The Salient Nightlight of Christmas
What am I doing here? It's Christmas morning. I should be with the family.
First of all, everyone's still asleep, including Bob. This is my time -- you know, dawn, friend of the muses.
The reason why it's so friendly is because of the underlap of the two worlds -- day and night, conscious and unconscious, myth and science, internal and external, dream and "reality." You can't really "do" anything when you're completely enveiloped in dream time, whereas pure daylight bleaches out night town, so you can't unsee a thing. But this is like the bountiful breast of both worlds. It's amusing how much bobscurity you can shed on things in the half-lit world! It's as if you have just enough light to illuminate the darkness, but still enough of its absence to cast a beam of shade on the visible world.
This is obviously what Joyce was attempting in Finnegans Wake, but in his case, I think he went a little too far, perhaps because he was legally blind by the time he finished it. As such, he was pretty much immersed in the darklight. He was a bit too skewed toward the dream end of things, so it will basically take until the end of time to interpret the book and excavate all its dark and inrisible humor.
Now, a religion, if it is to be "operative," must reach very far into both worlds, as we were seeing yesterdawn. Please, I don't mean to bash atheists, but clearly, the problem with atheism is that it works fine in broad daylight but is of no use whatsoever down here in the dark, even if you leave God out of the equation. I don't really want to go down that path again, but the point is that consciousness contains atheism, while the reverse could never be true. So the question comes down to "what is consciousness?," and if you exclude my world, it's analogous to, say, defining reality by focussing exclusively on the Newtonian world but not the subatomic realm, which operates behind shockingly different nightonian blinds, and O, what the darkness knows that the light has never conceived!
This is also the problem with purely rational arguments against atheism, such as D'Souza's d'fense of d'faith, What's So Great About Christianity. I suppose such a book has its place, as it engages in "pre-evangelism," i.e., "clearing away false ideas so that the unbeliever actually has a chance to hear the arguments for Christianity."
In other worlds, but not mine, such a book can serve as a kind of antibiotic or anti-idiotic or disenfuckedup (pardon the French, even though I never will) to eliminate dysfunctional ideas and ideologies from the mind, of which there are plenty. It's just that an antibiotic doesn't give life, it just kills what is deadly to the host. You might say that D'Souza's book eliminates the false light, but you still can't use it to see in the dark or endarken the day. And if you try, you might even end up more confused, because theology can never be a merely rational undertaking or it won't take you under. The surface, that is. Only humans can know that reality has a "surface" and therefore a depth. Spirituality is simply about deepening your depth and resurfacing or perhaps reseeding your ground.
The question is, how do you reach me, and by extension, the whole person? How do you "speak" in such a way that like calls out to likeness in a totalistic way? I was pondering this last night as Bob was taking a walk around the neighborhood at around dusk. This is another time I become more active, since the boundaries overlap again. As he passed from house to house, all sorts of things made an impression on me in a nonverbal way -- the lights, the smells, the sounds of happy families.
But these were all just "parts" or aspects of something more pervasive, like ripples or currents on top of the ocean. It was as if the consciousness of the cosmos itself were different in light of the fact that so many individuals were focussed together on the same nonlocal reality. Assuming there is a world soul, a nation soul, and even a community soul, one nested in the other, there must be a kind of downward influence of whole to part, a transmission, not just of "information," but of the "spirit," i.e., the container, not just the contained. That's what it felt like, as if the container were distinctly different -- as is true of most "holy-days."
Many thoughts were hatched as Bob absently wandered the 'hood. I thought of how Christianity elevates human life to cosmic significance in such a beautiful and poetic way that bypasses the parched old ego and reaches straight down here to the water table.
No other religion equates the birth of a baby with the birth of the living God, or a mother's touch with the quintessence of the sacred: But his mother only / In her maiden bliss / Worshipped the Beloved / With a kiss. Indeed, the idea of baby-as-God would be considered a heresy among the Mohammedans and an absurdity among the Buddhists. How could this not have extraordinary implications for the way children are regarded in the different cultures?
I thought of how the decorations on the houses represent the divine light defying the darkness of the solstice, as if to say that no external force will extinguish the inner light.
I thought of how the end of time is juxtaposed to the beginning, how birth occurs in the death of winter, followed by death in the spring, even though death can never contain the spring.
I thought of the unique role of man, how he is the mediator between God and nature, and how the finite world is given a special significance by virtue of this fact. It is not merely maya, but the exteriorized logos waiting to be unpacked and redeemed by the interior logos.
So, can consciousness change the world? Yes, of course, since the world is a representation within the greater soul-field of consciousness as such. To cite just one jarring example, if you can't feel the demonic energy that emanates from the leftwing blogosphere, then you are pretty much insoulsate. That is, your soul has become so blunted that it can no longer make reliable discriminations within the realm of spirit. And if you can't do that, then you are by definition a lost soul, or at best, merely adrift.
Returning to the message of Christianity, obviously one of its primary purposes is to provide intelligible bearings for the soul's journey through this strange and wicked world, which actually is adrift and off its axis. Therefore, if we merely conform ourselves to the world, we will end up adrift as well, like climbing out of the water onto a ship that is headed toward the rocks. Rather, the soul must conform itself to its own image and likeness, which you might say is only the whole freaking point of life.
Hmm. A baby is stirring in the next room. Christmas day has officially begun.
There is only one birth -- and this birth takes place in the being and in the ground and core of the soul. This birth takes place in darkness. And not only is the Son of the heavenly Creator born in this darkness -- but you too are born there as a child of the same heavenly Creator.... And the Creator extends this same power to you out of the divine maternity bed located in the Godhead to eternally give birth. --Meister Eckhart