Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The reason that people don’t take the red pill is not necessarily because they are afraid to face reality, but rather because, if you do, it becomes really annoying to hang around blue pill people. ~ moi

To begin with unlimited liberty is to end with unlimited despotism. ~  Fyodor Dostoevsky

The wise person seeks what he lacks, and he considers not how much he knows, but of how much he is ignorant. ~ Hugh of St. Victor

There have been several versions of the film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, most recently starring Nicole Kidman, not to mention similar knock-offs. The general idea is that aliens have infected the minds of human beings. They then become robotic, thinking and acting alike. A few who manage to avoid infection find themselves bewildered and confused. They are considered to be enemies of the state by those how are infected. They are pressured to conform to the others, or they at least have to pretend to conform.

If you accept the idea of the Revelation of the Method, then the film is not depicting some possible future, but is actually describing the present state of affairs. Some unknown “they”, in reality guided by demons, are able to alter attitudes and values of millions of people. Those unable or unwilling to conform then face intense pressure to do so. Of course, “they” reveal to us what they are doing by means of the mass media. Not that it makes any difference, since few people have a Real I, and must necessarily follow the latest fads.

The Idea of the Good

Plato noted that we are guided by two principles: our inborn desire for pleasure and the desire for what is objectively best. The first desire is based on serotonin: if it feels good, it must be good. Of course, following the crowd, i.e., being on the “right side of history” might also feel good. The “pleasure principle” is the state of fallen man at birth, so it does not need to be learned. This is the unregenerate level of fallen human beings. As such, it is contrary to nature, although most consider it to be natural.

That is not the case for the preference of the good over the pleasurable. That must be learned and requires the rational intellect to determine and to will the good. David Hume, in the Treatise of Human Nature totally distorts this distinction when he asserts:

Reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions.

That is the complete opposite of Tradition which claims that the rational faculty ought to rule over the passions. Only then can a human being exist at a higher level, which is his true natural state. Such a person has a Real I.

The Classes of Men

There are three karmic classes of men:

  • Third class. These are the unregenerate people. They are blindly seeking the meaning of life, without a real inner direction. They think they have an I who speaks and acts, but that I is not permanent; it changes from day to day, or even from minute to minute. They are “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and their cunning and craftiness.”
    They falsely believe they have a real I because all their subpersonalities respond to the same name and occupy the same body. Unfortunately, since their ideas do not come from their rational soul, they fall prey to the body snatchers. In extreme cases, as in multiple personality disorders, the subpersonalities have different names and often do not even know of the others. Those of the third class are not really different, although they may function better in the world.
  • Second class. People in this class have become dissatisfied with the world of those of the third class. They then seek the meaning of life in science, philosophy, religion, etc., in short, in systems outside themselves. They may be quite intelligent and erudite, having accumulated a large amount of book knowledge. They may even know a lot of what is written on esoteric and Hermetic topics. However, they don’t bother with the exercises so they never advance.
    They console themselves with the claim that the teachings are for a “future generation”. Hence, their lives, in practice, are not much different from those of the third class.
  • First class. This class is composed of the few who have developed a sense of the real I. They understand that spiritual growth requires self-discipline and intentional suffering. It is essential to oppose one’s faults, negative emotions, idle fantasies, etc., as we have often noted. Just reading about such practices is not at all effective. Such men will try to help others on the path, even if few respond.

The Three Forces or Gunas

The traditional teaching is that there are three forces behind events in the world. In Hindu metaphysics, these are the three gunas:

  • Rajas. The force to change, i.e., the positive force.
  • Tamas. The negative force that retards.
  • Sattva. Harmonises the positive and negative forces.

Empedocles came close to this understanding with his notions of Love and Strife, with Love as the attractive, or positive, force and Strife as the repulsive, or negative, force. Unfortunately, it seems that he was unable to discern the neutralizing or equilibrating force. It is always difficult to see the neutralizing force in the world. That is because the lower intellect is bipolar or dual, so conventional thinking finds it difficult to reconcile those opposites.

