Boogie Boarding on the Righteous Waves of the Eschaton
Just how personal
a relationship with Jesus
can one have
before it's no longer Jesus
as the flames rose higher, and
Thus far, most of us have apparently been on the same page with regard to my little coonspiracy theory of the Arc of Salvation, but I expect we'll lose some people along the way. After all, it is only natural that everyone wants to believe that their particular revelation is complete, and presumably no one wants their theology subsumed into some wacky cosmic scheme hatched by Bob on Saturday morning in his grubby little Coon den.
The question is, how heterodox can one be before one is completely off the map and into the area of a wholly private revelation, if such a thing can be said to exist -- distinct, that is, from a delusion? Obviously this is an issue all mystics struggle with, which in turn is why all religious institutions struggle with their mystics -- who, in their own minds, are simply "prolonging" the implications of the revelation in novel ways. However, you will notice that the mystics never struggle with each other. Rather, they just enjoy the view. It's like they say -- no two democracies have ever gone to war with one another. Why is that?
I suppose it's a matter of verticality. Progress in the vertical is defined by two variables, 1) integration (which has to do with the interior) and 2) actualization ("horizontalizing" or externalizing the interior), and there is simply no reason for two fully integrated and actualized people to quarrel, for there is literally "nothing" to fight over -- the divine nothing being infinite and all, there's Plenty O' Nothin' to Go 'Round (which, come to think of it, would have been a good title for my absurcular book).
Now, it is surely no coincidence that all of my favorite Christian theologians happen to be mystical theologians, many of whom have at one time or another been branded as heterodox, even heretical: Origen, Denys, and Eckhart; or Blake and Boehme, who would not really be considered theologians but visionaries in a Christian context; the author of Meditations on the Tarot, who was Catholic but calls himself a Christian Hermeticist, part of a perennial wisdom tradition extending back before Jesus and parallel to Moses; or even Balthasar, a nominally Catholic theologian who is regarded with some suspicion because of his close working relationship with a visionary mystic, Adrienne Speyr, who essentially provided him with "channeled" material. There's simply no other way to put it -- for example, Speyr explained in detail to Balthasar exactly what was going on with Jesus while he was dead and in hell all day on Holy Saturday, between the crucifixion of Good Friday and the first Easter Sunday.
And the more I study Frithjof Schuon, I can see that he struggled mightily to situate himself within orthodox tradition -- indeed, it was the entire basis of his life's work -- even though it is obvious to this Coon that he transcended any small-o orthodoxy and abided within O-rthodoxy itself: beyond religion, so to speak, into the source of religion. This is not to say that he felt himself "superior" to revelation or that he mixed traditions "from below," in the manner of eclectic new-agers. Rather, he did so "from above," which makes all the difference -- and which again cannot but pose a problem for anyone who regards his given theology as absolute-absolute as opposed to relative-absolute, a metaphysically subtle but crucial distinction.
Am I losing everyone so far?
Good! I need to keep driving down those numbers on my site meter, so I can retire back into my personal cloud.
Now clearly, nothing can be absolute with the exception of the absolute, which goes to what we were saying the other day about bibliolatrists who confuse the word about God with God's one and only Word, the logos. It should go without saying that the logos deploys itself not just in space, but in time, and that it is ultimately the "substance" of each. It is why, no matter how far or deeply scientists peel away layers of Oneion and peer within the physical cosmos, they find nothing but more logos -- or ordered truth -- logos within logos, all the way down, all the way up, and all the way back.
But time also represents ordered truth -- which, for example, is what the much maligned practice of astrology is all about. A gifted astrologer -- of whom there are few, by the way -- is not one of those frauds who predict the future. Rather, they are able to look into the deep structure of the now and tell you about the patterns of your own being -- a "temporal youprint" which will play out in the field of time. It is just another way of saying that "character is destiny."
Institutionalized theologies generally contain the shadow of any principial truth they exclude -- for example, the messiah principle seeps into all Eastern religions, just as the guru principle insinuates itself into all Western ones. A case in point is astrology, for what can it mean that we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him? What do you think it was that made the three wise men wise instead of wise guys?
For that matter, who keeps time with the timekeeper's daughter while the timekeeper's out keeping time? (I don't know why I said that. I just like the song.)
But time obviously presents a different kind of order than spatial order. Spatial order is fixed, geometrical, architectural; its organ of knowledge (in both the inner and outer sense) is the eye. Temporal order, however, is cyclical, flowing, and musical; its organ (again, both inner and outer) is the ear. You might say that deep time is heard through the third ear -- the kind of "third ear" one requires, for example, to sit through a complete performance of The Ring and actually get it.
But one also requires such a developed third ear in order to hear the song celestial, or Cosmic Suite. For example -- to take a thoroughly mundane example -- in the course of my forensic work, I am rarely overwhelmed by a case. Most humans are so simple that ears are hardly required -- most any Coon (like their Subgenius brethren) can sniff out a person's "soul stench" within about ten minutes, give or take. After that, there are no surprises, at least pleasant ones.
But a few weeks back, I was involved in the Mother of All Cases. The medical file alone took me about 12 hours to review, but instead of the usual coherence that emerged, the deeper I dug into to it, the more confused I became. The reason why was that there was absolutely no consensus of medical opinion, no "center" to the case, just a welter of contradictory information.
