Thursday, May 22, 2008

Swimming in the Ocean of Being with the Eternal Life Preserver

While metaphysics is exact, it generally must be expressed in inexact terms in order to convey the depths of its exactitude. As Sells explains, we begin with the "unresolvable dilemma of transcendence." Although it is beyond names, in order to unname it, we must give it a name. As such, we must always be mindful of the fact that this name cannot function as a "container" in the way normal words do. Rather, it is more like a placemarker; it designates a "hole" that we must fill through grace-infused experience, lest we saturate it with a lot of preconceived ideas. To put to put it another way, the word must simultaneously convey presence while at the same time evoking its own absence; this corresponds with the realm of mystery, which is the quintessence of present absence and absent presence.

It is not just God that must be discussed in this manner. The most intense human realities shade off into the ineffable and uncontainable, so that we risk trivializing them if we try to reduce them to some mechanical formula (which, for example, all bad drama and poetry do). Sex, death, and love are all uncontainable, even though we obviously have words for them. But for those of you who have lost a loved one, you no doubt remember how you entered an alternate reality in the presence of death, a reality that was entirely separate from the common use of the word. Among other things, the nature of time changes, and you are in the realm of the sacred. I can remember this quite vividly. It truly cannot be appreciated until you're in it.

Or perhaps you recall the intensity of the first time you fell in love. All I remember is being plunged into a reality that was well beyond familiar words and concepts. I was definitely in over my head. It is then that you realize, "Oh. This is where all those stupid songs come from." And the ancients were much more wise about sex than we are. The modern people who imagine they are most "sophisticated" about matters of sexuality are usually the most naive. Human sexuality is like a signifier that cannot be signified or contained, but it can be "channelled" upward and inward, which is one of the esoteric purposes of marriage. More on which later. I don't want to get seduced by that mysteress at the moment.

As a perceptive reader pointed out to a sightless troll the other day, one of the purposes of this kind of language is to to set up a seemingly paradoxical or binary opposition that vaults the mind upward toward a nonlocal "third." For example, you will see a number of these in the Cosmogenesis and Cosmobliteration sections of the Coonifesto, even though these were spontaneous formulations (i.e., "speaking in Tongan") that, for better or worse, I didn't even consciously realize I was spewing, e.g., "empty plenum," "inexhaustible void," "one brahman deathless breathing breathless," "unborn thus undying," "beginning and end of all impossibility," etc. Only later did I realize the extent to which such paradoxical language is a common "adequation" to the Real, which is always just beyond the horizon of articulation.

The purpose of such spontaneous descryptics is to render our normal understanding of speech "inoperative," so as to lure the mind up and out. It is a "creative destruction" of language, very different from the mostly "destructive destruction" of deconstruction. This distinction is hardly "postmodern." Rather, it has always been understood by the most sophisticated theologians, e.g., Philo, Maiomonides, Plotinus, Dionysius, Origen, Shankara, John Scotus Eriugena, and certainly Eckhart, who in my view was perhaps the greatest genius in his startlingly fresh and novel uses of language to properly speak the unspeakable, glish the unglishable, and eff the ineffingbelievable.

Recall that yesterday we spoke of the fundamental opposition within scripture between its inner and outer meanings, or the spirit and letter; another balance it must maintain is between transcendence and immanence, for it is always both. Again, it must simultaneously convey and yet only "suggest" in a provocative manner (here again, the sayings of Jesus are exquisitely constructed in this regard; not surprisingly, the balance he achieves is "perfect").

In fact, this is one of the ways to instantly recognize true from false revelation. For example, if you have ever read one of those incredibly dopey Scientology brochures, they contain the most leaden and almost retarded prose you could imagine. In fact, it is retarded, for just as one can be intellectually or morally retarded, one can be spiritually retarded.

You also see the opposite, that is, the use of pseudo-forms of religious speech toward wholly unholy absecular ends. Someone who is familiar with these techniques recognizes them in an instant in the vacuous rhetoric of Obama. It is clearly religious speech, but in the absence of the religious object (since it is essentially aimed at religious retards, and therefore, proglodytes who most hunger after transcendence without realizing it).

As dangerous as an L. Ron Hubbard is, an Obama is infinitely more so, being that he is so much more skillful than Hubbard at aping religious rhetoric, including its "rhythms." Hubbard essentially engages in religious pornography, leaving nothing to the (higher) imagination; Obama, on the other hand, specifically misapporoprates the higher imagination (after all, he learned this technique from a sociopathic master). There is plenty of "space" in his rhetoric for the irreligiously religious hysteric to "fill in the blanks," which is a formula for infinite mischief. No, I am not invoking Godwin's law, but suffice to say that this is precisely what Hitler did, something I will get more into later.

In other words, Obama is simply recycling the same old lies of the left, except that he is able to skillfully communicate them as if they represent not just novelty or "change," but transcendence, of all things! Anyone with spiritual discernment can see that his rhetoric does not point "up" and beyond itself toward the Real, as his hypnotized cult members imagine. Rather, it ultimately points down and out, something that becomes increasingly obvious as the campaign wears on. I am as sick of him already as I was of Clinton after eight years.

But we're getting sidetracked. What I really wanted to do is to enter the linguistic wayback machine, which also happens to be in the same loquation as the wayup machine. First, an invocation to announce that we are leaving secular time behind and below, and venturing into the nonlocal origins of All, which can only be discerned in the now, since that's when it was first accompliced for the last time; to quote Eckhart, the beginning of all things "also means the end of all things, since the first beginning is because of the last end."

In The Beginning....

This has all happened before; it will all happen again....

Once Upon a Time....

At the beginning of the beginning, even nothing did not exist....

One's upin a timeless, without a second to spore....


Somehow, this story, no matter who tells it, always involves water and oceans. Most obviously,

And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

But how about,

From the Light there came forth a holy Word, which took its stand upon the watery substance. (Hermes)

Out of the infinite ocean of existence arose Brahma, the first-born and and foremost among the gods. From him sprang the universe, and he became its protector. (Mundaka Upanishad)

Unfathomable as the sea, wondrously ending only to begin again, informing all creation without being exhausted... (Chuang-tse)

For nor before nor after was the process of God's overflowing over these waters. (Dante)

I could go on, but you get the idea. Now, as Sells mentions with regard to poetry, drama, or most any other form of art, the deeper meaning "risks being trivialized when its meaning is defined and paraphrased discursively" -- like trying to explain the meaning of a joke, which defloats its whole porpoise. As such, scripture is intended to have a punchline, except that it must be a guffah-ha! experience. There is a very fine line between skillful exegesis and simply spoiling the joke of scripture, like a bad straight man.

I'm almost out of time here, so let's just say that O is for ocean, and that the Coonifesto is bracketed by two of them which are actually the same one, since the "oceans" in reality all flow together ("converse") and have no boundaries between them (or a boundary of nothing).

In Cosmogenesis we read of a shadow spinning before the beginning over a silent static sea, which is hovering over the waters without a kenosis; while in Cosmobliteration we wade into the same eternal waters from the other side, only this time our winding binding river of light empties to the sea.... Here, by the headwaters of the eternal, the fountain of innocence, the mind shoreless vast and still, absolved and absorbed in what is always the case, face to face in a sacred space. A drop embraced by the sea held within the drop. Inhere in here.

I apologize if I can't be any more precise than that.

29 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

"...the deeper meaning "risks being trivialized when its meaning is defined and paraphrased discursively" -- like trying to explain the meaning of a joke, which defloats its whole porpoise."

*sigh*

I think I need to write that a hundred times, and keep it predominantly placed in a plaque near my computer so that next time I am tempted to point out the obvious to the unseeing I don't hog your bandwidth in a fruitless endeavor.

5/22/2008 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The challenge I think is to create 'steps' that allow the person to ascend without lowering the structure itself. Most good jokes will lead you on so that it is possible for you to get the joke without explaining it to you.

5/22/2008 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Julie said, I think I need to write that a hundred times

As my pastor used to say, if you can't say 'Amen', say, 'Ah. Me.' Mea culpa, as well.

We have simply fallen into the habit of using argument and reason to explain something that we did not get by argument and reason. I have seen the Ocean. I didn't see it in Kansas. If Toto is in Kansas and doesn't want to leave, he can deny the Ocean exists and give me all sorts of reasons why it is unnecessary and could not exist. (Toto says, Rain comes from clouds. What's the Ocean got to do with it? Besides rain is fresh water and you say the Ocean is salty. Therefore there is no Ocean.) I can state what was obvious to me on the Coast, but Toto will never "see".

GB says: Rather, it is more like a placemarker; it designates a "hole" that we must fill through grace-infused experience, lest we saturate it with a lot of preconceived ideas. To put to put it another way, the word must simultaneously convey presence while at the same time evoking its own absence; this corresponds with the realm of mystery, which is the quintessence of present absence and absent presence.

Like the X on a pirate's map: Here be treasure. Dig.

proglodytes -- I love it.

5/22/2008 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger QP said...

"Somehow, this story, no matter who tells it, always involves water and oceans."

Toward an understanding of the nature of water:

"In the original Taoist texts, wu wei is often associated with water and its yielding nature. [...] Droplets of water, when falling as rain, gather in watersheds, flowing into and forming rivers of water, enjoining the proverbial sea: this is the nature of water. Furthermore, whilst always yielding downwards, water finds its own level in the 'dark valley' — where biological life is regenerated." -- excerpt from Wu Wei at wiki.

This has all happened before; it will all happen again....

5/22/2008 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Does someone who disagrees, or doesn't agree yet, have to do so from ill motives?

5/22/2008 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray Ingles said..."Does someone who disagrees, or doesn't agree yet, have to do so from ill motives?"

Nope. It's rare though.
(and... yesss you do seem to be potentially one of the exceptions.)

5/22/2008 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Ray, I'm not accusing you of ill motives. I know something you don't. How could you be blamed for that?

5/22/2008 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Nice Triangle.

5/22/2008 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Besides, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as proved by the many leftists who aren't outright sociopaths. I'm big enough to believe that those who disagree with me are sincerely in error.

5/22/2008 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

To forgive is Petey

5/22/2008 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Van - The triangle actually makes a subtle point. Bob has talked about how higher-dimensional objects can't be fully represented in lower-dimensional space without losing information, like pushing a hand through a plane. All you can see are 'slices', and two apparently disconnected objects (like a slice that only catches fingers) can actually be parts of something connected in a higher space.

But there's a converse problem - you can create representations in a lower space (like, say, a 2D image) of something that doesn't actually add up in a higher space... unless you only look at it from one angle...

But then, I've just explained a joke. Darn. :->

5/22/2008 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"...like trying to explain the meaning of a joke, which defloats its whole porpoise."

At the risk of selling Flipper for tuna salad... grabbing onto the guffah-ha, I think laughter is the middle step between logical Reasoning, and contemplating the Poetic (which I think is still Reason, but most definitely with a capital 'R', and the following distinctions).

I guess I've gone over this before in some fashion, but Peter Pan won't object, so I'll go ahead. Observe yourself when seeing the climax of a play come together, solving a puzzle, finally remembering something, a sudden realization and a burst of belly laughter. What they all have in common, is some degree of significant gap being integrated, usually suddenly, and the sensation is like a rubber band snapping your concepts mentally back together into your awareness. "ahh, ah...!, Ah!, Ah-hah -haaa!!!"

In logical reasoning, you are usually drilling towards particulars, making distinctions between qualities and their quantities, towards a definite goal, looking to integrate as yet unknowns in a linearly logical manner. Think of those columns of related words and definitions which you draw lines from one side to another. Or following or blazing a trail, seeing that you need to step here first, step there next... the Aha! moment comes when you made all the visible steps you can, and you're casting a grappling hook into the dim light, and you finally hook onto something, yank and the completing bridge comes slamming over and into place, the lights turn on, and you make the integration between start and completion.

The poetic, on the other hand, in its extreme, is usually drilling up and around, not towards more defined particulars, but from particulars "... whose woods these are, I think I know..." towards the stratospheric hierarchies of vertical concepts and principles via not only words descriptive in only a general way "He won't see me stopping here...", and with spicy, tart or moody emotions "... Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year.. ...". Through this process (couldn't resist using the word), your mind doesn't move from clearly marked step to step, but you leap and swing from one vine to another, tree to tree, and depending on where you let your attention linger, you will be seeing and grasping varying slices of entire knowledge trees in a few exhilarating movements, and without any chance of summarizing the trip in a neat sentence.

Laughter, mixes the two, it moves from step to step to step to a tree related only in an equivocal way, but whose content casts the step you would have expected into an initially jarring, but integratable connection... they don't go together... but do so in a logically logical way - a conceptual square linked to a circle, rather than a parallelogram, and out pops the belly laugh.

And in that way, logical integrations, though the relations between connections change between linear thinking and poetic, they still follow a 'logical' form... but you have to grasp what 'logic' is first, and the wider context it is being applied in… and what it can appropriately be applied to, and at what level. Mr. Spock (first generation anyway) need not apply.

(sorry if I turned Flipper into a tuna sandwich)

5/22/2008 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray Ingles said "... Van - The triangle actually makes a subtle point. Bob has talked about how higher-dimensional objects can't be fully represented in lower-dimensional ..."

Yep, got it - there maybe hope for you.

"But then, I've just explained a joke. Darn. :->"

Heck, you just killed a flounder... I went after the great white splasher.

5/22/2008 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

easy for you to say...

5/22/2008 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"...in a logically logical way " in a logically illogical way .

Sheesh.

I know, lots more... ah well... work and play don't always mix well.

5/22/2008 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous bipsycholing puffoon said...

"In other words, Obama is simply recycling the same old lies of the left, except that he is able to skillfully communicate them as if they represent not just novelty or "change," but transcendence, of all things! Anyone with spiritual discernment can see that his rhetoric does not point "up" and beyond itself toward the Real, as his hypnotized cult members imagine. Rather, it ultimately points down and out, something that becomes increasingly obvious as the campaign wears on. I am as sick of him already as I was of Clinton after eight years."

Nothin' like a world class preacher diving headfirst into the shallow water of politics. Again. Someone go get a shovel. The rest of you...grab his feet and pull. Just like he's been doing to you.

5/22/2008 08:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Hon. Rev. Jeremiah Wright said...

Gagdad Bob ain't no world-class preacher, and he ain't no ways deep, not like my boy.

5/22/2008 08:44:00 PM  
Anonymous bipsycholing puffoon said...

Wanna-be rev:

Interesting. I believe your roots is sticking out from beneath your sheet. But that's still no cause to be dissin' your coarse, cuz. Let's take one strain of parasites at a time.

5/23/2008 01:33:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Julie, Bob, et al:

This is an amazing trestimonial from the daughter of the high priestess of unreconstituted Feminazism (I hate that term, but nothing else will suffice) Alice Walker.

Rebecca Walker is a living example of man's (woman's) ability to transcend even the sort of horrific inflicted by Alice Walker on her daughter. The twisted elder Walker refuses to communicate with her daughter because she commeited the cardinal feminazi sin of having a baby.

Feminazism is a particularly noxious weed in the Leftist vacant lot. A more loathesome ideology is difficult to imagine. Yet Alice Walker is idolized by millions of Oprahbots...

Link: How my mother's fanatical views tore us apart

5/23/2008 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

When I first came to OC I was -- like the vast majority of intellectually curious Westerners -- convinced of the authority of publications such as Scientific American, and indeed of the solid scientific foundation I imagined undergirded modern cosmology.

Then I started reading Bob.

I also read a lot of what Bob recommeneds over there on the right hand side of your browser. Recently I read the Berlinsky book, which along with Explaining Postmodernism has had almost as great an effect on me as the Coonifesto itself.

Today when I read the following in Scientific American:

The arrow of time is arguably the most blatant feature of the universe that cosmologists are currently at an utter loss to explain. Increasingly, however, this puzzle about the universe we observe hints at the existence of a much larger spacetime we do not observe. It adds support to the notion that we are part of a multiverse whose dynamics help to explain the seemingly unnatural features of our local vicinity.

I can honestly say that I see right through this utter bullshit. My favorite Berlinski metaphor for this sort of psueudo-religious hokum is the convoluted epicycles required to explain the Ptolemaic cosmos. The only difference is that these snivelling atheists aren't even wrong. At least Ptolemy was simply wrong.

Link: Does Time Run Backward in Other Universes?

5/23/2008 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Julie said...
"...the deeper meaning "risks being trivialized when its meaning is defined and paraphrased discursively" -- like trying to explain the meaning of a joke, which defloats its whole porpoise."

*sigh*

I think I need to write that a hundred times, and keep it predominantly placed in a plaque near my computer so that next time I am tempted to point out the obvious to the unseeing I don't hog your bandwidth in a fruitless endeavor.

I cooncur, Julie.
To paraphrase one of your classic comments: think of fruitless endeavors as useless porpoises, which are really just hippies with flippers. :^)

5/23/2008 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Smoov said "My favorite Berlinski metaphor for this sort of psueudo-religious hokum is the convoluted epicycles required to explain the Ptolemaic cosmos. "

Hey! He swiped my favorite metaphor!

(Hold on... just a minute... getting over myself... ok, there we go...)

"At least Ptolemy was simply wrong."

In one sense, Ptolemy wasn't even wrong, since he was describing actual appearances (Mars circling backwards in the night sky, etc), and doing so accurately. His error was in assuming that appearances from the context of his perspective were equal to the larger context, which in his time, he had very little reason to doubt.

The others have no such excuse.

5/23/2008 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

I was in court yesterday testifying on behalf of one of our foster children. The "Clinical Director" of our foster care agency sat next to me. I noticed that she had a big round sticker on the cover of her notebook. It said, "Standing for Obama." I did not say anything to her. Courtrooms, afterall, are places where people are expected to be polite (suppress passionately held views).

I realized that 99% of the people in the social work profession are probably standing with her, hoping that Obama will more "adequately fund" the trough on which they feed.

These "clinicians" are of very little help to foster parents who are trying to nurture, civilize, and socialize little children who previously experienced none of the above. The clinicians know how to have all the right stuff in files, for when the auditors come. They know nothing about what it is like to share your life with a foster child.

5/23/2008 09:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the majority of "foster parents" are poorly equipped to navigate the maze of social programs that enable the gov't funded "foster parent" program in the first place. Which is the host and which is the parasite, please?

5/23/2008 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said "Which is the host and which is the parasite, please?"

Remember... all together now:

"Look for... the anony' label,
When you are equivocating or evading the point...
Remember somewhere people are thinking
and their truths are kicking us outta da house,
We work hard at complaining,
Thanks to the Tenured we don't pay to get our way.
So, always look for ... the anony' label,
it says we're unable
to be happy in the U.S.A."

5/23/2008 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Anon 10:18,
Bob actually rescues kids, while you hide & take drive-by pot-shots at someone better than yourself.

You've left no doubt as to which is the hero & which is the coward.

5/23/2008 02:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heroes and Cowards? Sticks and stones. Try this one on for size: sore loser.

5/23/2008 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

wow. Yeah, that makes sense. Ximeze points out that you missed the relevant point completely, and that your tack was not even up to being wrong... and she's a sore loser... okey-dokey.

Ximeze, hope you're bearing up under aninnymouse's sledgehammer-like blow.

vicious.

5/23/2008 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"hope you're bearing up under aninnymouse's sledgehammer-like blow"

Ya think?

How on earth does sore loser follow from hero/coward & stick/stone?

Oh dear, we can only hope the bearer of such a muddled mind is too young to vote.

google: non sequitur. This concept will be invaluable to you when you grow up.

5/23/2008 10:26:00 PM  

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