Monday, April 05, 2021

The Point of Pointlessness

Lately I've been thinking that the blog needs a point. Personally, I've never had a point, as I seem to have been born without one. 

I was just a kid in the '60s, so I can't be absolutely sure if I was literally born pointless or inhaled too much of the hippy vibe growing up (in California no less), but if you called me an "alt hippy," you wouldn't be wide of the mark.  

I've always been this way: no master plan, no future, not even a tomorrow, just moment to moment, takin' her easy for all you sinners out there. I never planned to be a psychologist -- of all things -- just as I never planned not to be one, but here we are, since I up 'n decided to retire, just like that. I couldn't care less about psychology (except for the perennial kind ordered to human nature).  

*Ironically,* I finished grad school in 1988, the same year Prozac came to market. In terms of therapy, medication is cheap while talk is expensive. More to the point, it never occurred to me that I had the power to cure souls. Perhaps help them "adjust," but to what? Reality?   No way. Maybe to some very narrow slice of conventional reality that interests me not in the least.

Which is perhaps a bit strange: how many people can well and truly look back at the end of their career and say: eh, so what? I never, not for a moment, lived to work. Rather, vice versa: worked to live. 

But at the same time, I never, ever, lived for life. Rather, life is far too interesting to merely live it. Animals do that. So much of what folks call "living" never held the least interest to me. The business of doing was always a distraction from the more vital isness of being. 

Meta-living? Perhaps. Yes and no, because extremes meet: two things have always preoccupied me: 1) the present moment, and 2) eternity. Truly, nothing else is really real or worth the effort. 

Rather, reality -- or the most real -- is always the bifurcation of time by eternity, which is what gives the present moment it's depth, its light, its "heft." There's no place like OM, nowhere else to go, to be, or to see. You're here. Might was well enjoy it.

It took me a little while to consciously embrace this philosophy -- or "natural theology," so to speak -- for the simple reason that no one else seemed to embrace it, certainly not in my bourgeois, middle class neck of the woods. There were no models anywhere, except maybe bums and hobos. True, my Uncle Peter never seemed to have a real job, but not because he didn't want one.  He was just an amiable loser.

Apparently, a fair number of people -- especially men -- have difficulty with retirement, and women struggle with the point of life after the children leave the nest.

For me it has always been the other way around: doing stuff was pointless, not doing them the point. The best things in life are free of a point; they aren't for the sake of something else, but for their own sake. 

But for the average person, there is a sort of "wall" between doing and being. They become anxious with nothing to do, and therefore can't enjoy it. Here again, I'm the opposite: I dread the Full Plate.

I'm reminded of a remark by Eckhart about "living without a why." That's all I remember about it, but the phrase stuck. Come to think of it, when I was younger, I used to "advocate" this philosophy to others, until I realized that it can't really be a universal imperative per se, but only applicable to the personalities who are destined to be this way -- any more than it would make sense to advise a midget to pursue the dream of an NBA career.

Rather, it comes down to natural castes, or karma, or dharma, or something. Schuon discusses this in an essay called The Meaning of Caste. You know them well: there are natural priests, aristocrats, kings, scholars, knight-warriors, merchants, peasants, outcastes, sociopaths, etc. 

Moreover, our entropic and chaotic times are characterized by a deep and systemic confusion of roles, e.g., peasants posing as scholars and rulers, crazy outcastes (e.g., cross-dressing freaks) pretending to be warriors and athletes, merchants posing as police (our technofascist overlords), criminals as presidents, etc. 

Only in such a world can a lazy but smooth talking anti-intellectual such as Obama be seen as a Philosopher King and Evolutionary Lightbringer. And yet, here we are, in his third term.

The idea of natural castes is obviously at antipodes to the naive and outmoded blank-slatism that is the first principle of the anti-science left, i.e., that anyone can be anything with enough social engineering. The alt-right recognizes that people are who they are, except they attribute this solely to genetics, since that's all they have (they tend toward atheism and scientism). 

Genetics obviously plays a large role, but just as there can by definition be no gene for homosexuality, nor can there be a gene for the priesthood, at least in the sense I am using the term (a supernaturally natural, intrinsic priesthood). The alt-right talks about a "gene for belief," but this explains nothing. Is there a gene for a belief in belief? 

The point is, the human station is bound -- or bordered -- at two ends. At one end is biology, about which there can be no doubt. But to reduce the human person to biology is both self-defeating and obviously soph-defeating, because it reduces wisdom to knowledge and ought to is. Ought we believe in genetic determinism? You see the problem. Let's say ta-ta to tautology and hello to our vertical telovator.

Anyway, the human station is bound at the other end by... you name it. Men call this boundary -- or beyond this boundary -- "God," but this can cause as much confusion as it clarifies, especially in these crazy times, in which the Average Moron will immediately ask, Whose God?  

