Friday, October 23, 2015

The Liberal Triumph of Disease Over Health

As some commenters pointed out yesterday, type C theology -- which also predates types A and B -- has always been the emphasis in the Orthodox world. I remember reading this in Ware's classic The Orthodox Way, that "Christ's incarnation is already an act of salvation"(emphasis mine), prior to the crucifixion. In a perfect world this would have been sufficient, but think of what happens to, say, innocence, or truth, or sanctity, in this imperfect world!

The point of the resurrection is that "Nothing that was ultimately true or real about [Christ] was lost" -- lost to this imperfect world -- and that "He continues to live in a new and transfigured form" (Smoley). As Smoley points out, this isn't just true of Jesus, but is the "deep truth" of "ourselves in our most intimate essence." I suppose we could say that what is worthy of eternity survives the terrestrial ordeal.

Note that Jesus ultimately shatters what has apparently shattered him, i.e., Death. "This polarity -- the infinite bound in the finite, the absolute in the relative -- engenders a breaking point..." It "shatters in death, only to rise again in a transfigured state, its dissipated elements giving rise to new combinations and forms" (ibid.).

Dissipation. Reminds me of my doctoral dissertation, which proved once and for all that the mind is a dissipative structure, a self-organizing system characterized by openness, far from equilibrium conditions, and autocatalysis (AKA positive feedback loops).

Then I realized that the same idea applied to vertical reality: that man is an open system in relation to God, that there is an exchange of energies between the two, and that autocatalysis takes place under the rubric of cosmotheosis.

Thus, theosis (or divinization) -- which is the whole point of life -- is really a result of this open exchange with God, in which we literally metabolize the divine substance (in the form of love, truth, beauty, etc.). There is a vertical version of autopoiesis which we might call autotheoiesis.

Which will never catch on because it is too awkward.

Note that the "auto" does not imply that this is something the self is doing (or could ever do) for itself (for that is the way of the serpent, Icarus, the Tower of Babel, etc.). Rather, it is something that happens to the self under the proper conditions, which are again, vertical openness, far from equilibrium conditions (i.e., I am not God), and positive feedback.

The feedback part can of course be tricky because The World. Am I right or am I right? The world has its agenda, and spirit has its. You could even say that the world wants you to be a certain type of person. Ultimately it wants you to be its creation, a mere extension of its horizontal energies. Either way, we will worship that which creates us.

This reminds me of... the image comes to mind of a molar pregnancy, which results in a clump of disorganized fetal tissue which is more like a tumor than a baby. It has no coherent center, but is just an incoherent blob of disconnected features, like a liberal.

Which I mean literally. For example, the Washington Post says that Hillary Clinton "triumphed" yesterday merely by "not losing her cool." Her breathtaking dishonesty and criminality are of no consequence whatsoever.

Recall what was said above about the survival of that which is fit for eternity. In the inverted world of the left, only that which is unfit for eternity survives. Truth is crucified, only this time successfully.

"Hillary Clinton had one mission during her day-long testimony in front of a House select committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya: Don't get angry."

Excuse me, but WTF? As a commenter puts it, the Post "is rewriting the dictionary now. New definition of 'triumph' does NOT include truth, veracity, or honor." Besides, if you triumph over truth, isn't that a loss? It's like a person catching a horrible disease and triumphing over health.

Back to our topic. Let's see how type C theology lines up with the unpronounceable doctrine of autotheoiesis.

Regarding salvation, Gonzalez says that "The human predicament is not that we owe a debt because of sin [type A], nor that we stand in need of illumination from on high [type B]" -- although these things are of course not excluded -- "but rather that we are subject to Satan." Or, if you prefer, we are subject to the world, as described a few paragraphs above. We become analogous to spiritual molar pregnancies.

Indeed, it is as if "growth" still occurs, but without the proper center: "It is as if we had been children who, due to an unfortunate accident, had lost mental ability... but continued to grow. Growth itself is good; but the form it now takes due to that accident is twisted."

Therefore, "we need someone to overcome the tyrant who holds us under subjection, to allow us to become once again the creatures God intended." This is growth, only growth in Christ, whereby we are nourished as local members his nonlocal body.

