Friday, July 08, 2016

Big Win in Dallas for the Father of Lies

Since the vicious and willfully obtuse anti-police rhetoric of the left is based upon easily refuted statistics -- cf. the indispensable work of Heather McDonald (see also here) -- the events of last night must be counted as a big win for the Father of Lies. Five officers are dead because their murderer believed lies about "racist police."

In order to facilitate any great evil, lies are necessary. People act upon their assessment of what is true. If they believe a lie is the truth, then they will act on the lie and adjust their lives accordingly. Palestinians are steeped in lies about Jews, as were Nazis. When lies are accepted as true, it transforms evil actions into "moral" ones.

Human beings cannot help believing truth and behaving morally; our minds are epistemophilic (oriented to the True) as our behaviors are oriented to the Good. Therefore, in order to subvert man, it is necessary only for him to assimilate the Lie in order to converge upon the bad or evil.

Obama and the left don't want to know the truth, because they don't want the truth to be true. Therefore, they shun it in order to nurture their lower vertical impulses of envy and resentment, perpetual grievance and blessed victimhood.

The same was true of southern slaveholders vis-a-vis Christianity. Before slavery had become morally problematic, no one needed a rationale for it, religious or otherwise. Just as Obama and Black Lives Matter activists cherrypick out-of-context statistics to support what they want to believe, slaveholders tried to find biblical support for their own immoral interests.

If you can get someone to believe a lie is true, you have done Satan's heavy lifting. The rest takes care of itself. Distance from the truth doesn't matter; rather, it's that first step that counts, in that it literally places one in a parallel universe, being that the universe is made of truth: what exists is true, and vice versa. Lies are always parasitic on truth -- they have no real being -- so believing one results in a kind of ontological erosion of the soul, of real personhood.

To believe the lie is to be in the universe without being of it. It is a precise inversion of the proper state of affairs, in that it fosters a reverse transcendence into the -- or a -- lower world. Instead of using the world as a ladder or stepping stone for the purpose of climbing to higher realms, the lie places a hole in the center of existence, through which we may drop down into unreality. Remember?

"The ego becomes a hole that 'fulfills' itself by devouring other selves, leaving behind a trail... like remnant bones on a beach" (Rutler). "[T]he Mocker turns to the men and women of this age endowed with more intelligence than judgment: 'Come down from the Cross! Give me your intellect!' And we do: we do each time we call truths lies and lies truths." Same snake. Same fall. Same result.

It has always been thus, "except for one aneurysm that has paralyzed the life of the mind in our day, a convulsion imperceptible along the way so that it is hard to locate in any one philosopher" (ibid.). Derrida? Nietzsche? Kant? Descartes? How long ago did we go off course? More to the point, when did we conclude that there was no course, or that all courses were of equal value?

When the student of old attended school, he "was told to prepare for truth." Certainly he assimilated untruths along the way, but "at least he was told there was such a thing as truth" (ibid.).

But the postmodern tyranny of relativism transmitted by the perpetual adultolescents of Big Education would have us believe "that there are two sides to truth, your truth and my truth." These intellectual abusers have "betrayed childhood by robbing it of a sense of the interior life of the soul, making it unfit" for the acknowledgement and reception of any higher reality.

Instead, the victims of this intellectual con are indoctrinated to believe things that specifically block the path toward truth. This results in an "intellect that appropriates information for private ends" and thus renders inoperative its submission "to the truth for truth's sake" (ibid.).

Progressivism is really a post-civilizational neobarbarism -- just as Obama is what "comes after" the United States of America, both its ideal and its reality. (Nothing can come "after" self-evident truths except for something worse, based upon lies of various magnitude.)

Along these lines, Rutler quotes a prophetic passage by Giambattista Vico (who, by the way, was a big influence on Joyce, specifically, with regard to the circular structure of Finnegans Wake -- its "commodius vicus of recirculation" -- in which the the Same Returns throughout history, like the theme in a symphony):

Such peoples, like so many beasts, have fallen into the custom of each man thinking only of his own private interests and have reached the extreme of delicacy, or better of pride, in which they bristle and lash out at the slightest displeasure.

