Monday, March 10, 2008

Cosmolinguistic Wordploys (3.06.10)

A science of the finite has need of a wisdom which goes beyond it and controls it, just as the body needs a soul to animate it, and the reason an intellect to illuminate it. --F. Schuon

I definitely could have slept another hour this morning. In any event, we'll do our best with a hypnopompic ramble from Bob's unconscious.

We intuitively and routinely use language in such a way as to imply that the mind is a space. But what kind of space is it? If it is holographic and multidimensional -- which it is -- then we need a language that parallels that fact, or else it will simply mislead, as the mind will appear to take on reified properties of the language used to describe it. It will be like trying to represent a three-dimensional cube on a two-dimensional piece of paper. Something vital will be lost. One thing lost will be the dimension of "depth."

What does it mean to say that something is "deep?" That it partakes of multiple dimensions, even if we are not consciously aware of all of them. Authentic scripture is a kind of language that is deep and resonant. Inexhaustibly so. It can never be fully explicated, since it partakes of the Absolute.

The problem with religious language is not so much the literal/symbolic divide, but the question of whether or not language is being used in a generative or a static way. If it is static -- as so much religious talk is -- then it is not really about religion, but simply about language, about saturated words pointing to each other. It is like a glorified case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is tied up in an entirely closed and circular neural knotwork. It is safely on this side of the ego, or of consensus reality, and therfore part of the problem -- a nice painting on the prison wall, or a fanciful story about life outside the prison gates.

Properly understood, a religion is just like a scientific paradigm, in that it is a "frame of reference" that allows us to “see" religious facts it iluminates. Otherwise this inexhaustible bounty goes unseen. Even in science it is understood that "percept follows concept," i.e, "Never trust a fact without a good theory to support it."

A fact is a relation between two events. We are one of the events. God is the other. Thus, in order to think about God, we must move from epistemology to mystepistemology. For if your ontology is wrong, your epistemology will follow.

When spiritual communication is generative, something magical is taking place, as it somehow serves as the translating function that makes the translinguistic "religious object" present in the form of energies or theolougomena. As such, there is always a performance aspect involved. It is always words + music. To speak religiously -- to use language in such a way that it actually mirrors and partakes of the the domain of spirit -- there is a certain rhythm and a certain felicity of phrasing that must be achieved. Not to merge with the ocean but to use language as a bucket. Language must be unsaturated enough to either "bite" into spirit, or "lure" spirit into it. Yes, grace "blows where it will," but it's always better if you don't use language in such a way that you're fighting against it.

This is my objection ot fundamentalists of any kind. Yes, they are dogmatic, but it is not so much the content of the dogma but the form in which it is presented that is troubling. Language is used in such a way that its life-giving qualities are squeezed dry, so you are given merely the husk of the words, not the kernel. They cannot trans-form, only in-form. They do not draw out, but push their way in.

To speak of spirit, one must have one foot firmly planted in reality. But not both feet. One foot must be equally planted in trans-reality, in the world that is prior to the material. You have to catch it before it quickens and congeals into the illusion of solidity. As I get older -- especially now with a child -- I am more deeply entangled in the world than ever. But at the same time, I am more deeply rooted in the other realm as well.

It reminds me of looking into a placid lake with a tall tree on the other side. On the lake there will be a mirror image of the tree, going in the opposite direction -- one up, one down, one exterior, one interior, meeting at the Crossroads where life must be lived. Similarly, when I look into my son's eyes, it is like gazing into an eternity that extends infinitely in two directions -- into him and into me. Growth is growing in both directions, not one or the other; the soul penetrates God just as God penetrates the soul.

Reality is logos, absolute word and infinite grammar. But language is always communication. It is to someone. It is from someOne. Why spend your life decoding the message but never ask who is speaking?

Sufficient language for talking about God has yet to be perfected. I take that back. The language has been perfected, but few remember how to speak it any longer. We've run out of trancelighters who are able to demonstrate it while speaking it. An evolving logos will evolve the consciousness of the person who contemplates it. That's not quite right, for the logos itself doesn't evolve, but causes evolution upon contact with matter, so to speak. This is why religious doctrine "has an aspect of system and an aspect of indeterminacy," for if it didn't, it would simply be God, and no communication would be possible between the Absolute and his annoying relatives, or between God and man.

How to speak of the Omninameable One? It is not that we can say so little about it, but so much. As Schuon writes, the problem is "not through a lack, but through a superabundance of light." Language does not contain it, but it contains language, absorbing words like a sponge or shedding them like water off a duck's back. It cannot be done without paradox, symbolism, wordplay, myth -- all the tools available to half-awake language-bearing monkeys.

Well, that's it for this morning.

To be able to combine the religious symbolism of Heaven with the astronomical fact of the stellar galaxies in a single consciousness, an intelligence is needed which is more than just rational.... The tragic impasse reached by the modern mind results from the fact that most men are incapable of grasping a priori the compatibility between the symbolic expressions of tradition and the material discoveries established by science.... Man, when he trusts his reason alone, only ends by unleashing the dark and dissolving forces of the irrational --F. Schuon, Stations of Wisdom

28 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

well stated...all one needs is imagination...a form of grace.

pca

3/10/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Note to your publisher:

Get Bob into a sleep-deprived state, give him a computer but no caffeine, put him under time constraints, and let him have at it. You'll have your best-seller!

Well, some of the epi-squabble proved useful, as witnessing it gave me a chance to re-view last semester's essay, "What Compassion Means to Me." So thanks to all the participants for that!

Glad to say that today's post serves to "reinforce" my opinions, not correct them.

"...so much religious talk is -- then it is not really about religion, but simply about language, about saturated words pointing to each other." Big agreement.

"For if your ontology is wrong, your epistemology will follow." As always, your being attracts your life.

"I am more deeply entangled in the world than ever. But at the same time, I am more deeply rooted in the other realm as well." Nice symbolism! Something even a simple farmer can grok.

"An evolving logos will evolve the consciousness of the person who contemplates it." Now that is Hope you can believe in!

I say: Less sleep for Bob! Set his Unconscious FREE!

3/10/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Walt said
"Well, some of the epi-squabble proved useful, as witnessing it gave me a chance to re-view last semester's essay, "What Compassion Means to Me." So thanks to all the participants for that!"

Agreed. And today's post was like a draught of cool water after the grungy march of this weekend.

Three cheers for sleep deprivation! ;)

3/10/2008 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

What Walt said;
What Julie said.
(I love shorthand)

3/10/2008 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Reality is logos, absolute word and infinite grammar. But language is always communication. It is to someone. It is from someOne. Why spend your life decoding the message but never ask who is speaking?

Sufficient language for talking about God has yet to be perfected. I take that back. The language has been perfected, but few remember how to speak it any longer. We've run out of trancelighters who are able to demonstrate it while speaking it. An evolving logos will evolve the consciousness of the person who contemplates it. That's not quite right, for the logos itself doesn't evolve, but causes evolution upon contact with matter, so to speak. This is why religious doctrine "has an aspect of system and an aspect of indeterminacy," for if it didn't, it would simply be God, and no communication would be possible between the Absolute and his annoying relatives, or between God and man."

I'm sure glad I found one trancelighter here at One Cosmos in you, Bob! Great pOst!

Actually, so many of the Raccoon clan are, in their own ways, trancelighters, I reckon.

And whenever the O is flO-wing, our conciousnesses evOlves with the touch of LOghOst.

Or perhaps the lOghOst touches us and jump starts the O, erupting into gnosis.

The last week of posts have expended my definitions of Hope, Faith, Beleaf, knowledge, gnosis, logos, language, cOmmunication, and so much more, and with real compassion!
Not that artificial, pacifistic, hollow platitude, crapassion that the trolls been tryin' to sell.

For true compassion is detached compassion, guided by Truth and Justice.

We might "feel" like we want to help someone but step back and see that the worst thing we can do is to help that person.
Especially if that person doesn't wanna halp themselves.

Let the dead bury the dead, a great Teacher once said.
We got plenty of work available with the living.
And by living I mean livin' in Reality with a repentive 'tude.

Compassion is circumspect, and wise. And compassion gnos that even if we could, we shouldn't necessarily attempt to alleviate someone's suffering.

Feel sorry for that bum with a puppy at the entrance to Walmart?
He may very well be a pedophile for all you know.
That's why compassion should be detached from our feelings.

Some, like that fool yesterday, wanna help terrorists.
Yeah, well I could see helpin' terrorists meet their maker, but other than that, I would rather protect folks from terrorists.
Help folks that are living.

Anyway, just some random thoughts or somethin'.

3/10/2008 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

WW,J n' V said!
How's that for SH V? :^)

3/10/2008 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger QP said...

Unconscious Bob wrote: "To speak of spirit, one must have one foot firmly planted in reality. But not both feet. One foot must be equally planted in trans-reality, in the world that is prior to the material. You have to catch it before it quickens and congeals into the illusion of solidity."

Yowey! My veracity meter vibrated when I read that.


Being currently enrolled in a 'modern version', i.e. unsaturated, but very old Chinese energy work, that is most in-spiring, thought this primary school teacher would share something even a simple farmer can grok:

One evening an old Martial Arts Master told his young students about a “Great Battle of life and death” that goes on inside all Human Beings.

The wise man said, "The battle is between "Two Dragons" … They are battling for dominance inside us all.

One is Dark, it represents Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Light, it represents Good. It is joy, love, peace, hope,  humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, serenity, compassion and faith."

The students thought about it for a while and then asked the Master: "Which Dragon wins?"

The old wise man simply replied, "The one you feed."


- Unknown Author


And as Chesterton might have said: May our enemies fail!

3/10/2008 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

"To be able to combine the religious symbolism of Heaven with the astronomical fact of the stellar galaxies in a single consciousness, an intelligence is needed which is more than just rational.... The tragic impasse reached by the modern mind results from the fact that most men are incapable of grasping a priori the compatibility between the symbolic expressions of tradition and the material discoveries established by science.... Man, when he trusts his reason alone, only ends by unleashing the dark and dissolving forces of the irrational."

It's a question that I've often wondered about. Can we continue the tradition of cosmologies we can grasp, or has it been lost to us? I'm guessing it's a matter of the right 'illuminator' being used on the information that is present for us.

There seems to be a difference between the silly and erroneous (take this Bestiary for example.) but then, take Aesop's fables and how far they cut through time. I think the flaw in something like the bestiary is its attempt to rationalize a lot of things which were distinctly mythical.

Perhaps one of the roles that Science Fiction had in the last century is the re-liquifying of our cosmology. What was sad about it was often how anti-religious (or falsely religious, as Phillip K. Dick was) they were.

3/10/2008 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

From Above

old rhythmic river
google earth to new orleans
my delta lady

3/10/2008 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Johan said...

I actually enjoyed the episte issue, since I got to learn a few things of the debate. I do not comment very much because mostly I don’t have anything that clever to add. It would probably just be “Great post, Bob!”, and that would be quite boring in the long run. For now I’m just happy to be a reader, and I do try to put out some post in Swedish for my very limited audience in Sweden :)

You might want to check up on two nice short (approx 7 min each) videos of how C.S. Lewis went from atheism to theism to Christianity.

Anyhow, I would like to say thank you to you who had enough compassion to answer on the epsite comments, now I will contemplate on all this for a while.

And by the way, this was also a great post, Bob! I concur whole heartedly with Ben: “The last week of posts have expended my definitions of Hope, Faith, Beleaf, knowledge, gnosis, logos, language, cOmmunication, and so much more, and with real compassion!”

/Johan the cosmic Swede

3/10/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

"Give us something here!" Alert:

"Late Sunday night in Madrid the youthful Zapatero, flanked by his ministers and wife, told an ecstatic crowd he planned to "govern for everybody, considering above all those who do not have everything ... govern with women's aspirations in mind, for fulfilling the hopes of youth, and for the elderly – govern with a firm hand but with a hand held out."
CS Monitor

3/10/2008 01:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slam dunk.

You may be surprised though, on that notion of having run out of people who can demonstrate as they speak.

3/10/2008 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

What good can come of this? Liberal cretinism has besotted their minds.

3/10/2008 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Thanks for the links Johan - those are keepers.

