Friday, May 03, 2013

The Birds & the 'Bats

Meditations on the Tarot has a lengthy account of the nature of guardian angels. It's pretty straightforward, and I don't want to just rewordgitate what Tomberg says. All I can really add is that if you don't think you have a guardian angel, just fake it for awhile. There is no one lonelier than an angel with nothing to do.

Out of curiosity, I looked it up on wikipedia, and it says that "A guardian angel is an angel assigned to protect and guide a particular person or group.... Christian mystics have at times reported ongoing interactions and conversations with their guardian angels, lasting several years."

I also just read in Gilson that "Angels are creatures whose existence can be demonstrated," and that "To disregard them destroys the balance of the universe considered as a whole."

Tomberg writes that "The Angel depends on man in his creative activity. If the human being does not ask for it, if he turns away from him, the Angel has no motive for creative activity. He can then fall into a state of consciousness where all his creative geniality remains in potential and does not manifest. It is a state of vegetation or 'twilight existence' comparable to sleep from the human point of view. An Angel who has nothing to exist for is a tragedy in the spiritual world."

I'm just going to reflect on whatever strikes my attention, such as the following: "the formation of wings" depends upon "a current from above [read: (↓)] which moves to meet that from below [(↑)]. Wings are formed only when the two currents -- that of human endeavor and that of grace -- meet and unite." Thus, identical to the manner in which earthly wings are formed by natural selection, the need evokes the function.

Tomberg goes on to say that all forms of radical secularism "can create only the wings of Icarus." I am immediately reminded of Michael Novak's outstanding On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding, in that our Fathers -- perhaps because they were listening to the counsel of their better angels -- got the formula exactly right for our extraordinary national flight of the past two and a quarter centuries.

As always, when we say that the left in general and Obama in particular are "anti-American," we do not mean it in an insulting or polemical way. Rather, we mean it in this precise way: that the left explicitly wishes to clip one of our wings, which, as God is my witness, will cause us to plummet to the ground like bags of wet cement, no different than any other turkey of a nation.

When the flightless birds of the left squawk about "separation of church and state," what they really mean is the violent dismemberment of one of our wings. It makes no more sense than cutting off the thumb to spite our hand. The hand will remain, but it won't be able to grasp much, just as the single-winged bipeds of the left are unable to achieve vertical liftoff. It has nothing to do with politics, but with a pre-political choice. The politics follows logically from the anterior soph-mutilation.

True, the leftist may develop wings of a sort, but we all recognize these appendages for what they are, for they are "the wings of a bat, i.e., those of darkness which are organs by means of which one can plunge into the depths of darkness" (Tomberg).

These are the worldly wings that allow them to navigate through their dark and dreadful 'batmosphere, AKA the Culture of Death. Most contemporary art and literature is of this nature, which is why the autists who produce it cannot soar upward but only can sink downward and confuse it with flight (which it is, until one hits bottom). The Waste Land comes to mind:

And bats with baby faces in the violet light / Whistled, and beat their wings / And crawled head downward down a blackened wall / And upside down in air were towers / Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours / And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.

Yes moonbatman, you may flip and flap your two vestigial left wings of hope and change, but you will never achieve true flight, for there is no such thing as a free launch. Rather, you will simply turn on your own axis in a tight little spiral, and then drill down into the abyss. Nor will you grow, for you are trying to subsist on your own waste, incessantly churned out by the media-university complex.

Our "vastly enlarged perspectives of knowledge should open up fresh vistas of religious faith" (Eliot), not close off the frontier of unKnowing. Remember, human knowledge is like a little expanding circle placed in the center of Being. Thus, the more we extend our boundaries, the greater the area we do not know. In the past, the problem was a paucity of knowledge. For us, a surfeit. Much of the latter needs to be tossed overboard in order to leave the ground and soar upward.

