can continue to be "creative" in the absence of God, but this eventually fades with distance from the animating divine principle. Thus, "When natural man creates, not for God but for himself, he creates non-being." This would also be the other kind of "nothingness" of the existentialists, i.e., radical non-determination in the absence of any orienting telos.

At its extreme, this approach attempts to make man into a god, e.g., as in Nietzsche, or Nazism, or certain New Age trends. "But once you have denied God and deified man, man falls to a level lower than the human, since man remains at the height of dignity only as image and likeness of a higher divine being; he is true only when he has sonship with God."

So there is a radical discontinuity with nature, a discontinuity that places us precisely "nowhere" in the absence of the continuity, or lineage, of divine sonship. In other words, either we are a relative of the absolute, or else existential orphans pleading for mercy on the grounds that we have killed God.

We must note the distinction between evolution and progress. Evolution is a naturalistic category, while progress is a spiritual category: it predicates evaluation from a viewpoint of a higher principle than the natural process of change. The idea of progress is of [Judeo-]Christian origin... --Berdyaev

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Barack Obama in Hell

They just can't help it. Demonize anyone to the right of Marx, that is. I'm speaking of this new free verse translation of Dante's inferno, by Mary Jo Bang, in which she uses familiar terms, contemporary references, urban slang, and other colloquialisms in order to render the text more relevant and comprehensible to modern ears. Bueno. Much of it works very well.

In fact, I had the same idea in mind with the Cosmogenesis and Cosmobliteration sections of the book. In particular, there are a number of musical references packed in there, and at least one of them -- John Coltrane's A Love Supreme -- is referenced in the Inferno as well. Bang puts it in Canto I, where it reads

It was daybreak, the sun was rising with the stars / That were with it when the first clock started -- The spring wound by the hand of a love supreme

In the Coonifesto, we read Spiraling outside in, past the viaduct of dreams, the seventh trumpet dissolving in shee-its! of sound, One Living Being, Life of All, A Love Supreme, take the coltrain to the old grooveyard...

No, I'm no Dante, but I do have a noetic license, so there is also a reference there to the book of Revelation, to Van Morrison's Astral Weeks ("viaduct of dreams") and to Coltrane's early saxophone style (called by one reviewer "sheets of sound").

For that matter, the Coonifesto has a reference to the Poet himself on pp. 253-254, with "the Love that removes the sin and other scars (speaking allegheirically)." This is a play on the last line of the Divine Comedy ("the Love that moves the sun and other stars") and on Dante's full name (Alighieri).

By the way, why did he call it a comedy? Because our Florentine pneumanaut starts off in some deep shit and ends in happiness -- whereas in tragedy it is the other way around. And ultimately, like Finnegans Wake, it is meant to be about all of us, in all times and all places. For example, in Canto XVI, our Unknown Friend says By this Comedy, / If it ever makes its way into the world, I swear to you, / Reader -- my alias, my twin...

So anyway, things are going pretty well in hell until we reach the 21st Canto -- the seventh circle, close to the bottom -- where we meet a variety of human monsters such as the mass murdering Killer Clown John Wayne Gacy; the sadistic wife of a Nazi concentration camp commandant; Gestapo captain Klaus Barbie; former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi; genocidal Serbian commander Dragon Nikolić; a sadistic female Nazi concentration camp warden; and, of course, "crazy Rummy," AKA Donald Rumsfeld.


Does this not demonstrate how a tenured tool may spend her entire life immersed in a text, and yet, miss the whole point? What kind of moral retard confuses an American Secretary of Defense with mass murderers and genocidal Nazis?

Wrong question. What kind of morally stunted ovary tower hackademic doesn't?

She also missed a number of divinely golden comedic opportunities, for example, in circle five, which houses the "lifelong angry," where "Mud-covered souls gnaw at one another the way fury once gnawed them from inside out." Why not just say MSNBC? (Hey, the acronym even works: Mudcovered Souls @ NBC.)

In the same circle are the "sad-faced pouters, who never had a good word or a pleasant thought to offer." Why not just say feminists? That way she could say something both funny and true! But then she wouldn't be a feminist...

But where she really misses an opportunity is in circle eight, which is even lower than Rumsfeld's nasty home. It "is divided into ten concentric crevices, each for a type of fraud distinctly punished in a manner that befits it."

Fraud... fraud... What would be a possible contemporary reference to really serious and hellworthy fraud? It would have to be big, like the most massive fraud ever perpetrated on the American people. Hmm... thinking. Maybe Mitt Romney pretending not to be a mass murderer?

Down in the eighth circle we meet Geryon, "an image of fraud with the face of an affable man, but whose body is pure serpent."

