Friday, October 09, 2015

Freedom and Mystery: Rewordgitations of Perennial Grasping

Today is the first day of the new Friday format I just thought of. As you may or may not know, we have now passed the ten year mark in the blog's existence, and more to the point, there are almost 3,000 posts and probably millions of unexhumined words down there. So, I thought I'd exhume some of them and look at them in a new context.

The plan is to type a phrase or a few words into the search engine, see what pops up, and then skim the cream off the top. It reminds me of Schuon's Echoes of Perennial Wisdom, which extracts crystalline nuggets from his entire ouvre for our consideration. That little book is almost as aphoristic as Don Colacho. For example, here is the first echo: The worth of man lies in his consciousness of the Absolute... ute... ute... ute....

Boom! I believe that idea will come back to haunt us in some of the passages below. Of course I can't be as concise as those two luminaries; rather, I am somewhere between and beyond ecognomical and prolux, i.e. too little and too much.

So, here we go.

Either human existence is real or illusory. If real, then so too is our freedom real. In fact, as our Unknown Friend writes, freedom "is none other than the real and complete existence of a being created by God." In other words, to be "free" and "real" are synonymous terms from the spiritual point of view. For if you are not free, then you are determined by something else -- even just an extension of some other entity that is real, whether genes or class or God, it doesn't matter.

But what is freedom? Freedom implies a kind of (relatively) absolute wholeness, or center, which is a mirror of the Creator. Therefore, to illegitimately constrain or eliminate freedom is to do away with God. Again, no wonder the religiously irreligious zealots of the left are so adamantly opposed to freedom, and imagine that government can somehow create or "restore" it, when it can only respect or rescind it. --2008

Freedom must in some sense be synonymous with "real." The necessary cannot come into existence, because coming into existence is a transition from not existing to existing. Thus, the purely necessary doesn't really (or essentially) change at all, because it is always itself in a deterministic manner. Ice may look different, but it's really just frozen water. Furthermore, it doesn't have any choice in the matter so long as the temperature dips below 32˚.

But there are degrees of freedom and therefore of reality. Looked at this way, God would be the only completely real reality, as only God is not caused or conditioned by something else. But when he breathed a living spirit into Man, he exwholed a bit of his own unnarcissary being into us. Which is why we both partake of God's reality and can know of it.

If God were actually the direct cause of everything, that would again be just another way of saying that nothing really exists except for God. And predestination doesn't work for me, unless it is understood as our final, not efficient cause. In this sense we can understand the paradox that our purpose in life is to become what we "already" are; and how it is that in all of creation, humans, and only humans, can fail to accomplish this task (at least in this life).

Bolton points out that if God were the actual cause of our illusory acts of free will, "this would mean that God did not delegate any causal power to created beings. In this case, God would be the only real agent in existence, such that when wood, for instance, appeared to be burned by fire, it would really be burned by God, under the guise or veil of visible fire." Isn't this the position of the Mohammedans? Among other things, it completely obliterates the space of moral freedom and responsibility, does it not? For whatever happens, you can just plead that it was "God's will." Kill a Jew? "Wasn't me. The knife did it."

The point is, if we oversimplify God and see him as only transcendent or only immanent, various absurdities, or "intrinsic heresies," follow. Now, an intrinsic heresy is anything that I don't agree with. --2009

God or no God, Absolute or absolutely relative, O or Ø -- either way, man is uniquely privileged to speak of the highest things. The only question is: how high can One go?

Or, more to the point: how Lo does O go? For it makes no sense to affirm that God doesn't exist. Rather, a more honest statement would be that if God doesn't exist, humans could never know it, because man would have no reason to believe in any absolute, including absolute negation. With no Absolute, all is relative. Period.

By definition there can be only one Absolute, which, in my opinion, is the "sponsor," so to speak, of all the relative absolutes we use to negotiate our way through life.

It is similar to the idea that all numbers are simply multiples of one. Until one has the idea of "oneness" -- and note that it is a quality before it is a quantity -- one cannot proceed mathematically. Bion felt that the "discovery" of oneness was the single greatest leap of mankind, i.e., the idea that, for example, five rocks and five sticks share the abstract principle of fiveness.

But because there is only one Absolute it is not possible to map it, because as soon as one tries, one has created two. It is analogous to attempting to map, say, "music." On the one hand we have an abstract system of musical notation, and yet, all of the millions of melodies added together don't come close to exhausting the realm of music, which might as well be infinite. At best, we can dip into this realm of musical potential and channel its infinite possibilities in ways that are deep, interesting, and beautiful.

