The Arc of Salvation in the Theo-Cosmic Drama
That phrase just popped into my head while making coffee this morning. I don't know what to make of it, but it sounds like a good title for a book. Or post, anyway.
I've been rethinking my approach to, er, the Whole Existentialada, and this phrase seems to sum up my concerns. As I mentioned the other day, Eastern religions are analogous to purely spatial descents, whereas Western religion unfolds temporally in one continuous story: the Arc of Salvation, as it were. Looked at in this way, revelation cannot be complete, but must be an unfolding drama -- the Theo-Drama, as Balthasar called it (although in a specifically Catholic context).
Naturally I am appropriating Judaism into Christianity in a way that Jews would consider inappropriating, but what can one do? In many ways, the development of Christianity represented the temporalization of the spatial revelation given to the ancient Hebrews. In other words, the Jews were given the law, or the "constitution," so to speak, and we all know how much mischief is engendered by people who think that the constitution is a "living document."
This latter idea is one of the principle tools of ideologues who wish to legitimize their devolutionary policies, always under the banner of "evolution." As such, we must naturally be skeptical of volks who look progressive but who merely wish to overturn the divine-cosmic order so that they will feel more at home in the world. This, of course, is what the left habitually does, since its core constituency consists of alienated cosmic misfits of one sort or another. It's hard to imagine a left without "alienation," which is why we are halfway to a nation of aliens.
Now, in order for the arc of salvation to get underway, a group had to be chosen to receive the law. The Mishnah, or one of those other Jewish thingys, says that the Jews were not chosen in the sense of being better than other human groups. Rather, they were chosen for a divine mission -- truly a Mission Impossible if you know anything about the hideous barbarity of ancient man.
At the time, what God was asking of the Jews could not have been more against the grain of what passed for "humanness": child sacrifice, cannibalism, slavery, horrible treatment of women, and incredible intergroup violence and paranoia. The ancient Hebrews were not just given a "religious" mission, but a civilizing mission. In short, in order for the arc of salvation to leave the starting post, it was necessary to prepare a human group. This group turned out to be the Jews, something which in hindsight is obvious, as all Raccoons may trace their own spiritual descent to father Abraham, who got the old ka-ball a-rolling. (In Coonspeak, this is referred to as our "Abraham Linking.")
Spirituality, since it involves a vertical descent, accounts for the sudden, otherwise inexplicable "right angles" in horizontal human history. Thus, the story of the Jews is one long line that runs perpendicular to profane history, and which created a space for the ongoing ingression of divine energies -- including the preparation of a human body for the next phase of the mission.
We're getting ahead of ourselves a bit, but this human body could not have come from any other human group that existed at the time. If you know anything about cultural anthropology (in other words, assuming you don't have a Ph.D. in it), then you know that it is preposterous to think that this human body could have come from, say, the nomadic Arabs, or the Aztec, or the native north Americans, or the ancient Celts, or the Romans, or any other group that existed at the time. They were all far too barbaric to bear this birth. At the very least, it had to be a group that did not practice infanticide, so the Romans were obviously not in the running.
In fact, there are many contemporary human groups -- both foreign and domestic -- untouched by the Judaic message, that would still be too barbaric to bear the light of this body, including virtually all of the Islamic world. Imagine this body coming out of (ironically) the so-called Palestinians -- or even CAIR, or the ACLU -- and you get the picture.
You might say that our mission in Iraq is nothing less than a forced vertical descent, which -- tragically -- may well be impossible. It may not be possible to "speed up" the arc of salvation in this manner, as one must "assent" or surrender to the descent -- as did the Jews and as did the Jewish body that was chosen for phase II of the mission. (Critically, it was necessary for both mother and child -- and father too -- to surrender to the divine mission, which emphasizes its intergenerational arc. The mother in particular had to surrender in faith to a millennia-long evolutionary mission she could not possibly have imagined.)
Perhaps it is because I have been incubating these curious ideas for so long, but it is not even a question to me that the Jews were evolutionary agents chosen for a divine mission -- or, if they were not, they might as well have been. In the course of writing my book, many obscure books synchronistically fell into my eager coon paws at precisely the right moment, including In the Shadow of Moloch: The Sacrifice of Children and Its Impact on Western Religions by Martin Bergmann, and Slaughter of the Innocents: Child Abuse Through the Ages and Today by Sander Breiner.
(As an aside, you may notice that both of these books surpass even my own in terms of obscurity, in that they are in the amazon "top two million." In most any other day and age, an ordinary cosmic citizen such as myself never would have happened upon them [and these are just two of many]. In a previous post I mentioned how important the internet -- and amazon in particular -- was in the evolution of my thinking -- to my own "mission," as it were. Deputy Will has in the past spoken of the spiritual "quickening" that the internet facilitates -- or will facilitate -- in general. Could it be that the internet will prove to be an integral part of "phase III" of the divine mission? My fellow Coons, you know the answer to that question, in that you are the answer, are you not? What do you think we're doing here?)
Not coincidentally, both of the above books were written not by anthropologists or historians -- who tend to be too blinded by academic correctness to see reality -- but by psychoanalysts, who are accustomed to piercing through the BS and looking at the human condition in all its barbaric splendor. Psychoanalysts specialize in the vertical -- the lower vertical. Freud himself likened the exploration of the unconscious to a sort of archaeological dig, under which are deeper and deeper layers of our personal history. You might say that his brilliant disciple Melanie Klein and some of her own gifted followers (including Bion) hit bottom and kept digging into prehistory -- into the preverbal, pre-oedipal foundation of the mind, a disturbingly phantasmagoric reality explored previously only in literature or perhaps in the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch.
But what is true of the individual is true of the collective, and these two psychoanalysts looked under the rocks of history to try to understand some of the more disturbing and troubling "acting out" that humans had been engaged in since the dawn of humanness. In particular, Bergmann focuses on the puzzling right turn that occurred in human history when Abraham, instead of sacrificing his son -- which any good father would do, including contemporary Palestinians -- hears the voice of God telling him not to. (You will note that contemporary Palestinians are quite frank and unapologetic in letting the world know that they are still in thrall to a pre-Abrahamic voice they call "Allah" urging them to sacrifice their children.)
One of the virtues of the book we recently discussed, Before the Dawn, is that it pulls no PC punches in chronicling just how unimaginably savage human beings were in the past. I don't have time to look up the exact statistic at the moment, but Wade mentioned something to the effect that if the murder rate in the 20th century had been comparable to what it was among primitive human groups, the deaths due to war would have run in the billions instead of a "mere" 100 million.
Thus, from our vantage point, the 20th century looks like a catastrophe, but from the vantage point of antiquity it was conspicuously peaceful -- even though seven out of ten European descendents of Abraham were incinerated in the process. This is hardly a coincidence, as the fascist/socialist rebellion of the 20th century represented nothing less than a vertical "counter-revolution" which had to involve the Jews, just as the Islamist devolution must involve them -- as if the light produces a rebellious shadow in the lower vertical. The devolutionary forces of the lower vertical are always visible in groups that oppose the Jews, currently Islam and the international Left.
In his book, Breiner analyzes the vast cultural differences between the ancient Jews and their contemporaries -- the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, and Chinese. The notion that these vast differences can be explained by "genetics" is strict nonsense. This would be the position of Wade and other orthodox Darwinians -- as if Abraham didn't sacrifice Isaac because of a random genetic mutation! Perhaps tomorrow I'll discuss further the cosmic "righteous angle" represented by the people chosen to carry out phase I of the arc of cosmic salvation.