I ran it by a colleague who gave me some very helpful advice that I hadn't considered, despite the fact that it was right there in front of my ears. My confusion did not represent an absence of information about this patient; rather, it represented the presence of very precise information about her. Specifically, my state of "chaotic bewilderment" was a counter-transferential reaction telling me what it was like to be this woman -- who managed her own chaos by projecting it into others. She confuses everyone with whom she comes into contact because she herself is so confused. She spreads the confusion outward, including into doctors who just want to make their own confusion go away by coming up with an ad hoc opinion. This is an example of Bion's frequently cited adage that "the answer is the disease that kills curiosity."
I am quite sure that if you give it a moment's thought, you will be able to think of people of your acquaintance who are like this -- perhaps not as extreme, but nevertheless lacking a coherent center, which then uncomfortably reverberates outward, including into you. Obviously many leftists are of this nature, which is precisely why it is so frustrating to try to have a logical conversation with them. This happened to me just yesterday with a person whose arguments were just so ridiculous that it was impossible for me to respond to them on the level from which they arose. On that level, I suppose anything could be true -- which leftist academics never stop proving.
It would appear that many leftists experience conservatives in the opposite manner, as overly rigid and unyielding. Instead of no center, there is a sort of faux center, a set of unbending principles that the leftist equates with being more or less dead, or at least no fun. I know that this is the caricature I had of conservatives back when I was a chaotic liberal, and there can obviously be a certain truth to the perception, at least in certain conservatives. But these are precisely the conservatives I don't care for. Frankly, I don't give them a lot of attention, but they are generally the only ones that the liberal media pay attention to.
Now, back to the question at hand, what are we to make of the Christ event, or phase II in the arc of salvation? For this event is like a huge smoking crater in the middle of creation. When I was a kid, I used to think that "AD" stood for "after death," as in "before Christ" (BC) and after his death (AD). In between was the Big Crater. Or to be perfectly accurate, the big crater was the Resurrection -- which, paradoxically, is when the hole in creation was actually repaired and made whole, so to speak. Prior to that, there was a big hole called "death," or eternal separation from our source, if you will. That hole was filled on the first Easter.
Now, unlike most garden-variety Christians, I did not come to my views via the meteor but the crater it left. Although raised a Christian -- a Christian Scientist, to be exact (even though my mother wouldn't have dreamt of taking me to a practitioner instead of a doctor) -- being forced to attend Sunday school had the opposite of its intended effect, and caused me to be alienated from Christianity from a very early age. I only returned to it much later in life, but in a backwards sort of way, in the sense that I immersed myself in the philosophy and metaphysics -- or what you might call the "shock waves" produced by the meteor as it crashed from eternity into time.
Obviously these shock waves continue to be produced in everyone, irrespective of whether or not they are Christian (in the sense that the logos is not in history, but history in the logos). Those shock waves spread both backwards (i.e., leading to a complete reassessment of the Old Testament) and forward, as the reverberations entirely remade a future that otherwise would not have been. Out of all of the statements made by Jesus, this is perhaps the most exceedingly bizarre one, that this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Remember, as far as we know, Jesus wrote not a word of this gospel. Nor did any of his followers even have a clue as to what he was talking about when he said it. A contemporary observer -- unable to peer into the structure of deep time -- would have dismissed this as abject kooky talk, to the extent that he gave it even a moment's attention. Imagine anyone saying this, much less an anonymous peasant in imperial Rome, which was more or less synonymous with the eternal order. No one foresaw its end at the time -- or at least no one but One. It would be far less of a stretch for me to say "yeah, I know, I have only a few hundred readers. But someday the Coonifesto will topple the existing geopolitical structure and be preached in every corner of the internet!"
So, if phase I represented the preparation for the descent of the logos in human form, phase II represented the deployment of the logos in historical time, which continues to act as a veritable wrecking ball to so many human cognitive, spiritual, moral, psychosexual, and political structures. To cite just one example, Saddam Hussein was a recent recipient of this logos. Good and hard, I might add. On a more benign note, the United States is the only country directly inspired by, and consciously founded upon, this logos.
Again, the meteor came and went in a matter of some three years, but its shock waves continue to be felt, to say the least. I mean, I am -- and I assume you are -- feeling them at this very moment -- surfing on them, so to speak, because isn't that what real theology is? Boogie boarding on the righteous waves of the eschaton as we ride history into its safe harbor at the end of time?
A diamond necklace played the pawn
Hand in hand some drummed along, oh
To a handsome man and baton
A blind class aristocracy
Back through the op'ra glass you see
The pit and the pendulum drawn
Columnated ruins domino
Canvass the town and brush the backdrop
Are you sleeping?
Hung velvet overtaken me
Dim chandelier awaken me
To a song dissolved in the dawn
The music hall a costly bow
The music all is lost for now
To a muted trumpeter's swan
Columnated ruins domino
Canvass the town and brush the backdrop
Are you sleeping, Brother John?
Dove nested towers the hour was
Strike the street quicksilver moon
Carriage across the fog
Two-step to lamplight cellar tune
The laughs come hard in Auld Lang Syne
The glass was raised, the fired rose
The fullness of the wine, the dim last toasting
While at port adieu or die
A choke of grief, heart hardened I
Beyond belief, a broken man too tough to cry
Aboard a tidal wave
Come about hard and join
The young and often spring you gave
I heard the word
A children's song
The child is the father to the man --Surf's Up, the Beach Boys