Since new readers will never catch up with the Arkive -- I realize that 2,000 posts is a major commitment to a mere blogger -- it can't hurt to whip out an old one every nowandagain. Besides, even if you're a venerable O'timer, something like 1,200 posts have passed under the bridge since we started, and maybe you missed this one. Let us also recall the evergreen words of our venerable Schuon:
Everything has already been said, and well said; but one must always recall it anew, and in recalling it one must do what has already been done: to actualize in thought certitudes contained, not in the thinking ego, but in the transpersonal substance of human intelligence.
I'm still making my way through and up the 1,100 page Spiritual Ascent, a "compendium of the world's wisdom" organized into three main sections that mirror the universal stages of purification, illumination, and union, but with dozens of subsectional byways along climb.
You could say the book is fractally organized, in that each section is a part of the whole, even while the whole is in each part. Likewise, every day of our lives is a microcosm of the lifelong spiritual adventure, i.e., an ongoing process of purification, illumination, and union, at least if we are consciously aware of this onetime uppertunity to ride our wrungs on Jacob's ladder.
Like the cosmos itself, the book gets off to a very promising start, with chapters on divine creation, the process of manifestation, man's primordial birthright, and similar felicitous topics.
I suppose this is only fitting, being that the Creator's main excuse for the creation was that "it seemed like a good idea at the time," i.e., "God saw everything he had made, and indeed it was very good." But you know what they say about how the beast waylaid the plans of lousy men. Very soon the karmic wheels fall off the creation, ironically due to its only wideawake members, homo sleepyones.
This reminds us of Finnegans Wake, which begins innocently enough with a sentence about Adam & Eve ("riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay"), but by the third paragraph is in fullfall ("the fall of a once wallstrait oldparr is retaled early in bed and later on life down through all Christian minstrelsy"), and by the guilt-stained fourth paragraph is ringing in the full scale war of each against all ("arms apeal with larms, appalling. Killykillykilly: a toll, a toll").
Similarly, The Spiritual Ascent hits a bit of a rough patch with the chapters on illusion, sin, suffering, sacrifice, damnation, hell, and the like. D'oh!
Nevertheless, these sections do emphasize the existential stakes involved, as well as the unavoidable fact that "purification" is somewhat analogous to the manner in which a diamond is made. Just take a lump of coal, put it through unimaginable fire and pressure in the middle of the earth, then chip and chisel away what is impure and unnecessary, and you've got a luminous little gem fit for eternity.
What a bi-cosmic coincidence that the name diamond derives from the ancient Greek adamas and that most of them, like alluvus, originate from Africa. Reminds me of the Johnny Cash song (written by Billy Joe Shaver):
I'm just an old chunk of coal / But I'm gonna be a diamond some day.... / I'm gonna spit and polish my old rough-edged self / 'Til I get rid of every single flaw / I'm gonna be the world's best friend
I just finished a couple of fascinating sections, Pilgrimage -- Descent Into Hell and Holy War. The section on Holy War is particularly interesting, as it emphasizes that jihad isn't just for jihidiots. Rather, there is Jewhad, Buhad, and Crusad, in both the interior and exterior senses, as well as above and below. Quite simply, war isn't just inevitable but necessary, with roots extending deep into the very structure of the cosmos.
Conversely, it is pacifism that isn't only unnecessary but highly narcissary to boot; sanctimonious pacifists are usually just people unaware (or at least pretending to be) of their viciousness and cruelty, as with most prominent leftists who are always passive-aggressive when they aren't being actively aggressive.
Pacifism is essentially a surrender -- not just in war, but in the struggle of existence itself. For as written in Exodus, The Lord is a man of war; or in the words of Jesus: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword; or in the words of Krishna: Nothing is higher for a [member of the warrior caste] than a righteous war.
In his introduction to the subject of Holy War, Perry cites Guenon, who wrote that the essential reason for war -- legitimate war -- is
to end a dis-order and re-establish order; in other words, it is the unification of a multiplicity, by use of means which belong to the world of multiplicity itself.... War understood in this way, and not limited in an exclusively human sense, thus represents the cosmic process of the reintegration of the manifested into the principial unity.
This reintegration necessarily involves destruction, as catabolism is to metabolism.
The purpose of war is the establishment of peace, for even in its most ordinary sense peace is really nothing else than order, equilibrium, or harmony, these three terms being nearly synonymous and all designating under slightly different aspects the reflection of unity in multiplicity itself.... Multiplicity is then in fact not really destroyed, but 'transformed'...
In another sense, legitimate war is none other than justice, being that justice is really an "equilibrating function" which is "directed against those who disturb order and [has] as its object the restoration of order." The reason we catch and punish bad guys is ultimately to restore order -- to the community, to the wronged individual, within the disordered psyche of the perpetrator, and ultimately to the Cosmos itself.
Compare interior warfare to the Black Liberation Theology which so attracted the weak-souled Obama: "Many have been asking what Liberation Theology is all about. Well, it is not very complicated! It is the simple belief that in the struggles of poor and oppressed people against their powerful and rich oppressors, God sides with the oppressed against the oppressors."
Thus, it precisely inverts the true meaning of holy war, in that it imagines God sides only with "the poor" instead of the righteous, or that he is angry at the wealthy instead of the evil (we should say that the righteous, to the precise extent that they are righteous, side with God).
The "great holy war" is the struggle of man "against the enemies he carries within himself, that is to say, against all those elements in him which are contrary to order and unity" (and dynamic unity is not unicity, the latter being top-down coercion and conformity).
Consider this astounding claim by The New Republic:
Liberals are notoriously loath to take their own side in a fight. But their reticence may well be changing in an age of vigilante, white nationalist terror -- openly condoned and supported by an incumbent president who has suggested that his armed devotees won’t stand for his removal from office. Increasingly, the antifa left is arguing -- and training -- in response. They are worried not only about an armed reckoning following a contested election, but also about rising violence from the paramilitaries loyal to President Donald Trump.
It is so lacking in self-awareness on so many levels, that one scarcely knows where to begin. Put it this way:
The German people are notoriously loath to take their own side in a fight. But their reticence may well be changing in an age of vigilante Bolshevist and capitalist terror -- openly condoned and supported by their Jewish puppet masters. Increasingly, our stormtroopers are arguing -- and training -- in response.
Here's the reality, which I read just yesterday in this big ol' book on Fundamental Theology. History is
a protracted and unremitting battle between God's plan for redemption and those who oppose it, even unknowingly, throughout history. St. Augustine.... shows that the most fundamental structure of human history is the conflict between these two "cities," or types of civilization, found in every age.
Same as it ever was.