Part of the great difference between the life of sin and the new creation is that the former is life in subjection, which does not allow us to develop fully, whereas the latter is a life of constant growth, in which our potential is increasingly brought to fruition. --Justo Gonzalez

Thursday, October 22, 2015

History and Incarnation: Why Bother?

Here's a book from which I had been hoping a bit more, Christian Thought Revisited: Three Types of Theology. It didn't quite provide what I'm looking for, so I have a (seemingly) related book in the pipeline, Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement.

So, what am I looking for, and is it fair to blame the author for failing to flesh out my vague preconceptions? Well, to begin at the beginning, I have no problem with most everything about Christianity except for its central claim, which is this idea of vicarious atonement via human sacrifice.

I'll admit it: I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea of someone else dying for my sins. That's too much like liberalism: as Thomas Sowell says, what's my "fair share" of your possessions?

Which leads to another issue. Yes, I am a sinner. But a little perspective please. I don't walk around thinking that these sins condemn me to hell, and that only the most radical divine intervention conceivable can save me from myself.

I'm trying to think back to my first awareness of a different way of looking at the question, and I think it might have been this book, appropriately titled A Different Christianity: Early Christian Esotericism and Modern Thought. The book provided a definitive link from where I was at the time to where I am now, which is to say, from a more eastern/yoga influenced path to a Christian one. Or, it provided a version of Christianity which didn't offend my sensibilities and trigger the Jesus willies.

I can't say that I blame any intelligent person if they reject what amounts to a silly version of Christianity. For it is written (by Don Colacho): Every Christian has been directly responsible for the hardening of some unbeliever's heart. For that matter, Christianity does not solve "problems"; it merely obliges us to live them at a higher level.

On one end we have the fundamentalists. On the other, liberal Christianity -- or the progressive clergy in whose hands the gospel degenerates into a compilation of trivial ethical teachings (ibid.).

So, where is the Raccoon to lay his head? Is there a place for us at the Lord's table? I mean, without distorting Christianity beyond recognition? Or is it possible that certain traditions are responsible for the distortion?

Gonzalez doesn't suggest this, but he does maintain that what we are calling the Raccoon tradition, far from being some postmodern deviation, is actually prior to the others. He describes three main types of theology -- A, B, and C -- but type C (for Coon) was chronologically first, even if the other two became the mainstream.

To save time, I'll borrow from one of the amazon reviewers, who summarizes the situation well:

"As an evangelical, I have been rather frustrated with [the] view of salvation as simply a door into heaven. It has left me despairing of relevancy considering the fact that I'm not in heaven yet but still living in the here and now."

In other words,

"This book explains how much of traditional Christian theology (including evangelicalism but also Catholicism and liberal Protestantism) is based on a specific interpretation of the Bible and theology originally based on Tertullian's legalistic theology (what the author calls type A theology: the Bible is a set of laws to be obeyed). This theology has been mixed with Augustine's Neo-Platonism (type B theology) resulting in the theology dominant in the West: theology that interprets Scripture as a set of fixed, universal truths that need to be followed. God is the Judge that will punish any deviation therefrom.

"But the author shows that there was an early theology, originally from Syria and probably closest to the tradition of the New Testament. The author calls it type C theology and considers Irenaeus its main exponent. This type of theology has disappeared due to social and political circumstances. But it's a theology that considers the Christian faith not as a set of rules to be obeyed, but God's active participation in the history of mankind. In this theology history is the stage where His purposes will unfold, where His kingdom of justice will be established. This Christianity is not just relevant for the individual Christian who wants to 'change his bad behavior' but for the whole Christian community fighting evil in all its forms and manifestations (including societies)."

I did get a whiff of social justice -- a hint of liberation theology -- in Gonzalez' analysis, and that troubled me. But other aspects are intriguing.

Remember, Jesus is here and then he's gone. He leaves no written words, so it is up to his disciples to interpret What That Was All About. They have to remember highlights from what must have been a nonstop, three-year flow of conversation. What was important? What was peripheral? How does it all relate to his death? And resurrection? And more importantly, to us?

