Friday, May 22, 2015

Putting the ME into Memorial Day

I have a gnote to myself in the margin that proclaims "philosophy is autobiography." This conclusion follows from what we have been saying about knowledge and being, but it is something I realized back in graduate school while studying various psychological theorists and their theories. Which are theirs.

No, that's not redundant -- "theorists and their theories" -- because any psychological theory is going to be limited by the character its particular theorist. By way of analogy, imagine a theory of color by a colorblind theorist. Well, we're all colorblind in one way or another.

Recall Schuon's helpful schematization of our four unavoidable cosmic infirmities, ranging from the universal to the particular, found somewhere among these old posts.

The first is the Biggest, which is why it is enshrined in the First Commandment: sorry, but you are not God. You are "creature, not Creator, manifestation and not Principle or Being."

In fact, only the godless can be unaware of the fact that they are not God, which is probably the greatest source of their political mischief. As Obama might say, "there is no God, and I am he."

Two, we are not angels. We are not celestial beings but mid-vertical ones. We are not at the top of the hierarchy, nor are we at the bottom (unless we choose to fall even further than where we begin our begaialment).

Rather, we are somewhere in the middle -- which, of course, goes to the issue of free will, as we are suspended halfway between our better and worse selves. A saint is a man who has more or less succeeded in elevating himself (in accordance with grace, of course) to the border between middle and top, or time and eternity. Thus, he is like an angel on earth.

Third, I am me and you are you. We are different. Thank God! And I mean this literally, for our individual differences -- at least for the Christian -- are not accidental or purely contingent.

Rather, our differences are essential; paradoxically, our contingency -- which is to say our uniqueness and individuality -- is a kind of absolute in miniature. For those of you with more than one child, this is obvious. The differences are a blessing, not a curse. Or at least we can roll our eyes and concede that It Takes All Kinds. Every face is sui generis, and yet, an exemplar of the human family. We are all different to God, and yet, mankind is one.

Fourth are the differences that are not essential but contingent. These include relatively benign or silly cultural practices but also mind parasites, which mostly result from the scars of misbegotten relationships and assimilations along the way. They are "accidental infirmities" that cause a man to either sink beneath himself or become someone else entirely. The problem with a mind parasite is that it is not really you, but only pretending to be, thus a kind of primordial identity theft. It is a difference that is peripheral (i.e., from the earth plane or lower), not from celestial central, i.e., from the principial realm.

Hmm. There is some more fine insultainment in that post. Might as well toss it in for those who missed it the first time (albeit with some light editing):

Now, anyone can see the mischief and mayhem that result if we don't keep these categories straight. The leftist -- because he turns the cosmos upside down and inside out -- begins with infirmity #4, the wholly relative, accidental, and contingent, and then elevates it to his First Principle.

Again, this is why the Democratic party is the party of economic cranks, metaphysical weirdos, tenured mutants, celestial perverts, heterosex deniers, victim-powered losers, compulsive reactionaries, radical conformists, passive-aggressive control freaks, and MSNBC viewers. (It also attracts -- let's be fair -- a great many basically decent but just LoFo and easily manipulated folks.)

If you've followed me this far, then you will understand what Schuon means when he says that "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 at some worldly abuse; on the contrary it is a chronic malady directed toward Heaven and against everything that represents Heaven or is a reminder of it."

No kidding. The leftist is either in rebellion against God, and therefore human nature, or against human nature, and therefore God. Either way, he always confuses a prison break with solitary confinement. For eternity. Which is why he wants to force the rest of us to join him.

Once I start dipping into the arkive, I get all gnostalgic or something. It always brings back pleasant vertical memories -- speaking of Memorial Day.

This was a little fun at sometroll's expense:

"[W]hat is a bad man but a good man's teacher?" In our post about the cause of stupidity -- which is obviously intelligence, since the converse could never be true -- our stupid troll naturally takes exception to my certainty of this. Of note, he voices no objection to the actual content, only to my bobnoxious certitude.

This is odd for a couple of reasons. First, isn't it self-evident that whatever I say, I believe to be true? After all, I'm not a Clinton. But this is precisely the absurdity of the relativist: there is no truth, and that's the truth!

You know the old dada-actic gag, "this is not writing."

Second, no relativist actually believes his own BS, otherwise why get angry about someone else's BS? If relativism is true, then everything is just BS by another name, and power is all that counts. But you will have noticed that you never hear relativists say, for example, "there is no 'right' to abortion, for how could anyone be certain that a fetus is not a human being?"

Good times. We haven't had a troll in awhile, have we? I know they visit, but they no longer share their delusions with us.

Ah, now this is interesting. It actually goes to a comment yesterday by Mr. Lien, who wonders how, if understanding follows upon being, we can know that our own understanding is the right one: "I mean, how do you know which mode [of being] to choose? For many, it seems to be chosen for us. I suppose you can look around, stick your toe in the water, see if it resonates, and then dive in."

Here is how I presponded to that question six years ago:

... I am not attempting to innovate, nor to deviate from perennial truth and come up with my own system. Again, I am not L. Bob Gagdad.

Rather, I am simply attempting to convey the old truths in a new way. And not just a new way, but an utterly unique way, being that I am utterly unique (as is everyone else). This is how it is possible to simultaneously discover universal truth, even while discovering one's unique and particular self.

Do you see what I mean? Normally these two things -- universal and particular -- would stand at antipodes. But in the spiritual ascent, it is possible for the one to be a reflection of the other.

One might even go so far as to say that there is no universal, only individual instances of it. For example, there is no separate platonic ideal of a table, only actual instances of the ideal instantiated in all of the diverse tables. So there's no ideal, even though there is. Orthoparadox.

Thus, you know you're on the right track when both you and God simultaneously and increasingly come into view through the teloscape.

Continuing with this theme, I see that the next post from 4.25.12 attempts "to develop an objective definition of spiritual normality -- and therefore pathology." Let's find out what we came up with:

The purpose of metaphysics is to get beneath these accidents, precisely, and hence to a realm of true objectivity and therefore perennial truth (even though, at the same time, we must insist that existence, life, and intelligence especially represent a continuous reminder, or breakthrough, of the miraculous).

Now, what do we mean by objectivity? It must be a stance uncontaminated by contingency, passion, or perspective, for starters. There is contingent science -- or the science of contingency -- and there is the "science of the Absolute," which is none other than metaphysics.

Thus, objectivity begins with the soph-evident existence of the Absolute, which is what confers value and meaning upon human existence, which is to say, intelligence (for humans participate in the Incarnation of the logos, which is what it means to be "in the image of the Absolute").

You might say that humans are "subjectivized intelligence," in that there is surely evidence of objective intelligence in the cosmos prior to our arrival, e.g., DNA or the laws of physics. One needn't say "intelligent design." Rather, just intelligence will do the trick, so long as we know what intelligence is (i.e., a reflection of truth).

As Schuon points out, "Our intelligence is made for the Absolute, or it is nothing." What he means by this is that man's own intelligence demands a sufficient reason, and this reason is the Absolute. Remove the Absolute, and nothing makes sense, or can make sense, except in a wholly contingent and therefore senseless manner. This is why we insist: God or Nothing, TransCosmic Plenitude or Infrahuman Nihilism.

This same human intelligence "testifies irrecusably to a purely spiritual First Cause, to a Unity infinitely central but containing all things, to an Essence at once immanent and transcendent." Around these parts we simply call this O, AKA Unity Central.

Another helpful wise crack by Schuon: "To claim that knowledge as such can only be relative amounts to saying that human ignorance is absolute."

And if that crack provokes a guffah-ha! experience in you, you're well on the way to being cured of your existential infirmities.

More good stuff down there, but this post is probably already running long, so have a nice long weekend, and don't forget to remember the brave men who will have died in vain if Obama and the left have their way.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Brickwalling the World

No time today for a proper post, so I'll get right to the point, if there is one.

There is an "the indissoluble link," according to Corbin, "between modes of understanding and modes of being." If so, then an "outer" world will follow upon an inner world.