Russell Kirk writes that no Christian belief is "more neglected today... than the concept of guardian angels," which is "no less credible than many other dogmas which Eliot had learned to accept.... Imperfect though it may be, evidence for the existence of intermediary spiritual beings is no less intelligible than the proofs for various theories of natural science.... [F]or him, there was nothing repugnant or incredible in conceiving of tutelary beings of another order than human."

Hey, why not? Kirk mentions Yeats, "who believed that some great dead man watches over every passionate living man of talents." I believe this. I believe that through a kind of "passionate resonance," we may enter the interior mansion of a great person and borrow a portion of his precious mʘjʘ. Greater men than I just steal it.

As I sit here at this moment, I have several iconic photographs and pneumagraphic icons sitting on my desk, so I may look to them for a little cosmic inspiration (↓) -- or be scared straight up if need be. You really do become what you venerate; or, what you spontaneously venerate reveals your true nature.

Which is again why the unreal ideologies of the left are so spiritually catastrophic. Should one truly believe and assimilate those worthless braindroppings, one ends up batshit crazy.

Who are those hooded hordes swarming / Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth / Ringed by the flat horizon only / What is the city over the mountains / Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air / Falling towers / Jerusalem Athens Alexandria / Vienna London / Unreal --Eliot


julie said...

In the past, the problem was a paucity of knowledge. For us, a surfeit. Much of the latter needs to be tossed overboard in order to leave the ground and soar upward.

I'm reminded of an article I came across this morning on the psychology of hoarding:

"Scientists do agree that the disorder has three (rather obvious) defining characteristics: the excessive acquisition of things that appear to be of little or no value; the inability to discard possessions; and the disorganization of those possessions, which clutter up living spaces and make them impossible to use for their intended purposes."

Gagdad Bob said...

I remember reading an interesting book on the subject, Collecting: An Unruly Passion.

mushroom said...

I have trouble with angels in general and guardian angels in particular. I would love to believe that I have some help, but it's not something I feel right about depending on.

If that makes sense.

Gagdad Bob said...

Some days they seem more plausible to me than other days. But in genreral, I have no objection of the idea of influences "from above," since I know for certain there are influences from below.

River Cocytus said...

In Orthodox parlance, Angels are considered the 'bodiless powers', or 'pure intelligences'... the difficulty in grasping angels is part of the introduction of the Celestial Hierarchies itself, where the Areopagite writes:

Wherefore that first institution of the sacred rites, judging it worthy of a supermundane copy of the Celestial Hierarchies, gave us our most holy hierarchy, and described that spiritual Hierarchy in material terms and in various compositions of forms so that we might be led, each according to his capacity, from the most holy imagery to formless, unific, elevative principles and assimilations. For the mind can by no means be directed to the spiritual presentation and contemplation of the Celestial Hierarchies unless it use the material guidance suited to it, accounting those beauties which are seen to be images of the hidden beauty, the sweet incense a symbol of spiritual dispensations, and the earthly lights a figure of the immaterial enlightenment. Similarly the details of the sacred teaching correspond to the feast of contemplation in the soul, while the ranks of order on earth reflect the Divine Concord and the disposition of the Heavenly Orders. The receiving of the most holy Eucharist symbolizes our participation of Jesus; and everything else delivered in a supermundane manner to Celestial Natures is given to us in symbols.

Note: Symbol when used by an Eastern thinker refers more closely to the 'pagan' notion of pars pro toto than that of Western thinkers: The symbol is not "merely" a representation, but is rather connected to the thing it represents, even imperfectly. If this were not so, it could not communicate anything genuine about what it represented. The degrees of this clearly vary, though the link between the Deacon and ministering Angels seems to be a very strong one.

mushroom said...

I'm glad you mentioned the hierarchies. This is too occult and mystical for protestants. You just talk directly to Jesus, no intermediaries needed. This leads to all kinds of bad stuff up to and including Jim Jones and Oprah.

A lot of us need a sponsor to get us through the initiation. We ignore that, probably to our own detriment.

Gagdad Bob said...

True, but there's plenty of scriptural basis for angels, e.g., the angel of the Annunciation, or ministering to Jesus in the desert. They must somehow figure into the Scheme of Things, rather than being just arbitrary or ad hoc.