Note in this regard that the gospels are already theology. Each gospel was produced out of this or that faith community. And remember, many gospels were excluded from the canon -- not necessarily because they were completely wrong, but because some element may have been under- or overemphasized. Indeed, there was a fight to get John -- the most explosive bomb of them all -- loaded into the canon.

Gonzalez goes into an analysis of the different ways in which the three theological types approach God, creation, original sin, salvation, and other questions. The first -- type A -- is the most legalistic and sin-conscious, whereas the second -- type B -- is at the other extreme, almost neoplatonic in its embrace of immutable abstractions to the exclusion of the material world. If type A is understood in terms of the Law, then type B is concerned with Truth, only of a highly abstract, impersonal, and timeless nature.

What about type C? First of all, it is much more grounded in the gospel of John; whether it came out of John or vice versa is unclear to me, but in any event, there is definitely a different emphasis. For it, faith doesn't so much involve immutable truths... how to put it? Orthoparadoxical, don't you know. I would say that, as Word becomes flesh, it is as if the Immutable becomes the mutable. As a consequence, there is much more focus on history, since it is now leavened with and conditioned by truth. Thus,

"all that takes place within time is guided toward God's future. At creation, God has certain goals which were to be fulfilled through the process of history" (ibid.).

God enters "into the world in the work of creation and in the leading of history." And as history is a "fundamental category," creation "is the very beginning of history, which is not then the result of sin. Even had there been no sin, there would have been history."

In other words, the implication in particular of type A theology is that history only occurs because of our primordial boo boo. Absent that, then we could have presumably remained in paradise forever. But for Iranaeus -- the progenitor of type C -- it is not so much that Adam and Eve sinned per se, but that the sin consisted of a premature grasping after something for which they were not spiritually ready.

God had a plan, but they jumped the gun: "being made 'after the image of God' means that humankind has been created with Jesus Christ as the model." In other words, it is not as if man sinned, therefore God had to come up with the idea of the Incarnation. Rather, the Incarnation was in the cards all along, not just as a remedy for our total depravity:

"God did not make human beings and then decide to take human form in the incarnation, but rather, from the very beginning, God meant to become incarnate, and therefore used the incarnate Word as a model for Adam and Eve."

Again, there is history, and something that develops within it, Man. History is a dialogue or dialectic between man and God, such that human beings have "the capacity to grow to further resemble [the] Word..."

And the Law takes on a different connotation, since it is not so much about sin and punishment as to "serve the human creature in its own process of growth and development toward closer communion with God." The law has a positive and teleological function, not just a repressive one. It doesn't mean that sin doesn't exist, but that sin blocks intimacy with God and puts up a roadblock to our own spiritual evolution.

Finally, instead of vicarious atonement (although here is still that), we have in Jesus the one who successfully overcomes the world and shows us the way. He liberates us from sin, in that he defeats "the tyrant who holds us under subjection, to allow us to become once again the creatures God intended...

Gotta wrap this up, but "the main work of Christ" is "victory against the powers that [hold] us in subjection" and "opening for us, his followers, the gap through which we too can escape from bondage."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Known World is the World Known

Remember in school, where they didn't teach you what to think, but how to think?

To quote Hillary Clinton tomorrow, "I have no independent recollection of that."

I frankly don't remember much of either -- the how or the what. I do remember being taught what to remember, but that's not really teaching, is it? Rather, I was simply told what to memorize.

As my son winds his way through the digestive tract of lower education, I am subject to flashbacks of the material, which is still, after all these years, occupying space in my head: Father Junipero Serra. Vasco da Gama. Magellan.

Did we learn nothing from James Cook, the first but not last white European male eaten by damn Hawaiian savages?

And of course the dates: 476. 1215. 1492. 1517. etc.

Now, there is something to be said for all members of a culture being on the same page and using the same calendar. Historian Wilfred McClay put it well in a recent Hillsdale Imprimus. Why learn history at all on the public's dime?

Because its "chief purpose" should be "a rite of civic membership, an act of inculcation and formation, a way in which the young are introduced to the fullness of their political and cultural inheritance as Americans, enabling them to become literate and conversant in its many features.... It is not merely a body of knowledge. It also ushers the individual person into membership in a common world, and situates them in space and time."

So. How's that workin' out?

Like this: "Instead, it [history] is likely to be seen as a relativistic funhouse, in which all narratives are arbitrary and all interpretations are equally valid." Either that, or a litany of white male oppression, of "endless rounds of interrogation and suspicion, aiming precisely at the destabilization of public meanings..."

But you know what? Despite my personal animus toward some of them -- I'm thinking of one in particular -- I've never eaten a single Hawaiian.

You will have noticed that the left can never be intellectually consistent, and that they always engage in the bait-and-switch. In this case, they simultaneously insist that all narratives are relative and that theirs is the One Truth. In practical terms they exchange truth for power, and they both define and enforce the former via the latter. Therefore, you will bow to the left wing narrative or suffer the consequences.

In truth, we need both to know how and what to think -- just as we need a musical instrument and something to play on it.

The left is half-right when they say that everything is relative. In fact, everything is relative: to the absolute! Therefore, all narratives must be examined in light of the One Narrative, otherwise all narratives are arbitrary, not relative.

I was just reading in this non-raccoomended book by Schuon that "Every world -- or every circle of reality -- is real within itself." That is, we all inhabit a world whose "reality is relative and fragmented, not absolute and pure":

"With regard to a circle of reality, it can be said that pure Reality is its prototype..." Thus, "the circles of fragmented reality are completely and in every respect symbols of higher and highest Reality..." Considered visually, it is as if there is the one Absolute Circle that contains us all, filled with little fractal-circles of the whole.

Now, "Every world, every circle of reality, is definable as knowledge and known," the two co-arising and being inseparable. Therefore, "'world' means knowledge and known.... As soon as one speaks of knowledge, the corresponding known must also be inevitably spoken of," such that "this mutual dependence of 'knowledge-known' is the dual aspect of the world," repeating itself ad infinitum, at every level.

Now we're getting somewhere, because the left's narrative isn't just a story, but a whole self-enclosed world. This is indeed a fundamental difference between left and right: since the former is godless, it necessarily exists in a closed cosmos in which it is violently excised from the Master Narrative, about which more tomorrow since we are out of time.

But at least we have finished with Esolen, so I can move on to the next book in my backlog. We'll end with this thoughtlet:

"A truly free people needn't care overmuch about who is sitting on the throne or who has been elected..." (Esolen). But in my lifetime, Americans have become increasingly obsessed with politics. What does this tell us? As a measure of the erosion of our freedom, we often hear that the president "runs the country" instead of just executing federal laws passed by the congress. Thus we are forced to care, since the state never stops exceeding its limited and enumerated powers.

Wouldn't it be great to not have to give a fuck about the federal government so long as it kept out the rabble and killed our nihilistic foreign enemies before they kill us?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Feminists Earn a Dollar for Each Hour of Eternity Squandered

I forget where I saw it -- probably at Happy Acres -- and exactly what it said, but something to the effect that there are people who long for eternity but don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

This implies that our fitness for eternity, like anything else, is a kind of skill. It is part of what it means to be a spiritual pathlete.

So, while looking back at the Top Ten Ways to Mess Up Your Child, the following caught my eye; it is from a 1917 eighth grade literature reader for California public schools, before John Dewey ruined everybody's lives and ate all our steak:

"Literature prepares [the student] for the hours of leisure now and later." It "makes the pupil a good companion for himself, and removes the appeal of cheap entertainments and unworthy companions."

No cheap entertainment and tawdry companions? That's cultural genocide. Against the left.

So, we need preparation for leisure, or training in Slack. This is something I have always recognized, nor is it something that escaped God's gnosis, otherwise why go to the trouble of spelling it out in Genesis 2, in which we are advised to imitate God by doing nothing for roughly 1/7 of the time.

If we apportion it to the week -- which is my preference -- instead taking it all at once, it translates to 3.4285714 hours of slacktivity per day. That sounds about right. (Note that my blogging is always from the slackspace, for which reason it is utterly without practical purpose.)

Remember, when we are in slack, we are not doing nothing, but rather, doing nothing, and this makes all the difference. A merely lazy man is not a properly enslackened man.

Esolen touches on this on p, 66, noting that there are people who "can be lazy, but they can never be at ease." The laziness is an escape, not an inscape. Thus, they are nagged by the conscience, unless they succeed in numbing it altogether, like Lamar Odom.

Now, the conscience can also be a nag when one is being properly slackful, and that's a problem. It's like a spiritual autoimmune disorder, in which the conscience cannot distinguish between the one and the other -- passive laziness and active slack -- and persecutes both with equal relish. Sometimes you must tell your conscience in no uncertain terms that you are under the Mandate of Heaven, so lay off.

Note that under the prelapsarian conditions of Eden, we presumably lived in primordial slack. I don't want to get into a fruitless he-said, she-said, God-said rehash, but suffice it to say that when the dust settled, man exchanged slack for work. Were our primordial ancestors idiots?

No more idiotic than our current crop of ovary tower feminists. The chapter we're discussing starts out with a crack by Chesterton about women who declared "that they would no longer be dictated to, and promptly became stenographers."

Ho! Reminds me of women who, when they get married, resist the patriarchy by keeping their father's surname.

If we consider the structure of Genesis, we see that Eve is susceptible to the lower promptings symbolized by the serpent, and that she pulls Adam down with her, since his weakness -- like all men -- is for Woman.

This is not to blame Eve per se, since she simply exposes Adam's own weakness. Adam faces in two directions, toward heaven and earth, and he simply defaults to the latter instead of maintaining the proper complementarity.

Using the dodgy technique of inverse analogy, the whole story implies that Woman is a kind of terrestrial axis who mirrors the metacosmic God-axis. And a moment's thought confirms that this must be the case, because there is no doubt whatsoever that when we enter the world as neurologically premature infants, our Whole World revolves around Woman, AKA M(o)ther.

But the role of mother is to eventually hand the child over to Father, i.e., the Heavenly Father (of whom the earthly father is a deputized agent).

Speaking of inverse analogies, consider how Mary is the recapitulation of Eve, only Getting it Right this Time. Whether looked at literally, symbolically, or realsymbolically, Eve, instead of taking her cue from below, takes it from above, which only turns the human cosmos back right-side up.

Once again, Mother is the axis, for without her Yes, we would all still be wandering in the bewilderness of the cosmic No!

Radical feminists proudly recapitulate the fall by screeching NO! at the top of their lungs. Here is how Esolen describes the postmodern version of the fall: "women who are indispensable as culture makers in the home" give this up in favor of becoming "dispensable and interchangeable in the workplace, and indeed subordinate..."

This must be one of the greatest cons in history -- bearing in mind that the Fall itself takes place outside history, or in trans-history. So it's really the same serpent and the same con.

And men are still to blame for allowing it to happen. Adam could always have said NO to Eve and YES to God. But modern man is so severely PCwhipped that he is too weak to resist.

Throughout this silly charade, the feminist will insist that she is acting in the name of "freedom." Which is a laugh. "In other words, you are free if you must show up at a certain place at a certain time, to do a certain well-defined and usually narrow thing for a certain salary, or else be fired." Congratulations, "you are free if you push papers for a boss nine hours a day or scrape the plaque from the teeth of strangers with bad breath" (ibid.).

Feminists love to flaunt their entirely bogus statistic of earning 71 cents on the male dollar, or whatever it is. They are clueless to the fact that for each dollar earned on a trivial job, they are exchanging something absolutely priceless. Speaking from personal vicarious experience, I know my wife would say that no amount of money would be worth what she has received from ten-plus years of motherhood. Even considering the proposition is absurd. She told the serpent to fuck off.

Yes, there is labor. But its end is leisure. We do something in order to celebrate nothing. For what is the point of a celebration? It is not a distraction, but rather, the opposite. I want to say deus-attraction, but that's a stupid way to end a post.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Cosmic Structure of Man's Eternal Fuck Up

Last Friday I forgot the new program, which involves a weekly descent below dreck into the living hull of the knowa's arkive and pulling out an old murmurandom or two. But it all works out, because today I have to leave early, so it is more conducive to playgiarizing with myself.

