The Paradox of Atheism

The battle of the atheists is not really with religion but with their own understanding, or more precisely misunderstanding, of what religion is, for what they know of religion is the most literal, and hence the most superficial understanding that they themselves have read into it. For instance, a physicist cannot possibly take seriously a layman’s questioning of the peculiarities of modern physics, not so much because the latter is inferior to him, though his knowledge is, but because due to lack of proper training the layman’s objection isn’t really to physics but to what he understands of it, an understanding that is not grounded in experience and evidence but in pure speculation.
In the same way, it is futile to take the objections of atheists seriously or bother to debate them, for they have not even tasted religion, and hence their judgment of it is entirely groundless and devoid of objectivity. After all, how can a blind man become a rainbow scholar and specialist, and worst of all deny the reality of rainbows!?
A lot of these militia atheists, i.e. pseudo-intellectuals of our time, lose their temper when hearing of new age spirituality and fake gurus such as Chopra’s mixing of science and religion, claiming that these masters are not qualified to read into science their own spiritual impulses, for they do not have the proper training to understand science. And I must say I very much agree with atheists on this point, for this new age mixing of science and religion is not only unnecessary for one’s spirituality, but it also damages both science and religion, for they read into sciences such as quantum physics what is totally unrelated to it.
But the main point is that the same objection applies to atheists themselves: If a layman is not qualified to judge science or dispute its claims, the atheist too is a layman when it comes to religion: Spiritual realization is an activity, much like science, equipped with a well-defined goal and method. Even the most brilliant scientists or philosophers, such as Einstein, etc. are unqualified to judge the facts of spiritual life without having undergone the proper training under a spiritual master.
Thus, we only turn the atheist’s objection against himself, for he is oblivious to the fact that when it comes to religion he himself is in the exact same position as that of an arrogant layman’s skepticism when it comes to science.

Truth & Intelligence

We superimpose our human rigidity on God, making Him judgmental and ourselves fearful. While we must fear God, our fear of Him should be a humbling awe with utmost veneration before His infinitude rather than a childish fright before His revengeful wrath.

We, and especially we religious and spiritual people, and even more so myself, constantly judge ourselves, and that is our egos behind all judgment since ego is always concerned with my individual perfection, and then we assume this judgment to be God’s as if God expected perfection from that which is essentially non-God, namely creation. God’s infinitude projects in the plane of existence as boundless, unconditional, pure love. God loves us even when we hate ourselves, and He gives Himself to us whenever we call on Him. He forgives us and yet we punish ourselves. When we obsessively judge and slash at ourselves for our imperfections we are in fact judging God’s creation and hence Him by association.

We are by nature imperfect and yet expect perfection from ourselves; God is by nature perfect and He doesn’t expect anything from us. From God’s point of view, as if there were others, we are always already perfect, for we are nothing but the manifestations of his perfection and infinitude. We are deluded into thinking that God has given us an awareness of our imperfections; but what we perceive, due to ego’s self-obsession, as the awareness of our imperfections is in fact nothing but the awareness of God’s perfection. It is only in light of our consciousness of God that we feel small and imperfect.

The awareness of our imperfections, which is the other face of our awareness of God’s perfection, is a saving thread graced upon us to redirect our attention away from ourselves and toward God. When we are instead preoccupied with our spiritual imperfections we are not being spiritual at all, for we are distracted from the Truth and the Way by constantly diverting our consciousness from its sole purpose of absorption in God to absorption in ourselves under the name of spiritual perfection.

God, being Absolute and Infinite, is the endless source of generosity. It is our egos, especially in our spiritual paths, that is obsessed with our own perfection, and particularly with our spiritual perfection, the ego that constantly finds faults with us without ever accepting us the way we are. God, however, accepts us, always and forever, as who we are with all our imperfections and shortcomings, for He is the source of our very Being; God is our very Being itself. We forget this basic truth that our spiritual journey is never about us; it is, and always should be, about God and Him alone: Our spiritual journey begins by finding ourselves in the midst of our imperfections and it ends by losing ourselves in the midst of God’s perfection. Instead of focusing on our own imperfections we must contemplate His perfection.

We limit His infinitude with the finitude of the vessels that we are. The traditional man used to view God as the final station to which he had to ascend; but now we look at ourselves and our own level as the final station to which God must descend. We no more strive to rise up to truth but instead bring truth down to our own little and pitiful level. This is the predominant attitude of modernism and symptomatic of all modern educational systems, the insistence on bringing everything down to man instead of pushing him up to truth, the urge to dilute everything great and of high value so to make it suitable for our weak digestion, and hence making it weaker and weaker.

The result is a modern man with watered down intelligence incapable of grasping anything beyond himself, anything beyond the mental and the physical, anything that doesn’t guarantee instant gratification. Modern man, a species reduced to a mere psycho-physical phenomenon, utterly lacks the intelligence and intellectual intuition capable of perceiving eternal truths. The natural consequence, and the more profitable road, is for this modern man to define his/her own commonsense and crooked intelligence as the final and the only truth and the absolute criterion of all other truths, if at all he believes in any truth. In modern man intelligence has hit its rock bottom with a loud bang that we hear as the babbling of its militant atheists and liberals.

