Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tough Times Call for Tough Aphorisms

To be born in the United States is to have won the cosmic lottery. However, the left is not only oblivious to this pleasant fact, but determined to do something about it.

When a leftist begins a sentence with the lamentation that We're the only industrialized nation that..., it's time to reach for your revolver. It never occurs to them that we are the greatest nation that has ever existed because we are the only one that doesn't do that retarded shit. But the left won't be happy until we are as miserable as Greece.

Tough times call for tough aphorisms. Either because I am lazy or ambitious, I'm going to review my lengthy collection of Don Colacho-isms, with a particular focus on how to survive our Fundamental Transformation from the only industrialized nation that doesn't to the last one that did. The aphorisms are in italics, my commentary isn't.

Liberty is the right to be different; equality is a ban on being different

Or just say Diversity, for what is diversity but mandatory consent to left wing twaddle? Liberal equality used to mean the same rules apply to all. But that naturally results in unequal outcomes, so now they insist on unequal rules in order to ensure equal outcomes. But giving a college degree to a person with an IQ of 85 doesn't magically increase it to 115. Nevertheless, we must pretend it does.

The bourgeoisie is any group of individuals dissatisfied with what they have and satisfied with what they are.

Boom. Here again, the left has no interest in maintaining standards of achievement, because that would result in low "self-esteem" for those who cannot meet the standards.

This is the basis of Justice Kennedy's extra-constitutional whim to redefine marriage: people falling outside that definition might feel bad, so we have to change the standard. They still can't be married, but at least they now have the word, just as Cornell West has a Ph.D., and people on Medicare have a theoretical "access to healthcare." They may die trying to find a doctor who will accept Medicare, but the boost to liberal self-esteem is incalculable.

The United States is the only industrialized nation that maintains a relationship between wanting and achieving! We have to give people what they want without forcing them to actually earn it. Conservatism is fascism! No, wait. It's just liberty.

Authentic intellectual seriousness does not frown, but smiles.

Entirely true. It is why leftist "intellectuals" are such a dreary bunch of church-lady scolds. Churchill made many statements to the same effect. For example, one thing he dreaded about Nazis was the absence of humor. It seems to me that if they had only been capable of laughing at themselves, we could have avoided unspeakable horrors, as in "look at these silly uniforms. They are so gay!" Likewise, I challenge anyone to find a witty comment by an ISIS member.

Or Obama, for that matter (not his teleprompter, mind you). The left doesn't do understatement. Rather, the insane rhetoric is always turned up to eleven. I remember what Tip O'Neil said about President Reagan: "The evil is in the White House at the present time." (No, not the Soviet Union, because you can never be too far left.) "And that evil is a man who has no care and no concern for the working class of America and the future generations of America.... He's cold. He's mean. He's got ice water for blood."

Never mind that the working class did much better under Reagan -- our most conservative modern president -- than under Obama -- our most far left ever. The left doesn't judge outcomes, only its own pure intentions. They frankly can't judge outcomes without ceasing to exist. Thus, judging outcomes is racist-sexist-homophobic. They cut you off before you can even point to them. "But homosexual behavior leads to..." HOMOPHOBE! "But affirmative action only causes..." RACIST! "But lowering standards just to have a Navy SEAL with a vagina will..." SEXIST!

Revolution is progressivist and seeks the strengthening of the state. Rebellion is reactionary and seeks its disappearance.

This is appropriate, with July 4th coming up, for ours was no progressive revolution, but the quintessential reactionary rebellion. It was not to establish new rights but to preserve ancient ones, in particular, from the state. But that won't do, because it puts progressives out of business. Thus, ever since Wilson the left has been trying to eliminate the separation of powers so the State might speak with a single voice and represent the Will of the People.

The Führer Principle. Is there anything it can't solve?

The left's ideas produce revolutions; revolutions produce the right's ideas.

This is because conservatism has no content per se. It depends on what one is conserving. In our case, we specifically wish to conserve the classical conservative liberalism of our founders.

Which is why modern conservatism really didn't become an articulate movement in the United States until the mid 1950s. Prior to the statism of FDR, it really wasn't necessary. Most of Wilson's damage was undone by Coolidge, but the left -- never missing an opportunity to exploit a crisis -- used the stock market crash of 1929 to create an extended depression which it then proposed to cure. Forever.

Thus, we are all forced to live with 1930s solutions to 21st century problems, e.g., social security. But that is very much like suicide, another permanent solution to a temporary problem. Now we have a permanent problem with no solution, i.e., trillions of dollars of unfundable mandates because of the left's extravagant generosity with other people's money.

With the categories admitted by the modern mind we do not succeed in understanding anything but trifles.

Boy and how. Or as they say in Colombia, aye mamacita! Reduced to thinking within the lines of modernity, I couldn't think at all. Very shortly after receiving my Ph.D., I realized that the rest of my life would simply be more of the same. It is the "last degree," meaning that it is not so much an attainment as confinement. Forced to think in terms of modern psychology, life would hardly be worth living.

For There are no ideas that expand the intelligence, but there are ideas that shrink it. Intelligence is what it is, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it. Our intelligence is always condemned to transcend the intelligible, which is why it is here.

It reminds me of the volume knob on a pre-amplifier. It doesn't actually "turn up" the volume. Rather, it is a limiting device that turns it down. You could say that academia is a giant volume knob deployed to turn down intelligence. It is why conservatism is not permitted there, because it would interfere with all the beautiful diversity of monotonous opinion.

Besides, the fool calls conclusions he does not understand 'prejudices'. You don't believe the constitution doesn't grant the Supreme Court the power to redefine marriage? Bigot! Why understand arguments when you can condemn motives?

And the antepenultimate aphorism above goes immediately to this next one: If we could demonstrate the existence of God, everything would eventually be subjected to the sovereignty of man. You might say that because God, we are always free of the left's ideology. Without God, we are trapped inside some hideous ideological gulag with no vertical escape hatch.

That's about it for today.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Dispassionate Hatred

Picking up the theme from yesterday's brief post, it is not as if life without the left would somehow be paradise. Rather, the problem is man, and man only. Thus, the left is just like man, only worse. It simply exaggerates what is worst in man -- envy, ingratitude, entitlement, pettiness, perversion, dishonesty, etc. -- and then turns it into virtue before going on to subsidize it.

For the spiritually awake, one of the most subtly dangerous aspects of the left is that it makes it so easy to feel superior. I alluded to this in yesterday's post, and it's a real temptation. When Jesus enjoins us to love the enemy, he is conveying a deeper lesson than just Unreasonable Niceness.

Rather, if not done in the proper spirit, criticism can become a covert vehicle to elevate and exalt the self. Hatred would be just an extreme case: it is as if by hating the object, we unconsciously justify ourselves, such that God's forgiving grace is not needed.

I would even go so far as to say that -- so long as we have deeply internalized the lesson above -- we are free to hate what is properly hateful. But few people can pull this off without the thrill of auto-salvation. It is analogous to, say, a saint being able to sleep in a bed full of naked supermodels and not have a lustful thought, even while appreciating their beauty. The point is, the spontaneous aversion of hatred can be a kind of dispassionate discernment, but it rarely is.

I have only to think back on my own irrational hatreds of the past to see how this works. I suppose I hated Reagan at the time. Certainly I agreed with all the hateful things the left said about him and about conservatives more generally, which automatically placed me on a plane of completely unmerited, even delusional, superiority -- as when, say, a squalid creature such as Al Sharpton rebukes an Antonin Scalia.

So, it's preferable to just hate without being hateful, i.e., to not enjoy that secret thrill of hating. In ten years of blogging, I can't recall ever making an angry comment to a troll. Rather, I find a way to make them appear ridiculous.

What was the real Last Temptation of Christ? Perhaps it was the temptation to hate his executioners, otherwise why ask the Father to forgive them? Likewise, forgive Justice Kennedy, because he is utterly without a clue.

One book that really gets deeply into this whole discernment-of-hatred business is Christ the Eternal Tao. The key principle, if I recall correctly, is that we all have a higher and lower nature, and that it is the task of the higher to detach -- or distance, rather -- itself from the lower, so as to observe it without being caught up in it.

In a certain sense, this goes to the distinction between our animal and properly human natures. For example, why do we wear clothing instead of going about naked, as they do in San Francisco? What's the big deal? What's your hang-up? In the Jewish tradition, the purpose of clothing is to elevate us above the beasts. Which is why San Francisco is so bestial.

Man is composed of body, soul, and spirit; or soma, psyche, and pneuma. It is possible for one's being to be conditioned from the bottom up, when the whole freaking point -- at least in the Judeo-Christian view -- is to be conditioned from the top down so as to humanize the animals we are (not to animalize the human, which is literally the project of the left. Which I can affirm with no hatred whatsoever).

As we have discussed in the past, man has two sets of defense mechanisms, one against the lower, the other against the higher. Few animal types can successfully sink all the way down to animality.

Take the example of an ACLU lawyer, defending the right of a high school student to wear a t-shirt saying SUCK MY DICK. I am waiting for the day one of these pasty-faced legal adventurers has the courage of his convictions and wears such shirt to court. But most liberals do not practice what they preach, or they would be as dysfunctional as the people who actually live liberal ideas, as in the inner cities.

You could say there are three main attractors in the human state: call them unconscious, ego, and supra-conscious. In Vedanta they are called sattva, rajas, and tamas (the gunas), for these are an expression of universal metaphysics. In short, there are luminous and "ascending" types, just as there are tenebrous and descending types. The middle area is not necessarily "bad," as these can be positively expansive types. Furthermore, everyone has a mixture of the three, with one guna typically predominating.

People who are spontaneously attracted to God are likely of an ascending nature. Conversely, most people who are spontaneously attracted to politics are of a rajasic nature -- say, Bill Clinton, who is rajas-tamasic all the way down. There is no higher in him, only its facsimile. Obama is an even more dangerous case, for he was elected on the basis of a kind of meretricious sattva ("the Lightbringer"), which is an inverse analogy of hell. Which I say with no hatred in my heart.

From Christ the Eternal Tao: the wrong kind of condemnation "is a kind of mechanism which the ego uses in order to immediately exalt itself over something or someone..." But "When we are truly humble and in submission to God, it is possible to discern right from wrong without judging or condemning."

In other words, it is possible to be godly without presuming to be God. This egoic judgment is wrong to the extent that it is "made in order to feel more right than the person whom we have judged." It blocks the path to God, as opposed to dilating it via humility.

Metanoia -- the second birth -- is really a reorientation to the Great Attractor. "Along with this comes the yearning... for that which separates us from Him to be removed..." And "We know that our metanoia is genuine -- that is, that a Divine change has really occurred in us -- when we have a revulsion for what before appeared sweet to us."

I don't know about you, but my old self not only nauseates me, but I am always mindful that there but for the grace of God...

Which is what occurs to me when dealing with a troll, as in yesterday's post. "[W]e still carry within ourselves the inclination and habit to return to our former condition." For example, I could have a head injury, or a stroke, and somehow regress to my former self, and I don't think it would be right to hate me for that, but rather, to have compassion.

Looked at this way, it is as the Tao says -- something to the effect of, "What is a bad man but a good man's teacher?" Each one is a kind of object lesson which we should learn in all humility. Trolls are stepping stones to our better selves. When Jesus says "resist not evil," I don't think he means to just "let it go," but rather, to rise above it, i.e., do not engage it on its own level.

Here again, this is one thing that really impresses about Churchill. He did what was necessary to eradicate evil without getting caught up in the pleasure of being superior to fascists. But now we are denied not only the pleasure, but even the superiority over our Islamic enemy. For the left, the only permissible pleasure is the participation in our own well deserved destruction.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

How to Survive the New Dark Ages

A longtime reader has asked me for advice on how to cope with the new Dark Age we are living through. I am sure he speaks for dozens when he describes the president as "that shameless, lying con-man" who "goes on about how 'love wins' when in 2008 he claimed that same love to be a bit more restricted."

Actually, he claimed that as recently as three years ago. And it is not so much love that won, but greed, being that millions of dollars from Hollywood bundlers was at stake. Money talks, sodomy walks.

But the following plea pierces the Gagdad heart:

"Since I last wrote to you I have been through a lot of twists and turns came back to God, to Christianity. I've had moments where I thought my heart would float out of my chest; I can't get enough. But so much hate has come to the surface in the last two days that I think I may as well throw in the towel in regards to friendship with God. He tells me to love my enemies when in fact I HATE them, lying sacks of shit they are. I feel I have no way I can call myself a Christian with this in my heart, and the ease in which it bubbles up" (italics mine).

It is the italicized part that most troubles me. Who ever said we are not supposed to hate evil? To the contrary, God hates evil, and wishes for us to burn it from our midst. It's just that it costs nothing to be polite while doing so. When Reagan told Gorbachev to tear down this fucking wall, did he sound angry to you? No, of course not. Resolute, maybe. Unambiguous. But he was just transmitting the gift of truth, which must occasionally be delivered at the end of a hammer. That's not hate, even if it leaves a few lumps.

The key, I think, is that you have to learn to be dispassionate about it, or else you run the risk of living like the perpetually self-righteous leftist who actually enjoys being sunk in his hatreds. This is why they can never be satisfied, and why victory only causes them to be more frenzied, since you can never get enough of what you don't really need.

A leftist can always find a way to be be miserable, if only because that is what envy does. Envy is one of the two or three keys to unhappiness. Ingratitude would be another. And let's not forget hope for the world (or, God forbid, hope for man, of all things!).

Conversely, a Christian can always find an excuse to be joyous. Remember the martyrs? Besides, You will be persecuted for my sake. That's just the terrestrial cost of doing isness with God. Be prepared for more, since this is not about love for homosexuals but hatred of the divine order, AKA reality.

On the positive side, light shines all the more brightly in the dark.

To help this reader and perhaps help ourselves, I would like to throw this subject out to the wider coonosphere: how are you dealing with the madness? What's your secret, you unreasonably happy bastards?

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Supreme Court Does the Impossible

Not sure where we left off, but then again, I will align myself with the gentleman from Colombia, who says... he says a few choice things, actually, for example, that his sentences are merely "dots of color in a pointillist painting"; nor do his words try to explain, but rather, "circumscribe the mystery." And he also says something about being less like a tree and more like a bush that grows every which way from the center out.

In other words, it doesn't really matter where we begin so long as we are either starting from or returning to First Principles, AKA Alpha and Omega. For only first principles can really bite into reality and generate traction for the vertical ascent. Without them we cannot "defy gravity," as it were, at least on the intellectual plane.

Indeed, if everything were just contingencies and not principles, then we could never get off the goround, could we? Then we would be in the position of the krugmaniacal Keynesian who stands in a bucket while attempting to lift himself by the handle.

This book by Lings -- Symbol & Archetype: A Study of the Meaning of Existence -- is all about first principles. The second half of the title is a hint: the meaning of existence.

Oh great. Just clicked over to Drudge. Let the learned gentleman from Colombia have the floor: "Moral indignation is not truly sincere unless it literally ends in vomiting."

Excuse me for a moment. I need a bigger bucket.

"The fool, seeing that customs change, says that morality varies." The same fool "does not content himself with violating an ethical rule: he claims that his transgression becomes a new rule" (Don Colacho).

Oh well. "Civilization is what old men manage to salvage from the onslaught of young idealists." Besides, "Whoever defeats a noble cause is the one who has really been defeated." Therefore, "The cost of progress is calculated in fools," and I can't count that high.

Speaking of first principles, the SCOTUS decision is a violation of the first rank, because it goes to the very basis of civilization. Perhaps we'll get into that more deeply once this acute nausea subsides a bit.

I wouldn't blame the Creator if he withdraws that providential hand that has both guided and bailed us out so many times over the past 250 years. Why bother with these loons?

It's one thing to be fallen. It's something else entirely to confuse down and up. Once that happens, then man enthusiastically pursues his own destruction. But nothing obliges us to participate in the sickness of the world. Well, except the IRS.

I feel like I'm live-blogging a black hole. This is a Dark Day, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with animus toward homosexuals. Indeed, I have a homosexual relative by marriage, an artist, and one of his works hangs on my office wall. If someone can't appreciate the distinction between micro and macro, between private behavior and the state presuming to redefine reality, then they are too unsophisticated and too insentient to even bother with. Let the dead bury the tenured.

For Lings, what we call the "fall" results in a kind of veiling, the veil being part of the "atmosphere" that opens up between divine and human, terrestrial and celestial. The path of return is "upward," but it is not as if we have lost all O-rientation.

Rather, "the science of symbols is inextricably linked with the path of return," for these symbols "are reminders for the spiritual traveller of man's lost perfection." Or, they may be nuisances, depending on the case (e.g., marriage, which can obviously only be between man and woman without ceasing to be what it is; to not know this truism is to not know what marriage is, even if one is technically married).

The spiritual adventure always involves "swimming against the tide." What makes the contemporary journey a little more tricky is that the stream is a sewer, so we are battling both gravity and ambient toxicity. That's okay. The exercise just makes our wings stronger, and exposure to the left makes our immune system all the more robust. Like a child who eats dirt, I have the antibodies acquired during my many years of exposure to higher education.

About that shrub alluded to in the first paragraph. Imagine looking down on a shrub, which seems to grow in every direction from a central point. Or better, imagine a spider's web, which "is all the more apt inasmuch as the web is woven out of the substance of its 'creator.'" For Lings, this provides a fruitful symbol of the cosmos.

In considering the web, "The concentric circles represent the hierarchy of the different worlds," such that "the more outward the circle, the lower its hierarchic degree." Thus, if the central point is "truth" or "sanctity" or "Christ," then the outer circle would represent darkness, journalism, and tenure.

But in addition to the concentric circles, there are also radii from the center out. Thus, we are never really separate from the Principle; you could say the circles represent immanence, while the radii signify transcendence. Without the radii, we would indeed by stuck like flies in whatever circle we happen to inhabit.

Lings makes the helpful point that at the "end" of each radii is a symbol. Or better, at the center is an archetype, while at the outer end is a symbol that more or less reflects the archetype. The local symbol is an emanation or prolongation of the nonlocal archetype, as it were.

Thus, for example, herebelow, marriage is a symbol that reflects a much higher and deeper archetype, ultimately the union of male and female, or absolute and infinite and other primordial complementarities.

This is the archetype the Supreme Court presumes to be qualified to destroy. Which is analogous to Iranian mullahs feeling qualified to destroy the bond between protons and neutrons. The result is vast destruction, the "unleashing of hell," so to speak. Likewise, to undermine the primordial link between male and female is to unleash a different kind of hell, but equally destructive.

Now, bearing the image of the web in mind, we see that there will necessarily be some things that "fall between the cracks," so to speak, i.e., the indeterminate spaces between the radii.

What sorts of things are these? I would say these spaces are filled with human illusion -- for there is no other kind -- i.e., with things that cannot be, because they have no ontological basis. In one sense they "must be," man being what he is. And yet, they "cannot be," for they are like the possibility of the impossible, or the nihilistic side of freedom, detached from principles and from God.

So, give the Supreme Court credit for doing the impossible.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pecking at the Inside of the Cosmic Egg

It just now popped into my head that perhaps there's a connection between unity/totality and Gödel's incompleteness theorems, which prove that an intellectual system can be consistent or complete, but not both. Unity would go to consistency, while totality would go to completeness. Therefore, we could say that a human life can be consistent or complete, unified or total, but not both.

"Does this make any sense?" -- a question he probably should have asked himself before springing it on an unsuspecting public. Only one way to find out: keep writing until it either makes sense or goes off the cosmic rails.

What does it mean to love God with all one's mind, heart, and strength? These three are intellect, heart, and will, respectively.

It seems to me that intellect goes more to the quality of absoluteness and consistency, while heart would go more to unity and completeness, while the will is that antsy thing in us that won't rest until it rests in the absolute unity-totality that is God, for God is the one being who escapes Gödel's logical straitjacket.

You could say the straitjacket necessarily exists because under terrestrial conditions, God bifurcates into unity and totality at our end of the bargain.

In his Spiritual Perspectives & Human Facts, Schuon says "Metaphysical knowledge is one thing and its actualization in the mind is another," which right away puts it on a different plane than ordinary knowledge for which there is no such distinction.

But metaphysical knowledge is always mindful of that gap between man and God: no matter how absolute our knowledge, it is never absolute per se, only a reflection of it herebelow.

Here again, this would be consistent with Gödel, who was really trying to prove the meta-truth that just because we can't prove something logically, it doesn't mean it isn't true. He just wanted to place appropriate limits on logic, not invalidate it, for if everything were subject to logic, then man would be condemned to an absurcular tautology. But just because we can't attain unity and totality, it hardly means they don't exist. That's what you call an unwarranted leap, only a leap down, off the cosmic telovator.

Which is why, as Schuon says, "All the knowledge the brain can hold is as nothing in the light of Truth even if it is immeasurably rich from a human point of view."

Substitute "complete" for "immeasurably rich," and you get the idea: no matter how complete our knowledge, it is as if nothing compared to the nonlocal object of all knowledge, which is precisely what Thomas Aquinas meant when he made his famous crack about everything he had written being "so much straw" compared to the soul-shattering experience of infused grace. In the end, God shatters all speech. A word is like an egg, inside which there is always a bit of life pecking at the shell to get out.

Or, "Metaphysical knowledge is like a divine seed in the heart; thoughts represent only faint glimmers of it." If thought were to fuse with divinity, it would turn from a glimmer to an explosion of light. Contact between the two is necessary to get anything done, but you don't plug your toaster directly into the nuclear reactor.

At the other end, failure to plug into the cosmic grid at all necessarily results in Error, whether trivial or grandiose, human or tenured. Why? Because without the divine rocket boost -- AKA the free launch of grace -- "the ascending curve of a circle changes imperceptibly to a descending curve." Remember, just because you don't recognize Gödel, it doesn't mean he doesn't recognize you.

Nevertheless, here lies "the whole tragedy of philosophy," which either breaks out toward God or is a manmode tautology: it is like stamp-collecting instead of sending and receiving letters. Ever see a complete stamp collection? First of all, who would want to? Second of all, no.

Or, as Schuon puts it, "Modern man collects keys without knowing how to open a door." Ho! Even worse, like the politically and academically correct left, he is like "a child who, after having burnt itself, wants to abolish fire." But if you don't burn baby burn, you can't learn baby learn, because where there is Light there is Heat.

This is why everything about Obama is not only dark but frigid. History shows that the two always go together when conjoined with Power. It's why this particular historical passage is so gloomy.

With preluminaries out of the way, let's get back to Lings, who relates all of this to Genesis 3, for "the eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree was the attachment to a symbol for its own sake apart from its higher meaning."

Again: the symbol is "thrown across." The postmodern posthuman will stipulate this, except to say that all throwing is only horizontal in nature, such that symbols point only to other symbols, such that we are forced to participate in this bootless linguistic circle jerk. Which is why it is absolutely the case that liberals throw like girls.

Instead of setting us free, this leftward truth imprisons us. Which I would refuse to believe even if it were true, just for the joy of questioning authority. For even if there is no truth, there is still fun, and what's more fun that tweaking our leftist prison wards?

Remember: man is the "mediator between Heaven and earth." In our unfallen state, you could say this is the "end of the story," in that the Bible would abruptly end at Genesis 2:24, with man and woman naked and happy. What could go wrong?

The short answer: history.

Yes, yes, history is one long chronicle of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of our post Gen 3 exile in the bewilderness. But that's not all it is. For we insist there is nevertheless a vector, an inscape hatch from the egg, a path of return, a lifeline. The way forward is more or less an I witless foggus, but, like an airplane pilot, we may nevertheless novelgaze forward with the use of our God-given instruments:

"The clouds of the macrocosm are never permanent; they come only to go, the luminaries still shine, and the directions of space have lost nothing of their measurelessness" (Lings). Our primordial calamity veils the firmament but doesn't sever the link nor void the promise. God is still God, even if man will always be man.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Humans Hear a Who

Unity and totality. What are they, and where do they come from?

A totality without unity would be just a blob, while unity without totality would be an impenetrable monad. But darn it, that's not the kind of universe this is, nor the kind of people we are.

This topic may sound... whatever you think it sounds like, but I promise you it isn't, because it goes straight to the nub of the gist of the essence of things. First Philosophy, you might say, because you either have to address this issue or skip right past it while pretending you have dealt with it.

Let's start with an observation by Schmitz, that there must be "an immanent specifying principle," i.e., something that gives things form and makes them what they are -- this and not that. To put it another way, in the absence of the specifying principle, everything would be the same, and we're back to the cosmic blob. It has oneness but lacks all distinction.

Totality, on the other hand, "brings unity to an even wider context, to a system, horizon, or world. It is a kind of organizing form that brings diverse factors into a complex and more or less internally related arrangement."

Thus, it seems that formal unity is the more static of the two, while totality seems more of a process. In fact, totalizing might be a better way of expressing it.

For example, what is personal growth -- the kind of post-biological growth alluded to yesterday, subsequent to the achievement of (merely) formal adulthood? I don't know about you, but to me it feels like a kind of totalizing process whereby the person attains to a higher and deeper sense of totality. Call the latter One Cosmos, or the Cosmic Attractor toward which we are drawn.

Look at it this way. A person laboring under the dead weight of scientistic materialism will agree that there is One Cosmos. But what an impoverished cosmos it is! Sucked into the "vortex of objectivity," it is lacking precisely the totality under discussion. It is one, but in this case, one does not equal one. It doesn't even come close, for the most exterior thing still has an immaterial interiority that transcends materialism, otherwise we couldn't know anything about anything. Knowledge is a relationship and relationships are not material objects.

So there is really a dynamic complementarity between unity and totality. Physicists talk about a "theory of everything," but you can be sure this theory will go only to unity, not to totality. In a footnote, Schmitz dryly mentions that postmodernists "wish to make war upon totality."

This is an understatement, since they actually destroy the very possibility of totality up front, and then go on from there, cleaning up their own mess and calling it scholarship. A tenured barbarian can destroy in five minutes what took thousands of years to attain. In so doing, the postmodern savage is far more effective than those Muslims with hammers, although we don't want to find out what would happen if the latter were to replace their hammers with nuclear missiles.

Grinding our gears a bit, I want to turn to a book by Martin Lings called Symbol & Archetype, because I think it advances our discussion more deeply into Totality. I've only read one chapter so far, but it is so dense and rich that I had to stop to digest it. {Belch}

Lings begins with the bold statement that "symbolism is the most important thing in existence; and it is at the same time the sole explanation of existence." Really? Symbolism is the theory of everything we've been looking for?

This makes a kind of superficial sense, in that any explanation of existence is naturally symbolic, and a cosmos capable of symbolization is radically distinct from one that isn't. Ironically, we may conclude that the very possibility of a "theory of everything" rests on metaphysical grounds far more consequential than its specific content, for the theorist is essentially proclaiming I can explain everything!

In short, he is confessing to omniscience, which you will agree is more interesting than the theory itself. Omniscient products of random evolution? Wo! Now you need a theory for how that is even possible, being that it cannot be explained by your little theory of everything. If anything, your theory renders the theorist impossible, so you need to go back a few steps in order to account for this strange totality to which man is uniquely qualified to access.

We have touched on this subject in the past: that is, we just so happen to inhabit a cosmos in which one thing can stand for another. In short, it is a symbolic and symbolizing cosmos, and we are its privileged symbolees. How did that come about? In any event, we can be sure that physics in principle cannot explain it, only rely on it.

The literal meaning of symbol is something "thrown across." Here again, this implicit meaning is loaded with implicit assumptions about the nature of this universe. For example: thrown across what? Or, from who and to whom? Who? Wo, slow down. How did a who get into the cosmos? And can there be a who without a whom?

"Man himself," writes Lings, "is the greatest of earthly symbols" -- which follows from the "universal doctrine that he was made in the image of God." That language is unfortunately loaded -- or saturated -- such that its metaphysical meaning is lost to most. But in the context under discussion, it suggests that man himself is "thrown across," so to speak, just like any other symbol.

However, being the quintessential case, "man is the symbol of the sum of the attributes, that is, of the Divine Nature in its Totality."

There's that word again, totality. This implies that man is a symbolic totality thrown across a something by another Totality. Everything short of man is also a symbol, but in a much more limited way. They will have more or less unity, but not totality. Which is why we can know -- contain -- them, but not vice versa.

This is why the world "lies open" to us. It is a kind of open book, filled with words, which is to say, symbols. It's where the all the metaphysical transparency comes from, whether we are talking about truth, beauty, or unity.

Better stop. Gotta get ready for work.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Liberalism and Other Spiritual Abortifacients

Every psychologist has his pet developmental theory, but when you get right down to it, one could say human development has only two stages: the first runs from conception to adulthood, the second from adulthood to infinity and beyond, being that there can be no conceivable end to human post-biological development. It's like what they said about the quarterback Y.A. Tittle, if I am remembering rightly: he never lost a game, the clock just ran out.

The great within of the soul is oddly proportioned to the great beyond of God, in that man's worth, in the words of Schuon, "lies in his consciousness of the Absolute." Alternatively, if man is proportioned to relativity, then he is nothing, just as our tenured apes tell us.

What is the essential difference between these two movements? Well, the first must be guided by some sort of largely genetic telos, or morphogenetic field, or teleonomic attractor. It happens "by itself," given certain minimal environmental conditions, e.g., good enough mothering, good enough nourishment, and good enough information.

I am old enough to remember when being an adult wasn't considered much of an achievement. But in the contemporary world there is a panoply of barriers to the achievement of adulthood, virtually all erected by the cultural left. For example, they have no use for motherhood, with the predictable result of producing children with attachment disorders inhabiting adult bodies. That's no way to preserve and hand on a civilization.

The insanity of triggers, microaggressions, speech codes, and political correctness in general are just ways to protect children from the rigors of adulthood. Dennis Prager says the loudest applause he ever heard was during a commencement speech by Obama, when he reminded the supposedly grown-up students that with his healthcare plan, they would be able to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26! YAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY! Parasitism rules!

With so few children making it to adulthood, we can forget all about the second movement for most people. An abortion -- which is to say, an arrested birth -- can occur at any age. I believe it was Boris Mouravieff who coined the term "astral abortion." Let me look it up. Hmm, no index. Ahh, here it is. An astral abortion occurs should we fail to undergo the second birth, because we can't stay in the womb forever. Unless of course we receive tenure.

But once born again, this new "individuality no longer depends on the physical body, in the same way that the child who has been born does not die, even if his birth has been at the cost of his mother's life. It is this to which the apostle alluded, saying we shall not die."

At the very least, the person faces a life of arrested development if not born again from above, which facilitates transition from the little human cosmic womb to the big divine-human matrix which "forms the link between visible and invisible worlds." That link goes to the famous ombilical cord between man and God.

Some additional relevant observations from our guest bobstetrician: "If we were to imagine a perfect World based on a principle of perfect and stable equilibrium, it would be a petrified image -- that of Death. Above all else, Life is movement; movement from a flowing current," such that a key to evolution is broken equilibrium.

Which immediately calls to mind an aphorism: "An 'ideal society' would be the graveyard of human greatness" (Don Colacho).

This is precisely why liberal academia has become just such a graveyard, because it wants to create an ideal world for emotionally fragile children, such that there is no motivation for women to grow up or men to grow a pair.

Remember: the source of man's value -- his dignity -- is in that disequilibrium between us and God. You are of course free to pursue a life of equilibrium with the world, but if you succeed, then you fail.

About that disequilibrium: "God is infinitely close to man, but man is infinitely far from God." The first makes the journey possible, while the second makes it necessary. Again, unless you forge a static equilibrium between the two, which reduces to a death-in-life, for no one is more safe and secure than the dead.

Even before leaving genetic adulthood behind and below, we all have intimations of the beyond, which are analogous to the contractions of labor (second birthquakes). Eventually, the womb simply becomes too small to contain us. Which is why, as Schuon puts it, we discover "that the things of this world are never proportionate to our actual range of intelligence."

Think about that, because it is so experience-near that we can fail to appreciate the weirdness of it. All other animals short of man are indeed proportionate to the world; or not even the world, of which they know nothing (any more than they know of the universe). Rather, they know only their world, as in how a frog can see a living insect but will starve in the presence of dead ones. The dead ones simply fall off the frog's radar screen, as in how living truth ceases to exist for the liberal.

But man is never at equilibrium with the world, a condition which is both our privilege and a source of frustration if not seen rightly. You know Augustine's crack about not-resting-until-we-rest-in-God? This is what he's talking about, i.e., a kind of higher equilibrium that goes by different names in different traditions, e.g., beatitude, shanti, shalom, ananda, slack, etc. It can never be 100% "complete" in this life, because "only the 'divine dimension' can satisfy our thirst for plenitude in our willing or our love," and there are certain terrestrial barriers to full identification with it, such as our materiality.

The following also goes to the developmental continuum under discussion, that "The way towards God always involves an inversion: from outwardness one must pass to inwardness, from multiplicity to unity, from dispersion to concentration, from egoism to detachment, from passion to serenity" (Schuon).

Note that this doesn't necessarily involve withdrawal from the exterior world, but rather, the infusion of these latter qualities into the world, such that we pull ourselves out by our own buddhastraps -- i.e., the bodhisattva principle whereby we extricate our heads from our own aseity. Or just say down- and in-carnation.

Inwardness is a quality, not a place. You want to cultivate it everywhere, because it is where all the radiance radiates from, whether in the mode of truth, love, beauty, depth, light, etc.

The end, I guess, not that we've achieved equilibrium or anything. Rather, only the fruit of disequilibrium.