For today's compilation I searched "Obama Antichrist," and what follows is a compendium of fine insultainment around that theme. Note that although the content may superficially appear to be about vulgar politics, it was all written with one eye on eternity (AKA 20/∞ coonvision), so it is supposed to disclose deeper lessons about, you know, the structure and content of ultimate reality:

There will always be a... period of adjustment when infantile omnipotence collides with the reality principle. In fact, Obama addressed this just yesterday, comparing the trainwreck of Obamacare to a bug in an Apple product. He makes an excellent point, because when you think about the federal bureaucracy, isn't the first thing that comes to mind the most successful company in the world?

Given the level of unsustainable fantasy that was projected onto Obama prior to actually doing anything, we knew the country was going to be in for a screwed awakening when this Nobody from Nowhere underwent the formality of actually existing as Someone doing Something.

In short, we are now living in the dark future of which these past blognostications were shadows.

First of all, let's get this out of the way at the outset. Are we really calling Obama the antichrist?

Yes, of course.

Nah, just kidding. Let's just say the embodiment of a hypothetical "antichristic principle." There is no need to unduly slander the man, no warrant to demonize someone just because he's an instrument of satan. Besides, he's just the vehicle, not the driver. The surfer, not the wave. The bong, not the smoke.

Now, precisely what do we mean by "antichrist?" I would say that, as Christ is Word-made-flesh -- or Absolute made relative -- the realm of the antichristic would analogously represent the "lower principle" made flesh -- the instantiation, as it were, of the energies of the Fall (speaking of apples and bugs). Among other things, it would represent the absurdity of the relative made Absolute ("ye shall be as gods").

So first of all, one must believe that man is in some sense a fallen being with a built-in design flaw. You don't have to be a fanatic about it. You have only to know that something goes persistently wrong with the earthlings, however you wish to conceptualize it. Or, to paraphrase Don Colacho, there are two kinds of men: those who believe man is fallen, and idiots.

Being aware of this principle (the fall) is our greatest inoculation against utopian leftist schemes to perfect mankind, which always -- always -- result in unanticipated cosmic belowback. We might think of the left as the Good Intentions Paving Company, and we all know where their shining paths lead. For the left, unanticipated consequences always swamp the anticipated.

In this regard, left wing "climate science" is a quintessential case: not only does it fail to predict the future, it can't even retrodict the past. You call that science? In comparison the doctrine of the Fall is on the strictest scientific grounds, as it both illuminates the past and allows for perfect prediction as to how the left's next fallie will go boom.

Once we posit the Fall, one next must posit the idea that it is possible for its energies to be personified -- or, let us say, both focused and dispersed like a beam of darkness through the concavity or convexations of man's heart. It is like a dark light speeding through the void, looking for an object to animate. Only "animate" is not quite accurate. "Zombify" is more like it, for this kind of "political awakening" is like a counterfeit born again experience.

Thus, as Christ is a blinding light, the antichristic would be darkness visible. Thus, to those who live in spiritual darkness, it might appear as a false light -- as, say, a single match is brighter than the sun in an enclosed room, cut off from the real source of light. If the central sun is analogous to the primordial truth, then when it is extinguished, a lot of lesser things may appear luminous: stars are only seen at night, just as, say, Darwinism may appear to be absolutely true when cut off from Truth as such.

The Serpent -- to paraphrase our Unknown Friend -- sssymbolizes advanced intelligence ("the most cunning of the beasts") turned wholly toward the horizontal. Thus, it is a perversion of man's intellect, as it represents a self-sufficient naturalism and total (lower case r) realism that betray the vertical source of human intelligence. As such, we would expect one aspect of the antichrist to be a facsimile of high intelligence combined with extraordinary vapidity.

Does this remind you of anyone?

Now, this cannot merely be the philosophical vapidity of the doctrinaire atheist or scientistic materialist, or it could never gain traction in the human heart, which always hungers for Spirit, even (or especially) if it is the false kind. Man is always looking for God, even when he thinks he's after some other object or idea. Otherwise we would be like animals and stay out of trouble by just falling asleep after we eat.