To cite an example we've used in the past, a baseball game will look quite different to someone who understands the game as opposed to someone who doesn't. It's the same game, but the baseballically advanced person will be able to access much more depth, richness, complexity, and drama.

Clearly, life is just like baseball, except that it might even have more depth, richness, complexity, and drama.

And yet, there are millions of people -- like the imbecilic star of yesterday's post -- who prefer to manage this complexity by superimposing some off-the-rack ideology over it. Then the world "makes sense," but -- in another analogy we have used before -- it is like "brickwalling" a CD in the mastering process, which looks like the image at the bottom:

The music in all of its dynamic range is depicted above, but by hacking off the subtle highs and lows, the engineer can make it LOUDER so as to GRAB THE ATTENTION of people with no taste in music, which is to say, most people.

Similarly, Tyson-style scientism is a LOUD but crude representation of the world, aimed at people with no taste for Truth.

Continuing with Corbin, "Any change in the mode of understanding is necessarily concomitant with a change in the mode of being," such that "in order to understand a philosophical system or worldview, you need to adopt the mode of being of those who lived in that world" (Cheetham).

Therefore, becoming an atheist has nothing to do with "learning" anything about atheism per se.

Rather, any "knowledge" of atheism follows upon being one. There is no logical argument that necessarily leads to atheism, whether inductive or deductive, if only because one's first principles must always come from a source outside the closed circle of horizontal reasoning.

Or in other words, reason cannot furnish its own materials to work on. You must always start with being, even if you pretend otherwise.

In order for a world to exist -- say, Upper Tonga -- there must be "human persons willing and able to live in that world" (Cheetham). Here I am and there it is.

On the positive side, if citizens were to stop paying for the academic worlds of "queer theory" or "gender studies," those artificial worlds would cease to exist.

More generally, in order for Leftworld to go on existing at all, it is obviously necessary to create more inhabitants of Leftworld. There is no Leftworld without Leftoids.

Which has become the primary purpose of the university, excluding disciplines that actually require evidence as opposed to "commitment" or vengeful thinking.

It reminds me of another item yoinked from Happy Acres:

This is what the immigration "debate" is really all about: the left's need to bring new bodies into its world. The purpose is not merely to bring them into the physical space of the United States, but rather, into the subjective space of Leftworld, otherwise they would be the first to build a brick wall to keep them out.

One could say the same of public education and the liberal media: their purpose is not to inform but to induct.

One of the most alarming things about the Clinton campaign is that it is aimed only at the inhabitants of Leftworld -- cranky feminists, public employee unions, auto-victimized blacks, homosexuals, Hollywood, the MSM, ultra-wealthy do-gooders, etc. At least Obama pretended to speak to the wider world, but Clinton is convinced that her coalition of the deranged is sufficient to brickwall the rest of us.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

You Can Learn a Lot from a Scientistic Imbecile

A random fragment of scientistic ignorance plucked from somewhere, probably either Happy Acres or American Digest:

There are scientific popularizers -- which is a noble and worthwhile endeavor -- and then there are scientistic popularizers, who are really just evangelists of a strange god.

For example, in the case of Tyson, he both inverts the cosmos and pulls it inside out, such that man becomes the container of That which contains him.

In other words, God is literally reduced to less than nothing, since he is simply "what scientists don't yet know." God is a circle surrounded by socially awkward MENSA members who have never kissed a girl.

With nothing else to do, it is only a matter of time before one of them illuminates the dark circle and becomes so famous that he finally gets a date.

I realize that not everyone has the time or inclination to think their ideas through to the end, but c'mon. Has Tyson really never heard of Gödel, whose theorems happily prove that no man will ever encircle or contain the truth which contains him?

In other words, any comprehensive theory begins with assumptions that cannot be proved by the theory, but must be taken on faith. Tyson, like anyone else, begins with faith but then halfassedly covers his tracks and calls it Certitude.

This actually plunges him beneath the realm of religion, in that at least the sophisticated religious believer acknowledges his faith up front. Furthermore, we also acknowledge an outside source instead of pretending to an omniscience that is unavailable to man.

That was just a brief asnide, but it does have some continuity with yesterday's post, because Tyson is precisely the kind of imbecile described at the end. Yes, we have some Bernanos again today:

"[T]he intellectual is so frequently an imbecile that we should always take him to be such until he has proved to us the contrary.... [He] is particularly at home in the modern world of technology and numbers, [because] in such a world he can climb to a very high position without giving away his half-culture.... [He] is informed about everything and hence condemned to understand nothing."

Ironically, Tyson only imagines that the Great Nothing has been (or will be) explained, when in reality it has simply been displaced to his intellectually vacant head and renamed omniscience.

Of course, he is not claiming personal omniscience per se, but he is using funds from a loan on future knowledge, i.e., the projected omniscience of science. Therefore, he is very much like the radical Calvinist who is assured of his own salvation. Like the latter, it is the ultimate Humble Brag, only on the plane of intellectual salvation.

Continuing with our daily Corbin, Bernanos (in Cheetham) goes on to say that technology is transforming man into "a sort of demonic inversion of the mystery of the Incarnation."

To back up a bit, if you fail to regard the Incarnation as a principle -- or at least an axiom or proposition -- then you're depriving yourself of a great deal. A principle is essentially a proposition which cannot not be -- i.e., we cannot think without it -- whereas an axiom would be more "a premise or starting point of reasoning."

The latter is a useful compromise between a fully operational Faith and something less. However, once you realize how spiritually and intellectually fruitful the axiom, you may find yourself elevating it to Principle, especially because it is difficult to comprehend how man could have come up with the principle of Incarnation on his own. Rather, limited to his own devices, man tends to come up with Tyson-level sophistry.

For example, the gratuitous principle of Incarnation explains how it is that man has access to ultimate truth to begin with. Note again that Tyson surely believes in ultimate truth, as per the statement above about science surrounding and conquering it.

But he just assumes man's ability to know it without ever explaining how a randomly evolved being may explain itself, or, more to the point, how radical contingency can even know of absoluteness, let alone attain it.

Therefore, Tyson literally transforms Incarnation to discarnation: the truth that is concretely and a priori present in, and available to, man, is vaulted into a realm of scientistic abstraction, which is precisely why we refer to these imbeciles as infertile eggheads.

It's all about the vertical fertility (AKA vertilization), isn't it? Here again, you can regard the Annunciation as a mythic formulation at one end, or a metaphysical Principle at the other, but either way, the truth is that the soul of man is analogous to a womb in which the Divine Seed is planted and grows.

Again, it is how all this absoluteness and eternity and infinity -- all this useless truth and beauty -- get in here. It is obviously not present in mere animals, or at least they have no conscious contact with it.

At risk of re-belaboring the obvious, it is surely present in Tyson, with his smug conflation of science and absolute truth.

Speaking of which, there is another principle at play here, and it goes to how one may know one is on the right track in the joyous pursuit of truth. That is, it always covaries with humility. Smugnitude, while no doubt pleasant in a certain narrow sense, is a hint from God that you need to go back to First Principles, because you've veered off track. In fact, you've committed Genesis 3 all over again.

As to principles which may sound mushy but are actually rock solid, we'll leave you with this:

"Benedict says... that 'integrated human development' involves a 'broadening [of] our concept of reason and its application. 'Intelligence and love are not in separate compartments: love is rich in intelligence and intelligence is full of love, and love must therefore inform the disciplines as a whole marked by unity and distinction" (in Cheetham).

Or in other words, scientific progress -- which involves the reduction of multiplicity to unity -- is only possible because the latter truly loves the former. Or as Blake put it, "Eternity is in love with the productions of time."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Memo to Credentialed Imbeciles: What You Know Is Who You Are

Or in other words, knowledge is constrained -- or liberated -- by being. This runs counter to the implicit cartesian metaphysic of the conspiracy, which starts by severing knowledge from being, and then superimposing the former on the latter, thus reducing our hyperspatial cosmic pneumagraph to a simplistic two-dimensional map they call a "college degree."

Then, What Is is conflated with what can unambiguously be said about it, such that quantity is elevated over quality and the interior horizon is squeezed out of the equation entirely.

The result is the sprawling but tedious ignorantia of the conspiracy -- the Kognitive Kansas of the left -- which permits any movement except up. Importantly, it not only permits downward flight, but truly requires it, as anyone who has attended college can verify: the only way out is down.

Indeed, being that tenured excrement obeys the law of gravity, coprophagia was hardly invented by Michelle Obama, but has long been on the menu at any public school. I even see it in my son's private Catholic school, but that shouldn't be surprising either, exhibit A being the pontiff himself.

According to Cheetham, Corbin "begins with a sweeping claim," but Corbin and I own the same broom. The claim is that -- and I'm paraphrasing here -- the "mode of presence" of the person defines and limits of what is potentially present to the person.

This means that in order to know something -- say, about God -- you first have to show up. Sounds reasonable, but we all know people who deny the existence of God but refuse to consult the map.

Corbin expresses it in a needlessly convoluted manner, for if you can't formulate Truth in such a way that a bright middle schooler can grasp it, the fault is yours: "being-there is essentially to be enacting a presence, enactment of that presence by which and for which meaning is revealed in the present. The modality of this human presence is thus to be revelatory, but in such a way that, in revealing the meaning, it reveals itself, and that which is revealed."

Sigh. What he really means to say is that meaning arises in the space between two presences, ours and God's. Meaning also arises in the horizontal, but only because it is a prolongation of the prior vertical relation. Deny the vertical and no meaning of any kind is possible.

It is a matter of cosmic orthodoxy that the cosmos itself is the "first revelation" of its Creator. However, this revelation is always in a complementary relation to our human presence. Thus -- and you could insert Polanyi's whole corpus here -- our world (including the scientific world) is always on the way to a deeper iteration of itself.

Have you gnosissed that the literal factsimians who stare vacantly at the world in a scientistic manner do the same thing -- and can't help doing the same thing -- with scripture? Scientism can't even touch the world, let alone its creator.

The wholeness of reality -- or of being -- is an antecedent and generally implicit experience. It cannot be deduced, nor can one add up the parts and call it a cosmos. Rather, our logocentric cosmos is prior to anything we can say about it, otherwise we couldn't say anything about anything, for words come from Word (as life from Life, mind from Mind, slack from Slack, etc.).

As Schindler describes it, this primordial experience "must be seen as open from the roots to the whole of reality, in terms not merely of the sum of things..., but also of the integrated relation among things that establishes them as an ordered whole and hence as a cosmos."

A key point is that "any essential aspect of experience that is ignored or left unaccounted for at the outset cannot simply be added later without risk of diminishing reality" (emphasis mine).

This is quintessentially true of the cartesianism that pushed modernity out of the starting gate. You can't bloody well begin by severing knowing from being and then hope to get them back together at the end. That's... imbecilic.

Looked at from our privileged vertical perch in Upper Tonga, we can see that postmodernity is an inevitable complication of modernity. Take the first step down that fork and you can stick it into yourself, because you're done.

Or in other words, if you do that, then you are an imbecile. Indeed, according to Georges Bernanos -- whom Dupree doesn't know but wants to have a playdate with -- "the intellectual is so frequently an imbecile that we should always take him to be such until he has proved to us the contrary."

This all-too-common type of tenured dweeb or hired pundit is "particularly at home in the modern world of technology and numbers," because "in such a world he can climb to a very high position without giving away his half-culture." He is "informed about everything and hence condemned to understand nothing."

You could say that these imbeciles are the very incarnation of discarnation, which is to say, abstract and desiccated (k) without the real presence of (n).

Monday, May 18, 2015

Soaring Down and Falling Up

To plagiaphrase someone, every generation faces a barbarian threat in the form of its own children. Therefore, Job One of civilization is to civilize these little barbarians, or it won't be a civilization for long. Rather, it will be the Arab-Muslim world, or Baltimore, or any other Democrat-controlled American city

At the same time, being that the line separating civilization runs through the human heart, each soul is the battleground.