Serendipitous synchronicity of the Cosmic spiral strikes again:

"An evolving logos will evolve the consciousness of the person who contemplates it. That's not quite right, for the logos itself doesn't evolve, but causes evolution upon contact with matter, so to speak."

And

"To be able to combine the religious symbolism of Heaven with the astronomical fact of the stellar galaxies in a single consciousness, an intelligence is needed which is more than just rational.... "

New toy for trancelighters-in-training
(TW MJ Totten 3/10/08)

"“It's beautiful,” I said to two MPs who stood outside on the patio and smoked cigarettes. “The stars. And the quiet.”

“Look at the night sky through this,” a soldier said as he handed me the night vision eyepiece he had unscrewed from his helmet.

I looked through it and up. The sky exploded with thousands of stars I had never seen against a blinding background of night vision green. None are visible with the naked eye, but they’re there all the time, even in daylight. Now I could see."

Has anybody here looked at the sky thru night-vision apparatus?

Oh man do I want this toy!

3/10/2008 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

QP, just that kind of downright foolishness is one of the reasons I have real reservations about going back to the Church. They represent the Absolute, yet they can't seem to simply stick to the time-tested ideals. Excessive wealth a deadly sin? As defined by whom, exactly, in the Vatican? Pollution? Ridiculous, especially given that many "green" technologies actually create some seriously dangerous by-products in their creation, virtually negating their perceived positive effects (see ethanol and photo-voltaic cell production for prime examples).

This stuff just makes me shake my head in frustration; it seems like, far too often, the Church is its own worst enemy.

3/10/2008 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

Aye Julie. I was shaking my head too, so I wrote the Anchoress, and she provided me with a link to Rule 27, which states:

If the news story is from the British press and involves the Pope….
DON’T BELIEVE IT.


She also commented on the Telegraph article I linked above:

"There is also this - a pal of mine at one of the networks put a call into Rome to talk to someone in the Vatican about it and they said they're basically pulling their hair out about the way the press has mischaracterized (surprise!) what they said.  They never said it was a sin not to recycle.  All they were doing was pointing out that in changing times we Catholics are to be even more mindful than we already are supposed to be about the ways in which our actions have consequences and can affect our souls....for example the bit about great wealth wasn't supposed to mean that "being wealthy is a sin" but that our wealth should not distract us from the emptiness of wealth if it is not shared for the betterment of others and the glory of God; it's not a sin not to recycle, but it is  and always has been wrong to abuse the earth of which we are stewards.

Supposedly the vatican is going to try to clarify but it won't get anywhere near the coverage! :-)

Best, A"
**
Apparently, I forgot my own Rule 7: "Go to the source". Next time I'll see what's posted up at Zenit.

3/10/2008 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Due to my current time-consuming efforts on the corporate front I am still in drive-by posting mode, however I had to drop this tidbit in since it so clearly captures what Bob has been saying about the Left for so long. This is a clip from Lorne Gunter's (National Post) column today:

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column that was provocatively titled, “Forget global warming: Welcome to the New Ice Age.” In it, I explained that, far from being warming activists, some solar scientists see the recent downturn in solar activity as harbinger of a coming Ice Age.


I wondered how come we don’t hear about that in equal measure with the claims of an impending meltdown?


I received over 1,800 e-mails, most of them complimentary. A large number, though, were as hysterical and vicious as any I have received on any subject in almost two decades in journalism.


How could I not believe? Was I being dishonest or just stupid? How much had EXXON paid me? Until I could write in favour of the warming theorists, I should “go back into your oil company-funded bubble. You @*!/x-ing hack.”


And that was from a climate scientist at a major university.

3/10/2008 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

Bob's Unconscious also wrote - I love this: "To speak religiously -- to use language in such a way that it actually mirrors and partakes of the the domain of spirit -- there is a certain rhythm and a certain felicity of phrasing that must be achieved. Not to merge with the ocean but to use language as a bucket."

B16 demonstrates beautifully, extemporaneously.

3/10/2008 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Thanks, QP. I should have realized there was something fishy when all I could find was variations on the same news article, but no official Papal document. It's amazing how, no matter how many times the MSM prints utter BS, we are (or I am, at least) still inclined to believe it without checking the facts. Shame on me.

3/10/2008 05:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Interesting news from the land of Magnus Noorwegenkøønen.