Rather, the object of antichristic grasping would have to come cloaked in some sort of seductive or hypnotic faux verticality. It would indeed have to be charismatic and charming, bearing in mind the root meaning of former, which is "divine gift," and of the latter, which is "incantation" or "magic spell."

A spiritually normal person would be alarmed if he possessed this kind of influence over others, for it is always a great danger to mess with someone else's destiny. At the very least, it would be an occasion for the deepest humility, combined with concern over the precarious state of the souls under one's influence. Conversely, try to imagine the grandiosity of a man who thinks he is qualified to outlaw the plans and decisions of millions of human beings with the stroke of a pen.

Most people, if they were even vaguely aware of the implications, would not want this power, because they would know that they are neither worthy of it nor competent to deal with it, any more than they are competent to perform brain surgery. But the person with issues of cosmic narcissism will be too intoxicated by the power and adulation to care about the souls with whom he is toying. They are just props, part of his psychic furniture.

This power is a heavy responsibility and is not to be taken lightly. The spiritually normal person knows that any charis (gift) is only on loan to him (or courses through him locally from a nonlocal source), and that he is not free to use it as he will.

Rather, there must be spiritual safeguards in the deployment of such a gift. One is only free to use this power if it is aligned with its vertical source and with vertical principles, e.g., Truth, Love, Beauty, and Unity (not relativism, idiot compassion, aesthetic barbarism, and diversity). There is something coming through the charismatic, not from him, and as soon as one realizes this, it is an occasion for, yes, gratitude, but also fear and trembling. It is analogous to the power to send men to die for their country, only on the vertical plane.

Our Unknown Friend asks the questions, "Can one produce artificially intellectual, moral or spiritual inspiration? Can the lungs produce the air which they need for respiration?" No, of course not: "the very process of breathing teaches the laws of obedience, poverty, and chastity, i.e. it is a lesson (by analogy) of grace. Conscious breathing in of the reality of grace is Christian Hatha-yoga. Christian Hatha-yoga is the vertical breathing of prayer and benediction -- or, in other words, one opens oneself to grace and receives it."

Unknown Friend goes on to say that the antichrist represents "the ideal of biological and historical evolution without grace." This is a key idea, for what is a progressive? A progressive is someone who believes fervently in progress while working fanatically to undermine its possibility, since progress can only be measured in light of permanent truths and transcendent ideals.

The antichrist "is the ultimate product of this evolution without grace and is not an entity created by God," since divine creation is always a vertical act or descent. Yes, all things ultimately "come from God," in the same sense that all light comes from the sun, but think of all the infernal uses to which man may put the light, darkling!

Now, in this closed and absurcular dialectic, Obama is ultimately a creator of those who created him. Unknown Friend writes that, just as there are spiritual beings who reveal themselves "from above," there are what he calls egregores, which are "engendered artificially [and collectively] from below."

Thus, "as powerful as they may be," they "have only an ephemeral existence," the duration of which "depends entirely on galvanizing nourishment on the part of their creators." As Obama's projected power begins to fade and the illusion is punctured, we'll see more and more people publicly asking, "what was I thinking?" in supporting this intellectual cypher. The answer is, "you weren't. You were fantasizing." Of course, others -- the true believers -- will dig in, for "Lord, to whom would we go?"

As such, the really frightening thing about these kinds of amorphous demagogues is that they are given life and nourished by the rabble they nourish and to whom they give faux life, in a spiritually barren cycle. The result is either spiritual asphyxiation or starvation, or probably both. And starved and suffocating men are capable of anything. Which I think explains all the outrageous lying.

Ultimately, the antichrist is the shadow of the totality of mankind, as Jesus was the immanent shadow, so to speak, of the transcendent Divine Principle. The antichrist represents all that man is, and can be, in the absence of divine grace. It is he who transported Jesus to the highest earthly mountain "and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory" and said to him All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me. (I think that is from Meditations on the Tarot)

We'll leave you with the old classic from Ezra Klein, just to remind you that we're not exaggerating:

Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair.... The tens of thousands of new voters Obama brought to the polls tonight came because he wrapped them in that experience, because he let them touch politics as it could be, rather than merely as it is.

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