So, microaggression has a long genealogy.

They shall turn their cities into forests and the forests into dens and lairs of men. In this way, through long centuries of barbarism, rust will consume the misbegotten subtleties of malicious wits that have turned them into beasts made more inhuman by the barbarism of reflection...

Which is why the new barbarism of the left is even worse than the old.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Building the Cosmic Infrastructure

We left off yesterday with the idea that history is a kind of race down from the trees of west Africa, to the wide open spaces of temporal change and development, and back up the nonlocal tree whose roots are aloft and branches down below. Is this a Christian idea, or just something I made up?

Yesterday I was reading Spitzer's God So Loved the World, in which he points out that Jesus brought "not only an entryway into the future Kingdom of Heaven, but a passageway that connected the present Kingdom to the future Kingdom."

In other words, he builds a path, a road, a bridge, from horizontal here to vertical there. The gift of the Spirit helps us complete the project of building this cosmic infrastructure, this "conduit between earth and Heaven." However, it's a project that not only takes time but keeps going over budget, given the nature of human contractors.

The Spirit is "the power of God" experienced on our end as a personal presence. "This 'presence of God' is more than merely 'the power of God' viewed as blind supernatural force; it has a subjective (indeed, intersubjective) quality." It is the more-than-human flowing through the merely human in various ways, i.e., charisms.

So the Kingdom of God is where we are headed, and the Spirit is what helps guide us there. It must also be where history is headed, indeed, the very purpose of history: "The "Kingdom of God' is the most synthetic concept in the Gospels. It is the reality that is thought to be the way, the means, and the end of humanity.... It is also identified with the divine life, and therefore, with the perfect, eternal condition of God to which all humanity is called."

Thus, word-made-flesh also ushers in the future-made-now, end-made-middle, and top-made-down; it "causes a dynamic force (the goodness of God) to enter into the world here and now."

In the past we have called the left the Good Intentions Paving Company, for we know where their projects always lead. Why is this? Because they are a repetition and prolongation of the Fall, i.e., the attempt to accomplish something without God that can only be achieved with God. Thus, the left never stops building towers of Babel and the roads between them.

Jesus advises us that we must look for the Kingdom "amid many distractions" in the world, "as well as choose it and remain faithful to it. If we do choose and remain faithful to the Kingdom, its power will affect us, making us 'Kingdom builders.'" Here again we encounter the orthoparadoxical idea that the Kingdom is the road we both build and and travel upon in order to help get us there; thus it is both path and destiny.

This is quintessentially true of Jesus, who "not only speaks of the Kingdom" but "acts it out..." As such, to the extent that he is Word, this Word is a verb, an "action word."

McKenna speaks of history as a kind of backwash from the eternal; history is a wave -- a timewave. "What we are moving toward in three dimensions is the passing of this wave of understanding into a higher dimension, the realm of the atemporal." And "the real Anti-Christ is history's distorted reflection of the Christ at the end of time." It is precisely this that causes the left to never stop immanentizing the eschaton with their good intentions.

About that atemporal reality to which we are (hope-fully) headed. Spitzer suggests that it "brings not only the satisfaction of intellectual curiosity, but the satisfaction of being immersed in tremendous beauty, the beauty of complete intelligibility, perfect symmetry, perfect creativity, perfect mind, and the perfect love behind it all." In this vision, "truth is beauty and beauty is truth; love and goodness are truth and beauty; and truth and beauty are love and goodness" beheld "in the midst of real interpersonal love" and joy.

So, the Kingdom of Heaven is really a "grace-filled adventure" toward its own fulfillment. Otherwise I just don't see the point.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Psychedelic Christianity

I have a little unexpected timelessness this morning to ponder the imponderable...

Back when I was in graduate school, I happily toiled as a retail clerk, often on the graveyard shift. The tranquility and silence of an empty supermarket afforded me much facetime with myself; this forced contact between me and my own dreadful abyss helps explain why, to this very day, I am able to live with myself. Or at least tolerate the bastard.

But that gets old after awhile, so I started listening to a portable radio. This was before the days of widespread talk radio, plus I was a lefty back then, so I would frequently tune into the barking lefthound side of the dial, i.e., public- and listener-supported radio. If you think what goes on there during the day is crazy, you should listen in at 3:00 AM, when no one's listening.

For many years I was devoted to a program on Pacifica Radio called Something's Happening. It was on Sunday through Friday mornings, like midnight to 6:00 AM, and featured all kinds of counter-cultural metaphysical, mystical, scientific, political, and religious sense and nonsense. (Looks like it is still on to this day.) For example, once a week it featured lectures by Alan Watts and Krishnamurti. I also remember frequent talks by Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Noam Chomsky, Joseph Campbell, David Bohm, and various Buddhists, Jungian psychologists, astrologers, and sundry healers and holy men.

But the guest who made the biggest impression on me was the "ethnobotanist" Terence McKenna. Many if not most readers will have heard of him. He was one of the most mesmerizing speakers I had ever heard, able to somehow combine science with the psychedelic experience in such away that he made the weirdness of it all seem plausible. At least at 3:00 AM, when the world was soundasleep but the right brain was wideawake.

Although I reject a lot of his details, he definitely helped open me to the transdimensional nature of reality. Through him I was introduced to Whitehead, Joyce, mystical Christianity, and other enduring themes and interests. Ultimately I think it's because of him that I wanted to write a Really Weird Book. In fact, one of my problems with Christianity was that it wasn't weird enough. In reality it's plenty weird, but the weirdness tends to get worn away as the shocking message tumbles down the centuries.

Anyway, I was recently thumbing through a volume of his works and was reminded of how I am still attracted to the idea of a psychedelic Christianity, minus the psychedelics.

In the preface to the book, he (humbly) speaks of how he "had apparently evolved into a sort of mouthpiece for the incarnate Logos," based upon the startled reaction of his listeners: "I could talk to small groups of people with what appeared to be electrifying effect about the peculiarly transcendental matters that you will read about in these pages."

I well remember the electrifying effect, although I don't know that it would occur today, some thirty or more years later. But I know what he means when he writes that "It was as though my ordinary, rather humdrum personality had simply been turned off and speaking through me was the voice of another, a voice that was steady, unhesitating, and articulate -- a voice seeking to inform others about the power and promise" of other dimensions.

Now, religion as such is obviously about the power and promise of these other dimensions, and about revealing the hidden vertical continuity between Here and There. Back when I was conceiving the book, I concluded that, just as animals presumably evolved into a specifically human consciousness, human consciousness was evolving further into a spiritual dimension; or rather, animal neurology evolved to the point that it could enter the human space (or they could sponsor the ingression of a soul), and it is the task of human beings to further explore and acclimate themselves to a spiritual space that is prior to them. "Civilization" is its terrestrial residue.

McKenna speaks of consciousness as a "hyper-organ" that gives access "to the doorway" through which "the dead pass daily." What I would say is that mind is the first nonlocal organ, not bound by space and time but able to rise above and beyond it into realms of truth, beauty, goodness and unity. But we need to develop it in order "to navigate in hyperspace" and get to know the area.

McKenna helped me to connect everyday language to the Logos, and to show their necessary relationship. The trick is "to describe the phenomenon as accurately as possible. My task is compounded by the fact that the phenomenon I must try to describe has itself to do with the very tools of description; i.e., language.... since the phenomenon begins at the edge of language, where the concept-forming faculty gropes but finds no words, I must be careful to avoid not distinguishing between mere language-symbol-metaphor and the reality I am attempting to apply it to."

This is precisely what I attempted to do in the prologue and epilogue of the book. I'm not saying I succeeded, only that I was toying or playing with the idea of deploying language to make present the reality to which it is pointing. Or as McKenna describes it, it is a making visible of "the normally invisible syntactical web that holds both language and the world together." Hey, someone's gotta do it.

McKenna also helped me make sense of Christian eschatology, the idea that history aims at its own fulfillment beyond history; history is "the shock wave of the final actualization of the potential of the human psyche." Thus, the thing we call history is a kind of race down from the trees of west Africa, to the wide open spaces of temporal change and development, and back up the nonlocal tree whose roots are aloft and branches down below.

To be continued...

Theme Song

Theme Song