An affable man... but pure serpent... hmm... Maybe a politician. Can't be a conservative though, since no conservatives are affable. Rather, they're all mean and hateful, so that won't work.

As we make our descent, we "see how plastic fraud is as it assumes many forms." Maybe it would help if we define fraud:

"A false representation of a matter of fact -- whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed -- that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury."

So, lying and concealing in order to sell us something we wouldn't want if the truth were known.

I've got it! All the Democrats who voted to authorize the war in Iraq? Nah, most Republicans voted for that as well...

As we make our way toward circle nine, "fraud and violence merge," and we see "what happens when might marries a monster."

Let's see... the state supposedly has a monopoly on the use of legitimate violence. But what if fraud was used in order to gain this monopoly, and the violence is deployed in order to enforce the fraud?

I've got it: Fox News, which has such a monopoly over the competition! Except for the fraud and violence, it's a perfect fit. And it will get big laughs in the faculty lounge.

... every wrong that Heaven hates is / In the end, an injustice. Each injustice injures / Someone -- either by violence, or else through fraud.

Since fraud is an evil unique to humankind / God hates it all the more. Therefore, / Schemers are farther down, so suffer greater pain. --translation by Bang

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Four Dimensions of Freedom

We've been having a lively discussion on the question of free will vs. predetermination. It seems to me that there are four different perspectives on this, two religious and two secular. Therefore, depending upon where one comes down on it, a religious person might have more in common with a secular person, and vice versa.

For example, it is not just certain religious believers who affirm predetermination, but certain scientistic materialists as well. Since free will is incomprehensible in any materialistic scheme, materialists will go to absurd lengths to try to convince themselves it doesn't exist. For example, a while back -- can't find the link -- we highlighted a physicist who argues that everything was preprogrammed into the big bang. Why not? If one is going to embrace an absurdity, might as well go all in.

At the other end we have the religious and secular believers in freedom as an ultimate category. The latter are generally known as existentialists, in that they believe our existence is entirely shaped by our freedom. There is no word for religious believers in freedom. I want to say "Christians," but let's not be snarky. If I am not mistaken, Kierkegaard might be regarded as the first self-conscious Christian existentialist; in fact, wikipedia says he was the first existentialist, full stop.

That would be ironic, if anti-religious assouls such as Sartre could trace their grubby lineage right back to Christianity! For again, what other religion (or let us say "religious stream," so as to include Judaism) posits freedom as an absolute value?

I think, however, that one could argue for Pascal as the first. For example, this has a very existential ring to it:

"For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed."

And why did Pascal appear when he did, in the 17th century? Because this is precisely when man was becoming increasingly aware of the problem of freedom -- since he didn't have much of it prior to modernity -- and how it seemed to create a "distance" or space between man and God.

As it so happens, I've had this battered copy of Christian Existentialism for so long, that I purchased it back when I more or less considered myself an atheist/existentialist. So, how did I find out about Berdyaev? No doubt via Ken Wilber. What does Wilber say about him? I don't know. Let's find out.

In Up From Eden (1981), he has a quote from Berdyaev on the nature of freedom vis-a-vis paradise:

"Not everything was revealed to man in paradise, and ignorance was the condition of life in it. It was the realm of the unconscious."

How does this line up with tradition? Unfortunately, most of my books are stored away again while the remodel marches limps on, so I can't access most of my Jewish sources. However, there is this, from Rabbi Telushkin, which is very mainstream, with no added esoterism:

"Yet, as good as it was, creation was still unfinished. The Rabbis of the Talmud deduced from God's ceasing to create that it is humankind's mission to serve as God's partner in finishing His creation and perfecting the world." And "The prevailing attitude among Jewish scholars is that people sin as Adam and Eve sinned, not because they sinned." In other words, freedom -- in particular, to distinguish good from evil -- is preserved.

I'm also looking at John Paul II's Man and Woman He Created Them, but there is waaaaay too much to summarize. Well, this: with the injunction about the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Genesis introduces the subject of free will and self-determination, whereby man becomes a "partner of the Absolute."

Back to Wilber, who further quotes Berdyaev: "Man's freedom was not as yet unfolded, it had not expressed itself... Man rejected the bliss... of Eden and chose the pain and tragedy of cosmic life in order to explore his destiny to its inmost depths. This was the birth of consciousness with its painful dividedness" (ellipses his).

So, the Fall cuts both ways, with a loss and gain. But there is no way to regain what was lost by going backward -- which again distinguishes the Judeo-Christian stream from all other religions and philosophies of antiquity. There's no putting the truthpaste back in the rube.

