Friday, June 17, 2011

"Deceiving to be Free" an essay

This finishes my section on intellectual independence. It is about dissembling our inner truths before the eyes of others. A racy theme for a philosopher, and a fitting place to begin what I mean by the Game, as a sort of theological game, a meta-theological game which reframes religions and myths according to a few centering ideas. These section is longer than the rest, and replete with a peculiar mythology. To me it is fully charming, makes me laugh, but perhaps it will baffle the literal minded among my readers.





2. Deceiving to be Free


            This brings us to the contradiction of the virtue of independence, which requires the other virtues to set it into place, and yet is prior to them and supports them, and furthermore must finally in its extreme being deny them. “Commitment,” implies sustained intimacy; “honesty” implies direct expression of truth; these other virtues are good only insofar as they do not infringe on the inner independence. We tell the story of the guardian of the inner needs, who is maid Satan, keeper of the mirror womb, as an image upon the wall of the mirror who will not let us pass, though she seduces her Father God back in, by and by. In other words, the brilliant angel, we may call her Maya, is charged to protect life’s secrets, even through lies and illusions if need be. To maintain independence of your soul, you must never disclose your innermost being. That is why it is so unknown to begin with, so inexpressible. Certain people resonate to you, for unlike the others, they have your same inner energy, and though you can never tell why you love him or her, you can feel it: the inner is unspeakable. And what can be spoken of is best left unsaid, for it could be used against you. Utter intimacy, center to center, is impossible in this life, except perhaps in the few pure moments. Approaching it is risky, dangerous, and unnecessary. Guard your heart. To be the most honest of men, you must know how to deceive.

            If the “spiritual world” is the world of spirits – wind, breath, language, voice—of voices, and includes all those who give voice, then we enter this world in conversation, and breath in many of those spirits through our ears, internalize them, capture them up like geniis in bottles, and once within us, barter with them to do our bidding. One learns a voice, perhaps a set of voices, like a set of perspectives. I used to ask my friends for advice. Once familiarized with their advice, I needed only think of my friends, and could predict what they would say. Now I need merely think of my problem, and commentators derived from my friends thicken my thoughts with possibilities, and I wisely choose the most appropriate mind among them, all in an instant, all from within my own head, from familiarity with those kindred spirits. No longer need I hide my innermost from you: I hold you within me, unbeknownst to you.

            I’ve talked to my fellow mentally ill, and learned a lesson. Psychotics never fully abandon their delusions, even when returned to perfect mental health. The difference between a psychotic and a sane man is that the former is exposed. The sane man, on the other hand, holds buried beneath his conscious thinking the same mad thoughts. How else would the wits and story-tellers be able to say such wild leaps and jumps unless some insane part of them truly believed it?

            Each man’s necessity is his ultimate reality. He can by no means betray it, nor escape it, since it is the very law of his being, and will suffer no contradiction. To understand the center of another is to map, as vaguely and crudely as the external observer must, his soul’s framework, and this will let us understand him for what he is: he has the same form as us, variations on a theme –every distinct being is basically the same as all the others – though in that central bit he is wholly unique and unknowable. Each mind is that free being; morality predicates on the freedom of the mind, that a man somehow owns his actions. But in another sense, we are conduits of the streams we are born into, and pass along what we  have received. We add to this that subtle swerve upon each atom that passes through us. What we own, what we contribute, what we are, is from the hidden self – utterly protected by guile.

            Just as our inner madness is hidden by the mask of normalcy, winking out when telling and appreciating jokes, daydreams, myths or fairytales, so too is the vital self never in anything directly material, but is subtly interfused within our inner and external structure.  A master may mold a piece of gold, and though it amounts to nothing but the original gold, what has been added to its content is form. Form is part of content, nor could any content lack either external or internal form, all the way down to the ultra-microscopic .

            It would be better said that the inner madness is a sort of substratum, an ethereal garment, and not the direct self. The fantastic and mad imaginations of both the marketer's religions, Buddhism and Christianity, speak of beginnings and ends, of the final state of the blessed soul and other such things. The visions are not the real thing, but the reality to them is the living morality each religion offers this life. The fantastic is distraction. Emerson was right to criticize the heaven-bound with this remark: that the pious Christians complain that the wicked now live in mansions and eat well, the whole time themselves hoping to in heaven live in mansions and eat well, saying in effect: “You sin now, but we will sin by and by,” for if ‘the good life’ were about humility, servitude, and praising God, we can easily do that in this life, but for them, all that is instead taken as a means. Emerson did not see that his critique cut out the heart out of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which promises that “great will your reward be in heaven!” The Christian and Buddhist ethics do not prove themselves, are not self-sufficient, and so they rely on fantastic stories. At best, the stories serves as a picture language, as allegories or parables, to present the true gift of religion: a method for living a virtuous life. The method itself is by no means reducible to a set of rules, or even to a clean set of principles – least of all to any “laws” – and yet somehow, in a mysterious way, it is communicated, as a spirit beyond the letters, but by no means possible without those letters, as spirit is a subtle energy that is part of the larger energy of gross matter – like the overtones over a violin string.

            We contain an inner world of beloved things by which we judge our external environment. Heaven is made of what we enjoy in this life, a projection of it upon the great beyond. And so our only enjoyment of it is now in anticipation, as our inner fantasy, and that is as much heaven as we receive or need. This at last is eternal.

            Just as Jaspers opined that Ezekiel was schizophrenic, so does all our discourse get a bit mad and maddening the closer we get to something real. To be real is to be able to flow the needs through the habits so that there is congruence between feeling, thinking, saying, and doing. To touch past the psychological defenses, the barrier of hysterics must be breached. Utter intimacy, center to center, is impossible, for each self is sacrosanct, just as you cannot think my thoughts for me.

            The Buddha did have a bit of wisdom when he said the important thing in life is to “mind your own business, and mind it well.” Don’t go sniffing up metaphysical difficulties which are none of yours. If we needed to be certain of the afterlife, we could be. Lacking that, never you mind. Each day has enough in itself to speculate about. Tending your own garden is wise enough, but wiser still is letting nobody else tend it for you. About your personal projects in life, bite your tongue, and know how to deceive when necessary. Your innermost truth you owe no man, nor let yourself speak it. Learn the principle of guile. By the time we are adults, this is natural.

            Only what you do always can you do naturally. Mind your business, and cut off every stray branch that saps away whatever is necessary to feed your rose of beauty. Give only to that one thing, or if you hold subsidiary hobbies and habits, let them feed back into the same, till you are as focused as the Mississippi and divide a whole continent with your desire. What we do every day, what we practice nonstop, what has become a gesture, a flowing dance, as ready and purifying as a laugh, as ultimate as an orgasm, as subtle as a smirk, as easy as a blink, this is our style, this has gone from practice to nature, this has worked deep into our being, approaching a grand fine permanence.

            We must protect our innocence in the manner of all children everywhere. Children deceive. They even tricked Jesus. Buddha was wiser, knowing that heaven belongs to the mature, not to the children: innocence must use its shrewdness to gain the second and deeper innocence of wisdom. Only the elderly are truly innocent.

            God himself was tricked by a pastor, as reported in the Doctrines and Covenants, when He said "James Covill, thy heart is now right before me at this time. I have looked upon thee and thy works and know thee," after which James Covill realized that God must not have any inside knowledge, and so left Mormonism and returned to Methodism, at which point God said "Satan deceived him, and I will punish him for it." In this, the spirit of childhood is unknown to adults, remains tricky and hermetic, as the Lethe of adolescence removes us from the conspiracy of infancy. We say "his innocence was lost," but in fact, innocence replaces what is lost.

            Children lie, deceive, trick, naturally and by instinct, it need not be taught them, but they are poor at it until they first lie to themselves. The ability to lie is the ability to have privacy. No, I will never dirty my tongue for your sake, I won’t lie for your love, but I will still hide my truth further than your eyes shall ken. Self-knowledge is saving knowledge, this is one of the few truths Plato recognized; a man who knows himself is therefore known: heaven hides within the mirror, a man must be able to squeeze his full being back into the blacks of his eyes. And this is possible only if external criticisms and banter do not distract his studies. Let him be independent. My autonomy is worth more than the whole human race. My freedom, the freedom of my own perfect mind, is the one sovereign fact.

            The mind falsifies. Memories distort. Because memories are not facts, though inspired by them, they neither evolved to, nor ideally should, serve objective facts, but only and always the deeper needs whose tools they primarily are. Facts do not categorize themselves. Facts do not evaluate themselves. Facts are trivial and dull until they subordinate themselves to some demanding need and its subsidiary desires. Lacking that, we would have no reason to consider them in the first place. In this way, the independence of personal needs, and the free mind which interprets them, is justified, protected, layered, clothed in a carefully knit robe of experience that uses reality to allow for our growth, but is willing to dismiss what facts and details fail to aid this.

            The farthest edges of the mind, which identify with the universe, the mystical moments we all feel, which some of us cultivate into an art form, the form of consciousness which was coined as “Cosmic Consciousness” to describe Whitman’s mindset, this expansive awareness of the all of our experience, is so widely conscious that it is nearly unconscious. To spread the focus so thin, to mix the dye of care so thin in the waters of mind, is to reach Nirvana, the destiny of every man, woman, and child who has not deified his soul in this lifetime. We are all doomed to unqualified bliss forever unless we can save ourselves in time. This being lost in the Mother Universe, this is what it means to die. It would require a special act of guile to save the mind from this.

            For the religion that said “Annatta! There is no self”--how could such a thing be true? how could we say “there is no self” unless that very self were known? If we say “there are no unicorns,” we do know what these fantasies are, what they mean, what they symbolize, how they were created, when, for whom, and for what reasons. Ghosts, vampires, dragons, and unicorns are the opposite of nonsense: they serve symbolic functions, and can by no means be divorced from the needs and purposes which created them. The idea that “there is no self” is strangely coupled with the idea that we ought to love things in the world, other selves, when it seems that disinterest, detachment, and dismissal would instead be the logical conclusion from the idea that selves don't really exist. The ego is real, is important, is the basis of creativity and growth, is God over the needs: to kill him would result in Nirvana forever, but whoever loses himself in Nirvana will never become a Universe.

            Hide yourself, bury yourself, do not give yourself away. Sense your inner divinity, for all men are created equal, and the gods created them all equally beneath themselves. The god you are is that innermost spark. For though I adore honesty, and strive always for direct truth, yet it seems I lie often enough, and this to avoid losing face or escaping reproach. Why does this come so naturally? How can something we all do be bad? The integrity of an immature mind cannot shine bald and brazen, but must eclipse his budding glory with the deceptions of humility, smallness, and self-abasement. Do I seem so ridiculous to you, my friends? It is because I find myself most comfortable when donned as folly before you. What is whispered in my innermost is unfit for ears such as yours, if given would fall like dead leaves from your hands. But show me that generation of lovers which split from the same spark as my own, the gods who are my own gods, and you will see that I am neither honest nor dishonest with you, but I am real with you, I am real to you, I speak or don’t speak, you know me, gods cannot hide before gods.

            Ama-All, Motherverse, grabbed the hammer of will and smashed the anvil of necessity -- we see it as novas exploding  -- so that with each hammerfall, a soul was broken, and atoms fell upon the worlds, congealed into earths, and each planet was thick with sparks from different sources, and each of us draws by hidden paths the same original sparks back to us, so that the lovers I hold dear are as near as my soul, are my same spark, but the others who try and leave were somebody else's spark and not meant for me, so that the sparks that fell into this particular grain by hidden pathways became finally the dinner I am now eating, and that little bit of bad spark in my forehead was cut out by the car accident, so that if it wasn't a car wreck it would be something else, but in the end all that is mine and belongs to me will return to me, and what is not mine falls away. I confound the inevitability of the circuitry by emanating something from my innermost that never existed anywhere before, so that just as my halo is the language I use, my aura is my creative output. I seek those who are coeternal to me.

            Every being has identity, reason recognizes its self-identity. To be able to create a self is the emblem of life, to be able to create other selves, to think of one’s very thinking, to grow a child within your body, to theorize about theories, that is the mirror womb at the center of the mind. I speak in myths and hints; the idea I wish to convey will already be in the minds of those who hear me, but will be mere games and charades to those who don’t.

            We live to mature. If infancy is cute, if childhood is admirable, if heaven belongs to brats, why not cut the young off before they degrade? But life aims at maturity, and power belongs to the adult. The highest innocence, the greatest purity belongs to the elderly. The older we grow, the more we purify the needs and will. We grow simple sublime.

            Perhaps throughout life, part of us doesn’t change. What changes cannot be defined. Biographers resort to calling their subjects “paradoxical,” lacking the correct model for catching on why all men, when closely studied, appear to contradict themselves. I have heard Franklin, Wright, Ives, Nietzsche, and Jefferson called “paradoxical.” What Biographer can avoid this temptation? A person is not a character in a book, but something more, something better, something that can’t be reduced to one perspective, or a set of words, or anything at all, being at his centermost a pure and divine logos. The myths suggest the full story.

            I wear many masks, I don a dozen cloaks. Where I openly criticize myself is irony before you. My pride is careful to vaunt self-reproach. I feel akin to Emerson who consented to Carlyle’s criticism that he lacked integration in his essays, that his sentences appeared loosely held together around a similar theme, each sentence being created equal in the democratic principle of every man his own president – let no man defer! Emerson was as blind as Carlyle to the American genius for gross structuring of wide vistas, sweeping contents, the largest congruence and concordance of ideas. Humility is ignorance. Only when you’ve reread his essays, outlined them, can you get the same Vista of wide love that we find in the complete poetry of Whitman and Dickinson, the music of Ives, that touch for large and wide spaces, which I’ve fostered so consistently in this very summa, my summa sophistria, the pages of this Idius, which is my second self, the body I prepare for my second coming. My sense of humor is subtle, my purpose obscure, my truth direct death.

            Knowing how to deceive, how to trick, how to confuse, how to manipulate and cheat, is useful, preferably with hands-on attempts and experimentation, so as to know how to avoid being deceived and cheated by others.

            Protect your innermost determination as your very soul; protect it forever and without compromise. The needs of your own private self are the holy of holies, the ultimate sanctuary, the final resting place of the godling mind which struggles like Odin forever and always in the world. Odin, the god of magic, poetry, wisdom, searcher at all costs for wisdom, and especially the wisdom of the final things, the death of the gods, the death of the mind, yes Odin, true God of true God, true mind of true mind: learn from him how to return to the inner necessity within the wolf’s open jaws. Wisdom is worth the risk of challenging giants, losing an eye over, worth being hung from a tree, impaled on a spear, dying, coming again, worth all our sacrifices. The mind is free in order to grow, and aims to return from where he broke free, to return back into inner necessity.

            Our quest in life is too important to gossip about. Prefer whatever is handy when you explain your actions; use masks and disguises. Allism denies nothing, uses everything, will apply these terms as well as those, finds any phrase or any holy thing apt, any philosophy applicable, because they are all empty, and we may breath our own life into them. We speak in tongues, pure Glossalia, by which I mean, every word yet spoken serves us, every book predicts us, even those who negate us feed into our purpose, for we know how to use language, and yet have a soul that is deeper than spirit, an attitude deeper than language. The phoenix of Lux is our inspiring muse, we call her English, those of us who speak English; and yet the language of our innermost must be translated into her heaven. That Holy Spirit, Lux English, the abiding Genius of America, will forever shed light from the heart of Ama, is the sun upon her tongue. Raise your long-stemmed glass of intoxicating pure water: it is her kiss. With her love, create.










No comments: