Thursday, July 18, 2013

Circumnavelgazing Heaven and Hell

If "the kingdom of heaven is within," then it is our task to exteriorize and render it manifest. Perhaps we might say that the kingdom of heaven is THE within -- or withinness as such, bearing in mind that there can be no within without a without; or, to say within is to immediately say without, even if the within takes priority.

But the same within may manifest in different withouts. As alluded to yesterday, there is no reason why the soul cannot persist "in some other embodiment appropriate to the environment in which it is placed." Thus, "The spiritual body is not... some sort of ghostly double," but rather, "the whole Spirit-enlivened man in that other environment we call 'heaven.'"

We might say that heaven is the sensorium of God. A sensorium is essentially the totality of one's interior, everything one may perceive, know, feel, and imagine. When one performs a mental status exam on a patient, one occasionally sees what is called a clouded sensorium, which is an essential feature of delirium.

But in reality, our sensorium is always more or less clouded, isn't it? Perhaps not in the upper atmasphere, but herebelow there are winds of passion, fogs of war, icy glances, glacial progress, and many, many shitstorms.

The air is boiling -- sun on my back / Inside I'm frozen girl -- I'm about to crack / They may fix the weather in the world / Just like Mr. Gore said / But tell me what's to be done / Lord, 'bout the weather in my head --Donald Fagen, Weather in My Head

So, we are "enabled by grace" to actualize the divine intention, which is a willing on earth what must be accomplished "instantaneously" in heaven. In so doing, "we become instrumental causes in the matter of our own salvation, which is none other than the extension of his Kingdom," or a "'making outer' of what is 'inner.'"

I suppose it could work both ways. We can have the experience of heaven without -- say, in the beauty of the world -- and assimilate it to the within. Even so, to witness the beauty of the world in all its metaphysical transparency is already to be within the divine presence. Davie writes that the inward -- or vertical -- is not "somewhere else," but rather,

"a space that is cointensive with the outward spread" of the world of things. Thus, "corresponding to every point on the horizontal plane" is "a vital INNER axis."

These are those little wellsprings dotting the landscape, which call out and invite us to the other side. I was just reading yesterday in Voegelin's Israel and Revelation that these were among mankind's first spiritual discoveries. It is probably accurate to say that no culture has been unaware of them, and that we all -- even the most mushheaded atheist -- orient ourselves around them.

These two-way terrestrial power points have a funny Greek name that is just too obvious to merit a gag (for even I have standards): omphalos.

The omphalos is "the navel of the world, at which transcendent forces of being flow into social order." Everybody's got one! It is the "gate of the gods," where "the stream of divine being... flows from the divine source," the "civilizational center from which the substance of order radiates, with diminishing strength, toward the periphery." You might say that this navel is simultaneously an "innie" and an "outie" (okay, so I have no standards).

Really, it is the source of civilizational mojo, and to lose contact with it is to begin the slide into exhaustion, decadence, and auto-destruction. Although a *mythological* construct, like all true myths it illuminates a great deal about our contemporary crisis, because the left attempts to systematically bury, deny, denigrate, and destroy all our civilizational omphaloi and replace them with their own sacred cowpies, e.g., the right to marry one's double, or the right to a dead baby, or the right to beat a neighborhood watchman to death.

To be "in love" is, in a sense, to "share the same interior space" (Davie). Thus, perhaps heaven is "a community of love," characterized by "the mutual internality of those who love one another in God, and God in one another." Intersubjective, only transposed to the highest key.

But if there is heaven, there is hell. Which is what? Schuon has a plausible answer:

"Hell crystalizes a vertical fall.... Those who enter hell are not those who have sinned accidentally, 'on the surface,' so to speak, but those who have sinned substantially or with their 'kernel,'" e.g., "the proud, the wicked, the hypocrites -- hence all those who are the opposite of the saints and the sanctified."

The possibility of a vertical fall implies that the omphaloi run in two directions; or, that there are holes in the horizontal landscape that lead both up and down. I've been in both, so I'm pretty sure about this.

Come to think of it, there is no question that people can mistake the one for the other. Each features a kind of transcendence, except that the downward path engenders the kind of reverse transcendence we see in ideology.

To take the most obvious examples, Marxism and National Socialism drew people into a kind of transcendence, resulting in the hypnotized mob as opposed to the community of love alluded to above. Call it hell on earth.

In this context, an Al Sharpton is indeed "reverend," but in an inverted manner. And his bloodthirsty community of hate is darkness visible.

Likewise, Obama is a transcendent genius.


JP said...

"But in reality, our sensorium is always more or less clouded, isn't it? Perhaps not in the upper atmasphere, but herebelow there are winds of passion, fogs of war, icy glances, glacial progress, and many, many shitstorms."

What about laucuna?

I mean, is it more that our sensorium is *more* than clouded?

Is there something that we *can't* see, even through we *think* that we can?

I love the term unknown unknowns, by the way. But are there unknowable unknowns, so to speak?

Gagdad Bob said...

I would recommend Schuon's essay, "Consequences Flowing from the Mystery of Subjectivity," in his From the Divine to the Human.

Skorpion said...

The Whistling Coon, from 1891

mushroom said...

Even so, to witness the beauty of the world in all its metaphysical transparency is already to be within the divine presence.

To him who has more shall be given; but he who has not, even that which he has will be taken away -- i.e., if you ain't got it, you don't get it.

mushroom said...

I have noticed something -- maybe it's just me because I'm so warped.

Say I am dealing with a lot of junk, apparently exterior, and it finally dawns on me that the problem is interior, and I deal with it. Almost immediately, that same frustration/anger/depression whatever it is will become visible in someone around me.

I start to wonder if I'm contagious.

JP said...


"Almost immediately, that same frustration/anger/depression whatever it is will become visible in someone around me."

Because you now know what you are looking for.

So, since you *just* dealt with it, you can more easily sense similar patterns in others.

You essentially created an "un-laucuna."


Gagdad Bob said...

Eh, I give up. No time for a proper post this morning.

ge said...

the 2012 Prez. election was

mushroom said...

The IRS has been on its own little jihad, but, really, the IRS going after anti-tax groups? They need encouragement for this? The IRS is going to fight against any movement that has the potential to dismiss its role. The same thing happens with every government agency or bureau. This is why everything they say deserves to be questioned, especially when it enhances their growth agenda.

I'm not sure stolen is the right word. However, as voting and, in particular, the get-out-the-vote process becomes more and more high-tech, it becomes subject to more and more manipulation via hacking and denial of access attacks.

Romney's system was ineffective and crashed. I would bet that it was under attack, and possibly sabotaged.

julie said...

Even so, though, if conservatives had actually shown up to vote, he probably would have won. Far too many felt betrayed by the Republicans; they wanted Reagan II, and were offered Obama-lite. At least, that's the perception. It's hard to imagine, now, any Republican administration being as casually scandal-laden and generally awful as the current occupant's...

mushroom said...

Things have to get worse before they can get better.

I'm a little worried that the apocalypse might be triggered since Charles Barkley, Jimmy Carter and I all agree about something.

It's scary, but not as scary as Carter's picture in the link.

Van Harvey said...

Something sure happened with the election, as this twitterer points out:

"They told me that if I voted for @MittRomney, Detroit would go bankrupt. They were right."

Van Harvey said...

Something sure happened with the election, as this twitterer points out:

"They told me that if I voted for @MittRomney, Detroit would go bankrupt. They were right."

julie said...

But the same within may manifest in different withouts.

Along those lines, I'm finally back to reading Splendor of the True. Chapter 2 begins with this very same idea in regard to the complementarity between esoterism and exoterism:

But in fact this second truth exists independently of the first; hence it is not a complement or half in its intrinsic reality but only extrinsically and as it were "accidentally." This means that the word "esotericism" designates not only the total truth insofar as it is "colored" by entering a system of partial truth but also the total truth as such, which is colorless.

Gagdad Bob said...

Hypersexual mind parasites on the loose among Zambian Tonga-speakers.

Gagdad Bob said...

I was just wandering around the aisles of amazon and ran into this book, Darwin's Doubt. The first reviewer writes that

"by its very nature, information is fungible -- it can be exchanged into many different forms.... the demands of the anti-ID critics are like a person who would demand that you deduce from reading a novel whether it was first written with pen and ink, or with a typewriter, or with a modern computer processor. While one can easily identify information when one has it, the very fact that information can remain the same while being embodied in any number of different media, makes it impossible to deduce a physical cause for it."

julie said...

That's a great review. And observation. The book looks interesting, too...

julie said...

Hey, waitaminit - how did Zambians come to be speaking Tonga?

Van Harvey said...

IRS, NSA, EPA, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, stolen elections, imperfect or corrupt defense... it all becomes even more frustrating if you take those as the battles to be fought.

Luckily they're not. Though... of course they do need to be fought, they just aren't the battle to be fought.

Having seen part of the Lord of the Rings movies again last night, it's on the brain again, so I'll give the Gandalf Strategy.

Yes Rohan needed to be fought for at Helms Deep. Yes Gondor needed to be fought for, at Minas Tirith and even an army of the dead was needed, the Nazgul and even a last stand at the Black Gate of Mordor... necessary, but all were fought without the slightest hope of their defeating The Enemy.

Only destroying the One Ring, which was Sauron's means of maintaining and exerting power, would do that.

That's clarifying.

So you fight where you have to, stand where you can, expect both the craven and the traitors, knowing full well that the wins and loses, though necessary, haven't a hope in hell of winning the war. And knowing that, you place your only real hopes in the hopeless strategy that you have no hope of winning, because winning cannot be done without that.

Our One Ring, the means of consuming and exerting power, is (in the secular sense) Regulatory Law, and the motive force it serves, the idea that Free Will is illusory, that people can't (or won't) think and so must be 'nudged'; that the Greater Good gives you the right to deprive your fellows of their Rights, justifies living another person's life for them, and that any Greater Good can be accomplished through engaging in Evil.

Unless that can be accomplished, or even called into serious question, nothing else can possibly have any real or lasting affect. So you trudge your way through the swamps and deserts of Education - the actual system and the public assumptions - knowing that on the way to seeing the Ring's return to the Crack of Doom - and what can be more daunting than the prospect of getting a people consumed with 'Honey Boo-boo' to consider philosophical and metaphysical issues of Free Will and Truth - knowing that it is hopeless, but that it is the only hope, and that even in the end... it will all come down to Choice, Chance and Grace.

As all the best Wizards know, there's a lot of hope to be found in hopelessness.

Van Harvey said...

From Gagdad's link "Horny devils are reported to be plaguing Zambia's school system"

Ummm... anyone seen the sorts of teachers who've made it into the headlines with their students, here in our own school systems?

Just sayin'.

Peyton said...

Nice comparison to LotR, Van. May I suggest a slight shift, though: Regulatory Law is Sauron! The American Revolution defeated it, for the most part (versus the French Revolution which enshrined it). Its re-entry into the American system came through the Commerce Clause and the compromises on slavery.

Unfortunately I have run out of analogy. What is the One (and not Whatsisname)? Who are the unlikely trio of Frodo, Sam and Gollum? Where is Orodruin (Mount Doom)?

A personal note: My wife and I are reading The Lord of the Rings to a friend whose only communication is yes/no with his right thumb. It is a slow but rewarding project. We just got the trio shut off at the Dark Gate and started on the desperate journey south. It gives one a lot of time for reflection.

JP said...

"Eh, I give up. No time for a proper post this morning."

I'm content for the next 48 hours anyway at least. Maybe the next 72. Or more.

So, it's all good from my perspective.

I also figure that we don't really need an open thread until we get to 100 comments or 7 days anyway (whichever comes first).

JP said...

Also Bob, where's that wikipedia link that has you linked to that musician instead of to you?

Gagdad Bob said...

One guess.

Van Harvey said...

Peyton, Regulatory Law is a fundamentally Anti-American view of law, it is in fact the nuanced means of achieving Marx's ideal of abolishing private property.

But it is simply the means, not the motive force.

The visibly motive force behind Regulatory Law, a necessary requirement of it, is that Free Will is an illusion, which implicitly replaces Ethics with Determinism and those who believe they are better suited to flipping the flippers of the pinball machine than the average Joe, soon result in Rousseau's "This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free", and to ever more disastrous ideas such as followed from Godwin, Bentham, Hume, J.S. Mill, Marx, etc.

But what drives that is the desire to remake reality in your own image - and the belief that you can - and Descartes, with his Cogito & 'Method of Doubt' provided the intellectual basis for that.

Rousseau gave the means of translating that into Education and Politics, and everything else has followed, or fallen, from there.

robinstarfish said...

Today's job description .

julie said...


Well, to serve is to love...

ge said...

I for 1 find it odd
you for 2 find it even
that 2 odds always make an even
and 2 evens always make an even
but an even & an odd
always make an odd!
[it doesnt seem even
it seems rather odd]
--it works like mother nature
it feels like holy god
2 odds always make an even
2 evens always make an even
but an even & odd
always make an odd!

julie said...

Then you mix in negatives and multiplication, and things get really weird...

julie said...

Random thought of the evening:

It occurred to me, while eating dinner, that the temple of the OT Jews must have smelled, outside at least, like barbecue pretty much all the time...

Gagdad Bob said...

I don't think most people realize that both Christianity and rabbinic Judaism are late offshoots of a more primitive kind of Yahwism (which was nevertheless an advance -- or leap in being, as Voegelin called it -- over the surrounding polytheism of antiquity).

julie said...

Indeed; it seems as though most of the Old Testament chronicles the efforts of various individuals battling the constant backsliding into greater primitivism.

Getting back to the sensorium idea, though, I can't help wondering if heaven doesn't smell at least a little like the best barbecue ever. Word has it the Man liked the aroma of a good roast, after all...

Gagdad Bob said...

Make sense. Seems the first recorded murder revolved around that aroma.

ge said...

but Kosher killing sucks bigtime! Any God worthy of worship would be a nondualist vegetarian spake the void