Saturday, December 13, 2014

God Save the Kinks

Ray Davies is pretty much the only songwriter from the rock era who articulates a consistent conservative view, sometimes ironically, but never without affection. To his great credit, I don't think he's ever made any bombastic political statements about his own opinions, but prefers to let his characters speak for themselves. He seems to be more on the libertarian side, which used to be one of the appeals of rock music, before it was hijacked by the left.

The following video was no doubt made without a trace of irony by a clueless leftist, but see if you can spot the raccoon:

From the song:

You keep all your smart modern writers / Give me William Shakespeare / You keep all your smart modern painters / I'll take Rembrandt, Titian, Da Vinci and Gainsborough.

I was born in a welfare state / Ruled by bureaucracy / Controlled by civil servants / And people dressed in grey / Got no privacy, got no liberty / Cos' the twentieth century people / Took it all away from me.

Here's a more recent live version by Ray, minus the Kinks:

Can't wait for this box set to be released next week (I expect the price to come way down, to more like forty bucks). It is limited to the classic years between 1964 and 1971. It traces the evolution from the early garage rock and more derivative R & B, to a creative peak between 1966 and 1971, during which Davies produced a body of work that rivals and probably surpasses anyone you could name, e.g., Dylan, Lennon-McCartney, Jagger-Richards, Brian Wilson, etc.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Manifestival of Lights and the Divine Clueprint

In The River of Light, Kushner mentions several enduring themes that animate him, including "the name of God, the life of the first Jew, the primordial human archetype, the nature of consciousness, the relationship of self to God," and, most importantly, how these "are all interrelated to one another."

For him, finding the rug that pulls all these areas together would constitute "a 'unified field theory' for Jewish theology." But it seems to me that such a cosmic area rug would also look pretty good in a non-kosher household.

The name of God? Let's start with I AM. And it seems to me that the life of the first Jew is the life of every Jew: slavery, exodus, liberation, redemption, especially vertically. The primordial human archetype? This is largely revealed in scripture, especially Genesis, i.e., the themes and motifs that define, limit and deform the human journey. The nature of consciousness? This, as we have said, must be relationship, so "relationship of self to God" is its ultimate foundational goround.

To paraphrase Schuon, to say man is to say God. To not say God is to render man impossible. So we are back to "the name of God"-- a name we (as humans) uniquely share with him, and only because of him: I AM. Or, you could say we share it in him.

Now, the life of the first Jew is the life of every Jew, and this involves "a journey that is nothing less than the evolution of consciousness." I almost hate to say that because of the new age connotations, but we cannot allow the improper use of something to define its proper use.

The only alternatives to this evolution are stasis, meaningless lateral translations, or entropy and dissolution. Evolution is strictly impossible in the absence of God, the divine telos, otherwise it's just change.

For the strictly materialistic scientist, evolution must be the most miraculous and inexplicable phenomenon imaginable. Truly, such a misosophy can only pretend to understand or explain it. But because God is, evolution must be. God has a "gravitational attraction," or maybe you haven't gnosissed.

You just have to get in your right mind. Or at least leave your left behind once in awhile. For just as the eyes dominate the senses, the left cerebral hemisphere tends to bully the right.

So here's a tip: "By reading holy literature as if it were a dream, we gain access to a primary mode of our collective unconscious." For us -- the West brain -- the Bible "is an entrance to the cave," into "the great dream of Western religion."

We don't sleep. We dream. Then we awaken to a collective hallucination. What, you don't read the news? Worse, we awaken to history, which is a chronicle of the hallucinations of the past.

For example, I just read a 700 page biography of Stalin. Here was a man at the center of world history, and yet, the book could hardly be more tedious, because it is just the elaboration of one self-enclosed collective hallucination.

In contrast, a Washington or Lincoln are endlessly fascinating, because theirs is an encounter and a journey -- a dream -- of an entirely different sort. Oh, if only there weren't this organized mob trying to kill our ontological dream and replace it with the hallucination, the lucid nightmare, of the left!