Might we say the same of God -- or, let us just say O, for to say "God" is already to project a lot of implicit preconceptions? In other words, what if religion, like music, is a way to translate what is otherwise unthinkable into something deep, interesting, and beautiful? Here is how Schuon describes it:

"Metaphysical Truth is both expressible and inexpressible." In fact, I would say that this is what distinguishes the exoterist from the esoterist, or the normotic personality from the transnormal Raccoon: the implicit belief on the part of the former that his particular expression fully expresses the inexpressible -- that his relativity is somehow absolute (which, of course, makes him God). --2011

Not the mystery "of" man, mind you, but the mystery that man is.

For the intrinsic relation between man and mystery is not "prepositional" but essential. This relation is deeper than language, as language too is predicated upon it. If there were no mystery, then there would be absolutely nothing to talk about and no one to hear it. You know the type.

The ultimate Mystery is customarily called God, but referred to here as O in order to preserve the Mystery.

As Rahner points out, the experience of this Mystery "is more primary than reflection and cannot be captured by reflection."

Indeed, man himself is the mirrorculous reflection of this prior Mystery, and the mysterious experience of oneself is also obviously deeper than reflection. It is the unfathomable Ocean upon which we float, AKA the Great Sea of the unThought Known.

Man is always Oriented to the Absolute Mystery. Here again you may need to respectfully forget about your seenill grammar and gravidad, because this is like no other familyar relation. "For we do not have an experience of God as we have of a tree, another person and other external realities," all of which "appear within the realm of our experience at a definite point in time and space" (Rahner).

Rahner makes the provocative point that it is impossible to imagine a future in which the human race could exist without the word "God."

As such, our atheist friends, by incessantly using the word for what they haven't experienced, halfunwittingly keep the experience alive.

The only alternative for the sincere atheist is to not just feebly hope the word will someday disappear from the human vocabulary, but "to contribute to its disappearance by keeping dead silence about it himself and not declaring himself an atheist." You know, don't just stand there saying something, but siddown and shaddup.

In order to pursue their impossible end, the atheists would need to be more like their fellow liberals, who are always trying to ban words in order to pretend that the unpleasant realities to which the words attach do not exist. But banishing the word "retard" doesn't mean you aren't one, only that you're the last to know.

So: "The mere fact that this word exists is worth thinking about," to put it mildly. For starters, as alluded to above, it's not like any other word, and yet, we still understand it, if "understand" isn't too misleading a term.

Which it no doubt is, because to understand God would be to be God. In other words, if God doesn't exist, only he knows it. And if he does exist, only man couldn't know it.

Even if we deicide that God is dead, we still need to reserve the name for what has died. But as soon as we do that, some mischievous rascal is going to start nosing around and redeuscover the empty tomb where the body is supposed to be buried. Game over. Or resumed, rather.

Nevertheless, if man were to effectively banish the word God from his Ocabulary, he would obviously still be immersed in mystery, except the mystery would "rot," so to speak, being deprived of all light and oxygen.

"The absolute death of the word 'God,'" writes Rahner, "would be the signal, no longer heard, by anyone, that man himself had died." Call it a signull. --2012

The trinocular Raccoon simply begins with God Is, or O. The rest is our problem. Unlike some of our competitors, we do not deploy reason to explore the mysteries of faith, but gnosis or intellection to explore the mysteries of Reason. --2010

Thursday, October 08, 2015

If God Doesn't Exist, Only He Knows It

Now, this is a refreshing blast from academia:

"In this paper, I take the position that a large portion of contemporary academic work is an appalling waste of human intelligence that cannot be justified under any mainstream normative ethics."

No. Really?

Our intelligentsia is like a huge drag on reality: think how rapidly we would progress without their dead weight.

True, the author's thesis is self-evident, but as Justice Holmes said, "It seems to me that at this time we need education in the obvious more than exploration of the obscure." That was then. In our time the situation is only worse. Think of it: intellectuals were already losing their grip on reality when he made that comment over a hundred years ago.

And when I say "intellectuals," I don't mean physicians, engineers, mathematicians, businessmen, etc., who all deal with a reality outside their own heads.

In contrast, intellectuals deal with ideas, and ever since Descartes came up with the idea that ideas about existence precede existence, intellectuals have been under the temptation to invert the cosmos and live in the comfort and safety of their own delusions. It is why they can have such difficulty learning, since they refuse to submit to, and be corrected by, that annoying other, the Real.

Obama is our first president totally devoted to this assbackwards metaphysic. It explains everything that has gone hideously sideways over the past 6.5 years, e.g., the economy, crime, foreign relations, the federal debt, healthcare, race relations, etc.

This is one of the things that divides left and right: the great majority of intellectuals are on the left, if only because of their dominance of (soft) academia. (Remember, "intellectual" is a neutral term, not a term of endearment; whether it is good or bad depends on the quality of the ideas. After all, even Paul Krugman and Noam Chomsky are intellectuals.)

While looking up that quote I found another relevant one: "The great act of faith is when man decides that he is not God."

Not that Holmes had all his intellectual ducks in a row. Far from it; he seems to be a good example of a brilliant man without the true center of God. And without that nonlocal attractor, thought can deviate all over the place. He was definitely suspicious of the Absolute, apparently failing to see that it is the necessary condition for any talk whatsoever of truth. Any truth is always an echo of God.

Thus, for example, he said that certitude is "generally an illusion" and (certainly?) "not the test of certainty." True, but that doesn't mean there is no valid certainty.

But then he comes close to the Truth when he says that through an understanding of "general aspects of the law" you may "connect your subject with the universe and catch an echo of the infinite, a glimpse of its unfathomable process, a hint of universal law." In other words, a deep insight into terrestrial law can provide a glimpse of the Celestial Law of which it is a penumbra. Oddly, he was not a believer in natural law, and yet, he covertly acknowledges it.

The Celestial Law? That is impossible to unambiguously express in human terms, but it is the perfect complementarity of divine Justice and Mercy.

It looks to me like Holmes was blundermind by his own brilliance. We've talked about this idea before -- that given a certain level of intelligence, there is no proposition you can't disprove to your own (dis)satisfaction, beginning with the existence of God. Thus, the good news: "the chief end of man is to frame general propositions." The bad news: "no general proposition is worth a damn." In the end, "we aim at the infinite and when our arrow falls to earth it is in flames."

That's the conclusion of a lifetime of reflection. This is a brilliant man, mind you. But it shows you what human brilliance can purchase with its own powers: it isn't worth a damn.

And that is a fact: without God, man isn't even worth a damn. How could he be? Unless we are related to the Absolute Value, then we are absolutely worthless. Holmes said so himself, that... can't find the exact quote, but something to the effect that it scarcely matters if the whole shithouse goes up in flames.

The real problem is that Holmes failed to follow through on his first heroic insight. Toward the end of his long life he wrote in a letter, "Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God."

BingO! That is is a rock-bottom certitude, but you need to follow it all the way up. You don't petulantly conclude that "I am not God, therefore he doesn't exist," because this literally equates to "There is no God and I am He." In other words, you are stealing some of God's thundermind -- certitude -- in order to deny his enlightning -- truth.

There is a difference between thinking and truth. The purpose of thinking -- I know, who would have guessed? -- is to arrive at truth. Once you have seen the truth, then you can stop; or at least your thinking establishes a different vector: instead of going "forward" it drills down (or up).

Don Colacho has a number of relevant aphorisms, for example, The only pretension I have is that of not having written a linear book, but a concentric book.

In other words, he's always communicating from the top down or inside out. He is definitely not "searching" for truth; it is like the person who has found his beloved. Loving that person is not the same as searching for him or her, although one obviously doesn't possess the person. There is still a deepening of the relation.

In a related aphorism, he writes that Nothing is more superficial than intelligences that comprehend everything. This applies to the vulgar atheist, but to the left more generally, due to their blind respect for "intellectuals." But Man believes he is lost among facts, when he is only caught in a web of his own definitions. And boy, are liberals caught. Like this clown.

The atheist devotes himself less to proving that God does not exist than forbidding him to exist. The atheist -- and Holmes was an atheist -- is certain that God doesn't exist, but he promptly forgets about the source of certainty.

But as the Don says, man has two poles, and we needn't respect that muddled in between zone of "an animal with opinions" -- Darwinism, for example, which is the sine qua non of an animal with opinions. Granted, it is one step above gross materialism, which is a loudmouthed rock. But enough about Joe Biden.

One more aphorism: We believe in many things in which we do not believe we believe. Divine certitude, for example.

