Just Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale...
In the perspective of gnosis, Christ, “Light of the world,” is the Universal Intellect, as the Word is the “Wisdom of the Father.” Christ is the Intellect of microcosms as well as that of the macrocosm. He is then the Intellect in us as well as the Intellect in the Universe and a fortiori in God; in this sense, it can be said that there is no truth nor wisdom that does not come from Christ, and this is evidently independent of all consideration of time and place. --Frithjof Schuon
This is probably going to be a fruitless discussion, but I’ll try it anyway. It’s an important one, because it gets to the very heart of what the mind can and cannot know about God. And it touches on the very purpose of this blog.
As I have emphasized before, a merely mental understanding of God is entirely insufficient in my view. Yes, I am an esoterist, but this does not connote “elitism.” While there is a hierarchy involved, the hierarchy does not inhere in the esoterist but in the nature of things, for the nous, or intellect properly so-called, is higher than the mind.
To the extent that anyone understands God with the nous and not the mind, he is de facto an esoterist and therefore “higher,” not in the sense of moral superiority--as if he is a better person--but in the same way that algebra is “higher” than math. Likewise, anyone who reduces religion to a mere literalism has given the game away to the rationalism of the ego. For esoterism is both folly to the rationalist geeks and a stumbling block in the pews.
In the past, I have attempted to discuss this dilemma in terms of the bi-modal logic of the mind. Our little surface ego moves and has its being in the bright and well-lit world of classical or Aristotelian logic. I will be the first to acknowledge that the world accessed by the ego represents a world. But by no means does it represent the world. Rather, the ego gives access to one plane of being. I won’t say that it’s a “low” flying plane, because, as a psychologist, I am fully aware of how many people fail to get off the ground and reliably enter it due to various developmental issues and fixations. But it is an “intermediate” world, with degrees of being both above and below.
In the esoterist view, the planes above the ego are developmentally later but ontologically prior, and therefore more real. Every below in the cosmos is “contained” within an above, while, at the same time, the above is uncontainable and is necessarily present “within” the below. To animals, the ego is clearly both “higher” and more inward.
But we must never forget that the epic story of cosmic evolution does not end with the ego’s exteriorization of its limited understanding--its colonization of a small portion of consciousness. Think of the ego as analogous to a bright flood light in the dark. Wherever the light turns, there is an area of bright illumination. But we must not be fooled into believing that the foreground of illumination--the little spot lit up by the ego--is all there is to reality.
As Kant properly noted, the ego creates a world in the form of its own sensibility (the phenomenal world) and then takes it for the real world. Therefore, it is as if we dream a dream and then inhabit the dream as if it were real. The ego becomes thoroughly entangled in its own exteriorized and reified fantasies. This is what it means to be a fallen ego in a fallen world. The fall is both literal (i.e., vertical) and metaphorical.
With the scientific revolution in full force, Kant saw what was coming and was actually trying to rescue the realm of religion from the predations of a cognitively greedy scientific rationalism. Since the ego ultimately has access only to its own phenomena, this left the infinitely greater reality of the noumena untouched, unknown and unknowable. This is precisely where Kant erred, because in saying that the noumena was unknowable, he essentially reduced religion to a mere sentimental fideism. It would simply be a matter of time before it became wholly irrelevant to “sophisticated” moderns.
Again, either religion embodies real knowledge that surpasses our egoic understanding, or it is simply an absurdity that is defiantly embraced in the teeth of reason and logic. But if it does embody real knowledge, what kind of knowledge is it? Is it mere information, occupying the same horizontal plane as factual scientific information, like saying “water freezes at 32 degrees and Jesus walked on it,” or “the ribs enclose the chest cavity and women are made of one”? In my way of looking at things, this is a gross confusion that simply invites people not to take religion seriously.
Let us imagine that the totality of reality constitutes a vast field of consciousness. In navigating its dimensions and coordinates, there are two principle dangers. One involves being shipwrecked on the rocks of a rational but fixed and “frozen” mental conception that ultimately forecloses spiritual evolution. The ego stakes out its little piece of territory. It knows what it knows, and that’s all it wants to know. The vast majority of cultural and religious beliefs are of this variety. Some belief systems stake out a slightly wider area, but each, to one degree or another, places an arbitrary boundary around reality.
The other danger is to become lost at sea with no fixed coordinates at all. This is to be engulfed in the symmetrical unconscious with no bearings to guide one’s journey.
Religions are indeed fixed, and must be so. But they are not fixed in order to reduce reality, but in order to navigate through it and ultimately to colonize more of it. They are not the destination, but the means of arriving there--at one’s deustination.
Therefore, the question is not, strictly speaking, whether or not this or that dogma is true or false, in a narrow, purely egoic way. I believe dogma is critical. Critical for the same reason that a ship is--not merely for the purpose of floating statically on the water, but moving through it.
So all you cosmic castaways,
we're here such a brief, short time.
We have to make the best of things,
thanks to Adam's crime.
But Petey and old Gagdad Bob,
will do their very best,
to make your journey vertical,
in this horizontal mess.
No angry trolls, no leftist loons,
no doctrinaire moonbats,
Like Dailykos and Huffington,
and other gynocrats.
So join us here each day my friends,
we'll sail right through the fog.
here on Gag-a-dad's blog.