Boris Mouravieff called these forces the static, dynamic, and neutralizing principles. He describes them this way:

Where the third or neutralizing force is concerned, it often escapes our observation—either due to the bipolar character of our minds, or because of its own nature—which can in many cases leave it unobserved. It also sometimes plays the role of catalyst —far less conspicuous than the binding tie which is the most fundamental role of the neutralizing force.

The passive force contains all the possibilities for creating the phenomenon, while the active force intervenes as the realizer, and the neutralizing force as the regulator, of the relations between the two other forces, determining the dosage for both in an optimal way.

Mouravieff gives several examples of how these forces operate in different circumstances. The ultimate example concerns the relationship of God with the World. God is the universal I and the world is the universal Thou. Love, then, is the neutralizing force between them, as described in John’s Gospel. That is the solution to the problem of the One and the Many.

The Lotus Flowers

Valentin Tomberg takes a different approach in his discussion of the chakras or lotus flowers. The Heart chakra, which is the midpoint, is that of Love. The three chakras above the Heart relate to the Spirit and the three lower chakras to the body, or world. The Heart chakra, as Love, then balances the two forces. The Heart chakra lives according to solar law; it then harmonizes the unruly lower chakras to also follow the solar law. It will also bring warmth to the abstract intellectuality of the higher chakras.

Love, Fear, and Hubris

In the 1980s, three interesting texts appeared: Gnosis by Mouravieff, Meditations on the Tarot by Tomberg, and the allegedly channelled text, A Course in Miracles [ACIM]. I immersed myself in all three. The text of ACIM was accompanied by 365 daily exercises. I followed them for one year; I had a box of 365 cards and carried the appropriate one in order to remember to do the exercise. Obviously, doing such exercises has had a lasting effect on me. Primarily, the idea of doing a task at specified times during the day has stuck with me. It forces one to pause and question his habitual way of understanding the world. The text did not interest me as much, as it has some problematic elements; hence, I no longer have any interest in it. At the time, I knew several people involved with the course. I suspect, however, that few of them actually did the exercises.

The point I’m getting to is that I have some credentials to comment on Marianne Williamson, who, as a presidential candidate, has intrigued and confounded many. It seems to me to be difficult to reconcile ACIM with partisan politics. Specifically, the Course teaches Love which should obliterate dualistic thinking. Yet, like Empedocles, she divides the world into Fear and Love. Obviously, she claims to be motivated by Love, while Trump feeds on fomenting Fear. This is what the Course says:

Only love is strong because it is undivided. The strong do not attack because they see no need to do so. Before the idea of attack can enter your mind, you must have perceived yourself as weak. … The opposite of seeing through the body’s eyes is the vision of Christ, which reflects strength rather than weakness, unity rather than separation, and love rather than fear.

Gnosis is based on spiritual vision, not on our sensory perception of the World:

Misperceptions produce fear and true perceptions foster love, but neither brings certainty because all perception varies. That is why it is not knowledge. True perception is the basis for knowledge, but knowing is the affirmation of truth and beyond all perceptions.

Gnosis begins with self-observation and self-knowledge. Such knowledge is always certain and beyond doubt:

The Bible tells you to know yourself, or to be certain. Certainty is always of God. When you love someone, you have perceived him as he is, and this makes it possible for you to know him.

This applies, a fortiori, to our love for God. We only love what we know. When we love God, we love his commandments, which are simply descriptions of the Solar Law. To follow the Solar Law, then, is to serve God.

Ultimately, Miss Williamson’s has made the Course irrelevant. On the stage, she supported the exact same policies as all the others. This worldview is independent of any personal beliefs. We saw that Jews, atheists, liberal Christians, secularists, and so on, all came to the same conclusion. The impulse for this must be arising from a much different, and unnoticed, force. It’s as though an alien force has snatched their bodies;

Since they have no explanation for their political viewpoint, they resort to confabulations, after the fact, to explain it. These confabulations lead to hubris, since they see themselves as spiritually enlightened, saviours of humanity, superior to their opponents, etc.