Now back to Christian Existentialism. Here again is where things get controversial, for Berdyaev writes that "At the end of the Christian path there dawns the consciousness that God expects from man such a revelation of freedom as will contain even what God Himself has not foreseen.

"God justifies the mystery of freedom, having by His might and power set a limit to his own foreseeing," since "such foreknowledge would have done violence to and limited man's freedom in creation. The Creator does not wish to know what the anthropological revelation will be."

Now seriously folks, who in his right mind would?

Me, I like this angle because it gets God off the hook for foreseeing the unspeakable evil in his creation and going with it anyway. For one thing, what if evil is a kind of "non-being?" If so, how can being know non-being? How also can the absolute good know absolute evil, for this implies the presence of evil in God (for only like can know like)?

In any event, "a determined freedom is no freedom at all." And a determined evil is absolute and eternal evil.

The Creator's idea of man is sublime and beautiful. So sublime and so beautiful is the divine idea of man that creative freedom, the free power to reveal himself in creative action, is placed within man as a seal and sign of his likeness to God, as a mark of the Creator's image....

Christ would not have been God-man if human nature is merely passive, unfree, and reveals nothing from within itself.... Man's likeness to God in His Only Son is already the everlasting basis for man's independent and free nature, capable of creative revelation...

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Will to Deny Free Will and the Intelligence to Deny Intellect

Among yesterday's comments is one from a predestineer, a position I admittedly find metaphysically absurd and logically impossible.

That being the case, it can only be defended based upon selecting certain biblical passages and interpreting them in such a way that they not only contradict the overall thrust of scripture -- i.e., man as moral agent -- but also contradict the very people who put the book together.

The compilers would have been quite surprised to learn that they were promoting a doctrine that denies free will. Among other inconveniences, denial of free will renders life utterly meaningless, as meaningless as the world of pure chaos from which religion is here to rescue us.

To put it another way, absolute order and absolute chaos are both absolutely meaningless. Besides, no sane human being actually behaves as if he has no free will, for it is an impossible doctrine. Might as well pretend the world is just an extension of one's own imagination.

(By the way, the purpose of this post is not to argue with anyone, for such arguments are pointless, being that if someone believes in predestination, it is not because it is rational, but because he prefers to or is destined to, i.e., it is rooted in will, not intellect. So this is for my own clarification. No offense intended.)

The Catholic Catechism puts it about as clearly as possible, saying that "God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions." This is "so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him." I mean, if we aren't free, then Jesus's instruction to evangelize is pointless.

St. Irenaeus, a disciple of John and one of the earliest theologians on record, wrote that "Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts."

I suppose this common sense (to us) position had to be spelled out, because it was in direct contrast to the pagan view, which was indeed that man has no free will, but is a prisoner of fate and a plaything of the gods.

Christianity was unique -- along with Judaism, of course -- in promulgating this novel doctrine of human freedom and therefore dignity. One can draw a straight crooked line from those early pneumanauts to RIGHT HERE and NOW, where you and I are exercising our precious freedom. (Most of us, anyway; my site meter indicates we have readers in a number of unfree locales from outside the Judeo-Christian stream, yesterday, for example, Tunisia, Viet Nam, and Manhattan.)

Here again, the Catechism is quite lucid in defining the meaning of freedom, with hardly a wasted word: "Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own responsibility. By free will one shapes one's own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude."

And "the right to the exercise of freedom... is an inalienable requirement to the dignity of the human person. This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority," Obama and illiberal leftism notwithstanding.

This is precisely what we were saying yesterday vis-a-vis the "three freedoms," i.e., horizontal <--> vertical <--> divine. And because we have free will, we inevitably fail to exercise it properly, hence the reality of sin. Among other things, predestination renders sin impossible because it fails to posit man as moral agent.

Rather, as the presaved commenter put it yesterday, only "the originals," i.e., Adam and Eve, had the freedom to choose God, and since they chose unwisely, we are all subject to the same punishment, and no longer free to so choose. It was a one-time-only offer, and they blew it for everyone.

I can't stand any presentation of religion that makes it look foolish and provides ammunition for postmodern sophisticates to ridicule and reject it. In my opinion this falls under the heading of taking the name of the lord in vain, which is a quite serious offense. After all, it blocks the path to salvation.

In concretizing the parable in this manner, its true meaning is lost. In other words, in making it about a historical "Adam and Eve," it is no longer about us, except indirectly, via hereditary collective punishment.

But if the parable is about us, then it goes directly to the misuse of our own freedom, here and now. According to tradition, "The grace of Christ is not in the slightest way a rival of our freedom when this freedom accords with the sense of the true and the good that God has put in the human heart."

While looking up another passage, I found this one from Schuon, that man "alone among terrestrial creatures is free to go against his own nature," hence the possibility of such intrinsic deviations as homosexual marriage and the like. Interestingly, he does not situate this liberty in the prelapsarian phase, but rather, only as a consequence of the fall, which "separates [man] first of all from that immanent Revelation which is Intellection."

In other words, the fall ushers us into a kind of meaningless horizontal freedom, no longer oriented to the divine attractor. Thus, "in God and through Him, man can be reunited with pure Liberty; only in God are we absolutely free" (ibid.).

Conversely, man "possesses the paradoxical freedom to wish in his turn to make himself God..." Ironic that this is precisely what predestination does, that is, turn man into God, since his self-styled "destiny" is indistinguishable from God's will.

This follows from an Intelligence Fail -- i.e., from a Major Malfunction in the use of our most precious gift -- in that "Intelligence separated from its supra-individual source is accompanied ipso facto by that lack of sense of proportions termed pride" (ibid.). Hence the irritating smugness of the Already Saved.

At the other end is the scientistic pride that "prevents intelligence become rationalism from rising to its source," here again elevating man to God. Numberless are the ways, both religious and secular, to "prove the absurd."

The final, ultimate freedom, the daring of freedom and the burden of freedom, is the virtue of religious maturity. To arrive at religious maturity means to know final freedom.... He who is not free, the slave, cannot enter the Kingdom of God: he is not a son of God; he is subject to lower spheres. --Berdyaev

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Support Your Volunteer Spiritual Fire Department

Global warming. This has been the coldest December in memory. At night I have to put blankets around some of the plants to spare them death by frost. But the darkest moment is before the dawn, thus the felicitous convergence of the winter solstice, Christmas, and Little League sign-ups.

Can't tell you how much I love Little League. I've met so many good people and cool dads. I think you can measure the deterioration of culture based upon the eclipse of baseball and the ascendence of football and basketball as national pastimes. And let's not even talk about soccer. But let us never again elect a man president who prefers basketball to baseball.

There are two seasons a year, spring and fall (for spring we start practicing in early February). This will be our seventh. I always assistant coach. Why not head coach? Because not all the parents are cool, and -- hate to say it, but I really dislike some of the kids. There are always at least a couple of kids that are not just devoid of positive qualities, but really annoying, and every once in awhile I can't help letting slip a snarky comment, especially to the ones who don't even try.

I get the sense that some of these kids have never heard honest criticism in their lives, which is not a recipe for self-esteem, but for Obama-level cluelessness -- for confusing legislative strikeouts with signature achievement grand slams. They are in urgent need of more snark, but I really don't want to be investigated by Child Protective Services.

A lot of the dads help out, and you can go a whole season without ever knowing what another dad does for a living. That's good: between the lines, all men are equal. But sometimes it comes out that I'm a "psychologist," which never generates a neutral response. Often the reaction is a quick widening of the eyes accompanied by a slightly higher pitched "oh!" -- like you're special, but in a way that isn't necessarily good or bad, just... different. I'm trying to think of other professions that might generate this ambivalent reaction... mortician?

I would prefer to say I'm a writer, but then they'll ask what you've published, and you have to specify that you're not the kind of writer who gets "paid" for it. Then they might ask what you write about, and then they put two and two together and start thinking you're crazy. Not sure if I want this guy around my kid. Tell me again what you write about?

I guess what I really want to say is that I'm just a humble philosopher, a lover of wisdom and seeker after truth. That's it: I'm a member of the local volunteer philosophy department. Like the volunteer fire department, except we try to start fires.

So, what sort of fire shall we set this morning? Well, let's see. We've been talking about freedom and necessity, each of which has a positive and negative side. With regard to freedom, there is the existential nothingness we have in the absence of God, alongside the fullness we assimilate in pursuit of transcendent truth.

For Berdyaev, this is "a world-problem which finds a solution only in the coming of Christ." For only Christ "finds a way out of the tragedy of freedom," and "eliminates the conflict between freedom and necessity." How? By descending "into 'nothingness,' that is, into primordial freedom." In so doing, he "extracts the poison from freedom, without destroying freedom itself.... In Christ is a third freedom revealed, which comprehends the other two."

Contrast this with, say, Islam, which attempts, through sharia, to extract the poison from freedom by eliminating it altogether; or Buddhism, which attempts to solve the problem of freedom by extinguishing the desire through which it manifests. And the dominant religion of contemporary liberalism attempts to solve the problem by pretending it isn't one, which quickly devolves to nihilism and even soccer.


Okay, "The truth of Christ, which makes us free, does not force or compel anyone; it is not like the truths of this world which forcibly organize spirit and deprive it of freedom." For example, there is no freedom, no wiggle room, in math. Rather, a mathematical answer is necessarily entailed in the terms of its equation.

But if religious truth is not necessary, this must mean that faith is a mode of freedom. Again, if we are compelled to believe in God, then that is necessity, not freedom. How to preserve our freedom and yet still accept God? It seems that the only way is via the free exercise of faith, for anything less situates us in the kingdom of necessity.

So, "the light of Christ enlightens the irrational darkness of freedom, without limiting it from without." In my opinion, one could invert the terms of this statement and affirm that the sophsame Light that enlightens our freedom is simply Christ by another name. But in any event, "Redemption is the deliverance of man's freedom from the evil which destroys it, deliverance not by means of necessity or compulsion, but by grace."

There is another subtle point: that grace cannot be necessity. Rather, it must always be mingled with freedom: "Man freely accepts or refuses grace, but grace does not force him." It acts "within human freedom itself." So grace and faith are complementary modes of freedom.

And it isn't just liberals who deny real freedom, for "if grace acts upon man without any participation of man's freedom, we get to the doctrine of predestination." So there is slacklessness at either extreme.

But through Christ, freedom is "inwardly joined with grace." For obvious reasons, I like to symbolize this double movement (↓↑). Less obvious is the fact that this is a unity of two freedoms -- like a marriage of love.

"Grace acts as a third freedom, the freedom of a heavenly, spiritual humanness." And "He truly loves freedom who affirms it for his fellows" -- which automatically excludes the punitarian liberals with which my surreality-based community is crawling. For "there is always the danger that in the name of freedom, men will begin to deny it" (Berdyaev).

Saaaay, just what kind of philosophy do you profess, coach?

Er, the philosophy the Almighty and me works out betwixt us.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gifts for the Music Fan for Whom Everything isn't Enough

It was my turn to take the boy to school this morning, so no time for the usual championing of the bobvious. Instead, part 2 of our favorite releases of 2013, including a gem that just came out a couple weeks ago, Tower of Power live in the studio in 1974. If you don't know Tower of Power, then brother, you don't know funk.

Being that the group was founded by a couple of white guys (I guess one was a White Hispanic), this makes Tower of Power easily the funkiest group of pallor in history. Actually, the group was an integrated ensemble, particularly renowned for its five-man horn section (two tenors, one baritone sax, and two trumpets).

These recently discovered tapes catch the band at a peak, and feature the classic lineup, including Lenny Williams on vocals. He is without a doubt one of the great underrated soul singers, not to mention an exciting and charismatic frontman. He eventually left the band in 1975, I believe because he was a clean liver while other members of the band were descending into serious substance abuse. In fact, in the liner notes co-founder Emilio Castillo admits that he was probably high during this performance, but there's no way you could tell, so tight is the band.

There are no samples on amazon, but you can hear some at All Music Guide. Listen for the precise and beautiful blend of horns, but especially Doc Kupka's baritone holding up the bottom, which I believe -- if my white privilege doesn't betray me -- is what pushes the band into its otherworldly cosmic funkmanship (although one cannot ignore the drums, bass, and chicken-scratching guitar, which sound as good as one of James Brown's bands).

I'm sure the Harry Nilsson box will be on many year-end top ten lists. It is a 17 CD collection, including three discs of unreleased prime Harry recorded between 1967 and 1974. (Once again, samples available at AMG.)

If you don't know Harry, the logical place to begin would be this excellent documentary that was released a few years ago, Who is Harry Nilsson? Earlier this year a biography came out, and it too is outstanding. Being that it is published by Oxford University Press, you can see that Nilsson is considered a serious subject.

Nilsson might well have agreed with Captain Beefheart: "yeah, I'm a genius, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it." He was seriously -- and yet cheerfully -- self-destructive, most infamously for destroying his vocal cords while making an album with John Lennon in 1974. His voice was never the same afterwards, but if you accept them for what they are, the later albums contain their charms, and even some classics.

Here's one I haven't even heard yet, but I'm putting it in the top ten anyway, Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective. It's a seven disc collection of the great, ill-fated guitarist, including not just Allman Brothers classics, but many tracks by obscure artists (and not so obscure, e.g., Aretha, Wilson Pickett, Boz Scaggs) recorded when he was the hottest session guitarist in a soul-drenched land of musical plenty. (Samples.)

It was originally released as a limited edition, but the initial run of 10,000 sold out on pre-order. This "encore edition" is missing a few goodies but has all the music, so that's what counts.

Yeah, it's expensive, which is why I'm going to use amazon Visa points to get it. I charge everything I can on my amazon Visa, and then use the points to purchase music, so then I don't feel guilty about my compulsion to hear Everything. Foolproof self-deception.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Politician, Heal Thyself

Better yet, f*ck thyself.

Since freedom is "nothing," perhaps that's why liberals are so bored by it. Classical liberals, of course, define freedom negatively, which is as it should be, i.e., being left alone by nanny state ninnies. But contemporary left liberals define freedom positively, which is not only a metaphysical contradiction, but pretends to increase freedom via coercion, ObamaCare being a prime example.

More importantly, our "healthcare system" was a product of freedom -- of millions of physicians, scientists, and researchers just doing what they do, with no one forcing them to do it, except perhaps their Jewish mothers. Therefore, it wasn't a "system" at all, at least in any top-down, conscious way. Rather, it was a spontaneous organization, at least until about half a century ago, when the government began interfering with healthcare in a big way.

The other day, I was thinking about how I had the same doctor from the day I was born until my early 20s. So I decided to google his name, and see if I could find out anything about him. Here he is: John Abdun-Nur. And here are just some of the things he accomplished with his freedom:

"He was a pre-med student and football player prior to enlisting in the Navy in 1944 where he served his country as a gunnery officer and lieutenant.... During his years as a physician, he delivered over 4,500 babies, each of whom he cherished as a miracle and gift from God [who, me?]. Never hesitant to make a house call or answer an emergency, whether it was at his front door step or the hospital, Dr. John defined compassionate committed medical care."

I can testify to the house calls, because I remember them. However, I wouldn't have known what to make of the "miracle of God" business, since religion was never presented to me in a way that made sense, plus Dr. Abner (which is what I called him) always had a kind of sardonic, deadpan sense of humor that didn't strike one as "religious."

So to read of his appreciation of the miracle of human life kind of blows me away. I'm happy to say my son is more evolved than I was, so he is able to identify the goddity in others -- in teachers, doctors, vets, store clerks, anyone who is an I-Amissary from the Source, a Light in the darkness.

Back to Dr. Abner: "In his distinguished career, Dr. John was Chief of Staff at three local hospitals.... Dr. John was especially committed to working with young people who sustained injuries in sports."

I remember how photos of the USC football team adorned his walls. For some reason, he was in them. Now I know why:

"He also volunteered countless hours as a physician in the 1970's and 1980's to many of USC's athletes and coaches. Dr. John's commitment to young people did not end with medical care but continued over the years as he inspired and advised young athletes and patients to experience the fullness of life." Sounds a little like a community organizer, minus the fraud, sociopathy, and grievance mongering.

"The years he spent developing his medical practice in Tarzana inspired a dream to develop the land around him in his hometown. He wanted to see medicine continue to serve the valley community through the development of a medical center close to the hospital where he worked for so many years" -- which, oddly enough, is where my son was born in 2005. Circle Spiral of life.

There's more, but the bottom line for this man of science was that "With God, family, and country... these are all that one needs." What? What about the federal government?

Not only did he uncharitably leave out the state, but "In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Dr. John's church or a charity he has supported since its inception. The church is an important part of Dr. John's family history. Both his father and father-in-law were original parishioners and generously donated the necessary resources and time to assist in building the church in the 1950's." (Sounds like he was Orthodox.)

I didn't intend this post to go in this direction, but again, consider what one man accomplished with his freedom, freedom which is a gift from God, not from the state. Will ObamaCare create more men like him, or fewer? To even ask the question is to be in urgent need of craniorectal extraction, and ObamaCare doesn't cover those. Rather, the condition is mandatory.

There are two freedoms, divine and diabolic.... the second leads to compulsion and force in truth and good, to forced virtue, i.e. to a denial of freedom of spirit, to a tyrannical organization.... an authoritarian order of life, theocratic or socialistic, where freedom of the spirit and of conscience is destroyed without a trace."

"[The first] is the freedom toward which man moves, the summit and crown of life, the end of all his striving, the freedom which ought to be, which comes from the triumph of the higher elements of life.... Truth gives us the higher freedom. But freedom is needed in the very acceptance of truth. --Berdyaev


(Unrelated note: the signed copies are in the mail -- media mail, to be exact -- so delivery time will depend upon the whims of government agents.)

Monday, December 09, 2013

Freedom in the Kingdom of Necessity

"Freedom," writes Berdyaev, "is not a right, but an obligation." He's wrong about that, because it is a right and an obligation. It's just that liberals forget about the second part.

For if you fail at your obligation to be be free, then you oblige others to take care of you. Thanks to the left, man is born free but everywhere in debt, in that every man, woman, and child owes $190,000 to the federal government. Excluding those who will get off easy by dying, it's more like $400,000, mostly to subsidize people who have shunned their obligation to be free.

At the very least, we need to appreciate that freedom cuts both ways -- that it is something man wants in the abstract, but from which he often recoils when it comes right down to it. Liberals simply exploit this primordial dread of freedom.

This is again where Berdyaev's existentialism comes into play, in that we are "condemned to freedom," so to speak. For Berdyaev, "freedom is a bottomless well." It is an "abyss which preceded being" and which "is rooted in 'nothingness.'"

There is the Kingdom of Necessity and the Kingdom of Slack, and necessity cannot produce slack. Here again, this is why liberal schemes such as ObamaCare always fail, since they try to generate slack out of necessity: no, you won't be able to keep your insurance, you won't be able to keep your doctor, and you won't save $2,500 a year. The left simply sells necessity with meretricious promises of boundless slack. But the slack never comes. Just ask all the luckless blacks who imagined they'd get some slack back by voting Barack.

Again, the idea of freedom existing outside, beyond, or before Being is a controversial one, but for reasons I cannot fully put into words, resonates deeply in me. Therefore, since I cannot englishen it, it is an Optional Orthoparadox for members of our tribe.

Here is my best attempt at an explanation. I've always had this notion that God must have a portion of himself that is unknown even to God. It follows from the principle that man is in the image of the Creator, which, if true, means that our best shot at understanding God comes by way of analogy to man (up to a point, of course).

This, for example, is why I am convinced -- even setting revelation aside -- that God is a Three-in-One, or Whole-in-Three, since man too is an intersubjective unity right down to the ground. There can be no such thing as an isolated human monad. It is literally unthinkable, thinking being a dynamic relation between thinker, thought, and truth.

Likewise, because of my psychoanalytic training, I can't help thinking of man's consciousness as being the result of a conscious/unconscious dialectic. There can be no such thing as a "fully conscious" man, since there can be no conscious without the unconscious. The problem here is the word "unconscious," since there is nothing un- about the consciousness of the unconscious.

Rather -- and this understates the matter -- the unconscious shadows our existence in a most intimate, creative, and mysterious way. Far from being (in the words of James Grotstein) “primitive and impersonal” (although it surely includes primitive “lower vertical” elements as well), it is “subjective and ultra-personal,” a “mystical, preternatural, numinous second self” characterized by “a loftiness, sophistication, versatility, profundity, virtuosity, and brilliance that utterly dwarf the conscious aspects of the ego.”

This very much reminds me of this book I read over the weekend on the history of genius, Divine Fury. First of all, what is genius? No one knows, least of all the genius. So, where does extreme creativity and originality come from? No one knows. This book chronicles the attempts over the centuries to explain it, but all explanations fail in the face of -- take your pick: the Pieta? Beethoven's late quartets? The collected works of James Brown? You might say it will take a genius to explain genius. But then who will explain him?

Since this kind of extreme creativity cannot be explained or predicted in principle, it must mean that it is the result of an encounter with the great Nothingness that lies outside necessity. Therefore, all the education in the world -- which is from the land of necessity -- won't necessarily make one a creative individual. The creativity comes from somewhere else. It is an independent variable, but obviously somehow tied up with freedom.

Which again leads back to God. Remember, prior to the Judeo-Christian tradition, God wasn't thought of as the creator of the cosmos, of everything, both high and low. Rather, the gods were within an already existing, hence necessary, creation. But if God is quintessentially a creator, this must mean that he is the quintessential case, or the very principle, of... let us call it the logos <--> freedom, or word <--> play, trialectic.

Again, I don't expect anyone else to see it this way, but I can't help seeing it so.

Interestingly, seeing God as creator opened up creativity for man. As McMahon describes it, "To create originally, without precedent, pattern, or model, was never the ideal of the ancient artist or sage, and indeed the ancients frequently denied the very prospect." Elsewhere he writes that "true originality" was "impossible even for a god."

"Mere mortals" had to "confine themselves to recovering and reproducing what already exists.... Rather than look to the horizon of the original and new, the ancient's gaze is focused instead on the eternal recurrence of perennial forms." The settled past is the thingdom of absolute necessity; in it is "the key to all understanding in the present and future.... In the past lie the answers to all questions."

I've mentioned before that one of my teachstone Bible passages is 2Cor:17, "Now the Lord is Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." The concord directs us to John 8:32, which reads that "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," and to Gal 5:1, which recommends that we "stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage," and to 1:13, where it says that "you, brethren, have been called to liberty," so feel free to use it "through love to serve one another."

Now, I'm no expert, but it seems to me that the Spirit is the Third that generates and is generated by Father and Son. It is what makes the love between them completely unnarcissary and free.

Which reminds me of a wisecrack to which Mr. Van der Leun directed me this morning: "When lost in a forest go always down hill. When lost in a philosophy or doctrine go upward” (Ambrose Bierce).

Now, being lost is indeed a kind of freedom, is it not? It is the freedom to which we are condemned by the existentialists. From it there is no escape but up.

And speaking of Van der Leun, this, yoinked from his snidebar:

Friday, December 06, 2013

On Lighting a Match to Illuminate the Sun

All knowledge is conformity to an object. What is the object to which philosophy conforms? For Berdyaev, it "must commune with the primal source of life, and from this draw its perceptual experience." Er, that's a little evasive -- poetic even. Could you say more? "Knowledge is initiation into the mysteries of being, into the miracle-plays of life." C'mon. You can do better than that.

"It is light which blazes out from being and within being as well." That's better. Bi-directional primordial Light: philosophy sheds light on Light, making it an exercise -- or verticalisthenic -- in Light².

This would explain how we may "touch" God -- or rather, vice versa. I was just talking with the Gagboy the other evening about how it takes some nine minutes for the sun to touch us. Likewise, when you gaze at a star, you are being touched by an event that occurred before you were born.

Elsewhere Berdyaev writes that "Knowledge is the sunlight which causes being to develop. Knowledge is creative development, the growth of being in the sun." And since Berdyaev died in 1948, I'm benefitting from his light, which has been traveling since before I was born.

The primordial (upper case) Light alluded to above is God's "energy," so to perceive it is to perceive God, regardless of whether one is consciously aware of the fact. The ancients imagined it was the other way around -- that a beam of light streamed from the eye to its object. But this error didn't prevent them from seeing.

Or at least for that reason. As described in the prologue to John, there are times the light shines in the darkness, but the dorks can't see it. Can't or won't?

He goes on to tell of a man who "was not that Light," but rather, came "to bear witness of that Light." This is the very same Light "which gives light to every man who comes into the world." I don't know about your translation, but my copy respects the Light/light distinction made above, implying that light comes from Light.

So, was Jesus a philosopher? Yes, in the sense that he threw light on Light. But more than that, John appears to be saying he is philosophy as such -- the Word -- which would make him more like Light². If this is the case, then perhaps it might be said that the God/man distinction in him is (or manifests as) the Light/light distinction. Every man has immanent or horizontal light. But what he really needs is transcendent and vertical Light.

Berdyaev puts forth the controversial idea that freedom is prior to being. In fact, this is what makes him a "Christian existentialist," because this radical freedom is the same as the primordial nothingness of a Sartre. For Sartre, man is free, and freedom is nothing, in that it is completely unspecified. Thus, the same condition that makes us free condemns us to nothingness. Freedom is the gift that keeps taking.

Sartre, of course, was a halfwit. But more to the point, he was only half-lit, in that he eliminated -- or deluminated -- the Light. If one does that, one is left with only a tiny fleshlight to try to illuminate the upper vertical, which cannot be done.

In the same hot tub conversation with my son, I talked about how, if one points a flashlight into the dark, it illuminates everything within the beam, but also creates a boundary, beyond which is a black nothing. Not only that, but it can bleach out the subtle light from distant stars.

Doesn't this describe atheism? That is, it is an attempt to illuminate reality with light only. Furthermore, like old Prometheus, atheists are playing with stolen fire.

In any event, to adhere to the immanent light only is to be Prometheus Bound. Which is why scientism is "incapable of proving the very fact of science, the very possibility of man's knowing, for the very posing of the question takes us beyond the limits of science" -- or beyond the immanent boundaries of their little fleshlights.

But in real knowledge -- or knowledge of reality -- "freedom is conjoined with the Logos." And "the Logos is from God, while freedom is from the abyss.... In knowledge, freedom is enlightened by the Logos," the latter of which is also connected to Love.

Thus, "Knowledge completely separate from love is transformed into the will to power, and in this is a demonic element," "just as everything becomes demonic without freedom" (Berdyaev). As such, the Knowledge of which Berdyaev speaks shines in the dark, but the dimlits of the left don't see it.

I met myself in a dream / And I just wanna tell you, everything was alright / Hey now, baby, I'm beginning to see the light....

Here comes two of you / Which one will you chose?

There are problems in these times / But, ooh, none of them are mine / Oh, baby, I'm beginning to see the light...

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