This modern man is confused and hopelessly disoriented; he confuses things of the high planes with things of the low grounds, the archetypes with brain chemistry: He confuses true knowledge with mere information, intuition with mere computation, intellect with reason, intelligence with memory and book knowledge, philosophy with sterile mental masturbation, science with dogma, rational judgment with sentimental prejudice, degradation with evolution, regress with progress, and above all he confuses objective truths with his own subjective preferences as a result of which we have been dragged into a new Dark Age, the Age of Dogma, an age marked with the reign of irrational beliefs, superstitious opinions, and wild sentiments, and worst of all an unprecedented treason against human intelligence, and intelligence as such.

Since this modern man, this little man of intellectual and spiritual retardation, cannot conceive of anything above himself he must look for something below himself, perhaps he must be a descendant of apes, and he really is nothing more as long as he considers himself to be that; and what is ironic about this man is that he takes so much pride in boldly standing up for these modern superstitions that pass for scientific facts!

But how can we take serious the sciences of a species which claims himself to be nothing more than a sexually repressed ape of no freewill?! How can we expect any objective knowledge from a species hopelessly conditioned by its animal drives and the purely self-interested motive for mere survival?! You see, this modern man cannot open its mouth and say something without contradicting himself: He claims that he is nothing but a “small phase of an evolution going from the amoeba to the superman,” and yet in some mysterious fashion he can at once objectively know where he stands in all this! He asserts with absolute certainty that there are not absolute truths and yet makes an irrational exception in favor of this assertion itself elevating it to the status of an absolute truth, and hence excluding himself and his sciences from the consequences of his own scientific conclusions!

Modern man performed a miracle that even God cannot perform: He made a fashionable commonsense out of the absurd! This is genius, and in fact his only genius. It is as if he secretly enjoys having come from the ape instead of the apex. His irrational insistence on being closer to chimpanzees than to transcendent archetypes, despite lack of scientific evidence, is really nothing but an adolescence rebellion of a reverse puberty that we know of as the Renaissance and its Age of Enlightenment which gave us the last kick into an irremediable darkness.

This modern man is more arrogant than ever, but this outward arrogance is nothing but the reflection of an inward ignorance and insecurity that befell upon him when he washed off the sense of the sacred from nature and himself and replaced it with the illusion of evolution and endless progress, and hence he destroyed the very ground upon which he was standing. Modern man is not standing anymore; he is crawling like a worm in his own filth made of synthetic ismisms and a whorified consumerism with the sole end of welfare and instant gratification. But we’re being too charitable here, too optimistic in our view of modern man. This modern man’s crawling is in truth a sliding backwards into a Godless oblivion.

The Contradiction of Relativism

                                                             The Contradiction of Relativism
By Frithjof Schuon

Relativism reduces every element of absoluteness to relativity while making a
completely illogical exception in favor of this reduction itself. Fundamentally it consists
in propounding the claim that there is no truth as if this were truth or in declaring it to be
absolutely true that there is nothing but the relatively true; one might just as well say that
there is no language or write that there is no writing. In short, every idea is reduced to a
relativity of some sort, whether psychological, historical, or social; but the assertion
nullifies itself by the fact that it too presents itself as a psychological, historical, or social
relativity. The assertion nullifies itself if it is true and by nullifying itself logically proves
thereby that it is false; its initial absurdity lies in the implicit claim to be unique in
escaping, as if by enchantment, from a relativity that is declared to be the only possibility.
The axiom of relativism is that “one can never escape from human subjectivity”; if
this is the case, the statement itself possesses no objective value, but falls under its own
verdict. It is abundantly evident that man can escape subjectivity, for otherwise he would
not be man; and the proof of this possibility is that we are able to conceive of both the
subjective and the surpassing of the subjective. This subjectivity would not even be
conceivable for a man who was totally enclosed in his subjectivity; an animal lives its
subjectivity but does not conceive it, for unlike man it does not possess the gift of
objectivity.
Social relativism does not ask whether it is true that two and two make four but from
what social background the man has come who declares this to be the case, and it does so
without ever considering the fact that if the background determines the thought and takes
precedence over truth, the same must apply in every case, which means that every
background determines thought and every thought is determined by a background. If
someone objects that such and such a particular background is favorable to the perception
of truth, we could easily turn the argument around by referring to a different scale of
values, which goes to show that this argument merely begs the question and that even on
the most favorable showing it amounts to no more than an estimate of probabilities
without any concrete significance. The same applies to historical relativism: since every
human thought necessarily occurs at a given moment in time—not with regard to its content
but with regard to the mental process—every thought would have only a relative
value and would be “outdated” and “obsolete” from the very moment of its birth; there
would therefore be no point in thinking since man could never escape duration.
But the object of relativism—what is at stake in its claims—is not always truth as
such; it can be any expression or modality of truth, especially a moral or aesthetic value;
in this way all rectitude may be reduced to some contingent and more or less insignificant
factor, and thus the door may be opened to all manner of misunderstandings,
degradations, and deceptions. When applied to the facts of tradition, relativism is
basically the error of confusing static and dynamic elements: one speaks about “epochs”
or “styles” and forgets that what is in question here is the manifestation of objective and
unwavering data, which are therefore definitive in their own way. In the growth of a tree,
a given stage obviously corresponds to a given moment in time, but this does not prevent
the trunk from being the trunk or branches from being branches or fruit from being fruit;
the trunk of an apple tree is not simply one moment in relation to the apple, and the apple
is not simply some other moment in relation to the trunk or the branch. The epoch
referred to as “Gothic” had of its own nature the right to survive in its part of the world
even to the end of time, for the ethnic givens that determined this epoch have not changed
and cannot change—unless Latin-Germanic Christianity were to become Mongolian;
Gothic, or Romano-Gothic, civilization was not left behind by “evolution” nor has it
ceased to exist through some transmutation of itself; it was assassinated by an extra-
Christian force, the neo-paganism of the Renaissance. Be that as it may, one of the
noteworthy traits of the twentieth century is the confusion, now habitual, between
evolution and decadence: there is no decadence, no impoverishment, no falsification that
people do not try to excuse with the aid of the relativistic argument of “evolution”,
reinforced as this is by the most inappropriate and erroneous associations. Thus
relativism, cleverly instilled into public opinion, paves the way for all kinds of corruption
while at the same time keeping watch lest any kind of healthy reaction might put the
brakes on this slide toward the abyss.
While errors that tend to deny objective and intrinsic intelligence destroy themselves
by propounding a thesis that is disproved by the very existence of the thesis itself, the fact
that errors exist does not in itself prove the inevitable fallibility of the intelligence, for
error is not derived from intelligence as such; on the contrary it is a privative
phenomenon that causes the activity of the intelligence to deviate because of an element
of passion or blindness, though without being able to invalidate the very nature of the
cognitive faculty.
A patent example of the classic contradiction in question here—a contradiction
characterizing for the most part all modern thought—is provided by existentialism, which
postulates a definition of the world that is impossible if existentialism itself is possible.
There are only two alternatives: either objective knowledge—a knowledge that is
therefore absolute in its own order—is possible, which proves that existentialism is false;
or else existentialism is true, but then its own promulgation is impossible since in the
existentialist universe there is no room for an objective and unwavering intellection.