Unconditional Love

Many women have told me that their dogs have taught them unconditional love. That is because dogs are poor judges of character: Hitler’s dog loved Hitler, Stalin’ dog love Stalin, and Pol Pot’s dog loved Pol Pot. A dog will love whoever feeds it and gives it attention. The dog’s attitude is quite natural.

As an experiment in unconditional love, go to your neighbour’s house and demand a free meal. Before you leave, drop a deuce on her carpet. If she is still showing you unconditional love, ask her to rub your belly before you go.

The Christian teaching is that we are commanded to love, so a dog is incapable of love. On the face of it, that sounds quite odd, since we consider love to be passive not active; e.g., one “falls in love”. Everyone assumes he knows what love is, but it is actually not so easy to understand. Even when understood, it is difficult to love, and the spiritual authorities have not been all that helpful.

God’s Kingdom

Although it is true that God is Love, there are many misunderstandings about what that means in practice. But before there can be Love, there must be fear; fear of the Lord is the beginning Wisdom.

God rules, not just by love, but by these three factors.

  • Fear of Hell
  • Promise of Heaven
  • God rules by love: persuasion and creativity

For most people, at least most religious people, the fear of Hell and the promise of Heaven are the prime motivating factors. To love God is to follow the commandments for their own sake, and not because of Hell or Heaven.

That is the path to self-mastery, which expels the body snatchers.

13 thoughts on “Invasion of the Body Snatchers

  1. Marianne Williamson is the embodiement of the “false light”

  2. Like a dog that returns to its vomit. Is a fool who repeats his folly. ~ Proverbs 26:11

    Sebastian, it’s time for you to disappear, as a fool who repeats his folly. You add nothing to the discussion; mere repetition is pointless. First of all, the post was not anti-dog, as you seem to assume, but rather it questioned the dog owner’s understanding of love. Have you tried the experiment I suggested?

    The Lazarus story was not about the compassion of dogs, who just act from instinct, not from love. The point is that the rich man was even lower than dogs. To be lower than a dog was considered quite an insult.

    Do I have to list all the quotes about dogs from the Bible and the Philokalia? E.g. Philippians 3:2 or Revelation 22:15. But that would lead the discussion back to dogs, not to the meaning of love.

  3. Alex, you made an excellent post. Without a doubt Saint Francis best exemplifies your standpoint within the Western Tradition.

    It’s ironic how only a few post ago Cologero pointed out how scripture has multiple layers of meaning, yet when it comes to the dogs who tended to Lazarus’s wounds—which mystics have taken to demonstrate a dog’s compassion compared to human callousness—all of the sudden it’s meant to be taken at face value as some sort of biological imperative.

    How do these two viewpoints stack up to Tradition? Once when a wolf was terrorizing St. Francis’s village, instead of hunting the wolf down St. Francis compelled the canine to repent. When St. Francis confronted the wolf, the wolf felt remorse and vowed never again to harm the humans of the village. In my mind this story makes it so obvious that canines are driven by more than a reductionist biology.

    I accept that dogs aren’t really capable of agape love in the same way humans are. In my opinion they don’t really need to be. being animals, their mere existence itself sings praise to God. Beyond agape love, dogs are clearly full of Phileo and Storge love. This itself denotes an honorable spiritual quality to be found within them.

  4. I am confident that if a higher-standing being like a father treats me badly, there is at least some chance that it really does reflect my moral standing, and I would thus be able to learn from it.

    Leaving various animals and snatchers behind for a brief moment, this post happened to coincide with putting down a few notes on love and repulsion just in the preceding days, following recent reflections, and the reading of “The Individual and the Becoming of the World” included in Cologero’s book.

