Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Who Invented You, Anyway?

And now for a gear-grinding change of subjects...

No, that's not quite right, because deep down, the subject of this blog is always the same, that is, How did we get here? And with it, What are we supposed to do while we're here?, and Toward what end? Or in other words, Origin, Present Being, and Destiny; or Creation, Freedom, and Judgment. Or Who, What, and Why.

I've mentioned before that the Book of the Same Name was essentially an extended meditation on this question of How did I get here? The question provokes any number of answers, all of them true; for example, there are genetic, historical, biological, evolutionary, psychological, anthropological, cultural, economic, religious and other factors that contribute to Who We Are.

Most people seem to pick one or two and say to hell with it, but I wanted to look around, dig down, peer behind, and stretch upward, in order to consider as many angles as humanly possible, and then found my own religion. In the end, I decided to outsource the second part for reasons of comparative advantage.

Chapter 3.2 is called Humans and How They Got That Way: Putting the Sapiens into Homo. You see, we were Homos for a good long while before we became especially sapiental (wise) about it. That chapter contains some dodgy and overly generalized "history" that traces the emergence of what we call the "individual" or personal self. This self is something we cannot take for granted, nor can we simply project it into the past, as if premodern humans (including contemporary ones!!!) experienced the world in the same way.

The question is, Who invented the individual? Long story short, Christianity; you might say that Judaism did a lot of the R & D, while Christianity focused on marketing. But without this radical new philosophy, we might still be pre-individual members of clans and tribes with no personal identity, no better than the multiculturalists of today.

So, this book, Inventing the Individual, pretty much has my hair on fire. I'm only up to page 65, so I don't know the author's ultimate conclusions, but already there is plenty to playgiarize with, and more than enough to make my own theories almost seem plausible.

I'm just going to flip through the book and expand upon passages that arrested my attention. It begins with a quote from the 19th century historian Fustel de Coulanges, to the effect that the true object of historical study "is the human mind: it should aspire to know what this mind has believed, thought, and felt in different ages of the life of the human race."

Right. The problem here is that mere empathy is not only insufficient, but probably going to mislead. In other words, it is exceedingly difficult to simply project ourselves back in time, as if people of the past were "just like us."

Note that this doesn't just apply to the past. For example, I don't think it is truly possible for us to understand the mindset of Islamic terrorists, or pedophiles, or mass murderers.

(Coincidentally, yesterday's Best of the Web was on the subject of pathological altruism, in which Taranto cites an author who said of the Australian murderer that we face a "difficult test of our empathy," in that "While we do not know [the murderer's] story or his motivation, we know he was once someone just like those people whose lives he has now treated with such disdain. He must have loved ones, too. Forgiving him will be very difficult, and it will take time. Without forgiveness, though, we have to live with destructive hate." Liberalism. Is there anything it can't pervert?)

More generally -- and this is something I'll be expanding upon later -- to the extent that we misuse empathy, it will only "reveal" what we have projected into the subject. It will only tell us about ourselves, not the other person.

This was one of the most important lessons of my psychoanalytic study, first, that empathy is a tool of investigation, and second, that it must operate at the same level as the person under study. To take an obvious example, it requires empathy to understand an infant, a spouse, a friend, or a stranger, but in each case it is different.

For our purposes, when a patient comes in for therapy, they are generally operating at a certain level of development, e.g., neurotic, borderline, autistic, narcissistic, psychotic, etc. If you try to deal with a borderline patient the same way you would a neurotic, you'll get nowhere. In each case empathy is required, but in order to empathize with the borderline, you have to use it to reach a more primitive mode of experience, relating, and cognition (within both your self and the other person, the former facilitating the latter).

We have to do something similar to understand the people of the past, especially people who are or were swimming outside the Judeo-Christian stream. As Siedentop writes, "Deep moral changes, changes in belief, can take centuries to begin to modify social institutions." And very much contrary to postmodernists in all their nasty variety, "it seem to me that moral beliefs have given an overall 'direction' to Western history."

