I don’t always disagree with Schuon, but when I do, Dupree asks me what I’ve been smoking and if he can buy some pot from me.
I exaggerate. Let’s just say Dupree has never paid retail for pot.
But I do hesitate to disagree with Schuon, since he seems to have a source he doesn’t tell us about. A kind of Intrinsic Authority, if you will. Of course, every cult leader comes off as an unquestioned authority, and sends out a vibe to vertical cronies such as myself to Back off man, I’m a Shaykh, or Einstein of Consciousness, or 11th Degree Peltmaster.
That Schuon was a cult leader is neither here nor there. Rather, the question always and everywhere comes down to what is true, for there are good cults and bad cults.
Jesus was a cult leader too, and indeed, every big-box religion starts out as a cult with a single person at the center, from Abraham to Moses and everyone in between, e.g., Gautama Buddha, Lao Tse, Mohammad, Martin Luther, Phineas Quimby, Clarence 13X, The Báb, Sai Baba, Bob Dobbs, et al.
I just now remembered a book I read back in the day, that day being in the late 1990s, called The Book of Enlightened Masters. The title is only quasi-ironic; as I recall, the author goes back and forth between a gentle skepticism and a freewheeling, indulgent benefit-of-the-doubt, vertical libertarianism.
And why not? Just because we don’t know, it doesn’t mean someone else might not know, especially when that someone speaks with such charismatic authority!
This may sound a bit odd, but I often extend this indulgent attitude to myself. How to explain it…
Hold on a sec -- did this insolent Gagdad person just call me a cult leader? Ouch!
As to my own Intrinsic Authority, it’s like this: when I (The B'ob) really want to drill down into a primordial subject, -- which is most of the time -- I just begin writing about it, and at some point it’s like what I imagine it must be like for a lead guitarist, say, Derek Trucks, who is my favorite, since he combines so many influences.
Suddenly the solo begins taking off, as if it has a mind of its own. Did I do that? Yes, but with the cooperation of some x-factor that wasn’t me at all. Come to think of it, pretty much every songwriter I’ve ever admired describes something similar. Is it grandiosity? Or humility? Or megalomodesty, AKA the Ultimate Humblebrag?
Matter of fact, just last night I was reading a book about The Beach Boys. Before trying to write a song (in this case with Randy Bachman), Carl Wilson would light a candle, put his hands together, and say, “Oh Great Spirit of Music, we are together as two souls and we ask for your guidance that we make good music together.”
Say what you want, it often worked, for example, with the great song Feel Flows, which, as Dupree can tell you, “with its jazzy solos and mystical aura,” is "great stoner music.”
Anyway, more often than not, I don’t know what I think about something until I write about it. But that’s only half of it, because once it’s written, I have to either agree or disagree with it. Yes, but based on what? By virtue of whose authority? Who died and left you in charge, Bob?
This whole question of “authority” is a big one, and I probably haven’t discussed it enough. Out of 4,000+ posts, probably fewer than five have been on this subject. I WANT TO SPEAK TO THE MANAGER!
There is no manager. No one's in charge. Obviously, because the post got away from me. Encasing, all-embracing wreath of repose engulfs all the senses, imposing, unclosing thoughts that compose... or tried to compose, anyway. Next time I'll light a candle to the Great Spirit of Blogging.
Musical consolation. Best I can do:
Since I just figured out how to put in a video link, I think this will be a new feature: spiritual music of the day.
I wonder if you could put a music playlist in the sidebar, in place of the old Amazon links?
Re. where the spiritual authority comes from, I used to feel that way about music in choir. People wondered how I could memorize songs so quickly, but it never felt like that; more like streaming it from the Cloud while it's needed, then back into the ether when we're done.
Might be a bridge too far for my meager computer skills. I'm thinking of transferring the whole blog over to wordpress or something. Maybe under a new name, such as The Daily Why're We Here.
Could be worthwhile; if nothing else, it's always good to have a backup.
Bring on the tunes Bob! How about a top 20 singles/deep cuts? I've been pondering mine lately.
Wasn't Schuon caught dancing naked with young gals in his older years? I love his writing, but intrinsic authority never seems to show up around the knickers region.
Interesting book on that touchy, if not feely, subject: The Way Forward for Perennialism: After the Antinomianism of Frithjof Schuon, by Upton.
Ted, if it helps I just saw a video where Bishop Barron mentioned Ghandi in a positive light. I think sometimes you have to separate the things someone gets right from the ways they go way off the rails. I mean, David & Solomon still get a lot of love even though they screwed up spectacularly when it came to dealing with women.
Put another way, if we have to cancel every spiritual leader who gives in to temptation, there won't be many we could look to for guidance - and possibly those remaining wouldn't be very relatable for the restuvus to follow. As always, by their fruits you know them, and if we're really fortunate we can learn from their mistakes as well.
And it looks like the book by Upton was quickly pulled from circulation, probably because he either spoke or twisted the truth.
Short TV documentary on Schuon’s legal ordeal:
Julie, I'm in total agreement! I hate cancel culture and its many forms, and therefore always try to discern the baby from the bathwater. For example, I know Bob has issues with Da Free John, who really was creepy. But he did write a few amazing books and was a spiritual genius on some plane. Same with Schuon: there is too much richness to pass by due a trivial event that we are all potentially fallible towards (albeit I really would hate anyone seeing me dance naked).
Byron, good find! And sort of sets the record straight. Seems like a witch hunt by the witches.
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