Remember -- I'm sure you do -- in the book, where we spoke of the banged-out and thunder-sundered images of the One? Along these obscure lines, Kushner writes that scripture "seeks to join the fragments of one's life into a greater unity of meaning."

Yes, there is brokenness. But a part of us understands that this is a consequence of something, and retains the memory of wholeness. Where is it? O, above my head! It is Too old, older than Abraham, too young, young as a babe's I AM! For it is where origin and destiny meet in the muddle of the mount, right here, right now, even if only for a moment?!

Adamnesia is aphasia go through on the way to re-collection. Thus, there is a "primordial human form" in whom we all part-icipate. As alluded to above, the first Jew and the last Jew are as if linked by a thread -- or maybe a river of light -- between Adam and Messiah: Adamessiadam...

There is secular history and the idiolatry of postmodern herstory, but we are speaking of the Ur-story, the primordial story of us all. In this Ur-story of scriptural dreaming, we are "given a vision of the inner workings of 'God's psyche,'" which is a clueprint to the outer workings of Life Itself. It is one huge mythunderstanding for which no one need apologize.

"[T]he Creator, too, returns again and again to that underlying pattern of being.... This is reality's dream. Holy literature. Organizing motif beneath the apparent surface....

"Creation is in us. The plan the Creator used reappears everywhere: from the most erudite contemporary cosmological theory to the opening sentences of Genesis, it is the same."

--> in the beginning I AM creates --> (and repent as necessary)

(Quoted material taken from River of Light: Jewish Mystical Awareness)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Hitchhiker's Guide to the One Cosmos Bus Schedule

Sounds and looks familiar: before the beginning there is "A pinpoint of light in the very center of a perfectly still mirror-smooth and formless black ocean." Then a "creative and divine irruption" out of which ripples "an infinite number of concentric circles of of increasing diameter but diminishing light":

Christian version (↓)

The orthoparadox here is that the circles closer to the center should be smaller, but they are actually larger, if only due to the greater light (which makes them "qualitatively" more expansive).

Conversely, imagine the total darkness at the extreme periphery. In one sense it appears "infinite," but in another sense it is just an opaque wall where no light can reach, or perhaps which has the "power" to shut out the light. Call it the Wall of Tenure.

It seems that there are threshold guardians along each circle. Each guard "wants nothing from you. Except that you go away." The guard does everything in his power "to foil your ascent" toward the light. However, he is not the actual source of this power.

Rather, "his power is only the evil within you." To which I would add fear of change and attachment to illusion, or devotion to a falsehood.

If the evil one can get us to pledge allegiance to an evil doctrine, then his work with you -- the heavy lifting, anyway -- is done. He can be like a deist-satan, who merely puts things in motion and then stands back to enjoy the show.

For the evil one, a secular brainwash is the gift that keeps giving. Any idiot can fuck things up, but doing so to this extent requires a great deal of education and fanatical devotion to a promethean ideology.

There are guards who impede the circular cosmic flow and the messengers who facilitate it. For, this guy named Jacob had a vision in which appeared "a channel / Standing on the earth / Yet reaching the very heavens. / And holy messengers were going up / And going down on it."

Each morning we hold out a thumb in the hope of catching a ride on an ascending bus, or at least getting a card or ladder from a descending one. But sometimes

"The channel is not apparent" and "The upper worlds and lower worlds / Seem hopelessly isolated from one another."

Yeah, it happens.

But then, "in a moment, / In some very unlikely place, / A ladder appears where before there was only the void."

Woo hoo! At once "those who were below may ascend; / And those who were above may come down to earth."

I suppose it helps to invite them, or at least don't lock them out. Doing so requires a shift in perception that elevates the "trivial" to the world-shattering, or at least opens one to the possibility that miracles -- vertical ingressions -- are of necessity everywhere and everywhen.

This reminds me of when our son was, I don't know, three or four years old. He has always been at the extreme end of the person-oriented spectrum, so when he felt that he was receiving insufficient attention, he would say to his mother: open your eyes! From his perspective, either one was paying attention to him, or unconscious.

Probably the divine messengers are the same way: pay attention! Open your damn eyes!

So, "Blessed are You Lord who heals us with miracles."

"This overflowing radiance / These emanations / This holy light / Streams down from on High / Fills us and raises us up / And we reciprocate by permitting / The same holy light within us / To travel upward / And holy messengers were going up and down on it."

Down & upshot:

"[C]oursing through the veins of the / Universe at this moment is a kind of / Light in which man and the Holy One are / Yearning to be one."

(All quotes are from Honey in the Rock.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Evolutionary Blightbringers & Roiling Donuts

So, secular time is a line, spiritual time a circle; then again, secular time is often a closed circle (a circular line), whereas spiritual time is an open spiral. Even so, a spiral can proceed up or down, and down is where the hostile forces and bad spirits wish to lead us.

I suppose we could say that the negative form of secular time goes backwards, while the negative form of spiritual time goes down. The left doesn't take any chances and celebrates both, for example, with the unedifying spectacle of primitive people acting out premodern forms of political expression in the streets. Our president, of course, approves of and encourages such behavior, which inspired yesterday's tweet, Angry black mobs. Is there any problem they can't solve?

This is not how it was supposed to be. In 2008, it was our understanding that there would be no wrath, because progressives -- it's implied in the word -- were selling us good times, both secular and spiritual, or in other words, material affluence and spiritual evolution: better people than us were going to help us become better people.

Vanderleun's snidebar features one of the greatest hits from that era, which asks -- and answers -- the question, "What the hell's the big deal about Obama?"

Which was a reasonable question to ask of a man whose resume was conspicuous for its absence of qualifications. This was because he "isn't really one of us. Not in the normal way, anyway." Rather, "the appeal, the pull, the ethereal and magical thing that seems to enthrall millions of people from all over the world" is a consequence of his "powerful luminosity" and "unique high-vibration integrity."

Morford is, of course, not even an idiot, but he makes an important point, that all of the "enormously smart, wise, spiritually attuned people" of his acquaintance are "intuitively blown away" by Obama's "sheer presence." He makes a special point of emphasizing that these are not those "coweringly religious" types, but rather "spiritually advanced people" who "identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being... who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet," and can "actually help us evolve." Ad nauseam, only literally.

One more important point about this manichaean worldview: "There's a vast amount of positive energy swirling about that's been held back by the armies of BushCo darkness, and this energy has now found a conduit, a lightning rod, is now effortlessly self-organizing around Obama's candidacy. People and emotions and ideas of high and positive vibration are automatically drawn to him."

This is a quintessential example of what was said above about the negative forms of secular and spiritual time. Here we are, six years later, long enough to measure the impact of the evolutionary lightbringer. Let's not even bother. Anybody can make a mistake, even Morford.

But his original question is still valid, What the hell's the big deal about Obama? We still have to account for "the pull, the ethereal and magical thing that" enthralled "millions of people from all over the world." What was really going in in their grubby souls?

And what about all those spiritually advanced people who operate outside the lines of religion? How did even they get duped? Do they still believe that a politician can "help us evolve" and "usher in a new way of being on the planet"?

On an elementary level, it seems to me that these people confused hate and love. That is, as Morford explains, the "energy" that had swirled around "BushCo darkness" spontaneously reorganized around a new attractor, Obama. Oops!

This reminds me of a man who hates his mother so much, he falls in love with a woman exactly like her.

Interesting too that cowardly religious types were somehow immune to the luminous ethereal magical high-vibration integrity of this attuned being. They were not pulled down and back into the negative spiritual space.

What I want to emphasize is that the self-styled spirit-beings cited by Morford were not lying. They really did feel all those spiritual vibrations. Which is entirely beside the point, since it all depends upon the source of the vibrations. As if no bad things feel good!

That was an unanticipated byway. What I really want to say is that for some strange reason, Kushner is the only other person to my knowledge who sees the creation as a giant torus, or what I would call a roiling donut, or the endless goround of being. One day the image just popped into my head, and I've been unable to eradicate it ever since.

