Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Reality: It's Always in the Last Place You Look

Following up on yesterday's post on spiritual temptation, I just received a synchronistic email from a representative of "California psychic and entrepreneur, Tori Hartman," who has "personally been reading your site for ideas and inspiration in my own personal life, and am excited to see where Tori's work can fit into the work you do."

Oh well. Not everyone is a careful reader. Tori's specialties include "Chakra magnetizing, Multi-Generational Healing, and working with the Color Wisdom Cards oracle deck." And that only screeches the surface! Her tangled website weaves

"a line of spiritual accessories designed to manifest miracles of transformation in the everyday lives of our customers. The concept is simple: provide tangible products and rituals that serve as doorways to the enchantments and powers of the Universe. The objective: make personal abundance attainable to every person who strives for change.... Our products guide the way to attracting those things our customers seek through intention, such as money, relationships and employment. Our spiritually connected team works to collaborate and deliver miracles with every item offered."

Sounds a little vague. Could you maybe spell it out?

"All of our products are tools [as are the customers] to assist you in attracting what you deeply desire and setting powerful intentions to make it happen. All of our products work in harmony and you will be attracted to those which most align with your intention."


"It is bigger than a wish, more intense than a goal. An intention is the force that rolls determination and spirit all into one and throws it out into the universe like a meteor, hurling toward creation and manifestation. This is the power of you and spirit combined."

If a giant meteor hurtles into creation, that's a good thing?

Okay, how do I begin?

1. Identify your desire.

Wow. That was easy!

2. Feel it into your soul.

Um, where is it now?

3. Live the invisible.

Excuse me?

Let's check out one of the products, intention candles: "What if simply lighting a candle could attract money, love or miracles to you?" This sounds like something my father might haver come up with, as in, "Dad, can I have a motorcycle?" "Sure. Just light an intention candle and see what happens."

Yeah, but these are different. For one thing, they actually work.

How do we know this? Because each candle "is hand-poured by a Reiki practitioner using organic soy based wax. These candles weigh 2 pounds and have crystals hidden in the wax that carry the energy of your intention. These crystals represent the five energy points -- wind, air, fire, water, earth."

Makes sense to me. Is there anything soy beans can't do?

Best of all, the intention candle comes in its own soft velour chocolate brown BLESSING SACK. There are sixteen different candles, but it seems to me that you'll cover every contingency with a Miracle, some good Luck, and of course Health -- what good is a miracle if you've lost your health? -- which will set you back only $95.

You may think this is just so much infantile omnipotence, but Deepak lays out the tweet science behind the magic. In short, "Our thoughts shape our perceptions. Our perceptions shape our reality." Simple as.

In other words, we do not learn from reality -- i.e., knowledge does not follow being -- but rather, thought is anterior to reality. The downside of this infraphysic is that you are condemned to absolute stupidity because you have no contact with reality. The upside is that it doesn't matter, because there's nothing outside your kooky beliefs anyway. In which case, you don't need to buy the candles to get what you want, because you already have it.

I say, better to curse at these dorks than light a single one of their candles.

Speaking of getting what we deserve, let's finish up with The Chariot before moving on to Justice in our discussion of MOTT.

At the conclusion of The Chariot, Tomberg describes what an Integral Man would actually look like. Suffice it to say, he doesn't look like Deepak Chopra or Tony Robbins or even Tori Hartman.

For example, he will manifest creative being, meaning that his thought will possess the qualities of creativity, clarity, fluidity, and precision (in contrast, the disjointed ramblings of a Deepak are unimaginative, confused, inelegant, and imprecise, to put it charitably).

In the domain of feeling, his heart will radiate warmth, magnanimity, sensitivity, and faithfulness. And in the domain of will, one will see intensity, scope, adaptability, and firmness.

The integral person will balance serenity, mobility and resolution; and will also reflect the four cardinal virtues, i.e., wisdom/prudence, courage/strength, temperance/moderation, and justice. As Schuon would say, he will embody "the center at the periphery" or be a reflection of the "unmoved mover," hence his dignity.

Now obviously, putting flesh on these archetypal bones is a lifetime project. One of the reasons one must strive to be "integral" -- and this has always been known -- is that overemphasis on one of these qualities to the exclusion of the others will create an imbalance and therefore a fall.

For example, scientistic thought is precise but devoid of creativity or fluidity, not to mention lucidity (as in radiance of Light) or metaphysical discernment. It is rational in only the narrowest sense, and its clarity is purchased at the cost of a brutal simplification of reality. This kind of narrow clarity isn't just inhumane (or infrahuman) but also ends up doing violence to the Real.

In the final analysis, as Schuon writes, this type of "worldly intelligence" which oversteps its legitimate bounds is a product of pride; it destroys the "essential functions" of the intelligence, even "while allowing the surface mechanism to remain incidentally, as if in mockery." In other words, a Deepak mocks intelligence every time he presumes to exercise it.