Anyway, reducing transcendence to immanence is always an error. It is a cosmic heresy, whether it is reduced to dialectical materialism or the dialectic of natural selection. Not only is transcendence real, it is the most real, and certainly more real than the material plane. Worlds will continue to come and go, but 2 + 2 will always be 4 in every one of them, except where truth is attacked and reality denied, AKA, on the left, which always -- for this is its deep structure -- replaces truth with power.


ted said...

It's nice to see you enjoying retirement in just being and nothing doing. Although, you are far from pointless. I have yet to come across someone with an omniscient impulse for books like you. You may not get paid for it, but it's far from pointless.

julie said...

Apparently, a fair number of people -- especially men -- have difficulty with retirement, and women struggle with the point of life after the children leave the nest.

Funny, I managed to do it backwards.

Most people, on finding themselves in such a circumstance, come to the horrifying realization that they need to be needed. Not necessarily useful, just... well, they need a reason to be. Preferably somewhere, doing something, with or for someone. I guess that's why so many (men especially) who have worked all their lives end up dying so quickly. They don't know what they're for anymore, so...

Anonymous said...

Religion gives you a reason to be. Once you accept that you belong to God, things become a simpler. You don't have to figure out the point of anything. It is not up to you. Your job is to follow instructions.

Therefore, and I have reinforced this to the point of nausea on this blog as a frequent commenter:

Job #1 is to locate your individual orders. You have them board, and they get updated automatically, but you must get past the chaff/interference of regular mentation to find the orders. These can be subtle or they can be overweening.

Now speaking of castes, the natural-born warrior, business tycoon, politician, artisan, craftsperson, stonemason, or healer won't have to try very hard. They know what the point is and they go at it. I knew a young man who told me "I want to be an airline pilot." This at age 17. Captain Lawrence retired after 40 years behind the yoke. He is a very calm and centered man and his hobby? Restoring and flying old war-birds. He never had to question the point- the point was to fly.

The Brahman, the natural-born priest, the sage, has it more difficult. This caste must communicate very closely in real-time with God. That is what they want, and they will seek it out. Although this caste inspires others and leads them to their best selves, the existence of the Brahman needs no further point. The Brahman becomes a living point. The Brahman is the deputy of the Lord, egoless, sincere, consecrated, stainless, pure, concentrated, and powerful. He radiates a beneficial influence out for many kilometers in all directions.

Some of us are stretched across the chasm of two castes and don't fully know what we are. This is very common. The Comsos is shot through with vexing shades of gray, unclear boundaries, turbid solutions, and jumbled mixes. That is just the way it is.

Go inside; find the orders. Job #2: execute your orders.

So there you have it, Gagdad. Shall you continue to blog? What would be the point? Those considerations are not up to you. You will be directed and be happy to follow directions.

To find your orders it helps to have a special spot where the reception comes in good; some people like high places for that.

Anonymous said...

Most American men wont be able to retire and most women become caretaker grandmas. So the cycle of meaningful life continues, for them.

My grandfather was dead from Alzheimer's three years after he retired, leaving his widow to live the carefree existence as the retirement home slut for more than thirty years afterwards.

But for the rest, what do to? We still have the challenging chore or reuniting scientists with religion. That could be a hobby. And Donald Trump recently revealed the true nature of cancel culture, that we must cancel The Man and his corporations. That's another. Is prophesy considered a hobby? My man Ken Copeland makes serious coin doing that hobby. Or maybe continuing to develop the Power of Pointlessness?

Anonymous said...

After I presented a Power Point Presentation on Pointlessness, plenty of people posed a perplexing question, what was the point of a presentation on pointlessness?

And I said to them: "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, so you shall bloody well watch the presentation and like it."

The point was, I worked hard on that and I wanted some recognition.

Anyone can ask, what is the point? The question is pointless. Everything is the point. And I want money.

-Percy Poindexter

Anonymous said...

Percy, I once worked at a major American corporation where pointless power-pointless meetings were a requirement. Example: at a different, smaller, newer, nimbler company I had 10 minutes to make a decision, which at the major American corporation had taken 25 guys six months of biweekly meetings each an hour long, to make.

That's a man hour differential of 1800.

That old corporation was once the best and brightest America had in the national defense and technology sectors. And still is. Industry analysts criticized the CEO (and board) decision to buy back shares instead of investing in a new major product which was sorely needed. Both CEOs were fired for sex and other scandals, and today that company is on the ropes.

But not to worry. European, Japanese, Russian, Chinese and even Brazilian competitors will fill the void soon to be left by that once mighty corporation. They love them some American pointlessness.

Anonymous said...

I forgot the rest of the story. That "different, smaller, newer, nimbler company" wound up being bought out by a multinational, which is apparently the point of starting different, smaller, newer, nimbler companies these days. If you build it then they will come and buy it, and you get to retire in style. And your once proud company that you built will quickly deteriorate to institutionalized rot as well. But what do you care?

And now I'm here to whine about it. And most pitifully, I must admit. This is depressing. And I don't even have children.

Can we continue to discuss the Power of Pointlessness in our own lives instead?