Gagdad Bob said...

Gettin' smoky here.

Gagdad Bob said...

Evening walk canceled due to air quality.

ge said...

& where'd Tibetan Buddhism be minus Dakinis??

julie said...

Yikes, I hope that fire doesn't get too close to you guys! There aren't too many palm trees nearby, are there?

Van Harvey said...

"It has nothing to do with politics, but with a pre-political choice. The politics follows logically from the anterior soph-mutilation. True, the leftist may develop wings of a sort, but we all recognize these appendages for what they are, for they are "the wings of a bat, i.e., those of darkness which are organs by means of which one can plunge into the depths of darkness" (Tomberg)."

Speaking of which, I had an interesting evening
last night.

Van Harvey said...

(Sometimes I really hate Android) ... About last night...

mushroom said...

I hope you haven't had to evacuate.

I agree, the Bible gives plenty of backing to the presence of angels including a direct reference by Jesus Himself for guardian angels -- Matthew 18:10.

I had, moreover a sort of grudge against my book for not being a different book which no one could write. Ideally, Screwtape's advice to Wormwood should have been balanced by archangelical advice to the patient's guardian angel. Without this the picture of human life is lopsided. But who could supply the deficiency? Even if a man — and he would have to be a far better man than I — could scale the spiritual heights required, what "answerable style" could he use? For the style would really be a part of the the content. Mere advice would be no good; every sentence would have to smell of Heaven. And nowadays even if you could write prose like Traherne's, you wouldn't be allowed to, for the canon of "functionalism" has disabled literature for half its functions. — C.S. Lewis in the preface to Screwtape

julie said...

*tap tap tap* is this thing on?
Did you get evacuated? Did the fire finish the job the remodelers began? I only ask because it's been awfully quiet...

Van Harvey said...

Bang, bang, bang! Hey, how am I supposed to get any productive work done without my daily dose of useless information?

Seriously, I hope all is well at the Gagdad estate... and that non-local operators are standing by with HellFire extinguishers.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hope n' pray you guys (and your house) are okay, Bob and Leslie.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Also, excellent food for thought in this post.

Gagdad Bob said...

Thanks for your concern, but the fire probably never got closer than 10-15 miles, so there was no danger. Just too busy and chaotic around here to post -- I'll probably need to take an official hiatus of indeterminate length.

Gagdad Bob said...

You might say I have nothing to say and no time to say it anyway, and I don't really enjoy recycling stuff, so there you are.

julie said...

Ah, chaos. I'm glad it's only that. May the s'lack be with you.

Magister said...

Sometimes I long for a mystical experience.

Then I fault myself for lack of perspicuity.

Nostalgia crowds in: I remember periods of peace and grace, when I was clearly in the zOne.

All of this has to do with love, since love occurs nowhere but in the mundane.

Still, how cool would it be to touch the fire of an Angel and not have to depend on one's faith, if just for a moment.

What sort of desire is this? Is it a kind of spiritual porn? Or is it just an admission that real love is a leap, a faith, a work, a hope.

Rick said...

Open Line Off Topic:

There is a new series on the Sundance Channel, called Rectify. It's quite good. I'm encouraged lately to see deep undercurrents running through, of all things, television shows. The main character offers a unique twist on a Christ figure. Perfect casting for him. He says hardly anything. Most of what he conveys is done with facial expressions. The third episode last night had brief conversations between characters on the subjects of free will, St Thomas Aquinas, The Divine Comedy, Aristotle, Flannery O'Connor.
A few ugly parts but also some very beautiful, mystical parts. Great cinematography, score, and pace.

The full premier episode (2hrs) is here:

Rick said...

Thankfully, I found this LA Times article so I know I wasn't the only one imagining things:
Review: 'Rectify' is a revelation that sets a new standard

River Cocytus said...

This a good one here, short but sweet.

