August 4, 2006
Seraphic Secret is on a roll with a terrific series of post and links, in what is an almost perfect wave of information and analysis.
Go, read and learn.
August 4, 2006
We received some email concerning our post, Useless Ceasefires And The Tragedy Of The Unter-Menschen, most of which rejected our idea out of hand – and in every case but one, the strongest argument rejecting our thesis was the threat of bodily harm. Of course, those letters were the equivalent of Ed McMahon showing up at our doorstep.
In the Arab world, hatred of Jews is taught, encouraged and rewarded- and that is why a ceasefire is meaningless. The hate, racism and radicalization of Arabs is nothing more than basic training for the next generation of terrorists. The deliberate and concerted effort to make anti Semitism a fundamental and basic tenet of Arab identity is a sickness- a deliberate attempt by dysfunctional political and religious leaders to create a lesser person, someone incapable of thinking for themselves and incapable of controlling their own destiny…
Adolph Hitler wanted to create the uber-mensch- the ’super-man.’ It is becoming more and more apparent that the Arab world has deliberately set out to create the unter mensch- the ‘lesser-man’.
Only profound differences in morality can explain Arab world rejection of all the tenets that makeup what is civilized society. Satellite TV and the Internet bring the world into Arab living rooms and still, the basic tenets of freedom are rejected in favor of more vile and bigoted expressions, much of it couched in religious terms.
With astonoshing brazeness, the Arab world sees itself not only as equals to the rest of the civilized world, but as superior.
While western liberals espouse moral relativism, the Arab world makes no secret of it’s racist ideologies. In unison, western liberals have adopted and accepted much of the Arab world ideologies, because the Arabs present themselves as victims- and that negates and camouflages their stated agenda. In fact, that is the equivalent of the leftist community picking up the cause of the Ku Klux Klan, because the KKK present themselves as ‘misunderstood’ and as ‘victims’ of the Southern Poverty Law Center. To the Klan, Maurice Dees is Ariel Sharon, a vile figure that prevented them from implementing their promised rain of death.
(Of course, the left would never admit to that truth, here. That said, they are perfectly happy to ignore the deaths of millions of blacks in Africa. They can’t be bothered with the death of a few million blacks when they can go after Jews. It’s all about priorities. Political outrage and supporting Ned Lamont are more important than a few dead blacks. If there are blacks that say otherwise, the left will to them as ‘Uncle Tom’s’ or ‘uppity niggers’- the same language used to describe Clarence Thomas and Condaleeza Rice)
Human Rights Watch declares Israel guilty of ‘war crimes’- and that pushes the deaths and ongoing rapes in Darfur off the table. The 2,000,000 dead in Sudan over the last two decades are forgotten, like those 800,000 lost souls in Rwanda. Why? Because the ‘unter-mensch’ DNA has become a part of the left wing ideology. Like the Arabs, the left believes some lives are worth more than others- and others, less.
Like the Nazis before them, the left sees the victims in Darfur, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Algeria and a host of other places, as no more than the sad but necessary elimination of ‘undesirables,’ the mentally ill, the physically handicapped and other ‘anomalies.’ There can be no other explanation. If the left cared, they would have moved heaven and earth, to come to the aid of those victims as they do for the Palestinian and Arab world, causes that represent nowhere the tragedies mentioned. Instead, the left gave those issues a bit of lip service, but no more. The left cannot be bothered with the victims of genocide.
That the left are not even ashamed of their open disregard for the victims of some of the greatest genocides of our times, is proof positive of the moral decay that is the hallmark of the ‘unter-mensch.’ That the left have openly come to view the same kind of open and visceral hate that has become the defining ideology of the Arab world, as an appropriate expression of their ideologies, speaks louder than their deceit. They have come to support the morals and values of the ‘unter-mensch’- and do so with pride.
Inevitably, there will be some useless votes at the UN, in support of this or in condemnation of that. Some will call it a showdown between Europe and America, but in fact, the upcoming United votes will be about much more than that.
The world will watch as hands will be raised high in support of freedom and morality or outstretched in support of the agenda of the ‘unter-menschen’ and darkness.
The cameras will be rolling.
August 4, 2006
The 3 of us are getting used to our morning coffee with Gagdad Bob. There’s something to be said for starting the day with actually thinking.
Today, Gagdad is talking about free will, surrender and a truth rarely heard- that acceptance of faith does not bestow ‘gifts’ upon us in the way we have been conditioned to think, but rather, that acceptance of God highlights our ability to give back to God.
Read Gagdad Bob’s response to our question- you’ll get it.
And the next question from Sigmund, Carl and Alfred is, “By what mechanism does free will overcome instinct?”
A: Good question, but let me first, like a politician, go back to yesterday’s question, which I didn’t get a chance to completely evade. You asked about how my spiritual views influence my practice. It is not so much how my spiritual views influence my practice as how my spiritual practice influences me. And even that is an unsatisfactory way of expressing it, because one’s spiritual practice is one thing, while the process it gives rise to is another thing entirely. There are, of course, degrees of spiritual commitment, and if you are committed “mind, heart, and soul,” then you have given yourself over to a process whose outcome you do not control.
This is no different, by the way, than the deeper forms of psychoanalytic therapy. It’s not like regular psychotherapy, in which you go in with a well-defined problem that you try to resolve in a few sessions. Rather, you are willfully dismantling your surface personality in order to plumb the depths of your being. In that case, you do not control the process–which is a form of resistance–you more or less surrender to it. You will come out a changed person, but you cannot predict ahead of time what type of change it will be. There will be surprises. And there will be pain that must be borne. This is why one of my supervisors said that he would never recommend psychoanalysis to anyone–he only offered it.
It is the same way when you truly submit–surrender–to the spiritual process. As a matter of fact, this is one of the ways you can tell the false teachers from the true ones. The false teachers will make all sorts of promises about what “you will get from God,” when, first of all, it is much more a question of what you can do for God. Secondly, once you give yourself over to the process, changes will take place that cannot be predicted, much less controlled.
This has always been known. It is why serious teachers don’t generally go out looking for students, but turn them away, because most people are motivated by some ulterior egoic reason to try to usurp the prerogatives of spirit. Even if you want to convert to Judaism, the rabbi will initially turn you away. Likewise, Jesus makes many statements about the level of commitment required and degree of submission involved.
So how are my spiritual views influencing my practice? By encouraging me to give it up and move on to the next stage, whatever it is. Over the past year I’ve been attempting to phase out psychology, which I hope to do completely in the next few years. It seriously interferes with my real work–or perhaps I should say, it interferes with whatever it is that is working on me. It’s very real and it’s very intense, and it’s not always pleasant, especially when you have to resist it for whatever reason. As you may know, in that regard, the spirit is no respecter of persons.
Again, I can only say that it’s analogous to the unconscious. In my view, the vertical extends both above and below–down into the unconscious, but also up into higher regions. Furthermore, I have come to believe that there are defense mechanisms that operate in both directions. In other words, just as we routinely repress the unconscious, we also repress the “supraconscious,” so to speak. And just as weakening the membrane between ego and unconscious will bring forth a burst of material, weakening the membrane between you and God will cause a surge of energies from that direction. And contrary to popular belief, the energies are not always pleasurable and they certainly aren’t predictable.
This is one of the reasons I enjoy reading spiritual autobiographies of true masters, because it is comforting to know that this unpredictable transformative process is always the same, and yet different. No one describes it as a walk in the park, much less a way to “win friends and influence people,” “harness the power of kundalini,” or “awaken the giant within!” Yeah, right. As John Lennon would say, “ha ha ha he he he ho ho ho.” The more serious your commitment, the more you are asking for your world to be rocked. If you’re going to be an extreme seeker, you had better be prepared for a bewilderness adventure–for some Dark Nights of the Soul, as another Johnny crossly put it. I have a number of readers who will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Now, about free will–by what mechanism does it overcome instinct?
As is the case in most ultimate antinomies, the question of free will vs. determinism is not an either/or issue. Rather, we can possess “more or less” free will, depending on various circumstances. But by and large, our free will is squandered and given away. As Dostoyevsky wrote, man has “no more pressing need than the one to find somebody to whom he can surrender as quickly as possible that gift of freedom with which he, unfortunate creature, was born.”
As I noted in my book, discovering what a human being truly is is the key to fathoming the implacable mystery of the cosmos itself. In my view, the presence of self-conscious human beings with free will explains much more about the cosmos than the most complete understanding of the material universe will ever explain about human beings. And the existence of free will is one of the most compelling clues for comprehending the cosmos, for it is utterly inexplicable on any purely scientific grounds.
If we are not free, then time is merely duration and life can obviously have no intrinsic meaning. But once you acknowledge the vertical in any form or fashion, you have left the horizontal behind–that is, the purely material and rational–as any kind of comprehensive, all-encompassing explanation of existence.
For example, if you acknowledge the existence of free will–which, by the way, some people don’t… then again, they have no choice–you have already conceded that we move and have our being in a mysterious “hole” in creation, a hole known as the “now.” By all rights, this “now” should not exist at all.
Einstein was particularly baffled by its existence, to such an extent that he thought the present moment in which we exercise our free will was only a stubborn illusion. This is an example of how science reaches a metaphysical dead end once it begins to ponder the vertical.
I have a conscious thought: I am going to make a fist. I do so. I give Einstein a serious nuggy. No one can tell you how I did so–how consciousness–whatever that is–exerts an effect on matter in this way, even leaving a slight bruise on top of Albert’s head.
One of the cultural problems that has arisen since the 1960′s is a persistent misunderstanding of the notion of freedom. For example, if you ask me if I am free to play the saxophone, the answer is “no,” the reason being that I have not put in the requisite time to study music and practice the instrument. Of course, I am “free” to pick up a saxophone and randomly blow into it, but what kind of freedom is that? Only through intense discipline and long years of practice am I free to produce something musically satisfying on the instrument, that is, to achieve “aesthetic depth.”
All meaningful human freedoms are analogous to that. Freedom is not just the absence of constraint or the ability to indulge one’s whims in an aimless fashion. Rather, real freedom always involves discipline, boundaries, and most importantly, a higher goal or standard toward which the freedom is directed. Otherwise, mere freedom itself is by no means a morally or spiritually constructive entity. In the absence of higher goals and standards, people are abandoned either to a passive, rudderless, aimless existence or to a more impulsive acting out of various psychological patterns.
In order to understand our situation, we must imagine a cross with a horizontal and a vertical arrow. We live at the point of their intersection. The horizontal line has to do with heredity, with Darwinian evolution, with the transmission of culture, etc. If this were all there were, we would be no different than animals–like just pigs or other Yasser Arafats. We would not live in a cognitive space of spiritual freedom, routinely exerting a topdown influence on our horizontal selves. We would not possess this inexplicable capacity called “free will.”
But not everyone seems to have the same degree of topdown influence over themselves–of free will. In fact, it is a capacity that varies quite widely.
According to a dear friend who wishes to remain anonymous, “there are strong–i.e., creative–souls, and there are weak–i.e., imitative–souls. The stronger a soul is, the greater the independence from the semi-hypnotic influence of the model presented by the preceding generations of family chosen for the soul’s incarnation.”
We have heard from the wise that a Creator supposedly endowed us with “liberty,” which is to say free will. But every leftist knows that we don’t really have free will. Rather, we are victims of our environment and our genes. For example, poverty causes crime. Unless you happen to be rich. Then greed causes crime. Unless you haven’t committed any crime. Then it’s just a crime to be rich. But don’t be confused–there’s no objective right or wrong anyway. Multiculturalism is the doctrine that race, not values, determines consciousness and truth.
In reality, as expressed by Frithjof Schuon, “There is no knowledge without objectivity of the intelligence” and “no freedom without objectivity of the will.” Freedom is a paradoxical thing, for if it simply means that we are subjectively free to do or believe whatever we want, what good is it? It’s just another, more subtle form of tyranny, the tyranny of unconstrained, arbitrary, and ultimately meaningless choice on the horizontal plane.
The classical (not contemporary) liberal draws a sharp distinction between freedom and liberty. Freedom is the mere absence of constraint, the right to do whatever one wishes. It implies no verticality at all. Liberty, on the other hand, is constrained by Truth, both as it applies to knowledge and our will to act.
One may well ask: what good is academic freedom unless it is actually converging upon objective truth? One of the problems in the Arab world is that they have neither freedom nor liberty. They are obliged to believe lies–lies about Israel, lies about America, lies about women, lies about Christianity. But it is possible to have the opposite problem, the obligatory belief that truth doesn’t exist, so that one person’s belief is no higher or better than another’s. Moral and intellectual relativism are not just forms of tyranny, they are a manifestation of hell, for hell is any place where one cannot appeal to Truth. Thus, many college campuses have become intellectual and spiritual hells.
Ironically, the person who believes that truth exists and that he is free to discover it is far more constrained than the person who either doesn’t believe in objective truth or who lives in tyranny. For example, if you read memri.org, you will see that in the Arab world you are absolutely free to believe the most vicious and vile lies about Jews. Likewise, on American college campuses, you are free to believe the most brazen lies about American history, or about President Bush, about religion, or about capitalism.
But the person who believes in truth doesn’t have that kind of freedom. For he is only free to believe what is true, and what kind of freedom is that? In other words, such a person is not free to believe that 2+2=5, or that men and women are identical, or that children do just as well with two fathers as a father and mother, or that objective truth doesn’t exist, or that natural selection alone explains human consciousness, or that high taxes are a good way to reduce poverty, or that we have no transcendent moral obligations. And yet, the truth supposedly “sets you free.” How does that work?
It seems that objective truth is the key to true freedom, both as it pertains to knowledge and to action. Objectivity is often thought of as empirical knowledge of material reality, but this is a misleadingly narrow definition. Rather, according to Schuon, objectivity must be understood not as “knowledge that is limited to a purely empirical recording of data received from outside, but a perfect adequation of the knowing subject to the known object.”
In other words, objectivity has to do with aligning our understanding with what it is we wish to know, whether it is a rock, a mathematical equation, or God. “An intelligence or a knowledge is ‘objective’ when it is capable of grasping the object as it is and not as it may be deformed by the subject.” It is “conformity to the nature of things,” independent of interference by individual tendencies or tastes.
As such, objectivity is even a kind of “ego death” in the face of the reality of the object. But there is a payoff, in that “the subjective compensation of this extinction is the nobility of character,” a vertical nobility that is our true human birthright. Moreover, in our logoistic cosmos, the transcendent Object (Brahman, the Father) is ultimately the immanent Subject (Atman, the Son). Therefore, in the final analysis, objectivity is none other than the ultimate Truth “in which the subject and the object coincide, and in which the essential takes precedence over the accidental–or in which the Principle takes precedence over its manifestation–either by extinguishing it, or by reintegrating it.”
Thus, through objectivity, we actually become who we are, undistorted by the accidents and contingencies of existence. “Without objectivity and transcendence there cannot be man, there is only the human animal; to find man, one must aspire to God.”
In short, because we have the capacity for objectivity, we partake of the Absolute, which is absolute freedom. We are not really free to know God. It is only God who is free to know himself through us. Deny this truth, and we live in another absolute–the false absolute of arbitrary and unlimited horizontal freedom. The purpose of freedom is to enable us to choose what we already are in the depths of our being. This is that famous point whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere: there is only this one center, and you are it.
And that is why I am trying to free myself from clinical psychology.