If everything that can rightfully be described as human rests on merely psychological
causes, one can—and indeed must—explain everything by psychology, whence the
“psychology of religion” and the supposedly psychological criticism of sacred texts; in
every case of this kind, we are dealing with speculations in the void because of an
absence of the indispensable objective data—data inaccessible to methods of
investigation arbitrarily defined as normal and inappropriately extended to cover all
possible knowledge.
On the slippery ground of psychologism, the logic of Kantian criticism is now
“outmoded”, all things considered, for “critique” has readily assumed the guise of
“analysis”, and this fact is indeed symptomatic since the very notion of “critique” is
doubtless still too intellectual for the demolishers psychologists intend to be—
demolishers who blithely reduce metaphysics and even simple logic to questions of
grammar. People wish to “analyze” everything in a quasi-physical or quasi-chemical
way, and they would even analyze God if this were possible; indeed this is done
indirectly when an attack is made on the notion of God or the mental and moral
concomitances of this notion, or on the expressions—altogether out of reach as these
really are—of a genuine intellection.
If Freudianism declares that rationality is merely a hypocritical cloak for a repressed
animality, this statement—seemingly rational—falls under the same verdict; if there were
any logic to Freudianism, it would itself be nothing more than a symbolizing denaturation
of psychophysical instincts. No doubt psychoanalysts will say that in their case reasoning
is not a function of unacknowledged repressions; but we do not at all see why this
exception should be admissible in terms of their own doctrine, nor why this law of exception
should apply only in their favor and not in favor of the spiritual doctrines they reject
with such animus and with so monstrous a lack of any sense of proportion. In any case,
nothing can be more absurd than for a man to make himself not merely the accuser of
some psychological accident but of man as such; whence comes this demigod who
accuses, and whence his power to accuse? If the accuser himself is right, this must mean
that man is not so bad and that there exists within him a capacity for adequation;
otherwise it would be necessary to assume that the champions of psychoanalysis are
divine beings unpredictably fallen from heaven—a somewhat unlikely proposition, to say
the least.
Psychoanalysis begins by eliminating the transcendent factors essential to man and
then replaces complexes of inferiority or frustration with complexes of complacency and
egotism; it allows one to sin calmly and with assurance and to damn oneself serenely.
Like all philosophies of destruction—that of Nietzsche, for example—Freudianism
attributes an absolute significance to a relative situation; like all modern thought, all it
manages to do is to fall from one extreme into another, incapable as it is of realizing that
the truth—and the solution—it seeks is to be found in man’s deepest nature, of which the
religions and traditional wisdoms are precisely the spokesmen, guardians, and guarantors.
The mentality created and disseminated by psychoanalysis consists in refusing to
engage in a logical or intellectual dialogue—which is alone worthy of human beings—
and in answering questions by means of insolent conjectures; instead of trying to find out
whether an interlocutor is right or not, questions are asked about his parents or blood
pressure—to confine ourselves to symbolic examples of a fairly innocuous kind—as if
such procedures could not readily be turned against their authors or as if it were not easy,
by changing the mode of argument, to refute one analysis by means of another. The
pseudo-criteria of analysis are preferably physiological or sociological, depending upon
the craze of the moment; it would not be difficult to find counter criteria and conduct a
serious analysis of this imaginary analysis.
If man is a hypocrite, then one of two things: either he is so fundamentally, in which
case no one could take note of the fact without passing miraculously, or divinely, beyond
human nature; or his hypocrisy is only accidental and relative, in which case there was no
need to wait for psychoanalysis to take this fact into account since health is more
fundamental to the nature of man than illness and since, this being so, there have always
been men who could recognize evil and knew the cure for it. Or again, if man is
profoundly sick, it is impossible to see why psychoanalysis should alone have been able
to notice this and why its explanation, which is perfectly arbitrary and indeed essentially
perverse, should alone be the right one; of course, one could try to make sense of things
with the idea of “evolution”, but in this case it would be necessary to blind oneself to the
qualities of our ancestors and the vices of our contemporaries, and this is to say nothing
of the impossibility of demonstrating—or the absurdity of even assuming—that a sudden
burst of intellectual and moral objectivity could ever come about in a merely biological
and quantitative development.
For if a natural development led to a reflexive intelligence—to an act of awareness
that perceived the development for what it was—this outcome would be a reality falling
entirely outside the realm of the evolutionary process; there would be no common
measure between this act and the wholly contingent movement preceding it, and therefore
this movement could under no circumstances be the cause of the awareness in question.
This argument is the very negation of the theory of transformist evolutionism, hence of
every notion of man as a “link” or a “chance”, and so also of every form of mysticism
relating to a generative matter, a biosphere, a noosphere, or an “omega point”.1 Man is
what he is, or else he is nothing; the capacity for objectivity and absoluteness of thought
proves the quasi-absolute—that is, the unwavering and irreplaceable—character of the
creature that thinks; this is what is meant by the scriptural words “made in God’s image”.
This capacity for objectivity and absoluteness amounts to an existential—and
“preventive”—refutation of the ideologies of doubt: if a man is able to doubt, it is
because there is certainty; likewise the very notion of illusion proves that man has access
to reality. It follows that there are necessarily some men who know reality and who
therefore have certainty; and the great spokesmen of this knowledge and certainty are
necessarily the best of men. For if truth were on the side of doubt, the individual who
doubted would be superior not only to these spokesmen, who have not doubted, but also
to the majority of normal men across the millennia of human existence. If doubt
conformed to the real, human intelligence would be deprived of its sufficient reason, and
man would be less than an animal, for the intelligence of animals does not doubt the
reality to which it is proportioned.

Every science of the soul should be a science of the various orders of limitation or
infirmity; now there are four essential orders to consider: the universal, the general, the
individual, and the accidental.
This means that every man contains a universal limitation or “infirmity” because he
is creature and not Creator, manifestation and not Principle or Being; then a general
limitation or “infirmity” because he is an earthly man and not an angel or one of the
blessed in Heaven; next an individual infirmity because he is himself and not others; and
finally an accidental infirmity because he is beneath himself, unless he is perfect.
There is no science of the soul without a metaphysical basis and spiritual remedies.
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1. Transformist evolutionism—let it be said once again—is simply a materialist substitute for the ancient concept of the solidifying and segmenting “materialization” of a subtle and supra-sensorial primordial substance, in which were prefigured all the diverse possibilities of the a posteriori material world; the answer to evolutionism is the doctrine of archetypes and “ideas”, with ideas relating to pure Being—or the divine Intellect—and archetypes to the primordial substance in which they are “incarnated” as it were by reverberation.

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Thought of the psychological type is always rushing ahead of itself; it sets out to be
dynamic and effective before being true and to be a solution or remedy before being a
diagnosis; moreover it readily indulges in a duplicitous form of reasoning in order to
evade its intellectual responsibility. Imagine someone saying that every man must die, to
which he receives the reply that this is not true because it makes people feel sad or
fatalistic or fills them with despair; and yet this is the way the man “of our time” likes to
reason: his objections to truths he finds disagreeable are always beside the point and
always involve evasions or confusions of level. If a man raises a fire alarm, it is said that
he has no right to do so unless he knows how to extinguish the fire; and if someone
maintains that two and two make four and thus disrupts certain prejudices or interests, it
will be said that this calculation denotes not his ability to count but a complex of
exactitude, contracted no doubt through an excessive attachment to “bygone days”, and
so forth: if these metaphors appear to be caricatures, it is only because of their simplicity
or outspokenness, for the reality is often no less absurd than our simplifications.
Psychoanalysis has succeeded in perverting intelligence by giving rise to a
“psychoanalytical complex” that corrupts everything; if it is possible to deny the absolute
in many different ways, psychological and existentialist relativism denies it within
intelligence itself: intelligence is practically set up as a god but at the price of all that
constitutes its intrinsic nature, value, and effectiveness; intelligence becomes “adult” by
destroying itself.
There is a moral relativism that is truly odious: if you say that God and the beyond
are real, this shows you are cowardly, dishonest, infantile, shamefully abnormal; if you
say that religion is just make-believe, this shows you are courageous, honest, sincere,
adult, altogether normal. If all this were true, man would be nothing, possessing the
capacity for neither truthfulness nor heroism; and there would be no one even to note the
fact, for a hero cannot be extracted from a coward nor a sage from a man of feeble
mind—not even by “evolution”. But this moralistic bias, ignoble or simply stupid as the
case may be, is by no means something new: before it was applied to intellectual
positions, it was used to discredit the contemplative life, which was described as an
“escape”, as if a man did not have the right to flee from dangers concerning him alone
and—more important—as though the contemplative life and withdrawal from the world
were not instead a pilgrimage toward God; to flee God as do the worldly is far more
senseless and irresponsible than fleeing the world. To run away from God is at the same
time to run away from oneself, for when a man is alone with himself—even though he
may be surrounded by others—he is always with his Creator, whom he encounters at the
very root of his being.
The prejudice for reducing religious attitudes to reflexes of fear or servility, hence of
childishness and baseness, is completely in line with this intrusive and simplifying psychologism;
one should begin by proving that religious fears are really ill founded and
then, failing that, seek to understand the real meaning and inward consequences of
devotional attitudes.2 We would point out first that it is not debasing to humble oneself
before the Absolute, neither objectively nor therefore subjectively; but it is also important
to address the issue of “who” prostrates or humbles himself: obviously it is not our
transpersonal nucleus, the mysterious seat of the divine Immanence. In reality it is a
question here of the relative being—the “creature”, if one prefers—becoming aware of its
ontological dependence in relation to that One Being from whom it is derived and whom
it manifests in its own way; this act of awareness will accidentally seem like a
humiliation because of the congenital decadence of man, but this makes the awareness all
the more effective. It is obvious that our deiform and immortal personality includes an
aspect of majesty—quite visible already in the very form of the human body—and the
religions have been the first to call attention to this fact, though they have been no more
pardoned for this than for fostering the opposite attitude; but it is equally obvious that
there is something in man that merits constraint and abasement. It is impossible for the
ego, such as it is in its human animality, to be immune from all celestial reproof;
disequilibrium and fragmentation have a debt to pay to Equilibrium and Totality, and not
the other way round. To be conscious of this state of affairs is the first requirement of
human dignity, which is little understood at a time when demagogy has become a
“categorical imperative” in all spheres of thought.

Relativism engenders a spirit of rebellion and is at the same time its fruit. The spirit
of rebellion, unlike holy anger, is not a passing state, nor is it directed against some
worldly abuse; on the contrary it is a chronic malady directed against Heaven and against
everything that represents Heaven or is a reminder of it. When Lao Tzu said that “in the
latter days the man of virtue appears vile”, he had in mind the rebellious spirit that
characterizes our time; but for psychological and existentialist relativism, which by
definition always seeks to justify the crude ego, this spiritual state is normal, and it is its
absence that amounts to disease, whence the abolition of the sense of sin. The sense of sin
is the consciousness of an equilibrium surpassing our personal will and operating
ultimately for the benefit of our integral personality and that of the human collectivity,
even though occasionally wounding us; this sense of sin goes hand in hand with a sense
of the sacred, which is an instinct for what surpasses us—for what should therefore not be
touched by ignorant and iconoclastic hands.

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2. The association of ideas that links childhood with fear overlooks the fact that there are fears peculiar to adulthood and conversely that there are illusions of safety belonging to childhood.

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Of course, the idea that one may merit damnation by “offending the divine majesty”
is acceptable only if one feels what is at stake or knows it: Divinity is impersonal before
determining itself as divine Person in relation to the human person, and on the plane of
impersonality there is only an ontological and logical relationship of cause to effect between
God and man; on this plane there can be no question of “goodness”, for absolute
Reality is what it is, and pure causality has nothing specifically moral about it. But it is
on the plane of revelation as divine Person that Mercy can intervene, the Mercy that is the
most marvelous of all the mysteries; it is precisely this intervention that shows us that the
Absolute is not a blind power. Given their indolence of spirit and lack of imagination, it
is true that men are only too ready to prescribe a stupid kind of humility, but this is no
reason for believing that God requires it and that there is no possibility of manifesting our
consciousness of causality and equilibrium in an intelligent way; nonetheless God prefers
a stupid humility to an intelligent pride—a pride nourished, in other words, on an abuse
of intelligence.
As limited and degraded as man undeniably is, he yet remains “the proof by
contraries” of the divine Prototype and of all that this Prototype implies and determines in
relation to man. Not to acknowledge what surpasses us and not to wish to surpass
ourselves: this in fact is the whole program of psychologism, and it is the very definition
of Lucifer. The opposite, or rather the primordial and normative, attitude is this: to think
only in reference to what surpasses us and to live for the sake of surpassing ourselves; to
seek greatness where this is to be found and not on the plane of the individual and his
rebellious pettiness. In order to return to true greatness, man must first of all agree to pay
the debt of his pettiness and to remain small on the plane where he cannot help being
small; the sense of what is objective on the one hand and of the absolute on the other does
not go without a certain abnegation, and it is this abnegation precisely that allows us to be
completely faithful to our human vocation.

Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 7, No. 2. (Spring, 1973) © World Wisdom, Inc.
www.studiesincomparativereligion.com

Truth & Intelligence

There are two classes of species when it comes to intelligence:

The first class are the extremists who are of two types: There are those who never question the world, and there are those who never question their intelligence. Religious fanatics are of the first type. Ideological fanatics such as Richard Dawkins and the atheists, and the rest of the animal kingdom are of the second type; they suffer the worst kind of ignorance according to Socrates because they are hopelessly blind to the possibility that they do not know. These evolve only in the physical plane but remain stoned in the department of intelligence.

Evolution proper applies to the second of species, the superior ones, which are again of two types: Those who question both the world and their intelligence without constantly ejaculating judgments all over the rest, and those who trust both the world and their intelligence, hence leaving it to Him to lift them up; and they shall be lifted up. These two types are destined for evolution in the true sense of the world, that is the vertical evolution which takes them from earth to heaven rather than merely from birth to death.

The difference between the two classes lies not in the object of their belief; the religious seeker who has beliefs and the honest agnostic who avoids all beliefs are equally close to The Center though one calls that center God and the other has no name for it.

What distinguishes between the two classes of species is their inclination toward judgment. The inferior type, being essentially insecure because they believe in nothing greater than themselves, are those inclined towards judgment; they are egocentric and inferior precisely because they assume the position of God, the Ground of Being, The Abyss, The Nameless, you name it.

The second class knows it is not for him to judge, that reality is determined from above and not by him or her. The second class is always a truth-seeker while the first is only a self-seeker, the judge; the former can transcend itself while the latter cannot even pass a kidney stone. The superior kind knows that “to know is to be able to learn” while the inferior kind thinks he knows because he is done learning. The higher species is humble, loving, and intelligent; the lower one is rude, arrogant, and stupid.

And when it comes to destiny of our higher and lower classes, the truth-centered species merges and converges to The Center while the self-centered diverges and submerges in oblivion.

Intelligence is not the capacity to pile up information and carry around a bagful of opinions. To be intelligent is to be able to be and remain open to fact and experience as they present themselves, that is to say to be objective pure and simple. The simple peasant of yesterday was much more intelligent and objective than the complicated scholar of today, though the scholar has managed to change the meaning of intelligence and objectivity to suit his egocentric ends without being noticed by the consciousness of the mass.

The common misunderstanding is that religion is only a matter of faith and opinion and unquestioned devotion. Religion is first and foremost a matter of intelligence; it is founded upon Pure Intellect and demands the same thing from the serious seeker. Faith and devotion are only the protective layers of truth, the sources of divine perfume, the means to an intuitive end. But the string that is holding man during his fall is after all the intellect, the Axis Mundi.

Intelligence is the divine spark in man, whether we understand by divinity a personal God or the impersonal principle underlying the universal manifestation. To see Satchidananda, the divine hand, in all beings is only a seeing of and by the intelligence. It is the intellect that sees and directs the operations of reason which belongs to the lower sphere. The faith of the true devotee arises from his/her intelligence; it is a faith rooted in trust and intuition, unlike the whorified idolaters of scientism and atheism who are in blind faith, or bad faith as Sartre puts it, and whose objects of worship are nothing but the non-intuitive abstractions of the true scientist who stays out of publicity and is himself only after truth, however misguided.

Thus, the salvation of mankind is a function of his objectivity which is the essence of intelligence. The more objective we are, the closer we become to The Center. Objectivity is the sole virtue that guides all other virtues, and especially those stated or implied in the scriptures:

What is humility but objectivity toward oneself, seeing oneself like we see everyone else.

What is charity but objectivity toward the other, seeing him/her as oneself.

What is love of the neighbor but objectivity toward manifestation as such, understanding that the neighbor is a concept encompassing all beings, including ourselves as God’s neighbors. Without this objectivity one cannot love without destroying, for love without objectivity will make either a master or a slave.

Aphorisms On The Knowledge of Truth

Much of the seeking after truth fails because we seek it as a human beings seeking to find something. Truth is not something to be found or known in any human sense of the word. A man who seeks to find the truth is like a man who is searching his dream trying to find the room in which he is asleep having the dream.

No amount of self reflection can help us find the “I” in us; it is never there. The “I” is never found by seeking because it is the very thing doing the seeking. When we cannot find something we are looking for it doesn’t necessary mean that it is not there; it could also be that what we are looking for is either ourselves or something already in our possession. But if it were never there to begin with, neither with us nor elsewhere, then how on earth did we come to think or talk about it, let alone seeking it?!

If the consciousness of the atheist cannot find God anywhere it could be because God is the one providing the light of his consciousness!

Knowledge of truth is not a human possibility; our humanity is itself the very thing that keeps us from knowing the truth.

One may even say that to know the truth is to know that there is nothing to know, hence nothing to seek, and hence nothing to lose.

Metaphysics: The Supreme Science

Supreme science is the science of the first and the highest principles. It is known as metaphysics in the strictest sense of the word and not metaphysics as wrongly associated with the supernatural. The principal subject of metaphysics, according to Aristotle, is Being qua Being, Being as such. Thus, metaphysics is an a priori science, its form and content being independent of the empirical facts of the world. Logic and pure mathematics are examples of a priori sciences; the truth or falsity of mathematical propositions is determined with reference to the logical structure of the proposition and not with reference to the facts of the empirical world. Metaphysical truths, too, enjoy the same status, hence the title supreme science: Metaphysical truths, if found, are eternal and unshakable. Therefore, metaphysics is concerned not with actuality but with possibility, with what is logically possible and what is logically impossible. If natural sciences are concerned with contingent facts of the empirical world, metaphysics is concerned with the necessary truths of the world as such. In other words, metaphysics seeks to expose that which cannot not be.

Natural sciences cannot in any shape or form answer or eliminate metaphysical questions. This lack of access to metaphysics from the plane of the empirical world is neither due to the inadequacy of natural science nor due to the impossibility of metaphysics. Physics can neither answer nor discredit metaphysical concerns no more than it can answer or discredit pure mathematical puzzles: The two sciences, physics and metaphysics, operate in utterly distinct spheres of knowledge. Consider the example of human organs of perception: Each organ has access to a particular class of phenomena that is special only to that organ; the hand touches what is touchable; the ear hears what is audible, etc. A hand cannot touch a sound no more than the eye can see a sound or touch a wall; but this lack of access for an organ to the phenomena of another organ is not a defect of any organ; it is only a case of harmonious specialization.

Learning from the beauty both in form and function of the human body we must refrain from giving superiority and exclusive rights to only one species of knowledge and its respective agencies, that is, to empirical facts and natural sciences. Humans have physical as well as metaphysical needs. It is not up to a special class of disciplines, namely physical sciences, to claim superiority over others and pronounce their own truths to be superior to other truths such as religious truth, spiritual truth, and metaphysical truth. This bullying behavior which is rooted in the western idea of “divide and conquer,” and which is also the quintessence of all modern sciences and their overemphasis on quantity rather than quality, is ironically the guiding model of the west in its world politics, the curious division of the world into the first, second, and third world countries, the first always being the criterion for the common good of all. But let us stop our digression here since the point has been made with regard to the roots of the unquestionable reign of modern science and its fascist and totalitarian role as the sole determinant of the human place in cosmos.

Physical aspect is only one dimension of human constitution; natural sciences which are specialized in modelling nature based on a merely quantitative grasp of phenomena have a practical utility meant to address the needs of the physical dimension. The spiritual dimension of man which concerns not just comfort but also happiness and peace of mind and heart cannot be fulfilled by ignoring the spiritual and spoiling the physical needs, and hence overworking the physical dimension. It is for this reason that the modern man is the flattest of all; he is utterly one dimensional.

It is precisely the spiritual dimension as the creative aspect of life that attracts art, religion, and philosophy. If physics is the science that formulates in precise details the physical dimension of man and existence, metaphysics is the science that formulates in precise details the spiritual dimension of man and world. The contingent physical facts of physics can only be complements to necessary metaphysical truths and not their replacements. Physics and other natural sciences can never resolve the human existential questions, for these questions are in principle metaphysical questions in need of metaphysical answers. The following analogy should clarify how the two sciences, physics and metaphysics, and their respective fields of inquiry are incompatible, though they may complement one another within the framework of an all-encompassing science yet to come:

Consider a computer game that is created to simulate human life. In the game there are people, cities, countries, science, religion, etc. If you choose your avatar to be a physicist you can cooperate with other physicists and try to discover the laws of nature as it is given in the game; and the game is programmed so that it is possible to explore the discover exact laws of physics that govern the motions of objects in the game, not necessarily the same as the laws of physics in reality.

Now, see that there are two distinct classes of laws, or facts or truths, that exist with regard to this game: On the one hand, there are the laws the govern the events that happen inside the game, the laws that can be discovered by the player who explores and studies these events using his/her avatar; on the other hand, there are laws that govern the game itself, namely the programming code that makes the game possible in the first place. I want you to think about these two classes of laws from the point of view of an avatar in the game, remembering that this is an analogy with rough edges: The avatar sees only the world inside the game; it experiences events inside that world governed by the laws of nature inside the game. Naturally the avatar has no consciousness of the game-nature of his/her world (remember the limits of analogy.) It can only know about the first class of laws if he/she decides the explore and find them. But the physical laws governing the world inside the game are themselves made possible by a program code; they are governed by another class of laws that are of an entirely different nature: They are programming codes; they do not refer to things such as mass or energy or motion but concern only logic and syntax. Although the existence of the natural laws inside the game depends on the game code, it is impossible to infer or deduce the game code by studying or analyzing the laws that exist only inside the game. The physical laws apply only to what happens inside the game while the game code applies to the game itself. The game code exists in a higher and more abstract level than the laws inside the game.

If it happens that the avatar in the game somehow suspects that he might be inside a game and decides that he wants to know the codes that are behind the game (assuming this possibility exists within the code), he must choose a method totally different from the methods used inside the game for discovering the natural laws of the game world. He/she will no more have to experiment on objects as regards their motion because unlike the local laws of nature the code game is global and has a logical rather than empirical origin. The avatar should no more be concerned with what happens inside the game, with what is actual; instead he/she should be concerned with the most general structures governing his/her experience of the game, for his/her own very existence in a way suggests the whole code; the avatar is subject to the game code before he/she is subject to the physical laws of the world inside the game. In other words, the physical laws concern the actualities inside the game while the programming code concerns the possibility of the game itself.

From the standpoint of the player who moves the avatar the world inside the game though it appears to the avatar to be endless and infinitely exploitable, it is in fact a small screen with nothing beyond it; the game is precisely made such that the avatar appears to be moving in a vast world of endless possibilities.

Similar to the way that laws inside the game are related to the game code, laws of natural sciences are related to metaphysical truths. I am not at all implying that our reality is a game running on some computer code and advice against all such Matrixy conjectures. The point is to see how physics and metaphysics are, or are not, related to one another, and that how it is impossible to construct the metaphysical, if any, from the physical; the two classes of laws, physical and metaphysical, operate in different planes of existence. As it was the physical laws that were consequences of the game code, it is also the laws of nature that must follow from metaphysical truths and not the other way around.

Even assuming the extremely successful, yet improbable, scenario in which physics has solved all the problems of cosmos and its origin and teleology, it is always possible and even mandatory to pose the question “But what was before that and how did this come about?” If the naive physicist claims that the cosmos, which is by the way only a theoretical construct, can spring into existence without a cause and then proves that his claim is a logical consequence of the verified laws of physics, then he has resolved the problem of the origin of cosmos by creating another problem concerning the origin of the laws of physics: If according to the laws of physics the universe can jump into existence without a cause, then these laws must preexist the universe in order to make this immaculate conception possible; if the laws preexist the inception of universe, then how did the laws themselves come to exist? If the laws do not preexist the universe, then they cannot be applied to the moment of inception, hence refuting the physicist’s proof that the laws remove the need for a cause in the beginning! To avoid more headache I stop here and suggest you use your imagination to see that no matter how successful physics may be it can never address certain kinds of questions and it can never access certain kinds of truths.

It is here that metaphysics must be revived and utilized with unprecedented seriousness, for man is now more than ever in need of a qualitative grasp of his essence and existence in the face of the Absolute and the Infinite. The revival of metaphysics must be done in such as grand and glorious scale that it can first eliminate the adverse effects of the quantitative reign of modern science, and then silence the epidemic irrationalism and intellectual perversion of our age whose ugly symptoms are existentialism, atheism, and the consequent irresponsible spirituality with its fake gurus and shallow disciples.

Much like the case of the game, the metaphysician need not concern him/herself with petty details of cosmic phenomena and its differential equations; instead he must have mastery over logic and equipped with a penetrating intellectual intuition that can grasp the perennial truths accessible through gnosis: Metaphysical truths dwell in the heart and are accessed by means of pure intellect which is the divine spark in man. It is in and through metaphysics that we can realize the unity of macrocosm and microcosm and see that one is the image of the other.

The ultimate goal of metaphysics is to establish in a systematic way what is known as The Supreme Identity which states that man is essentially divine:

Ultimate Reality is non-dual, indivisible, and invisible. It is one without a second. It is the Absolute and the Infinite. It is beyond being and non-being. The true Self of man which is the Self of all beings is of the nature of Ultimate Reality and one with it. This Supreme Reality which is directly perceived and known in transcendental experience is of the nature of existence, consciousness, and bliss. In Hinduism Supreme Reality is known as Brahman and is characterized by the Sanskrit compound Satchidananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss). The true Self of man which is essentially the same as Brahman is called Atman. It is important to note that Satchidananda or existence, consciousness, and bliss are not attributes of the supreme reality: Supreme Reality is existence itself; it is consciousness itself; it is bliss itself.

The metaphysical doctrine behind all religions and accepted by their esoteric exponents in Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Platonism, etc. is best formulated in Advaita Vedanta which is a nondual system of metaphysics. It is as follows:

Brahman is Real

World is illusory

Atman is Brahman 

Addiction to the World

Man is addicted to the world. Modernism was the last enabler. Postmodernism is the leading cause of man’s overdose on world.

Postmodernism is man’s rock bottom; it is the lowest we could ever go; it is the ultimate demise of the intellect whose worst symptom is the now fashionable atheism. Postmodernism is where man would do whatever it takes to get a fix; values are so low that Justin Bieber has more followers than you do and I have more followers than god does.

It is only in such a rotted state of affairs that an idiot like Richard Dawkins has as many fans as Kardashians. Let this tell you something about these hypocrite fans of science who have found the elixir to transform their insecurity into pride, inward ignorance into outward arrogance, misunderstanding into understanding, atheism into fact.

Soon man is going to overdose on world, thus opening the way for the coming of the overman, one who neither affirms nor denies but asserts and makes it so, for he is none other than truth itself.