Monday, February 18, 2013

Stop Writing the Mechanical Bull, and Don't Leave Any Sacred Cowpies!

This is a continuation of whenever it was that we were discussing MotT and the Magician:

Now, the magician is the master archetype for our journey into the rest of the symbols -- the symbols themselves representing a kind of mirror of the totality of the Great Interior situated just over the egoic horizon.

Why is the magician the would-be spiritual knowa's archetype? Because he is the symbol of what we must become if we are to have a fruitful journey through the rest of this symbolically resonant world. We must become this magician. And what does this magician represent?

Well, among other things, he embodies the principle of Slack, in that we must leave the field of profane time behind, and become attuned to a more subtle music that has its own rhythms and harmelodies. Here is how UF formulates it:

Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light!

The first of these prescriptions has to do with what we call the principle of Higher Non-doodling, which in turn is similar to the wu wei of Taoism. It also shares psimilarities with what Sri Aurobindo calls the attainment of the "silent mind," which is well explained in chapter 4 of The Adventure of Consciousness.

In fact, we may discern a convergence of the Christian and neo-Vedantic approaches, as Satprem writes that "the major task that opens the door to many realizations is to silence the mind.... Clearly, if we want to discover a new country within us, we must leave the old one behind -- everything depends on our determination to take this first step."

Part of this is in order to excape our existing container (♀) in order to assimilate the new content (♂) of the inscape. In other words, we need to somehow get beyond or behind or above or before our surface ego, or local self (•).

And why is that? Because "In a certain sense," writes Aurobindo, "we are nothing but a complex mass of mental, nervous and physical habits held together [read: contained, ♀] by a few ruling ideas, desires and associations -- an amalgam of many small, self-repeating forces with a few major vibrations."


This outward and external container becomes thicker and more dense, until we are "confined in a construction," which becomes a kind of pseudo-center by virtue of its rigidity and predictability. No more (♂). Your fortress against reality -- against the flow of interior novelty -- is complete.

This is why -- in a manner of speaking -- we might say that the first half of life involves learning, while the second half involves unLearning; or, we must be reborn as little children, who are so full of uncontainable and irrepressible (♂).

This requires not only a leap of but into faith (o), which Aurobindo describes as "an intuition not only waiting for experience to justify it, but leading toward experience." In other words, faith isn't just content but a mode of spiritual cognition, which brings new content into view. This content cannot be directly perceived by the ego.

Here again, UF agrees that we must achieve calm (---) and silence (o) "at the expense of the automatism of thought and imagination" (the bad kind -- more on which later). Only in so doing are we capable of authoritatively "speaking" of these matters, instead of merely being our own auto-copilot.

A Raccoon must never speak of spiritual matters in the predictable manner of writing the mechanical bull, for doing so results in the sacred cowpies of a Deepak. I suppose doing so has its place, but such familiar pneumababble is ultimately "by the dead and for the tenured," not for us.

One reason why silence is so critical -- shut up while I'm speaking! -- is that it is only in silence that we become "one" (anxiety always fragments and dissipates). And as UF writes, we must first become one in ourselves if we are to become one with the spiritual world. Unity is as unity does.

It's just common nonsense, isn't it? Without unity, there can be no knowledge of any kind. For example, the only reason we may possess scientific knowledge is because a primordial unity subtends the division of subject and object, knower and known.

However, that is the world of horizontal quantities, whereas the spiritual world is one of vertical qualities. Thus, the next step, according to UF, is to understand the Law of Analogy that governs the qualitative world of the vertical. This, of course, is why Jesus spoke in parables that are full of richly resonant symbolism with which we must "play" again as little children.

Well, playtime is almost over, but I'd like to conclude with some observations by Peter Kreeft from his highly effective mental disinfectant, Summa Philosophica. Chapter VIII article 3 considers Whether leisure is as necessary for man as work?

It IS, because allows us to BE: it "is not a practical means to a further end but exists for its own sake, like play. And since the end is of higher value and more necessary than the means, leisure is of higher value and more necessary than work....

"[L]eisure is not merely the absence of work but the presence of the higher ends which work makes possible, such as the understanding of truth, the love of goodness, and the enjoyment of beauty."

So if you're not playing, you're wrong


DeAnn said...

So that's where you've been on MotT ... playing with your widgets (which are quite delightful).

My copy came in last week and I've been waiting, hoping ... that the next installation would be soonish.
I like that your comments above this "comment window" change. I think I may enjoy feigning a comment simply to see the rotation over here ... full of interesting playful surprises!

ge said...

-Just came across this dzogchen paragraph that ties in:

In one of his meditation manuals, Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche says that the reason we do not realize the nature of the mind is not because it is too difficult, but because it is too easy. The nature of the mind is something that we have, so we think, “It can’t be that.” There’s nothing we need to do to it; there is nothing complicated about it. Do we not realize it because it is far away? No, it is not—rather, it is too near. It is so close to us that we already have it, but we do not realize this. For this reason we do not need to make up an essence to rest in; we rest within our own nature as it is. This is how we should meditate.

Gagdad Bob said...

Easy dzos it.

ted said...

Bob's Greatest Hits are on display! Cool list. I have not heard some (of course), but you got me listening to one of my favorites today that I haven't played in years: Donald Fagen's the Nightfly! What a suburb record!

ted said...

superb, i mean :)

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, I can't believe the only remastered version is a DVD audio that you can't get unless you spring for the entire four CD box set. Still sounds pretty good as is, though.

Gagdad Bob said...

His new solo album, Sunken Condos, is his best since Nightfly.

Gagdad Bob said...

I actually have the LP of Nightfly on virgin vinyl, which sounds better than the debauched digital.

ted said...

Speaking of hipsters, it is nice to see they're actually bringing vinyl back. Even their generation has a some sensibility for the warmth and soul that comes from analog.

But now vinyl has become a chic/specialty industry, so the record companies can gouge people to pay $25 and more for an LP. That part I don't like.

Gagdad Bob said...

I I don't think I could ever go back to 15-20 minutes a side, then having to get up and turn the record over. Plus there are so many fantastic box sets and compilations that you could never possibly get on vinyl, such as the 12-volume complete Motown singles. And a lot of vinyl just uses the digital mastering anyway, such as the new Beatles vinyl box...

Gagdad Bob said...

On the other hand, having all the music ever recorded so easily available has taken some of the mystique out of collecting...

ted said...

Once again, it all goes back to metaphysics. Fall from origin brings a loss (e.g. warmth and liveliness), and the rise from Eden brings emergence (e.g. convenience and accessibility). :)

ted said...

Yes, and the mystique. Boy, do I miss finding a lost gem at a used record store. So sad.

Gagdad Bob said...

One compensation is limited edition or out of print CDs. Every once in awhile I stumble upon one that's way underpriced. Always good for a thrill up the leg. In fact, just yesterday I found this grey-market bootleg of Van Morrison from 1979. I don't imagine it will be available for long, so I snapped up a copy. With Van, even an average live performance is better than a good studio one.

ge said...

re: discovering - searching-out - collecting MUSIC/nowadays: One groovy thing was apparent to me when i read this slovenian teen's taste in music on RateYourMusic or some blog: this kid loved the same Psych-Rock '60s classics & worthy obscurities as a super-sophisticate [ol fart] like me :)
tunes like this:

Now that's gotta be a salutary world-shrinking and taste-widening/deepening [esp. in the case of budding musicians, & who aint these daze?]---turn of events fer sher

ge said...

Give the Producer Some

we're talkin' 'how you get to be a
"5th Beatle"' stuff here!
John Simon's the guy who did Leonard Cohen 1....the Band's 1st couple...some Simon-Garfunkel... some Janis...and great solo tunes like this'n

Magister said...

drop the vertical needle on an individual groove with good vibrations, some major

see, that's a good time

there's a physical dimension to vinyl that's missing from cd -- the grooves, the spinning, dropping the needle -- all of which involved you physically in the process

with a cd, you plop it in a try and hit a button -- everything is invisible

why didn't some steampunk type come along and design us a really cool cd player with frickin' laser beams and spinning discs?

the cd had all the aesthetic interest of a Honda Civic

now it's not even a cd -- all you get in the way of interaction is a click

don't get me wrong, I love it -- but why did it come at the cost of the physical?

Magister said...

here we go:

I see acres of slack in this

Van Harvey said...

I used to enjoy waking up to the "...thewsk...thewsk...thewsk..." of the needle going round the inner edge at the end of the record. Analog snooze.

Skorpion said...

@ge: Re the Slovenian neo-psychedelic kid, I've noticed that Eastern and Southern Europeans, as well as Latin Americans, are often HUGE fans of mid- and late-60s garage-rock and psychedelia. I think it's because that during that era, those regions were largely under regimes that repressed "decadent" Sixties rock and its cultural outgrowths, and they've only been able to listen to the stuff freely after the Iron Curtain and the *Caudillo* culture collapsed.

Jack said...

There is some measure of hope that analog and digital can be combined. At least in the recording process:

Endless Analog Clasp System.

ge said...

The play so craved of dogs
oft takes the form of fake-fights
so so very close to the real thing
necessarily just at the border of scary warlike death... but
When Flossie whimpers Paul lets up his death-bite on her neck

so we crave violent movies, games too?

mushroom said...

...we might say that the first half of life involves learning, while the second half involves unLearning...

I used to Know It All. Now, I just know better.