    “Those doctrines are in truth of a fundamental value, currently almost forgotten, that placed evil in matter, meaning by this that residue of necessity that resists the idea – that is, freedom – and limits it. Matter – the Platonic ‘other’ – is effectively the sign of imperfection of the act and, in as much existing, is connected to that fundamental ‘injustice’ about which Anaximander, Parmenides, and Empedocles speak – and it is, essentially, evil.” -Evola

    There are many notions that people opposes for various reasons, although in the process they make them “other”. However, the other can never be truly known other than as other, so in effect it amounts to banishing entire chunks of reality to perpetual obscurity. Fighting against things in strife, their inexplicable otherness resists us, but as the unintended consequence of the same act, we risk making ourselves into “another” and a stranger. Our age certainly idealizes “the other” as the epitome of moral standing, now even to the point that other species are supposedly superior to us. This type of “becoming” is based on a metaphysics of repulsion rather than love. The morality of the present age tends to a maximum degree of repulsion, reveling in becoming other to one another forever. The entropic activity dies down as the particles run out of energy and freezes over, now insurmountably separated, and not even capable of accidentally bumping into one another any longer. A dead “matter” that can at most be acted on from the outside. It is sufficient to look around us to see that “they” have managed convince many that such a repulsiveness should be pursued.

    Nicolaus Cusanus’ approach seems fruitful, when in words reminiscent of Evola’s, he writes a dialogue on God as “not-other” (De Li Non Aliud). Here is a sample:

    “[Aristotle] saw that the substance of things is not anything other; and so, with regard to being and one and friendship and air and water and all things, he was uncertain whether any of these is the substance of things, since he recognized that all of them are something other. Therefore, he presupposed that the substance of things exists and that there is not more than one substance. However, like all the others, he was uncertain what this substance is. As he inquired, he encountered all those who gave substance various names; and he asked whether it had been rightly named by anyone. And, at last, it seemed to him that no one had named it correctly. For whoever named it, named something other (aliquid aliud sive quid aliud) and not that most simple quiddity-of-things, which Aristotle saw not to be able to be anything other. And he did not stray in this matter; but he stopped there, as had other men. For he saw that no rational mode of pursuit sufficed at all for acquiring that savory and so greatly desired knowledge.” -Nicolaus Cusanus

    Cusanus also presents an elegant proof of triunity or the Trinity: “Not-other is not other than Not-other.” Since not-other is repeated three times in course of the “unfolded definition”, it means that not-other has three primary modes of being, through which its activity proceeds in becoming known to us. The three respective modes are then likened to “Oneness, Equality, and Unity”, which definitely approximates their mode in the unfoldment above. Cusanus, not unlike Evola, states that reason, wisdom, and order is not-other than that which is willed perfectly. The Will of God is rational because it is willed perfectly. The will of man is irrational because it is willed imperfectly. To believe that God is irrational, is to be irrational oneself, because one looks at reason as if from a distance, as if reason were an “other” when it is not-other. To this effect, Cusanus quotes Dionysius Areopagita: “The divine things are known only by participation.”

  5. “When Rene Guenon died his cat did not eat his face, it died the same day to apparently to follow him in his after life. The capacity of sages and kings to control animals is well known, a lion would never attack a true king. So, if a cat or dog or amoeba treats you badly you should take it as a moral failing within yourself if anything.”

    I’ll keep this in mind the next time a young child is killed by an alligator, or some other wild animal.

    “I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, but little Billy just wasn’t a true sage or king. If he was, this wouldn’t have happened.”

    After the father slugs me in the face, I’m sure he and his wife will come around to my statement.

  6. Actually humans are normally far beneath the level of animals. Animals may not understand why Stalin was bad, but neither do most humans who just pretend to understand and we all know false knowledge is worse than no knowledge. Perhaps this is why some commentators here place higher moral standards on animals than humans, nobody questions why a man would resort to cannibalism if the alternative is starvation or why humans eat flesh for sustenance or kill to protect their property but the moment an animal does it, it is taken as a moral failure of the whole species.

    Humanity suffers from extreme narcissism they should realize that humans are “just” a vessel and a form which can be controlled by a variety of influences and are only as good or bad as these influences, most today are controlled by influences vastly more evil than in any animal which we can see by modern humanity’s fruits.

    In the vast majority of cases the much celebrated human capacity for rationality amounts to nothing but an extension for evil influences, no rationality (animals) is better than perverted rationality used for evil (most humans)

    When Rene Guenon died his cat did not eat his face, it died the same day to apparently to follow him in his after life. The capacity of sages and kings to control animals is well known, a lion would never attack a true king. So, if a cat or dog or amoeba treats you badly you should take it as a moral failing within yourself if anything.

  7. Max,

    It’s certainly a favorite topic for at least some that come across the blog.

    I’m aware that cats usually eat the faces of their dead owners (slave masters?) if they have not been fed before their owners bite the dust. I’m sure it’s just a loving gesture towards the deceased’s family members so they won’t have to live with the thought that the face will eventually rot away.

    Maybe cats are morally superior to both dogs AND amoeba.

  8. Posts about dogs never fails to fire us up. It is a favorite subject on the blog.

    With the reasoning displayed in the comments, perhaps dogs are morally superior, since they have no idea of “what’s so bad about Hitler and Stalin”. Amoeba’s are also ignorant of what is bad about Hitler and Stalin, and should therefore be considered morally superior to us humans as well.

    When we thus observe the same attitude of both dogs and amoebas in respect of Hitler and Stalin, does that tell us that amoebas are just like dogs, or does it tell us that dogs are just like ameobas? Perhaps amoebas are even more loving than dogs? Perhaps amoebas are even better at cleaning wounds than dogs? These are mysteries difficult to answer conclusively, but it would clearly be a grave injustice to condemn a whole species without taking into consideration what individual amoebas could achieve if only given the opportunity.

    I just got this crazy idea. What if the “body snatchers” are some kind of dog-spirit? That could explain a few things. Anubis, the Egyptian God of the underworld and death, was after all a dog. Those whose souls did not make it to the after-life were eaten by demon-devourers, just like corpses were dug up and eaten by feral dogs at the cemetaries. The difference between licking a wound and taking a bite is one of degree, not kind – just a little foretaste.

    Even in our day, many who die in their homes end up eaten by their beloved pet. It must be an expression of love, since it would quickly get unsanitory otherwise. In the past, it was well known that dogs and wolfs thrived after battles, which they would clean up. Returning to the present, the dogs of Syria have had a great time for a while. The local population generally refuses to touch dead daesh, since they believe that being eaten by dogs is a fitting fate, going particularly well with having the soul swallowed by demons.

  9. You can have the capacity/power for normative reasoning and still not consistently exercise that capacity/power.

    As for Descartes, he didn’t just deny that animals have no rational interior life: he denied that they had any kind of interior life at all. You won’t find that perspective espoused here, but you may notice that the average human lives a life that is close to that of a dog – an insight which is in fact espoused here.

  10. Cologero, I can’t say that it does. Humans kill other humans all the time too yet are assumed to have some kinds of rationality. The article claims that whether or not the dogs are exclusively to blame on the man’s death is inconclusive, but even if they were entirely to blame that does not condemn the whole species.

  11. Sebastian, perhaps this will change your perspective: Florida man found dead with 100 dog bites after he took a shortcut home

    Dogs lick wounds out of instinct, not compassion: Can Dogs Help Humans Heal?

  12. I recall Lazarus having his wounds cleaned by dogs, despite not by any accounts feeding them or giving them attention. Indicating a morality beyond human sinfulness. Such a cartesian perspective on canines espoused here.

  13. What’s so bad about Hitler and Stalin? On one hand you imply love is a commandment, yet on the other hand you imply that these despots should be excluded.

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