But as we know, the left not only hates this idea, but defines itself in opposition to it: human beings are basically good, except for the evil conservatives who beg to differ -- which proves once again that contemporary leftists are indeed evolved from more primitive Manichees.

"Our western philosophy has been the theatre of what we may call the 'battle for the Soul of the World'" (Corbin, in Cheetham). And the S. of the W. is none other than "the Divine Presence, the Dwelling, Wisdom as Sophia, which has its place only in the world of the soul..."

Or in other words, the Soul of the World resides in the world of the soul. "Outside" the latter, the so-called exterior "world" is reduced to what Corbin calls an "absurd husk": literal, quantitative, flat, with neither depth nor interiority. The world becomes epistemologically clear at the price of its ontological closure.

Which is sad enough, but more problematically, the world (or our idea of the world) becomes an idol instead of an icon; we look at the former but through the latter. The chimpanzee manichees who ridicule the second Commandment are simply bereft of insight into their own primitive idolatry.

Yes -- or so we have heard from the Wise -- the world truly is One Cosmos Under God, but it doesn't amount to much unless someone realizes it. Pope Benedict (in Schindler) says that "God entrusted man, created in his image and likeness, the mission of unifying the cosmos."

But we can't do it on our own; rather, "We must live united to God in order to be united to ourselves and to the cosmos, giving the cosmos itself and humanity their proper forms."

So it's a big responsibility, and there are opposing forces everywhere. These are the forces of dis-integration, dispersal, and atomization, and without these antecedent forces, the left could get nowhere (or rather, couldn't get there). Something in people "retreats" from wholeness, and although it is a derivative and reactionary movement, it is still a kind of pathological power.

In the past we have called it loser power. One loser on his own can become a one-off sociopath or mass murderer or MSM journalist, but provide millions of them with the same object of resentment, envy, and hatred, and then you've got something.

If low-level politics is the organization of hatreds, then a community organizer is a guy who attains power by organizing and polishing the hatred into a fine point of blunt instrumentality.

Thus, no one should be surprised at Obama's dreadful performance as president. In his inverted soul, all of the hateful things he wishes to do to us are obstructed by the objects of his hatred -- which is why he hates us. It's how infantile omnipotence operates.

The "ungraspable Unity of the One God," writes Cheetham, "provides the possibility for" both our unification and our individuation. This is indeed what makes the Christian metaphysic (and apparently Corbin's type of Sufism) unique, in that, instead of being at odds with each other, unity and individuality covary.

In other words, with, say, Buddhism, you get the Unity but at the cost of the real individual self. The good news: you're enlightened! The bad news: you no longer exist. The operation was a success, but the patient died.

In reality, "The openness of the Personal God means that persons, even finite, limited ones, through their likeness to the Divinity are not things at all," but "unending determinations of the Plenitude of Beings" (ibid.).

And it is through the space of this "Unknown and Unknowable" attractor that man "falls upward in an unending series of theophanies" -- which is why, on this journey, the world is simultaneously the Same As It Ever Was and Different From How It's Ever Been.

Friday, May 15, 2015

God Becomes Prisoner So that Man May Escape

About that prison discussed at the end of yesterday's post: we might say that everybody's got one, and that each is different from the other. Just as we are unique, so too are our prison cells.

Now, ever since man has been one, he has been plotting his escape from the prison. In other words, there is a profound paradox at work here, as humanness is obviously in one sense a "liberation" from mere animality, but in another sense just a transfer from one prison to another.

What makes it paradoxical², however, is that animals do not know they are in prison, which equates to not being in prison at all. But man, who has the nicest and roomiest prison of all, is the most aware of his confinement.

There is also the issue of our imagination, which ensures that there is always a gulf between what we have and what we can imagine. If we fail to discipline this space, it becomes perhaps the greatest source of existential misery.