Kushner illustrates this on pp. 82-83. I would illustrate it verbally with a passage from Eckhart:

"The first grace consists in a type of flowing out, a departure from God; the second consists in a type of flowing back, a return to God himself." Or, as in Eccli 1:7, "The rivers return to the place from whence they flowed, so that they may flow again."

Gosh! Look up torus and you'll find some very arresting images. It's pretty much my favorite shape. At the center of the donut is the timeless unKnown godhead; around the periphery horizontal time, while up-down-and-around is vertical time; the first image has two attractors, perhaps a way of illustrating the Two Nations:

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Don't Just Stand There, Do Nothing!

I couldn't find the exact image I was looking for, but it would be somewhat like a cloverleaf freeway interchange, only closed in on itself:

Plus, there would have to be a multitude of roads, I suppose one for each person. Kushner says that we are all

"on the same clover-leaf," except all the exits "lead to another ramp. Which is itself a circle. It appears as though you are getting off, but you are only getting on. And this getting on is itself another exit."

All together now: can I buy some pot from you?

This is again the Ultimate Cosmic Circle described by Maximus the Slaximus. It takes place in "religious time," or what we call the vertical. Thus, "religious ritual intends to sustain the circle of return," while "religious myth means to remember it. To keep it ever in our awareness."

You know, exodus. And, just as importantly... what would be the complementary antonym? Influx, ingress, inflow, inpouring. But every exscape is an inscape, in a spiral of exitus-reditus.

This isn't really abstract, but rather, a concrete description of the vertical roadmap. Or, as Kushner implies, the purpose of religion is to put flesh on its bones, or cars on the road. In short,

"There are two ways of experiencing the flow of time. In contemporary secular time" -- the horizontal -- "time is infinitely and irreversibly linear. It is without beginning or end." Most importantly, this is quantitative time. We can assign each moment with a distinct number, e.g., 12/09/2014 @ 8:09. It's here and then it's gone forever.

But humans wouldn't be human without awareness of qualitative time. For example, we are in the "Christmas season." What is more humanly real, the experience of this season -- with all its sights, smells, sounds, and evocations -- or "12"?

In the vertical, "the flow of time began with God's word and will likewise end with His word. And within these two termini there are identical circles of time. Some are larger, some smaller" (ibid,).

This implies that vertical time is fractal: circles within circles within one ultimate Circle. It does not consist of objects per se, but processes in motion. Perhaps what are thought of as objects are more like the visible whirlpools in a river, or the jet stream, or tornados.

Now, about that word that begins and ends in God. It must really be a flow of language, or in other words, speech. What is the word? Or, of what does the speech consist? I would suggest that a good candidate is Nothing.

Which can easily be taken in the wrong way (like an off-ramp into the barren desert of tenure). In order to understand it, we need to shift gears -- or books -- and dip a toe into the River of Light. For this is not the Nothing of the nihilist crybabies. No, Donny. Those men are just cowards.

Rather, this is "the nothingness that lies just beyond every something as its ultimate expression and transformation into another something: the beginning of being. And the end of being." It is not something less, but rather, the eternal something more. It is not a deficit but excess of light.

This is also "the Nothingness that, of necessity, joins every something" -- like the white spaces between the black letters that pull the rug of scripture together. "When the children of Israel left Egypt they passed through this Nothingness and were transformed by it. They had to quit being who they were, slaves," and become something else.

Which reminds us of how liberalism reverses this process, and restores the state of slavery to free men -- who then complain that we are enslaving them! However, this regression is understandable, since the concrete something of victimhood is, for many people, preferable to the nothingness of freedom.

This nothingness is the divine bewilderness. Thus, "In every generation, each Jew" -- I would say each person -- "must experience himself as though he personally were freed from Egypt."

The paradigm expression of this in Judaism is Shabbat. For one-seventh of our weekly universe we are bidden not to rest, but to do Nothing. --Lawrence Kushner

The great mystical cloverleaf area rug:

Monday, December 08, 2014

Jews, Clues, and Good News

Not much time this morning, perhaps just enough to follow up on the great tsimtsum controversy.

Which is what now? It is the idea of "divine withdrawal" in order to create a space for existence, including human freedom. I have no particular attachment to the word, but the underlying principle seems sound -- or at least it is answering a valid question, the question of God's absence.

God is obviously absent in some sense, or at least not present in the same way other things are. How to account for this if God is by definition omnipresent? And why do we need revelation if there is nothing concealed?

I'm just going to rifle through Honey From the Rock to look for clues. My recollection is that Kushner is very similar to Eckhart, and therefore resonates with Raccoon orthoparadoxy.

For example, -- and this is not a tautology -- "The first mystery is that there is a mystery."

Right? For animals there is no mystery. There are things they don't understand, but they don't know they don't understand, nor do they wonder about them. It must be the case that "mystery" and man co-arise. Man, by virtue of being one, awakens into a cosmic mystery, and that's that. We absolutely cannot make it go away under our own powers. To think otherwise (e.g., scientism) is to turn away from What Is.

Which makes for a curious What Is, because this Is is again characterized by an absence. This almost sounds like we are being silly, or just playing word games, but that is not the case: a mystery is a present absence.

Pure absence would pose no mystery at all, because we wouldn't know about it. Conversely, even pure presence is somewhat (or even very) mysterious if you think about it, because, for starters, how did it get here, and how can we know about it?

In other words, the most rudimentary intelligence and the simplest intelligible both point to something not present. In short, existence itself implies something beyond or behind or beneath existence, and probably all three.

"Nothing is obvious. Everything conceals something else. / The Hebrew word for universe Olam / Comes from the word for hidden. / Something of the Holy One is hidden within" (ibid).

It seems to me that this accounts for the infinitude of existence, in the sense that, no matter how much we know about it, there is always more hidden away. The latter is "absent," and yet it must be present in some sense, or we could never dis-cover it.

"Religion is a more or less organized way of remembering that every mystery points to a higher reality" (ibid.).

Which is interesting, because for the secularized mind, a mystery can only point to a lower reality, i.e., ignorance or stupidity: if something is mysterious, it is not intrinsically so, rather, only because of human limitation. We'll eventually figure it out.

But "Spiritual awareness is born of encounters with the mystery." Here again, this is quite distinct from intellectual awareness born of solving problems. An encounter with the mystery is an encounter with the present-absence, which has a real "heft," unlike the mere problem, which is just an irritating hole in one's cognition.

"Eve bore both Cain and Abel. / Abraham fathered both Isaac and Ishmael. / And Rebecca bore both Jacob and Esau. / Two nations are in your womb" (emphasis mine).

Now, womb is the quintessential space, or receptacle, or matrix of development. We could even say that the cosmos is the womb of becoming. And who but the tenured would deny that it contains two nations? (Nation and nativity are even cognates.)

But "how much space is there separating them?... The rabbis say that they are right next to one another" -- you know, in the same way that the White House is directly adjacent to the United States.

"Entrances to holiness are everywhere. / The possibility of ascent is all the time... / There is no place on earth without the Presence."

And "There are places children go that grown-ups can only observe from afar." So close yet so far! For children, what we call "the world" is absent (or at least we try to shield them from its harshest features), thus, it doesn't occlude the presence of the Mystery. There is always a vicarious sense of joy in watching our children run around inside it. Conversely, watching a child play a video game is depressing.

Sometimes -- oftentimes -- an absence in us becomes a vital presence for someone else: "Everyone carries with them at least one and probably / Many pieces to someone else's puzzle. / Sometimes they know it. Sometime they don't know it.

"And when you present your piece / Which is worthless to you, / To another, whether you know it or not, / Whether they know it or not, / You are a messenger from the Most High."

Holy anonymity, b'atman, angels everywhere!

BTW, this all started with a discussion of Maximus' cosmic pneumography, and with that little quote by Voegelin in my comment box. And so it will finagain:

"And of course it is really only one circle. And the circle is actually a sphere.... The first man and the last man, they are present now" (ibid).

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