3/10/2008 06:48:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>This is my objection ot fundamentalists of any kind. Yes, they are dogmatic, but it is not so much the content of the dogma but the form in which it is presented that is troubling<<

Certainly true of much of modern Christianity's popular music, which is drenched in sentimentality and Hallmark card gooey-ness. And it's almost always highly derivative.

I'm of mixed feelings about new age (fundamentalist new age, to be sure) stylistics. One one hand, it often uses the language of modern holo-tech and computer tech as a kind of metaphorical template. Not exactly the soaring lyrics of the King James bible, nothing that sets the nerve endings to high tingle.

Still, as a template, this kind of sleek, silvery high-tech language and the concepts that it represents really do more closely describe a multi-dimensional, holistic universe than did the old "divine clock maker's universe" language. I suppose this could be helpful in bringing a thoroughly secular mind to a more mystical comprehension of life. Scientific language for a scientific age, etc.

Of course, I think we should always remember that the spiritually-attuned mind rightly perceives holy scripture as a hologram with multi-dimensions, modern scientific language not required.

3/10/2008 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Re: the crime wave in Oslo, Norway. The direct reason for this seems to be the mass production of moochers by import of people from very foreign cultures, which are unable to (and not expected to) function in our society. It is their children who grow up with no respect for society. They learn from their parents to scorn the western culture, and from their classmates to scorn their own culture. So they end up extremely cynical, trusting only themselves. Still, I'd rather see them become car thieves than suicide bombers. I wonder how long we can avoid that.

3/11/2008 03:59:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Re: today's entry by Bob & His Unconscious. (Looks like a decent band name, no?) There are definitely words that are spirit and are life, but they are usually also very disturbing. You will notice that the vast majority of Christian preachers will speak a lot more about Jesus than they will quote him. And for good reason. Jesus fascinated people for a while, but eventually they got upset and left him. Most of the prophets also met a sticky end, it seems.

3/11/2008 04:19:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"When spiritual communication is generative, something magical is taking place, as it somehow serves as the translating function that makes the translinguistic "religious object" present in the form of energies or theolougomena. As such, there is always a performance aspect involved. It is always words + music. To speak religiously -- to use language in such a way that it actually mirrors and partakes of the the domain of spirit -- there is a certain rhythm and a certain felicity of phrasing that must be achieved. Not to merge with the ocean but to use language as a bucket. Language must be unsaturated enough to either "bite" into spirit, or "lure" spirit into it. Yes, grace "blows where it will," but it's always better if you don't use language in such a way that you're fighting against it."

That's quite a "dig".
I think, too often, we are using shovels instead of ladders.

Digging against the wind, so to speak, instead of soaring upon it.

And isn't that where we strive to be?
A beleaf on the wind of language taking root in the Truth of the reelIzation of the Lure?

3/11/2008 07:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Golem14 said...

Ximeze:

"Has anybody here looked at the sky thru night-vision apparatus?"

I picked up one of those little night-vision monoculars on eBay, and even though it isn't one of the high-end models it really makes a difference. I'm hoping to try it out during a meteor shower... it ought to be an amazing sight!

3/11/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Golem, very cool! Spent some time yesterday hunting up sites that sell them & $$$ yikes!

Plan B is to hit-up some 3-letter agency buddies to see if their gear includes them, or whether they have access to a pair.

Do they work during daylight, or is twilight & darker necessary? Newer models come with IR (how do they 'see' without IR?) Clearly, have plenty of homework to do.

Looking forward to your report re the meteor shower. That'll be really something!

3/11/2008 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Golem14 said...

Ximeze:

Mine (made by Night Owl Optics) has an IR illuminator, but it works fine without it in anything but near-total darkness. (I think the image tube picks up both visible and infrared light.) It does work in daylight if you use the special lens cap (it has a tiny hole to let the minimum of light through), but if you take the cap off in bright light it shuts down so as not to burn out the tube. I used it this past summer to watch bats and other critters in the yard, but it also gives a great view of the stars (especially the Milky Way) on a clear night.

3/11/2008 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Golem- thanks for responding

Just too, too kewl!

3/11/2008 01:15:00 PM  

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