This is why an Albert Einstein could be such a brilliant physicist but such an inane political and philosophical boob. One could cite countless examples of so-called "geniuses" whose intelligence is "fragmentary, unilateral, asymmetric, and disproportional." As a result of this imbalance -- or lack of integrity -- their thought will always contain a "hidden poison."

This is why it is critical that our intelligence not become detached from "metaphysical truth or with eschatological reality": "the definition of integral or essential, and thus efficacious, intelligence is the adequation to the real, both 'horizontal' and 'vertical,' terrestrial and celestial." Here again, this is the polar opposite of Deepak-style cognitive tyranny, for if we are not subordinate to reality, then ideology subordinates us. If power doesn't submit to truth, then power becomes truth, as in the Obama regime.

Lacking each of these personal dimensions, thought becomes a pale shadow of itself and ousts man from his cosmic station. It necessarily absolutizes the relative and thereby fashions a graven image. The rest is commentary. To live at the horizontal fringe of the cosmos is to subsist at the margin of one's Self. You become an unreal person in an unreal reality. But at least its yours! An immodest thing but thine own.

Let us conclude by emphasizing that it is extremely dangerous to surround oneself with mediocre and "un-integral" souls who have no idea that they are. Very dangerous. This point was driven home to me last Saturday, when I was at one of my all-day discontinuing education seminars. The speaker was a renowned psychoanalyst whom I had great difficulty understanding. Not because his thought was so elevated, but because it was so mundane and so metaphysically confused.

Here again, it must be emphasized that this has nothing to do with "IQ." But if I were to try to adapt my mind to his reality, I would lose it, precisely. I then realized that this was the problem with my whole journey through the educational system. I very nearly lost my mind. Well, I did, actually. Figures: it's always in the last place you look.


River Cocytus said...

Interestingly, Chopak's dictum is part right - thought does shape reality through the action that proceeds from that thought. But the narcissistic part of it is that it leaves ambiguous where the thought originates from - the assumption is 'me'! (Thus Tori's talk about 'intention')

We all know, however, that the immaterial part of the man is more of an instrument - like a harp - than a seat of power. Does Tori ever question where the intentions come from?

In this rhetorical question, the actual answer you should be thinking is, 'Tori's marketing'.

It's also telling how the state of California's economy / state budget coincides with the number of 'Spiritual Entrepreneurs'.

I'd pay a priest 89 bucks for a house blessing (in some places that's what you did since the priest didn't get a salary) than buy a soycheese candle.

Burn crosses into ALL of the thresholds!

Gagdad Bob said...

Do not concur. Thought does not shape reality, unless you mean God's thought. Thought shapes the perception of reality, but that is because reality is reality and thought is thought. To the extent that thought conforms to reality, that is truth.

Gagdad Bob said...

I see what you mean -- action that proceeds from thought shapes reality. But that's physical action, not immaterial thought.

River Cocytus said...

I think you mean, thought does not alter essence. But reality is not all essence, I think we can agree. I see though, that this is the implication (now that you have pointed it out) of their idea of thought shaping reality.

My point is simply this: a sculpture is part of reality, and it is a product of thought. While no amount of thought can change the property of marble, thought and intent must precede shaping it into David.

Having an intent to be healthy is fine, but unless that thought is applied to exercise, slack and good food, the intent is 'vellity' (I think the word was) meaning, the weakest form of desire, one in which the will is provoked but the person is not roused to any action. Reality (capital R) remains the same in both cases, but reality - that is, what flows from essence - is altered by the action or inaction of human will.

Does that make it a bit more clear what I mean?

River Cocytus said...

Yes, I mean physical action. Really, any action that isn't physical is kind of... not really a proper action.

Granted sometimes you don't have the liberty to move but, you know. Body and soul, mang.

ge said...

'velleity' as i recall.

my want & intention is to walk on gilded splinters, or failing that, some hot coals'll do!

mushroom said...

"...a line of spiritual accessories..."

This reminds me of the movie Remember the Titans where the two coaches' little daughters are talking. Hayden Panettiere's character mocks the other little girl for playing with dolls, to which she replies, "I'm not playing, I'm accessorizing."

River Cocytus said...

By the way, interesting thing I found out about the Tarot - it's origin is a game called 'Trumps' which itself seems to be a game created to help teach illiterate folks how to read. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarot,_tarock_and_tarocchi_games) The use of tarot for divination happens later, after the game is a common and various local watershed.

Thus MOTT follows not the later tradition of divination, but the earlier tradition of using the set of trumps and suits as a contemplation on the human existence.