In Part I(B), I assess various theories of "the role of the intellectual," concluding that the only role for the intellectual is for the intellectual to cease to exist. In Part I(C), I assess the contemporary state of the academy, showing that, contrary to the theory advanced in Part I(B), many intellectuals insist on continuing to exist. In Part I(D), I propose a new path forward, whereby present-day intellectuals take on a useful social function by spreading truths that help to alleviate the crisis of suffering outlined in Part I(A).

I don't know what he concludes in Part I(D), but a good start would be for these useless intellectuals to learn from reality instead of projecting their visions onto it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

All Wet this Morning

Then God said, 'Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear'...

It seems that in the metaphysics of Genesis there are four quadrants, or realms, as it were: there is first the division of the upper (above the firmament) from the lower waters (below the firmament); only then are the lower waters gathered together such that the dry land appears. Since God calls the firmament Heaven, we have, in descending order: upper waters, heaven, lower waters (the seas), and dry land.

What could waters "above" heaven refer to? At first, before their division into upper and lower, God is hovering over them; they are dark and they are formless.

The creation of light goes to the first condition (darkness), the division into upper and lower to the second (formlessness). With light we have the possibility of vision ("the light of the body is the eye"), and with di-vision intelligibility (in other words, formlessness is the essence of unintelligibility).

The lower three worlds are spiritual, psychic, and material; or soul, mind and body; or nous, psyche and soma, respectively. What is the first, the "above heaven?" That must be the great beyond-being, i.e., the apophatic God we've heard so little about.

Now, we're just winging it here, but I see that Benoist identifies these three with verbum, lux, and vita, which, if my Latin is correct, are Word, Light, and Life.

Benoist goes on to say that the soul mediates between spirit and body; it is "the mediator between the higher and lower states of our being."

These three also sponsor three distinct forms of knowing, which are (starting with the lower), empirical-sensory, rational-imaginative, and noetic-intellection. The first two are relative, while the third approaches the absolute in an asymptotic way, i.e., always on the way without ever arriving.

Symbols -- such as the symbol of water -- act "as a bridge between the corporeal and the mental," giving us access to realities that are intelligible but immaterial: with them, it is as if we can have empirical knowledge of spiritual realities. Or just say the word can become enfleshed or the light in-formed.

One reason why these primordial symbols work is that nature is a reflection of heaven, rather than vice versa. In other words, oceans and light really do tell us something about the divine reality, since they are its reflections herebelow. Looked at this way, man is privileged to be the most adequate reflection of the divine person -- at least in potential.

In his Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism, Schuon breaks it all down for us in non-mythopoetic language. In my view, the creation story of Genesis is a symbolic expression of these same truths. Thus, In the beginning,

"[I]t is necessary to start from the idea that the Supreme Reality is absolute, and that being absolute it is infinite."

Or in other words, in the beginning is God, the Absolute-Infinite. He is All Possibility, such that with God we can literally say that "all things are possible." In other words, for anything to undergo the formality of existing it must first be possible for it to exist: a thing's principle is prior to its actuality.

What is the Principle of God? I would say creativity, which entails a love of communicating it. Think of a genuine artist: why does he create? It must be for the pure joy of communicating d'light. As it pertains to God,

"[I]t is in the nature of the Good to wish to communicate itself: to say Good is to say radiation, projection, unfolding, gift of self." There is Principle and manifestation, or God and world, absolute and relative, heaven and earth, image and reflection, etc.

Now, consistent with what was said above about the upper and lower waters, "the celestial order includes... two 'degrees' of the Principle itself," which I identify as the apophatic and cataphatic God; the first is the "God beyond God," i.e., the Eckhartian God of whom Nothing can be said.

How to understand this important orthoparadox? I see it as analogous to man's own situation, in which our consciousness floats on an infinitely more vast ocean of trans- or supra-consciousness. You might say we are two-thirds water.

In reality, the two (solid ego and watery ground) are one, such that what we call the self is the residue of a process of the infinite-implicate order congealing into a local-explicate order -- the way in which the ocean throws its waves upon the shore, or the nonlocal sea of quantum energy tosses local particles out of its womb. It is actually a circular motion, such that

"In my flowing-out I entered creation" and "in my Breakthrough I re-enter God.... Just as God breaks through me, so do I break through God in return." And God is this "great underground river that no one can dam up and no one can stop" (Eckhart).

Monday, October 05, 2015

On the Third Day

We've been discussing the Ten Commandments of the left. Unlike the left, we don't like to reduce opposing ideas and opinions to motivations -- whether conscious or unconscious -- that would be denied by the person who holds them.

But just this morning I was thinking about some of the idiotic things I used to believe when I was a liberal, and wondering why I thought them. It couldn't have been because they were rational or factual. So, why did I believe them? What was the driving -- or organizing -- force?

Note that "driving" and "organizing" imply different vectors, the former a material or efficient cause, the latter a formal or final one. For example, a homosexual activist who is in denial of his own heterosexual trauma and conflict is in the "driven" category. Likewise the feminist who hates her femininity or the black liberal who denies feeling inferior about himself and blames white people.

What would be examples of formal or final organization? Here I think Sowell's "vision of the anointed" applies, because a vision is a top-down, future-to-present phenomenon. But visions can be functional -- say, the Empire of Liberty of the founders -- or dysfunctional -- e.g., Marxists, Islamists, MSNBseers, Obamyopics, and others along the blindness spectrum.

Importantly, either one can involve violence. For example, we violently imposed liberty on Japan and Germany, and that worked out pretty well. We also succeeded in Iraq, at least until Obama's superior vision got in the way.

Note how in the space of a year or so, Iraq turned from one of the "great success stories of the Obama administration" to a great failure of the Bush administration. It's hard to believe that this isn't a conscious and cynical manipulation on the part of Obama, but never doubt the power of visions. I see no evidence that Obama's vision is being altered one iota by all of the feedback telling him that the great global play date isn't going so well with no adults around.

"The first thing a man will do for his ideal is" -- get this -- "lie" (Schumpeter, in Sowell). But you -- by which I mean you, the Raccoon -- are not permitted to lie, not to others, and most especially to yourself. Therefore, you are under much more serious constraints than is the leftist, whose vision does not include the eighth or any other commandment, really, because if you are permitted to lie, then all commandments are negotiable or even meaningless, right?

Put conversely, if your first commandment is that there is no objective truth, then all things are permitted because there are no commandments.

This is not to say that a Raccoon never lies to himself, only that he doesn't boast about it, much less elevate it to a metaphysic. For it is written -- on p. 242 -- that man is a habitual liar who uses the left brain "to superficially 'patch up' discontinuities in being." As a result, "language is quick to explain way" the psychic holes and tears in our cosmic area rug, "creating factitious wholes and spinning a false continuity."

For just as in the quantum world, the psyche has continuous (right brain) and discontinuous (left brain) aspects. Psycho-pneumatic growth is the result of a harmonious relationship between the two. Our narrative is always being destabilized, but our task is to unify it at a higher level via psychic metabolism.

Think of how our Cosmic Mentor accomplished this in a quintessential manner. To all outward appearances his narrative was torn asunder that Friday. If he were honest with himself, any witness that day or the next would have had to say to himself: well, that didn't work out so well.

But on the Third Day, Jesus weaves the broken narrative into a higher unity, to put it mildly. Thus, the same honest witness who said that didn't work out so well now says, wo, didn't see that coming. He didn't see it coming because that was not his vision. His vision was shattered, and he was honest enough to recognize it, so when the new vision came along, he was able to see it.

But what if he were like Obama? First of all, Obama would have shared the vision of the Romans -- AKA the sufficiency of worldly power -- so the Crucifixion would have been the end of it: problem solved. No doubt he would have been awarded a Peace Prize for eliminating the menace. He certainly couldn't have foreseen the dissolution of the Roman Empire four centuries later, while the other little vision prevailed.

In any event, -- returning briefly to the Coonifesto -- "One cannot overestimate the importance of constructing a true autobiography, in which we are unified and balanced, not just in psychic space but in developmental time." For example, to the extent that the unconscious past is not remembered and integrated, "we will be haunted, rebuked, vexed, thwarted, and enticed by its its split off, subterranean promptings."

This is precisely how those Marxist dreams from Obama's worthless father have become the many nightmares for us, Obama's worthless subjects. If Obama could only have insight into his past, it would save us from his acting it out on the world stage -- call it a World Historical defense mechanism. Nor would he be the first megalomaniac to act out his petty conflicts on such a grand stage.

"We all begin the spiritual path with an abundance of alibis, self-flattery, justification, psychic holes and envelopes, temporal discontinuities, and spatial disconnections. In order to become one with reality we must first become one with ourselves," said a prior Bob.

But just to show you how a fellow can grow and adjust his own vision, I would now express it a little differently, and say that the person must become three with himselves.

Then God said, 'Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear'...

And if that reference is too obscure, here's a little hint: land is discontinuous while water is continuous. And the world is two thirds water...

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