I read somewhere that even the poorest American is still in the top 1% compared to the world as a whole -- i.e., Africa, India, the non-Jewish Middle East, etc. But this does nothing to extinguish the envy that is both a cause and consequence of leftism, nor to weaken the leftism that is a cause and consequence of envy. The left stokes what it promises to ameliorate, but envy doesn't operate on the same plane as Government Cheese. Rather, placating envy only feeds envy, which is why the War On Poverty is an absolutely self-perpetuating swindle.

A few posts back we spoke of the Rupture, and we could say that, among other things, this rupture causes a breach in the prison walls, opening out to a "circle" with "a far larger circumference than that of agnostic philosophy: it includes the more-than-human," but "it is up to us, through our passion, to unveil it" (Corbin).

Now, I do not believe we can break through the walls without the Aid of Heaven. Indeed, I would agree with Schuon that the human station is already a Divine Escape Hatch in its very essence: it is a door or window where the animal is walled in by its own genetics or neurology or ideology.

This is quite similar to John Paul II's theology of the body, wherein even the human body itself is the Way Out and Up. As Ratzinger describes it, "The body in its physical structure as such bears a vision of reality." It discloses "a theology, which indeed implies an anthropology or, better, a metaphysics rooted in the personal" (in Schindler).

Looked at this way "nothing is 'merely biological'" on the divine/human/personal plane. Rather, biology itself becomes an expression of the prior Truth; the body "is never, after the manner of Descartes, simply physicalist 'stuff,'" but "a new way of being in the world, a distinct way of imaging God and love" (Schindler).

In other words, you might say that the human form is made for love, truth, and beauty. It is not as if we accidentally stumbled up into these realities, for such a thing could never occur randomly, rather, only via a Mighty Strange Attractor or Teloscape tugging at our heart- and headstrings from above.

Thus, the body is "made for" the other, both horizontally and vertically; it always "opens out," beyond itself. This is why I made (in the book) such a Big Deal out of the "premature birth" that renders us so completely dependent in early childhood. This primordial state of radical openness and dependence reveals the most essential thing about us.

Think about the alternatives. What if, like the baby lizards that are hatching in my yard, we were born into a state of basic independence: you crack through your shell and there is no mother or father to be seen. Rather, it's go-time. You're on your own. Go find your own bugs to eat.

What if the reptile were an icon of God? That would be a very different God, not the trinitarian, relational God of eternal giving-and-receiving. And again, the reptile is completely enclosed in his reptilian nature. He can neither move forward nor rise above, because he is already full of himself.

Which goes to Jesus' emphasis on the centrality of "spiritual poverty," which comes down to making a space for God. Here again, this space is already a kind of escape, which reminds me of something Schuon says about the nature of prayer: "The remembrance of God is at the same tome a forgetting of oneself; conversely, the ego is a kind of crystallization of forgetfulness of God."

Thus, an Obama-level narcissist literally worships at the altar of his own ego: being full of himself, he is void of God. There is no exodus from such a personal hell -- which is precisely what makes it hellish.

What the Raccoon calls the Rupture is what Jews call the Exodus. It doesn't matter what you call it, so long as the Light breaks in and the path is revealed: "The fundamental structure of Reality" is then seen to be a "form of Descent and Return," or fall-and-redemption, or Egypt-and-Israel, or death-and-resurrection. It is how the Slack gets into the conspiracy, or how God hides the hacksaw in the birthday cake.

Only through the Word can the cosmos be released from the world of literal matter, quantitative space, and historical time. Without this Presence the world is mute, faceless, collapsing forever downward to the level of object. With it, not just the human soul, but the world itself exists in a perpetual state of Resurrection. --Cheetham

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Anthropo-Cosmology or Something

Anthropo-cosmology. Or Cosmo-anthropology? Either way, it's what we've been doing here for the past ten years, trying to relate the one to the other in a way that actually makes sense.

There is the cosmos, AKA, the total order of interacting objects, events, and processes; and there is man, the most astonishing and unexpected fact within this cosmic order. Both are in need of explanation, but perhaps the same thing explains both.