I would assume Tomberg was aware of this when he chose his subject matter: dicey enough to attract a neo-pagan but circumventing that kind of 'magic'.

mushroom said...

I don't know. It seems to me that when we start talking about kinds of magic -- faustian, collective, and sacred, aren't we talking about altering reality by other than common physical means?

MOTT always shocks me when it acknowledges that a faustian magician can harness "lower" forces to accomplish something, or that collective magic can produce something "miraculous". These are apparently not limited to just the subjective reality of the practitioners. That it is a far more dangerous game than Tori or Deepak realize doesn't mean it won't work. It's just demonic.

mushroom said...

Of course, I'm also open to the possibility that you all are talking completely over my head, and I've missed the point entirely. That happens.

River Cocytus said...


As I always say, 'follow the energy'.

If thought is changing reality, it is because that thought is harnessing energy. In the case of physical acts, it's basically ATP. But even the Faustian magic cannot change essence, or underlying Reality... so it's basically just leverage and cannot truly fulfill a wish.

I tend to believe that physical manifestations are proof of the immaterial which precede them. You'll recall that God waits until Abraham is about to sacrifice his son to say, 'Now I know you are faithful.'

On the off chance that Tori and company are really harnessing some non-ATP, non-God energy there would be results, since the physical is the end-point for these things. I believe the principle is called 'By their fruits ye shall know them.'

Just look at Chopak, look at Obama, and connect the dots.

Lovecraft was on to something.

Rick said...


River Cocytus said...

Rick, This ATP.

RE: Lovecraft, he imagines a cosmology that arises out of the psychic energy of modernity. It is irrational, evil and ultimately chaos. If given the power it needs it 'comes through from the other side' - like the guy asking for the 3k so he can send you 3 billion dollars, whether the 3 billion exists or not is somewhat immaterial, isn't it?

ted said...

In our postmodern culture, people who buy intention candles are good, but the saints on ground are considered bad.

Rick said...

Oh, thaaaat ATP.
Yeah, I don't believe in that.
My opinion: ATP = window dressing to the really Reals.


Rick said...

Btw, Bob, speaking of wrestling and for reels, have you and the boy seen Nacho Libre yet?

(why not)

River Cocytus said...


It seems like a shadow play, there. Financial 'questions' that are vague enough to be unanswerable. What were the suspicious financial dealings?

OH! I know. Giving donations back to the Catholic Church, which all secular people acknowledge to be the (non-existent) evil one.

Rick said...

"whether the 3 billion exists or not is somewhat immaterial, isn't it?"

I sort of think that way about miracles, or magic, if you prefer...as in say...what part is the miracle we're talking about? The result which spanned the infinite gap from what was before, no? That's the miracle (or point), isn't it? Was Paul on Saul's radar?

River Cocytus said...


The irony is that the 3 billion dollars might exist, but only because of a million dupes who sent in 3,000 dollars.

Obama will be the change everyone is looking for! Which, since people aren't actually looking to change, is logically no change at all.

Wish someone had said that in a prominent place back in 2008. I bet they did, actually...

julie said...

Re. the intention candles, I find it interesting that the cheapest ones are for attracting angels and divine love. Funny - on the one hand, divine love is free for anyone, with or without candles, and the very act of using one (or just purchasing with intent) shows that you don't believe it. Additionally, if one must put a price on such a thing, it would be priceless because infinitely valuable.

I suspect that in her particular case, the intentions are all she needs to rake in the dough, especially for the foreseeable future as things get worse and people get desperate.

julie said...

According to Deepak's formula, it's perfectly rational to suspend a kid when he makes a shape out of his toaster pastry that looks like a gun. The teacher sees a gun, which in her mind is real; if the kid made a shooting noise, that pop tart could really hurt someone!

And in any case, pop tarts are probably not on the approved list of foods kids may have at school these days. The kid's obviously a rogue element. Better take him out now, before he brings any other kids down with him...

mushroom said...

Chris Christie on pop tart control: "From my cold, dead hand!"

Van Harvey said...

River said "Interestingly, Chopak's dictum is part right - thought does shape reality through the action that proceeds from that thought."

I Kant disagree with you more on that Riv. To see yourself shaping reality presupposes that you are somehow standing outside of it. That's the road that Descartes started down and Kant paved into a super highway (cue AC/DC song), and the only thing that keeps you from falling all the way down to today's level, is your own Will to defy intellectual gravity.

Neitzche was just the first to stop flapping his wings.

We do not shape reality, we act within it. Reality is, we perceive it as it is (to the depths of our faculties spectrum of perception), and to the extent and depths that our conceptions of it are true, our actions are in harmony with it, or cacophonous.

"I think you mean, thought does not alter essence. But reality is not all essence, I think we can agree."

Conflating reality with materiality, that's already something the moderns would approve of... watch your step, at some point you Kant retrace them.