For me, a more interesting way to chart this progress is through the emergence and deepening of the individual. That is, if we trace our existence from the Big Bang all the way to the present post, what is most striking -- and most important to us -- is a gradual expansion and deepening of the subjective horizon.

In other words, our "mental space" -- the space in which we live -- expands and deepens along with our individuality; these are really two sides of the same process, as we shall see. Freedom, conscience, and personal self are all bound up together, but we also need to examine the conditions that made these possible.

What I would say is that God is of course the necessary condition -- the condition without which -- while various religious, psychological, and cultural factors provide the sufficient conditions -- the conditions with which.

Let's begin with pre-Christian antiquity. In order to even begin to understand these remote ancestors, "We must imagine ourselves in a world where action is governed by norms reflecting exclusively the claims of the family, its memories, rituals and roles, rather than the clams of individual conscience. We must imagine ourselves into a world of humans or persons who were not 'individuals' as we would understand them now" (Siedentop, emphasis mine).

Interestingly, this would imply that in order for God to save or redeem individuals, he had to first bring about conditions through which people could individuate from the group (just as humans had to first "speciate" from animals, and life had to anim-ate from matter). Thus, as we shall see, culture is the bread which shall be leavened by some very wise men from the yeast.

To be continued....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

In Order to Find Out What's In Liberalism, You Have to Surrender to Liberalism

"Health," writes Kushner, "is the result of connecting the discordant and apparently unrelated pieces." It is related to wholeness, so one form of illness is the belief or pretense "that what is broken is whole."

Meaning emerges as a consequence of the connections between the parts; thus, "meaninglessness obtains when the events in our lives seem to us unrelated, discordant, and fragmentary."

The key point is that meaning is somehow in the spaces between; it is unthinkable in the absence of relationship. We could even say that it is intrinsically trinitarian, for there is This, That, and the Other Thing, i.e., the relation between.

For example, what is the meaning of the relationship between (every) I and I AM, or (•) and O? Life is about exploring, elaborating, and deepening this meaning, unless one denies it a priori, in which case one will suffer from a false wholeness, and with it, Restless Self Syndrome. Whatever fragmentary wholeness one can cobble together will be just that: fragmentary and ultimately meaningless. It is the pretend truth of scientism, or Darwinism, or Marxism.

Of note, we could also say that there is "historical health," which involves an act of imaginative synthesis that situates us in an intelligible and plausible cosmic narrative. The left -- via deconstruction, revisionism, and other methods -- acts like a corrosive to historical health, and through this, personal health. We saw this most recently in the fraudulent CIA report. By way of contrast to Feinstein's tortured narrative, here's a blast of fresh air from Thomas Sowell (I know, metaphor alert!):

"If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City -- set to go off today -- and you had a captured terrorist who knew where and when, would you not do anything whatever to make him tell you where and when? Would you pause to look up the definition of 'torture'? Would you even care what the definition of 'torture' was, when the alternative was seeing millions of innocent people murdered?"

(I might add that Sowell's new edition of Basic Economics is one continuous blast of uncommonly common sense. If only this were required reading for college students, it would spell the end of the left.)

The left is much more religious than the religious, in the sense that we all know that there are exceptions to, say, bearing false witness -- for example, if Al Sharpton asks us where Officer Wilson is hiding. To tell him the truth would be a far greater sin than delivering Officer Wilson into the hands of a racist lynch mob.

But I can't tell you how many times I've heard liberals in the last week insist that "torture" (by which they mean harsh interrogation) is never appropriate, and that it can never yield actionable intelligence. Such thinking represents an outright attack on meaning and truth: it does to common sense, common knowledge, and common morality what terrorists and lynch mobs do to people.

Speaking of lying liars, "Only magicians and charlatans claim to be able to change this world" (ibid.). This is the principle difference between the metaphysics of left and right: the former projects the locus of control outside the self, into corporations, or the one percent, or white males, etc., while the latter locates it within. (Think, for example, of how Michael Brown had total control over his fate, until he decided to rush the officer and steal his gun; and yet, the Mob pretends that he was the victim of forces exterior to himself.)