In order to begin to comprehend the cosmos, we can't start with inanimate matter at the foundation, because doing so will exclude a priori matter's most important features, such as, I don't know, the capacity to suddenly COME ALIVE! and start thinking. Besides, matter cannot "contain" the cosmos, because it is the contained.

Therefore, my approach has always been to start with, say, me, and ask: just what kind of cosmos is necessary in order for this me to exist? And not just Me, as in the objective Me visible to the world, but the immaterial I whose boundaries disappear over the infinite subjective horizon.

How does subjectivity even get "into" the cosmos unless it has always been here? Furthermore, how does it gather itself into the concentrated and organized form of an individual self, each one being unique? Therefore, one's cosmology must also make room for this notion of "subjective uniqueness." In what kind of cosmos can such a weirdity occur?

The short answer: in a personal cosmos. We'll expand upon this as we proceed. But if we start with a foundation of Person rather than Matter, a lot of things start to make sense -- including Matter.

Now that I've had the chance to read and digest several books on Corbin, I think I can say that his supreme concerns were two: man and God. Most importantly, he wanted to know the latter without negating the former. Or in other words, he wanted to preserve the Absolute while elevating our own absolute individuality, or what the Raccoon calls our Holy Eccentricity or Sacred Weirdness. As Toots Mondello always said to new raccruits, Go weird or go home.

Clearly, what concerned Corbin about traditional religiosity was the danger of losing our individuality in God. I can appreciate that. Who hasn't developed a case of the Jesus Willies as a result of contact with some dogmatic religious robot? Nowadays they don't really bother me, but there was a time.

As we said a few posts back, our mission, should we choose to accept it, is "to make ourselves capable of God" (in Cheetham) -- with an equal emphasis on ourselves and on God. One of Corbin's books is called Alone with the Alone, and I'll go out on a limb and guess that this is what the title refers to: we want to know the one God, and God wants to know the one of us, so it's a win-win.

However, the whole adventure has a very different inflection if we speak of God as Trinity as opposed to monolith; or perhaps better, person, being that a person is both unique and related by definition. Therefore -- orthoparadoxically -- we are called upon to "imitate" God by being ourselves, i.e., individuals.

How can one simultaneously be "image" and one-of-a-kind? I would suggest that Jesus makes many otherwise inexplicable statements that go to this gnotion. Indeed, doesn't his whole mission involve being man and God? And not just some anonymous or mythic generalization of man, but a real, individual, flesh-and-blood, one-of-a-kind person. True, he is "everybody" (which is why everybody can "relate"), but he is also somebody. Have you ever met anyone like him?

Thus, as Cheetham explains, to become "capable" of God covaries with becoming "capable" of oneself. In other words, our unique personhood makes us a theophany of the personal God: "our most profound and essential function is theophanic: 'to manifest God'" and to be "the bearer of the Divinity."

Referring to our first paragraph above, we agree with Cheetham that this is "an anthropo-cosmology so grand in its conception, so all-encompassing in its vision that little in modern thought can rival it."

Or nothing, to be exact. Do you have something better, something equally intellectually satisfying and metaphysically thrilling? I'd like to hear it. In practice, all of the alternatives are either intellectually or spiritually crippling, and usually both.

"[A] scientific or rationalistic context for the events of the soul is insufficient at best and damaging at worst" (ibid.). Why? Because such "remedies" begin with the "implicit presumption that the prison in which the soul is trapped is the whole of reality."

In other words, they -- by which I mean the Conspiracy -- first place us in a prison, and then pretend to sell us the key. But in reality -- to paraphrase what I said on p. 182 -- these are really just fellow prisoners with their own dreams and delusions of escape.

Thus, philosophers wonder about the nature of the prison, while artists decorate its walls and scientists study the composition of its bars. Medicine secures a long life in prison, while the conventionally religious try to pray them bars away. But if I understand rightly, some eccentric individual actually broke into this prison in order to lift us out from above. Or in other words, there is a perimeter but no roof, so stop banging your head against the walls.