Supposing Reality Exists: What Next? (10.06.10)
To put it another way, to not be in conformity with reality will result in death, injury or disease in one form or another.
For example, if you are not in conformity with the reality that walking into a speeding bus can be harmful, you won't live very long. But if you aspire to be a world-class mathematician, you won't get very far either if you refuse to conform to the dictates of basic math. Your career will die, as it were. And if you wish -- or even don't wish -- to know God in the absence of conformity to that reality, you will undergo spiritual death. Again and again.
Now obviously, it is possible -- common, actually -- to have thoughts that do not conform to reality, and not just if you're frankly crazy. Leftists are proof of this. Nor does intelligence help. Our universities are proof of that. And good intentions are of no help at all. The Democrat party proves this year in, year out.
Again, in order to have a cosmos, there must be a differentiation between subject and object. But no sooner do you have this differentiation, than you have a distinction between reality and appearances. The "human vocation" is to know the difference and to act upon it. The former is wisdom, the latter morality. Beauty is the creation of objects through which this reality is reflected.
In the words of Schuon, "He who conceives the Absolute... cannot stop short de jure at this knowledge, or at this belief, realized in thought alone; he must on the contrary integrate all that he is into his adherence to the Real, as demanded precisely by Its absoluteness and infinitude."
Therefore -- and here's the point -- "Man must 'become that which he is' because he must 'become That which is.'" Which is why the new and improved "first commandment" is to love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.
In ether worlds, it takes all four -- heart, soul, mind and body -- to achieve this conformity. Leave out one, and you leave a "hole" in the Divine reality, the fullness of which is reveiled only in our adequate mirroring of it.
In man, the three transcendentals -- the Good, the True and the Beautiful -- are reflected in the form of Will, Thought, and Love, respectively. In other words, we must will the Good, know the True, and love the Beautiful. For who would want to will the bad, know lies, and love ugliness?
Don't get me started....
Just as wisdom is the beauty of the mind, virtue is the beauty of the will. And beauty itself reveals the intelligence -- not to say, love and will -- of creation, and therefore the Creator.
The point is that our Thought, Will, and Love are not merely isolated functions that arose "from nothing." Rather, they specifically function in a vertical-teleological manner toward their appropriate ends. It is impossible to coherently argue otherwise. People will the bad all the time, but it's only because they confuse bad and good, as in the U.N.
Likewise, people regularly teach and learn falsehood, but only because they either conflate it with truth, or deny the existence of Truth. If the latter, then "thought" will simply meander in a meaningless way over the blandscape of the mind, going from nowhere to nothing and then back again. It takes approximately four years to complete this round trip at a major university.
To quote Schuon, "Without beauty of soul, all willing is sterile, it is petty and closes itself to grace; and in an analogous manner: without effort of will, all spiritual thought ultimately remains superficial and ineffectual and leads to pretension."
Let's think about that one for a moment. Are there beautiful souls?
I don't really have to think about it, it's so obvious. But what I don't understand is how an atheist can get through life and not be in conformity with this simple reality, i.e., the existence of beautiful souls, along with the natural desire for one's own soul to attain such supernatural beauty.
Again, such madness is analogous to wishing to develop one's mind even while denying the sufficient reason for its development, which is Truth. And who doesn't love Truth?
Don't get me started...
It's quite simple, really, because the Real is simple: There is something that man must know and think; and something that he must will and do; and something that he must love and be (Schuon).
Notice the invariant in these three statements about human reality: must.
Therefore, Man is the unnecessary being that must Must, in conformity with the Being that Must Be, since we didn't have to be.
In other words, human beings are contingent -- which is to say, relative -- not necessary, or Absolute.
And yet, religion is here to teach us how to travel the perilous path from contingency to Necessity. The secret lies in the Must, which is that little portion of necessity we share with the Creator. But, in keeping with the gift of free will, it is necessary for us to "activate" the divine Must, for only in conformity to this potential reality are we necessarily free.
Or, the crucifixion of the contingent is resurrected in the Absolute.