I like the term Moderni for the liberal-progressive types. Also the idea of Post-modernity as not just a reaction or surpassing of modernity, but in many ways just an intensification of it.

julie said...

I like that, River:

Just make a place for souls to be...

Yes, just so.

mushroom said...

For your amusement: A classic twitter exchange between Iowahawk and Meghan McCain. After McCain complained that "Mark Sanford is what is wrong with American politics".

@meghanmccain if it wasn’t for politicians cheating on their wives, you wouldn’t exist. — David Burge (@iowahawkblog) May 8, 2013

Like taking Miss Piggy down to the big barbeque.

Open Trench said...

Is it not best to keep things simple?

Just you and Basic Goodness. That is all.

However, if you enjoy a relationship with an angel, so be it.

ge said...

so, Benghazi: deserving heads please roll!

that 'shadowy character' who made the video & is in jail: may as well be tom cruise-- funny if he turns out to be a paid actor who aint in no jail, but a complete fabrication of the twisted admin.! a hex on that damn hillary, may she get comeupped

River Cocytus said...

Perhaps the tentacles of the great Elder District will turn on her and devour her whole.

The rest of us try not to look on; try not to get the attention of the Thing...

Meanwhile, a combination of socialism and mass capitalism swallow up the common person's patrimony, forcing him into the situation of having no wealth but the sale of his labor, and now being a proletariat, he must sink into the mob.

ted said...

Here's a student who gets the problem with public education.

Open Trench said...

RC wrote:

"...a combination of socialism and mass capitalism swallow up the common person's patrimony, forcing him into the situation of having no wealth but the sale of his labor, and now being a proletariat, he must sink into the mob."

Does being a worker consign one to sink into a mob? We all work but I would guess none of us feels exactly pressed into a mob.

Conditions may have been more like that in certain climes and times, notably last century, but I don't think the prevailing consciousness runs that way anymore. I could be wrong.

One can imagine a dim mass of oppressed and benighted workers exist but in reality even unskilled laborers probably don't get forced into any kind of unpleasant conformity, unless they somehow desire it. After their shift is over they can do what they please.

That goes for even swarming democracies like India.

River Cocytus said...

By definition, the prole is one who has no wealth but the sale of the sweat of his back; if we should, through specialization, reach such a point, we will be drawn into the mob as only via the mob can we keep secure our 'right to work.'

In our nation, that mob is known as 'the unions.'

We can only be glad that this mob only demands the right to work and be paid for it; but it will naturally move towards simply demanding things by virtue of its strength - it's numbers.

Such is what a strike is; pure herd mentality.

River Cocytus said...

Also, as per Chesterton:

The two sinister things can be seen side by side in the system of Bolshevist Russia; for Communism is the only complete and logical working model of Capitalism. The sins are there a system which are everywhere else a sort of repeated blunder. From the first, it is admitted, that the whole system was directed towards encouraging or driving the worker to spend his wages; to have nothing left on the next pay day; to enjoy everything and consume everything and efface everything; in short, to shudder at the thought of only one crime; the creative crime of thrift. It was a tame extravagance; a sort of disciplined dissipation; a meek and submissive prodigality. For the moment the slave left off drinking all his wages, the moment he began to hoard or hide any property, he would be saving up something which might ultimately purchase his liberty. He might begin to count for something in the State; that is, he might become less of a slave and more of a citizen. Morally considered, there has been nothing quite so unspeakably mean as this Bolshevist generosity. But it will be noted that exactly the same spirit and tone pervades the manner of dealing with the other matter.

Your suggestion of the 'freedom' of the Indian worker is precisely the ersatz license - a shallow form of 'when we're done with you, you may piddle about as you please' which the left ultimately considers 'freedom' to be. Recreational drug use such as MJ fits remarkably well into this little 'freedom bubble'.

River Cocytus said...


Merciful God. This administration makes Nixon look clean. Seriously. Warren Harding is clapping somewhere...

julie said...

Brother Thelonius Beer.

Magister said...

I just found a new official beer. Thanks, Julie!

Coincidentally, speaking of bat wings and angels, my daughter asked me about nightmares last night. It seems she walked in on my sons, who were watching an episode of Dr. Who. "Weeping angels," etc.

Isn't it just like the caustic Brits to associate angels with demons and death.

So I told her about guardian angels, who are just waiting for her to ask for help. Powerful angels! "They must be happy," she said, "because they see God all the time."

Jules said...

Re obama makes nixon look clean..
Too true. As i predicted on this blog, obama is starting to trip himself up with his hubris. Wonder how his court eunuchs in the msm are going to get him out of this . Benghazi plus the Irs scandal ... the republicans need to go forthe kill, nothing less will work with the demonocrats. We are past politness now, politness is ok in polite society but not with demonic freaks.

JP said...

We need an open thread.

In any even, Obama has apparently now lost Jon Stewart.


Nixon had paranoid qualities, which were somewhat helpful in his time as President, but ultimately did him in because he didn't have the sense to deal with his Watergate problem appropriately. He *could* have salvaged himself.

Obama has narcissistic qualities, which are clearly not helping him at all at this point. He's *incapable* of salvaging his Presidency.

Obama lacks the inherent actual political skill of Nixon, who was extremely talented as far as presidents go.

Obama is an amateur hack without either domestic or international skills.

I'm still not feeling any emotional resonance with Mr. Obama, except for the sense that I'm listening to fingernails on a chalkboard every once in awhile.

I don't even dislike him. I just want his term to end so that he goes away.

Open Trench said...

RC wrote:

"Your suggestion of the 'freedom' of the Indian worker is precisely the ersatz license - a shallow form of 'when we're done with you, you may piddle about as you please' which the left ultimately considers 'freedom' to be. Recreational drug use such as MJ fits remarkably well into this little 'freedom bubble'.

RC, I do not understand. I do not see where an Indian laborer, such as a rickshaw driver, is any different from an American CEO, or even the President.

All men pay attention to some business matter for part of the day, and as far as what business is paid attention to, if it is done with a attitude of love and service, there is no slavery.

Piddling about in one's free time is not mediated by others. Each person is responsible for the expenditure of their own free time irrespective of what some interest my like one to do. Control is firmly with the individual. MJ is equivalent to beer, so that element of the statement is pretty wide.

That's how I parse it anyhoo.

River Cocytus said...


I understand your point here... the point I'm trying to get at then, generally, is that free time is not freedom, or rather, isn't Liberty. Men who slave all day and drink it away at the pub (as Chesterton suggests) are in a 'generous' tyranny. It would seem that the better the 'distraction' is, the more welcome it is, so long as it doesn't affect the work.

Note that mass capitalism is not right wing, it is entirely neutral if not slightly left wing if simply because it is populist in the meanest sort of way; whether it 'supports' or 'undermines' tradition and prosperity all has to do with the culture of the mass - which in our recent history is thoroughly left-wing.

Small scale capitalism is different, much the same way the structural differences between a mega-government and a local government *can* (but may not necessarily) make all the difference in how they are actually run.


Guys, I've got a name for the scandal cascade - Chain Lightning.

Open Trench said...


I see your point also. People must work if they want good quality of life, and the environment created by the type and size of government has an effect on how well people can meet their needs for productive and fulfilling work without becoming numbed by the requirements of production-style work.

The awake person living in these climes and times is subject to all of this awfulness and/or opportunity and reacts by nonattachment; all of the waves and shocks of life are observed and felt but they do not have more emotional significance than what type of weather is happening on any given day. It is a given that humanity must labor to eat and thrive and the exact type and nature of each's efforts must be worked out. Suffering of course will occur in profusion no matter what.

People in government jobs are not the government "per se." They expend their 8 hours of attention trying to coordinte the collective, for better or for worse. It is a type of labor. Legislators are basically consultants to the collective.

Each cell of the mass has an equal significance. The amount of consumer goods each cell consumes is not significant. After death it all returns to the closed system of the cosmos anyway.