We would say that the very purpose of this country is to create a place that valorizes and maintains the interior locus of control, AKA the Empire of Liberty (liberty being the quintessential "space between"). Otherwise we're no different from any other shitty country where the government controls people from without.

By the way, this great book (so far), Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism, goes to exactly this idea. Everything contemporary liberals pretend to value -- but are in the process of destroying -- is rooted in Judeo-Christian principles.

Karl Marx famously said that "you have to pass the bill to find out what's in the bill." No, wait, that was one of his latter day wackolytes. Marx said something similar -- it is appropriately inscribed upon his grave -- that while lesser philosophers merely interpret the world, the point is to change the world. But any idiot can change the world in the wrong way, or there would be no such thing as "news."

More to the point, you have to swallow this gobshite revolutionary philosophy in order to find out what's in the philosophy (what it will do to the world and the people in it). And yet, no matter how many times we find out, the left never learns. Why is that? Go back up to paragraphs two and four, about how historical disease is a consequence of an attack on meaning, which causes wholeness to revert to meaningless fragments.

The world is always going to be the world, and man is always going to be one, unfortunately. But knowing these things can prevent catastrophic falls. Yes, the world "is teeming with mysterious powers and miracles, but to seek to manipulate them without first understanding oneself has, for centuries, been known as illness" (ibid.). Today it is known as liberalism.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Close Encounters of the Word Kind

We have stumbled into an artery of Jewish mysticism, which we will continue exploring until we come up the other vein. In fact, it would appear that the divine energies operate in similar fashion to the circulatory system (or rather, vice versa), with one stream of energy leading away from, the other leading back to, the beating heart of the cosmos.

Also, just as the arterial tree leads from heart, to aorta, to arteries, all the way down and out to the capillaries that nourish the individual cells, it seems that creation has the same fractal pattern. I suppose this is what the Kabbalistic tree attempts to depict. Here, at the right, is how Denys the Aeropagite pictures it -->

Here are some other angelic angles. The first one looks like a hovering spaceship. Which I suppose it is:

This one is called Creation:

How should one look at these things? The same way one should regard scripture, only transposed from the ears to the eyes: with "one that preserves clarity, but not at the expense of mystery" (Kushner).

Joyce called it... a number of things, like being circumveiled in clearobscuro, or being once amore as babes awondering in a wold made fresh. Whoevery heard of such a think?!

Speaking of (?!), it is simply axiomatic that "In each generation there are encounters with the Holy Ancient One of Old" (Kushner). That's the word made fresh and delivered to our shore.

And speaking of space ships, Carl Jung was of the opinion that these are the same old archetypes clothed in new humanoid projections, psimilar to how, say, the paranoiac of the 15th century would have been frightened of vampires, whereas the 21st century nut is terrified by BushCo or the Tea Party or the Rape Culture. Same energies, different veils.

Scripture, if it is anything, is a collective recollection, or murmurandom, of such close vertical encounters. It is "a kind of journal" -- our better, journeyall -- of "remembered holy moments, too awesome to be simply described in everyday conscious language" (ibid.).

In them the heart waylays and ambushes the mind, or the right brain (so to speak) catches us unawares and conks us upside the left. It is a letter we have written to ourselves, or from Self to self. Which is why we re-cognize and remesmer it in the first place, for it is a Word from our eternal sponsor.

The most surprising thing of all is that these celestial dreamscapes map the human terra-tory. For "there is a realm of being that comes before us and follows after us. Streaming through all creation. Knowing who we have been and will be.... It is a river of light.... Her branches and shoots are the nerves and vessels of this world coursing beneath our surfaces, pulsing through our veins. A blueprint underlying the cosmos. The primary process of being" (Kushner).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

God Save the Kinks

Ray Davies is pretty much the only songwriter from the rock era who articulates a consistent conservative view, sometimes ironically, but never without affection. To his great credit, I don't think he's ever made any bombastic political statements about his own opinions, but prefers to let his characters speak for themselves. He seems to be more on the libertarian side, which used to be one of the appeals of rock music, before it was hijacked by the left.

