The Unbearable Rightness of Being

Even two years after leaving office, President Clinton is the target of the intellectually castrated. It is still common to hear Anne Coulter and her ilk reduce the former president’s erudite remarks to absurd aphorisms.

Such is case when the rancorous right attempts to equate a challenging philosophical interrogative such as, “It all depends on what is, is,” to an unadulterated falsehood like, “I am not a crook.”

While this sophomoric logic is absurd to anyone with an IQ greater than his waist size, these caricatural verisimilitudes are devoured by Limbaugh disciples like so many pork rinds. However, to those of us who shudder every time the current President fails to properly conjugate yet another verb, it is obvious that President Clinton was restating the existentialist model articulated by Aldous Huxley.

In “The Doors of Perception,” Mr. Huxley explained— “What is important is less the reason for the experience than the experience itself.” Here, Huxley was speaking of what Meister Eckhart called “Istigkeit.” Extrapolating on the concept of “Being,” asserted in Platonic philosophy, Eckhart spoke of the divine “Allness” and the infinity of the “Not-self,” which Huxley called, “IS-NESS.”

Of course, expecting Republicans to grasp the holistic sublimity of IS-NESS, is as useless as explaining quantum mechanics to genital fungi. Unable to conceptualize the higher metaphysical state toward which the human spirit is inexorably propelled, they are doomed to languish in a “universe of reduced awareness,” prisoners of the petrified vernacular of conservatism.

William Blake expressed his understanding of IS-NESS when he said, “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite,” which is to say, it all depends on what is, is, stupid.

Sean Winthrop

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