The following video was no doubt made without a trace of irony by a clueless leftist, but see if you can spot the raccoon:

From the song:

You keep all your smart modern writers / Give me William Shakespeare / You keep all your smart modern painters / I'll take Rembrandt, Titian, Da Vinci and Gainsborough.

I was born in a welfare state / Ruled by bureaucracy / Controlled by civil servants / And people dressed in grey / Got no privacy, got no liberty / Cos' the twentieth century people / Took it all away from me.

Here's a more recent live version by Ray, minus the Kinks:

Can't wait for this box set to be released next week (I expect the price to come way down, to more like forty bucks). It is limited to the classic years between 1964 and 1971. It traces the evolution from the early garage rock and more derivative R & B, to a creative peak between 1966 and 1971, during which Davies produced a body of work that rivals and probably surpasses anyone you could name, e.g., Dylan, Lennon-McCartney, Jagger-Richards, Brian Wilson, etc.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Manifestival of Lights and the Divine Clueprint

In The River of Light, Kushner mentions several enduring themes that animate him, including "the name of God, the life of the first Jew, the primordial human archetype, the nature of consciousness, the relationship of self to God," and, most importantly, how these "are all interrelated to one another."

For him, finding the rug that pulls all these areas together would constitute "a 'unified field theory' for Jewish theology." But it seems to me that such a cosmic area rug would also look pretty good in a non-kosher household.

The name of God? Let's start with I AM. And it seems to me that the life of the first Jew is the life of every Jew: slavery, exodus, liberation, redemption, especially vertically. The primordial human archetype? This is largely revealed in scripture, especially Genesis, i.e., the themes and motifs that define, limit and deform the human journey. The nature of consciousness? This, as we have said, must be relationship, so "relationship of self to God" is its ultimate foundational goround.

To paraphrase Schuon, to say man is to say God. To not say God is to render man impossible. So we are back to "the name of God"-- a name we (as humans) uniquely share with him, and only because of him: I AM. Or, you could say we share it in him.

Now, the life of the first Jew is the life of every Jew, and this involves "a journey that is nothing less than the evolution of consciousness." I almost hate to say that because of the new age connotations, but we cannot allow the improper use of something to define its proper use.

The only alternatives to this evolution are stasis, meaningless lateral translations, or entropy and dissolution. Evolution is strictly impossible in the absence of God, the divine telos, otherwise it's just change.

For the strictly materialistic scientist, evolution must be the most miraculous and inexplicable phenomenon imaginable. Truly, such a misosophy can only pretend to understand or explain it. But because God is, evolution must be. God has a "gravitational attraction," or maybe you haven't gnosissed.

You just have to get in your right mind. Or at least leave your left behind once in awhile. For just as the eyes dominate the senses, the left cerebral hemisphere tends to bully the right.

So here's a tip: "By reading holy literature as if it were a dream, we gain access to a primary mode of our collective unconscious." For us -- the West brain -- the Bible "is an entrance to the cave," into "the great dream of Western religion."

We don't sleep. We dream. Then we awaken to a collective hallucination. What, you don't read the news? Worse, we awaken to history, which is a chronicle of the hallucinations of the past.

For example, I just read a 700 page biography of Stalin. Here was a man at the center of world history, and yet, the book could hardly be more tedious, because it is just the elaboration of one self-enclosed collective hallucination.

In contrast, a Washington or Lincoln are endlessly fascinating, because theirs is an encounter and a journey -- a dream -- of an entirely different sort. Oh, if only there weren't this organized mob trying to kill our ontological dream and replace it with the hallucination, the lucid nightmare, of the left!

Remember -- I'm sure you do -- in the book, where we spoke of the banged-out and thunder-sundered images of the One? Along these obscure lines, Kushner writes that scripture "seeks to join the fragments of one's life into a greater unity of meaning."

Yes, there is brokenness. But a part of us understands that this is a consequence of something, and retains the memory of wholeness. Where is it? O, above my head! It is Too old, older than Abraham, too young, young as a babe's I AM! For it is where origin and destiny meet in the muddle of the mount, right here, right now, even if only for a moment?!

Adamnesia is aphasia go through on the way to re-collection. Thus, there is a "primordial human form" in whom we all part-icipate. As alluded to above, the first Jew and the last Jew are as if linked by a thread -- or maybe a river of light -- between Adam and Messiah: Adamessiadam...

There is secular history and the idiolatry of postmodern herstory, but we are speaking of the Ur-story, the primordial story of us all. In this Ur-story of scriptural dreaming, we are "given a vision of the inner workings of 'God's psyche,'" which is a clueprint to the outer workings of Life Itself. It is one huge mythunderstanding for which no one need apologize.

"[T]he Creator, too, returns again and again to that underlying pattern of being.... This is reality's dream. Holy literature. Organizing motif beneath the apparent surface....

"Creation is in us. The plan the Creator used reappears everywhere: from the most erudite contemporary cosmological theory to the opening sentences of Genesis, it is the same."

--> in the beginning I AM creates --> (and repent as necessary)

(Quoted material taken from River of Light: Jewish Mystical Awareness)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Hitchhiker's Guide to the One Cosmos Bus Schedule

Sounds and looks familiar: before the beginning there is "A pinpoint of light in the very center of a perfectly still mirror-smooth and formless black ocean." Then a "creative and divine irruption" out of which ripples "an infinite number of concentric circles of of increasing diameter but diminishing light":

Christian version (↓)

The orthoparadox here is that the circles closer to the center should be smaller, but they are actually larger, if only due to the greater light (which makes them "qualitatively" more expansive).

Conversely, imagine the total darkness at the extreme periphery. In one sense it appears "infinite," but in another sense it is just an opaque wall where no light can reach, or perhaps which has the "power" to shut out the light. Call it the Wall of Tenure.

It seems that there are threshold guardians along each circle. Each guard "wants nothing from you. Except that you go away." The guard does everything in his power "to foil your ascent" toward the light. However, he is not the actual source of this power.

Rather, "his power is only the evil within you." To which I would add fear of change and attachment to illusion, or devotion to a falsehood.

If the evil one can get us to pledge allegiance to an evil doctrine, then his work with you -- the heavy lifting, anyway -- is done. He can be like a deist-satan, who merely puts things in motion and then stands back to enjoy the show.

For the evil one, a secular brainwash is the gift that keeps giving. Any idiot can fuck things up, but doing so to this extent requires a great deal of education and fanatical devotion to a promethean ideology.

There are guards who impede the circular cosmic flow and the messengers who facilitate it. For, this guy named Jacob had a vision in which appeared "a channel / Standing on the earth / Yet reaching the very heavens. / And holy messengers were going up / And going down on it."

Each morning we hold out a thumb in the hope of catching a ride on an ascending bus, or at least getting a card or ladder from a descending one. But sometimes

"The channel is not apparent" and "The upper worlds and lower worlds / Seem hopelessly isolated from one another."

Yeah, it happens.

But then, "in a moment, / In some very unlikely place, / A ladder appears where before there was only the void."

Woo hoo! At once "those who were below may ascend; / And those who were above may come down to earth."

I suppose it helps to invite them, or at least don't lock them out. Doing so requires a shift in perception that elevates the "trivial" to the world-shattering, or at least opens one to the possibility that miracles -- vertical ingressions -- are of necessity everywhere and everywhen.

This reminds me of when our son was, I don't know, three or four years old. He has always been at the extreme end of the person-oriented spectrum, so when he felt that he was receiving insufficient attention, he would say to his mother: open your eyes! From his perspective, either one was paying attention to him, or unconscious.

Probably the divine messengers are the same way: pay attention! Open your damn eyes!

So, "Blessed are You Lord who heals us with miracles."

"This overflowing radiance / These emanations / This holy light / Streams down from on High / Fills us and raises us up / And we reciprocate by permitting / The same holy light within us / To travel upward / And holy messengers were going up and down on it."

Down & upshot:

"[C]oursing through the veins of the / Universe at this moment is a kind of / Light in which man and the Holy One are / Yearning to be one."

(All quotes are from Honey in the Rock.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Evolutionary Blightbringers & Roiling Donuts

So, secular time is a line, spiritual time a circle; then again, secular time is often a closed circle (a circular line), whereas spiritual time is an open spiral. Even so, a spiral can proceed up or down, and down is where the hostile forces and bad spirits wish to lead us.

I suppose we could say that the negative form of secular time goes backwards, while the negative form of spiritual time goes down. The left doesn't take any chances and celebrates both, for example, with the unedifying spectacle of primitive people acting out premodern forms of political expression in the streets. Our president, of course, approves of and encourages such behavior, which inspired yesterday's tweet, Angry black mobs. Is there any problem they can't solve?

This is not how it was supposed to be. In 2008, it was our understanding that there would be no wrath, because progressives -- it's implied in the word -- were selling us good times, both secular and spiritual, or in other words, material affluence and spiritual evolution: better people than us were going to help us become better people.

Vanderleun's snidebar features one of the greatest hits from that era, which asks -- and answers -- the question, "What the hell's the big deal about Obama?"

Which was a reasonable question to ask of a man whose resume was conspicuous for its absence of qualifications. This was because he "isn't really one of us. Not in the normal way, anyway." Rather, "the appeal, the pull, the ethereal and magical thing that seems to enthrall millions of people from all over the world" is a consequence of his "powerful luminosity" and "unique high-vibration integrity."

Morford is, of course, not even an idiot, but he makes an important point, that all of the "enormously smart, wise, spiritually attuned people" of his acquaintance are "intuitively blown away" by Obama's "sheer presence." He makes a special point of emphasizing that these are not those "coweringly religious" types, but rather "spiritually advanced people" who "identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being... who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet," and can "actually help us evolve." Ad nauseam, only literally.

One more important point about this manichaean worldview: "There's a vast amount of positive energy swirling about that's been held back by the armies of BushCo darkness, and this energy has now found a conduit, a lightning rod, is now effortlessly self-organizing around Obama's candidacy. People and emotions and ideas of high and positive vibration are automatically drawn to him."

This is a quintessential example of what was said above about the negative forms of secular and spiritual time. Here we are, six years later, long enough to measure the impact of the evolutionary lightbringer. Let's not even bother. Anybody can make a mistake, even Morford.

But his original question is still valid, What the hell's the big deal about Obama? We still have to account for "the pull, the ethereal and magical thing that" enthralled "millions of people from all over the world." What was really going in in their grubby souls?

And what about all those spiritually advanced people who operate outside the lines of religion? How did even they get duped? Do they still believe that a politician can "help us evolve" and "usher in a new way of being on the planet"?

On an elementary level, it seems to me that these people confused hate and love. That is, as Morford explains, the "energy" that had swirled around "BushCo darkness" spontaneously reorganized around a new attractor, Obama. Oops!

This reminds me of a man who hates his mother so much, he falls in love with a woman exactly like her.

Interesting too that cowardly religious types were somehow immune to the luminous ethereal magical high-vibration integrity of this attuned being. They were not pulled down and back into the negative spiritual space.

What I want to emphasize is that the self-styled spirit-beings cited by Morford were not lying. They really did feel all those spiritual vibrations. Which is entirely beside the point, since it all depends upon the source of the vibrations. As if no bad things feel good!

That was an unanticipated byway. What I really want to say is that for some strange reason, Kushner is the only other person to my knowledge who sees the creation as a giant torus, or what I would call a roiling donut, or the endless goround of being. One day the image just popped into my head, and I've been unable to eradicate it ever since.

Kushner illustrates this on pp. 82-83. I would illustrate it verbally with a passage from Eckhart:

"The first grace consists in a type of flowing out, a departure from God; the second consists in a type of flowing back, a return to God himself." Or, as in Eccli 1:7, "The rivers return to the place from whence they flowed, so that they may flow again."

Gosh! Look up torus and you'll find some very arresting images. It's pretty much my favorite shape. At the center of the donut is the timeless unKnown godhead; around the periphery horizontal time, while up-down-and-around is vertical time; the first image has two attractors, perhaps a way of illustrating the Two Nations: