Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You're Nobody 'til Somebody Loves You

Squeezed for time again. Another speed post.

Plotinus provides an interesting example of the cross-fertilization of the world's religions, being that he not only represents the convergence of 800 years of Greek thought, but is also known to have studied the philosophies of India at some point (although details of his life remain sketchy, since he thought them unimportant). In turn, as Andrew Louth writes, from Plotinus "issues a new current destined to fertilize minds as different as those of Augustine and Boethius, Dante and Meister Eckhart, Coleridge, Bergson, and T.S. Eliot." Not to mention Toots Mondello, even if he was unaware of the coonnection. Although he obviously had a public school diploma, he was not what we would call a "learned man."

Again, it is not so much that the early Christians were neo-Platonists per se; rather, they simply knew the latter to be the pinnacle of human thought, so they naturally wanted to understand or frame their own new ideas within its context. Hadot points out that ancient philosophy was very different from contemporary philosophy, in that tradition and continuity were valued, whereas novelty and innovation were distrusted and even scorned. Therefore, one did not gain prestige by being the latest innovation, but by association with established truth. For example, Plotinus would not have considered himself a "neo-Platonist," but simply a Platonist.

But what were the earliest Christians? Obviously Christ gave us the theos, but not the -ology, so to speak. He left that for others to work out. Or, you could say he gave us O "in full," plus quite a bit of (n), but not in any systematic way. Rather, most of his comments are like sparks emanating from a central fire, as opposed to being meta-level statements on the nature of sparks, fire, and eyes (although one suspects that he did this with his inner circle, much of which is preserved in tradition).

In the case of Plotinus, he begins with three main principles, 1) the One, or the Good; 2) Intellect, or nous; and 3) Soul, or psyche. I don't think we do any violence to this formulation to say that it exactly corresponds to the symbols used in the Coonifesto, that is O, (¶), and (•), respectively. Furthermore, just as I explain in the book, each of these is an emanation from above, not "from below," which would be strictly impossible. In other words, there is simply no way that (¶) could arise from (•). Rather, (•) is like a "satellite" of (¶); where (•) is local, (¶) is nonlocal, just like the cosmos it mirrors. Or, you could day that (•) is particle while (¶) is wave, just like the quantum realm which is its inverse image in the material.

I will let you argue amongst yourselves whether O is the "end of the line," or whether it is an emanation from "beyond-being." Personally, I don't think it particularly matters, as it really comes down to the necessary distinction between nirguna brahman and saguna brahman, or Godhead and God, or apophatic and cataphatic theology. In my view, being that humans are in the image of the Creator, the law of inverse analogy tells us that the structure of our minds reveals something about the Divine Mind (and about the relationship between quantum and Newtonian reality, as hinted at above).

Being that humans have a conscious and unconscious mind (which are really one, just looked at from different angles), I speculate that the Creator has what might be called Mind and Supramind; which is to say, just like a person, there is a face we see, animated by hidden forces that we don't. But a person without a face would still be a person, just as God is still God irrespective of his public persona. I suppose you could say that there is "God for us" and "God for himself." It's just that the nature of the latter makes it almost necessary that he would wish to communicate the former; thus, you might say that human beings are the last word in the "self discovery" (so to speak) of God's creative "idiom," in the sense discussed a few posts back.

In fact, it would probably be fair to say that this is the innovation Christians brought to neo-Platonism. That is, for Plotinus, the One is indifferent to the world. It is completely static, simple, beyond the duality of knower and known (or any other duality). It is the source of everything, and yet, outside everything. Now that I think about it, this is what distinguishes Greek emanationism from Christian panentheism, in that the God of the former would never sully himself with the world, whereas in the latter view, God very much gets down and dirty; in the Christian view, every thing is God, even while God is not everything. In Plotinus' view, there is much more of a bright line between God and world, or O and Ø.

Now, as it so happens, Origen, one of the most brilliant early fathers, studied under the same teacher as Plotinus, a fellow named Ammonius Saccas. However, as Louth explains, unlike Plotinus, who studied him as a pagan, Origen studied him as a Christian. Thus, he was one of the first -- if not the first -- to regard scripture as a special language having to do with facilitating spiritual ascent, or the soul's journey through purification, illumination, and union, or from (•) to O. But instead of being a mere "emanation" from the One, we are in the image of it, which makes a huge difference, for it means that we retain -- and perfect! -- our essential humanness on the way to divinization, or theosis.

I could be wrong -- again, I never claim to be a scholar on these matters -- but I don't think Plotinus would ever have considered human beings to be in the image of the Creator, nor would it be conceivable that the Creator would ever deign to actually become one of us. In short, it would be our job to ascend to O (↑), not the place of O to coondescend to us (↓).

Indeed, as Warren pointed out yesterday, it was none other than Augustine who worked this out to its fullest. It turns out that he was also deeply -- and quite personally -- influenced by Plotinus, except that "in his hands," the "longing for God is transformed from a human restlessness [for our homeland] to our response to the incredible love and condescension of God, indeed is the movement of the Holy Spirit in our hearts."

Louth says that this represents "an extraordinary break with Plotinus," in that "what for Plotinus is the culmination of the soul's experience is for Augustine only the beginning of the way." This is because of the Christ-principle, which "comes from our homeland to us in this world, who can enable us to pass from hence to there. He does this by making available a wooden vessel which can traverse the sea" between us and O. In the plotinian vision, we have to do all the work, whereas in the Christian view, God throws us the ultimate bone, if we may so express it.

You might say that Plotinus had too negative a view of matter, in that the very first sentence in Porphyry's biographical sketch says he appeared "ashamed to have a body." Obviously, some of this attitude crept into Augustine, but one wonders if this is more Greek than Christian? Or perhaps it is just a reflection of a certain archetypal reality, i.e., the beauty of the eternal vs. the corrupt and decaying world of time. I suppose it's a matter of emphasis, or inflection, for as Schuon wrote,

"For Plato, matter -- or the sensible world -- is bad [only] in so far as it is opposed to spirit, and in this respect only; and it does in fact oppose the spirit -- or the world of Ideas -- by its hardened and compressive nature, which is heavy as well as dividing, without forgetting its corruptibility in connection with life."

However, "matter is good with respect to the inherence in it of the world of Ideas: the cosmos, including its material limit, is the manifestation of the Sovereign Good, and matter demonstrates this by its quality of stability, by the purity and nobility of certain of its modes, and by its symbolist plasticity, in short by its inviolable capacity to serve as a receptacle for influences from Heaven."

So there can be a world-denying strand of Christianity, just as there can be a world-affirming strand of pagan thought. To emphasize one or the other is a "dangerous disequilibrium," and it is precisely this disequilibrium that would seem to be resolved to the fullest with the Incarnation -- or with the avatar principle, if you like: God became man so that man might become God.

55 Comments:

Blogger Warren said...

Excellent and very interesting post. Just a couple of random thoughts (and please pardon the long post, much of which is probably blindingly obvious to most of those here):

To me, it seems like the main difference between Platonism and Christianity is that there is no Creation in Platonism. The One overflows spontaneously from its superabundance, and after falling down a few rungs of the cosmic ladder, we (and our universe) are the result. We are sort of divine accidents, as it were. Admittedly, this is vastly better than the modern view that we are the accidental result of "frisky dirt" (as Ken Wilber puts it). And it's much better than the Gnostic view that we are the creation of an evil God (Plotinus was always at pains to separate his views from those of the Gnostics). But it still leaves us with a situation in which, when all is said and done, we (as souls) should try to get out of this mess as soon as possible and then just forget about it. It is very hard for such a philosophy, as someone once said (can't remember who), to avoid the conclusion that the Creation is basically a mistake, or at least something unfortunate. Creation itself is a Fall from grace. Plotinus seems not to like this implication, but he also has a hard time avoiding the logic of it.

A corollary of this view is that evil is a bottom-up affair - it's basically the result of the limitations of this physical realm. Once our souls, which have unaccountably fallen into this inferior realm (Plotinus is very fuzzy about how this could have happened), ascend once more to the spiritual realms where they belong, there will be no more "problem of evil". (All this is very consistent with the Hindu view of things as well.)

This is where the Judaic view, carried by Christianity, gave the needed corrective. It insisted that this Creation is WILLED by God, not an accidental slough from Him, like dandruff. The limitations we experience here are meant to be, and serve a divine purpose (what exactly, we don't know). Thus, the physical universe is innocent and is not the source of evil. Rather, evil is a purely spiritual affair, and flows DOWN into the physical realm, seriously corrupting it. This Judaic vision of things revolutionized my own opinions on many issues, once I had fully grasped it.

And today, Christians are once more faced with a pagan culture that believes evil (if there is such a thing) is a bottom-up affair, and that we are accidental results of a wholly impersonal process. Been there, done that. But the modern pagans have even abandoned such Platonic beliefs as the Good, the Soul, etc. So we are in a very dark wood indeed.

7/23/2008 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

A very dark wood lit up with very artificial light.

7/23/2008 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous christopher said...

"And today, Christians are once more faced with a pagan culture that believes evil (if there is such a thing) is a bottom-up affair, and that we are accidental results of a wholly impersonal process. Been there, done that. But the modern pagans have even abandoned such Platonic beliefs as the Good, the Soul, etc. So we are in a very dark wood indeed."

Warren, I get the distinction between the up and the down arrows and the absolute necessity of the "top down" vision. Nothing can be but that God is Prime and First. He is Above in this sense. And the movement then is down. Top down.

God is Transcendant AND Immanent. Infinite divided is infinite. Thus either place is equally the place to start. So another equally useful language is Beyond and Within as distinguished from Top and Bottom. This is the language that I prefer when thinking about origins. Does life appear as a Call from Beyond? Yes. Does life appear as a blossoming outward from within? Also yes. On the planet does blossoming outward from within look like bottom up?...

If I do not see God but see the process I cannot acknowledge the call, or the priority of God's Life blossoming. But the Blossom is nonetheless intimately visible. (God Immanent is also God visible at least at first because God Immanent is so close).
This visibility without acknowledging God can be called Bottom Up. Here is the twist. The rest is viewpoint: shall I call upon God as Center, or shall I call upon God Beyond?

Perhaps someone wiser than me can show why God Transcendant is more important to my life than God Immanent and thus why life is Called more importantly than that it Blossoms.

7/23/2008 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous erasmus said...

Christopher says:

"Nothing can be but that God is Prime and First."

...and Last.

7/23/2008 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous coonified said...

"But instead of being a mere "emanation" from the One, we are in the image of it, which makes a huge difference, for it means that we retain...essence..."

From my knowledge, even the notion of "image" was taken from Plato's understanding of how mirror images were created. According to him, vision was created "from the communion of the internal and external fires, and again from the union of them and their numerous transformations," (Timaeus) which basically means that vision is derived from the intermingling transformation of the two lights, subject and object. So, when we look at a mirror, or when they--the early christian fathers--looked into a mirror, it wasn't an illusory reflection that came to mind qua moderns, but rather, something was really there as if spontaneously created on the surface of substance, like a magical looking glass.

St. Anthony, speaking on the soul, says that it is as a "mirror" in which the "image of the Father can be seen." The soul here is then, a medium of sorts, like ether or water, onto which the heavens are 'really' projected; this is what it means to be an instantiation, or in-standing, of a higher being. That's not to say that we always share a kinship with O, for the soul by consequence of creatio ex nihilo, is "frail" and "dependent" on God's grace; an image through the glass darkly is really through the glass darkly.

Christians didn't seem to throw out the notion of Platos notion of emanation as to improve upon it. For one, if all issues forth from the One, all that is created below, even the nous itself (christ) cannot be essentially Good. All is subordinate to the One, meaning the world, body, and mind for someone wrapped in the the One, like Ramana Maharshi or Plotinus for instance, is a disease; and the only way to solve the problem of the world is to realize that it doesn't Reeeally exist to begin with. The world is just a thought. But that doesn't make thoughts or the personification thereof --the prince of this world--go away.

Salvation through conformation of substance to Image, a process repeating the initial act of creatio ex nihilo thereby actually causing divination of substance, seems the essential (I think) difference between not only Platonism and Christianity, but Maharshi and Aurobindo as well(continuing my thread from the other day).


For "before time began there was no heaven, no earth and no space between. A vast dark ocean (water) washed upon the shores of nothingness and licked the edges of night. (Hindu creation) Soon after "God hovered over the face of the waters" and said, "let there be light," and he saw himself! "Good!" If he never saw himself, the problem of existence would not be, and therefore the One would have no reason or care to come into the world.

"We are nobody until somebody loves you." Exactly.

(It's interesting to note that in the Hindu creation story, Vishnu lies sleeping within the infinite coil of a snake. But the serpent isn't hostile, but protective of what is essentially the most high and innocent sarguna brahman. I guess I agree with Origon on the ultimate salvation of darkness.

7/23/2008 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not wiser, but I'll stab - because what you call "my life" is really a pale shadow of what is life. Your writing betrays you thinking of yourself as a unity, and not a reference to the beyond.

When you say "I", is there really a unity there? well, yes and no. Take a deeper look at that "I" you want to use as a starting place...

my view anyway.

7/23/2008 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Cool.

However, "matter is good with respect to the inherence in it of the world of Ideas: the cosmos, including its material limit, is the manifestation of the Sovereign Good,

I'd think that constitutes a pithy response to some of the juvenile arguments of the materialists.

And Warren's comment is outstanding:

But it still leaves us with a situation in which, when all is said and done, we (as souls) should try to get out of this mess as soon as possible and then just forget about it. It is very hard for such a philosophy, as someone once said (can't remember who), to avoid the conclusion that the Creation is basically a mistake, or at least something unfortunate.

While I understand intellectually the argument that the cosmos is not a mistake, I have a lot of sympathy for the view that wants off at the first busstop.

Honestly, when you consider the hard lives and troubles of many around the world today, not to mention the suffering that was a regular part of life even in America in the relatively recent past, is it all that surprising?

In fact, my thinking goes along with what is expressed by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1 "...living is Christ and dying is gain ... I have the desire to depart and be with Christ -- which is far better -- but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you...". That last phrase means, of course, that his remaining is more beneficial to his readers. I may be stuck here because I'm not yet in a condition to go. I may be called to stay for somebody else's benefit. But I doubt I'll be crying when my ticket's punched.

7/23/2008 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous rabid said...

"Take a deeper look at that "I" you want to use as a starting place...

my view anyway"

Hey, my view too! What a tran-incidental non-occurance!

7/23/2008 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

"God is Transcendant AND Immanent."

This is the orthodox Christian belief (tied in with the Trinity, etc). For so many years, I thought I had to run to India to find this doctrine.

"So another equally useful language is Beyond and Within as distinguished from Top and Bottom."

I certainly have no problem with that language, and it's probably more meaningful to a lot of people.

"Perhaps someone wiser than me can show why God Transcendant is more important to my life than God Immanent and thus why life is Called more importantly than that it Blossoms."

First principles, I guess. The Holy Spirit (immanent) proceeds from the Father (transcendant), and wouldn't be there otherwise. Similarly, without the Call there wouldn't be any Blossoming. And neither of these statements can be reversed. That's the best I can do.

7/23/2008 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Anonymous said that I start with I.

I don't think I start with my existence (my I-ness) as primary. I start with the Call and the Blossom if I may use this language still. God Calls forth and the response is the Blossom. Or God Blossoms out and the response is the Call. The instant of that is not distinguishable. Neither really is the direction. God Calls Himself or Blossoms toward Himself. The distinction is the adornment that "I" (or anything else) am(is).

I will say then that the "pale shadow" is not through and through for me. I go deep within, penetrate to the center of the Soul, and there I find God. I go deep within any possible unitary thing on the planet and find the same. Panentheism. At the very heart of things is the Reality which Blossoms at any and every instant. And the Beginning is equally Now.

7/23/2008 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous 11:25am Anon said...

me again.

Nothing helps us realize how fleeting the "I" is like suffering. It incarnates the intellectual lights we receive from the Father.

Transcendent and Immanent, but not immanent to me, rather the other way around.

7/23/2008 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous 11:25am Anon said...

I have to confess Christopher, I don't understand Panentheism.

All the best,
11:25 Anon

7/23/2008 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous erasmus said...

Christopher said:

"And the Beginning is equally Now."

And so is the End.

It's always Now. Can't ever not be Now.

Even when you wish it wasn't Now, bang, there Now is again.

Now just won't go away and I've got alot of Now to go.

7/23/2008 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous erasmus said...

Christopher said:

"And the Beginning is equally Now."

And so is the End.

It's always Now. Can't ever not be Now.

Even when you wish it wasn't Now, bang, there Now is again.

Now just won't go away and I've got alot of Now to go.

7/23/2008 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

God in three persons...first principles.

I have no argument. From within Christian circles there is a demand for a solution. Christ as He was: the Son. Christ here now before His Coming and also as the connecting link Father to Son: Holy Spirit. Father is First and Last. If there is any span between then Son and Holy Ghost.

From outside of Christian circles this is more complicated than preferred. Or less, considering the Hindu Pantheon.

This makes me think of the flow of time's arrow. As the scale changes into the micro world the flow of time's arrow holds then suddenly gets less distinct. At the quantum level the equations work equally well backwards and forwards, meaning there is no way yet known to distinguish time's arrow from any known result, a situation brought about by the equivalence of matter and energy.

That conundrum is to me very like the Call and the Blossom. In the Creation as some kind of history, there is a flow of time discernible. But there is the ongoing Creation of the Present Moment. This is the one without which I am instantly gone, totally dependent. This one happens on some kind of quantum level. Here is where the Call and the Blossom is for me equivalent. Time's arrow not relevant. Father and Holy Spirit covalent, or at least with the second place so close to the first as to have little practical distinction.

Still the flow of time toward the Call from Beyond, a yearning toward the Final Cause, from the adornment of this that I am, I see the God of Transcendance as first as naturally as I see the Sun travel around the Earth. It is so completely obvious.

And God's entry as Christ into history, if I accept it, then from within the Christian path, He is the gateway, the passage beyond history. But if God is Immanent, and I the adornment of Him within me, there is a way that I am always already beyond history.

7/23/2008 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous I be me said...

Yes.

7/23/2008 12:40:00 PM  
Anonymous erasmus said...

Christopher says:

"At the quantum level the equations work equally well backwards and forwards, meaning there is no way yet known to distinguish time's arrow from any known result, a situation brought about by the equivalence of matter and energy."

I'll bet it's always Now at the quantum level too.

7/23/2008 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Hoist by my own petard. If there is any difference in distinction then it ends up infinite. So the priority of Immanence or Transcendance remains indeterminate. "No Practical Difference" is an experience of scale.

To tip this balance is an act of faith, and perhaps we have to make it just as the universe now appears to have not been completely symmetrical as revealed in the background radiation. There was clumping then. That too was perhaps an "act of faith".

Just as time's arrow is an "act of faith".

Decision appears to be necessary at the beginning. :)

7/23/2008 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/23/2008 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"From my knowledge, even the notion of "image" was taken from Plato's understanding of how mirror images were created." (Coonified)

Moses, Genesis, man created in the image of God, written 1,400 BC

Plato lived 400 BC

Moses, not Plato, is the origin of the Christian "notion of image". The Hebrew word meant likeness, not sameness, and was derived from an unused root meaning to shade.

Livin' in God's shadow.

FWIW

7/23/2008 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Erasmus said "Now just won't go away and I've got alot of Now to go."

Now you've done it.

7/23/2008 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nomo,

"Image AND likeness."

7/23/2008 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Nomo said "Moses, Genesis, man created in the image of God, written 1,400 BC
Plato lived 400 BC"

Not that it matters, but I don't think there's much evidence for the earliest portions having been written before 900-950(?) B.C., roughly the same time as Homer writing the Iliad, and both refering to a period hundreds of years earlier. Then there's different spoil sports trying to date them as having been written less far back than that.

Fortunately... it don't matter. Where it was in Time that the Infinite passed through the Now to record Timeless Truth, is just a fact.

7/23/2008 02:51:00 PM  
Anonymous coonified said...

Well, Nomo. That's not exactly what I meant. Surely notion of Image was passed down to Moses as well, since eternity I suppose.

I was more concerned with where and how the image meets the mirror; how the Image of the father reflects upon the soul, because I don't really think that the early christian fathers were thinking of the soul as just a reflecter of the Image, as us moderns do. That sounds like a Buddhist philosphy, which is true in it's own domain. But if the soul is actually a psychic being (soul) mirroring the Person, it's important to know what they mean by "mirror." To mirror seems like a creative process of incarnating the Image.


BTW, I never said sameness. I don't think I implied it either.

7/23/2008 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Coonified - Good, because "sameness" always troubles me. Sort of like when GB says, "...in the Christian view, every thing is God, even while God is not everything" or "God became man so that man might become God." I definitely grapple.

7/23/2008 03:25:00 PM  
Anonymous erasmus said...

Nomo says:

"Sort of like when GB says, ...'God became man so that man might become God'"

Mmmmmm...tastes Mormon. Almost like a Mormon heresy.

GB - Mormon Heretic

7/23/2008 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous erasmus said...

Nomo says:

"Sort of like when GB says, ...'God became man so that man might become God'"

Mmmmmm...tastes Mormon. Almost like a Mormon heresy.

GB - Mormon Heretic

7/23/2008 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous erasmus said...

Nomo says:

"Sort of like when GB says, ...'God became man so that man might become God'"

Mmmmmm...tastes Mormon. Almost like a Mormon heresy.

GB - Mormon Heretic

7/23/2008 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

erasmus

Now Now Now?

7/23/2008 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In my defense, that's a direct quote from at least a couple of early fathers, including, I believe, Gregory of Nyssa. Second, one always means "in a manner of speaking."

7/23/2008 04:01:00 PM  
Anonymous coonified said...

Well, since that sounded like a sigh of relief, I will say...


I don't really know if there's a difference between likeness and sameness. Maybe it's a matter of verticality. Lower beings are created in likeness of the most High Being, and most High Being is furthermore the Image of the unmanifest.

Most high Being shares in the essence of the Father, and so to push the envelop, essence could be said to be enfolded or involved within lower being, kind of like dispersion that needs to be painfully re-collected.

Like I said, because of this dispersion the soul does not always have kinship with O. There is a qualitative difference between who I am as an Image of the absolute, and me the local-psychic ego. But the absolute is always breaking through 'infinity barriers' in order that the crazy infinite might be tamed, grounded, and brought to sanity.

7/23/2008 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous erasmus said...

Unlike Bob, I don't have a defense.

Well, that's not technically true.

I have a number of legal defenses, but they never seem to work the way you want them to work.

And they can be expensive.

I really just wanted to use the word "Mormon" in a sentence again. Now.

7/23/2008 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Image" is traditionally thought of as potential, whereas "likeness" is actualization or realization of the divine potential, i.e., theosis or sainthood.

7/23/2008 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Erasmus said "Sort of like when GB says, ...'God became man so that man might become God'"
Mmmmmm...tastes Mormon. Almost like a Mormon heresy."

Wuh oh... hope I'm not around when Nomo see's that One... when he does...

...duck...


NOW!

7/23/2008 04:24:00 PM  
Anonymous erasmus said...

Now I wish I actually had a defense.

7/23/2008 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous coonified said...

When I think of Image, I think "theomorphic substance." It reminds me of what Bion calls Beta elements too, at least in the sense that beta elements are evidence of an impinging-something-beyond.

I dont't really understand the sameness thing, though. Or Nomo's fear. Ultimatly, what else is there? How can I not be "I"? This does not consequentially lead to the negation of hierarchy, but it's affirmation.

7/23/2008 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Mmmmmmm...mormon (in a manner of speaking).

Hey, GB ain't no mo!

(8^)

7/23/2008 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"...It is completely static, simple, beyond the duality of knower and known (or any other duality). It is the source of everything, and yet, outside everything. Now that I think about it, this is what distinguishes Greek emanationism from Christian panentheism, in that the God of the former would never sully himself with the world, whereas in the latter view, God very much gets down and dirty; in the Christian view, every thing is God, even while God is not everything. In Plotinus' view, there is much more of a bright line between God and world, or O and Ø...

... It's just that the nature of the latter makes it almost necessary that he would wish to communicate the former; thus, you might say that human beings are the last word in the "self discovery" (so to speak) of God's creative "idiom," in the sense discussed a few posts back."

For my too sense, it is all One. We are of it, and it is of us, and there is that which we are of, which is not of it, but within it.

Personally, I don't buy the 'lower... lesser... corrupt' idea of the material world. It is, and it is perfect. Change isn't bad. Dissolution of material bodies is not fault or failure, it is simply the way It IS... perhaps the image of the Infinite passing through the Temporal (or the other way around) Now.

The higher life rises, the more it is able to encompass and realize.

Good, Bad, Indifferent, don't come in to play, until Consciousness is aware of its Own ability to engage in either. We might find that certain realities are less than ideal in relation to our plans and desires (my knees for instance), but that describes my expectations, not a flaw in reality which unfolded perfectly according to its properties and circumstances of cause and effect.

Because we have the divine spark of volitional choice, free will, we create reality on the volitional level, a new dynamic creation above the flat plane, we can choose to operate in ways other than cause and affect determine.

As we become aware of the higher purposes of Truth, Life, lived in accordance with reality on an incline, rather than the simple horizontal facts, we have the choice, given our inclination and abilities, to live towards perfection... or fall into the purposeful disintegration and misintegration of higher Truths in a life lived.

As hemp braided is shorter than when unbound, but stronger, more attractive than either a loose or tangled and knotty clump of it, I suspect that with every proper integration, ideas weaved with action, Virtue, we are lifted higher up the incline, and there is a highest pOint (both Vertically and Symmetrically) towards which all are integrated, directed, sculpted.

For better or worse, we are creatures of self sculpted soul... just take care that the model which guides your hand is One that is (tweaking the GBT Three) Integrated, Beautiful and True, rather than disjointed ugly and dissolute.

7/23/2008 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Bob,

Just spotted your comment: I'm as tickled as Andy Griffith over Gomer Pyle, Mary Tyler Moore over Rhoda, or Archie Bunker over the Jeffersons!

Hey, I'm laughin' with you!

7/23/2008 06:05:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin Dupree said...

Ho! Bob has been "banned" at LGF for his "vicious comments" posted here about Charles.

Vicious?

Ho!

Bob is an insecure, paranoid, thin-skinned megalomaniac, and yet he's never banned a single critic. What does that make Charles?

7/23/2008 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"What does that make Charles?"

A liezard

7/23/2008 06:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christopher, if you're out there, I can't recommend Boethius' De Hebdomadibus highly enough - a short treatise, but dense as they come.

http://tiny.cc/oV3BP

7/23/2008 07:31:00 PM  
Anonymous coonified said...

Van, alot of what you said is exactly what I was talking about when I was referring to the dialog between maharshi and Aurobindo. On the one hand, reality is stasis, and there is no up and down, left or right, Divine and undivine. But on the sarguna side, there certainly is; and this is what I stay most occupied with.

I can't say that it is all perfect in that respect. What happened happened, but that doesn't mean that earth is the way it should be. "Be ye perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect" is an acknowledgment of the above and below, and this being urges us towards that central fire in the sky, despite the fact that he also saw unmanifest Oneness everywhere. The greatest commandment could probably be reduced to, "Love God with all your Matter."

...

(But what fuel does that central fire burn on? Is it a perpetual self-immolation, the two sides of Being, nothing and something? If so, I get caught up in this dualism regardless of the static absolute, and can't help but envision a fire that burns on forever fueled by the substance of dead forsaken subjects.)

There has to be a twoness that's free from it's twoness! This is driving me crazy!

This video gets right at. Notice that the fire at the end is the other side of the darkness in the beginning. Most people identify with the latter instead of the former. (Of course, consciousness dissociates from death, but the stuff still goes to hell in it's own way. The spirits are down there, dispersed. Pretty sure from my experience; and seems moral not to forget.)

Hey, maybe this is just my own problem. I am young.

7/23/2008 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger erasmus said...

coonified says:

"There has to be a twoness that's free from it's twoness! This is driving me crazy!"

Just start slapping a dual tense on things. At least that will make two become one linguistily. Hey, it's a start.

7/23/2008 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Coonified said "...This is driving me crazy!
This video gets right at. Notice that the fire at the end is the other side of the darkness in the beginning. Most people identify with the latter instead of the former..."

Your video selection might be part of what's driving you crazy too.

When I insist on intellectualizing it, I tend to think of "There has to be a twoness" as a false positive. There is One, there is that which unites and integrates up into it... and there is disintegration which falls away. Only the One IS, the illusion of a second is but the lack of the One, and it is You, Us, We, who give it the power to disintegrate.

But that's just me.

(You're looking blue this evening Erasmus)

7/23/2008 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aloonymous said "..I can't recommend Boethius' De Hebdomadibus highly enough - a short treatise, but dense as they come.

http://tiny.c..."

A good recommendation... buttt... if you're one of those goofy Americans who prefer's his ancient Latin texts to be in English, you could read Boethius's Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy here instead.

7/23/2008 08:53:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Van said:
"Your video selection might be part of what's driving you crazy too."

Eeeewwwww, such Darkness, accompanied with a giant sucking vortex that immobilizes you with fascination while it drags you in.

If that one's not creepy enough, check out the 'related videos' on the sidebar there. The whole genre makes me really, really glad I quit taking acid-trips decades ago, after a couple of tries in my misspent youth.

Coonified, you might try replacing that fascinating, but very nihilistic input, with classic vehicles of Light. It will help with your crazies. Many of us here have been down that road & can offer tried & tested maps, useful in helping get the hell out of there.

Now, I'm gonna go scrub out my nous with an extended dose of Light & Life affirming Bach, played really loud. Gno from experience that'll put the Cosmos back in order, correct-side-up.

7/23/2008 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Hey, Cuz - Bob's just now been banned? Was there something he said lately, or is Charles just now realizing that "lizardoid" isn't always a compliment? Because I haven't noticed any references to Charles here in a while (beyond the O->K sional generalized comparison of lizards to Darwinists and other funduhmentalists, and really, I don't see how that is so very insulting, given that it's simply a truthful Bobservation. Certainly, it's less offensive than being lumped together with Muslim terrorists as being a danger to society).

Just curious.

7/23/2008 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Vicious? Is that what Charles is callin' Truth now?

What gets me is how Charles keeps mentioning that he's a Christian and that he's not bashing Christians before he compares us to terrorists and nazi's.

I think that all Christians can agree that there's nothin' Christ-like about that.

Personally, I wonder why the Lizard even bothers with his little charade.

Lessee, how can a Christian, or a Jew, or a Hinduist, or any great Religion for that matter, define him or herself as believers of G-d and yet deny that G-d created us?
Not to mention, that there's no Intelligence above creation?

Answer: in Truth you simply can't. It's impossible. It would be like me saying I'm really an atheist but I believe in Absolute Truth.

Now, some might call me judgemental for saying such a thing, to which I would reply: Damn straight, I am!

The short version is what Van said, Liezard.
Charles has scales, but he won't permit the scales of Truth n' Justice to grace his little preendumb of thin-skinned lizards.

Sheesh. Usually I'm giving the short versions and Van's giving the de-tailed one. :^)

7/23/2008 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ximeze said-
"Now, I'm gonna go scrub out my nous with an extended dose of Light & Life affirming Bach, played really loud. Gno from experience that'll put the Cosmos back in order, correct-side-up."

I reckon havin' dial-up can be a blessing sometimes. Ha ha!

Coonified-
Listen to Van Morrison also! You'll feel better...trust me! :^)
Oh, and Bach too. And Johnny Cash.
The Who. Bob Dylan. Glenn Miller. Flatt and Scruggs (hard to be depressed with bluegrass playin'!).

Anyway, we got several hundred artists among us that can cheer you up in no time (or Now! actually). :^)

7/23/2008 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger erasmus said...

Van, blue is the new black.

7/24/2008 07:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Johan said...

One should be VERY selective and carefull when it comes to ban people. Most often it's the best sign of one starting to lose it. And yes, I mean mentally.

7/24/2008 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Funny, I only just noticed the title of this post. Yesterday when I woke up, there was a song in my head, seemingly randomly. It was the one that goes

"I'm not gonna write you a love song
cause you need one
cause you asked for it..."

It was just that part, anyway, and my next thought was that the whole world is a love song, if only we stop to listen to it. Demanding our own specific version, written to our own specifications (a la Ray) is both childish and foolish, simply because it's already there, if we can just take our fingers out of our ears long enough to hear and comprehend.

I meant to write this yesterday, but thought it would be off topic. I guess I should have been listening ;)

7/24/2008 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

St. Athanasius, On The Incarnation: "God became man so man might become God." Theosis. As Lewis put it, God intends that we will be shining gods and goddesses, but how this is distinct from anything else is that if we attain to or have within us the Divine Nature, which is participation in his Life, indwelling of his Spirit, perfection, illumination, purity, communion. The type of 'god' God intends us each to be is exemplified by the lives of the saints. This is to say, if we are to be gods we will not be self-existent as God is, but through communion with Him be Him.

Really the best way to express it is as St. Athanasius did.

7/24/2008 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The Mormon Heresy mostly is that they think of Jesus as being one who has 'Divine Participation by grace' rather than by nature. Thus they've erased the Son in the Trinity and replaced Mary with their new downgraded Jesus. It isn't, strictly speaking, heretical to believe that we will 'become gods' but if it is done it will not be by our own work but by God's grace. And it would be impossible to attain if we have the least bit of impurity remaining in us, which again we are incapable of removing by our own strength. This does not mean we have to do nothing, or that there is nothing we can do. It is in essence faith, that is, trust in the invisible existing and the hoped-for coming to be, or 'wu wei' as Lao Tzu said, active non doing. I prepare the soil, plant the seeds and protect the garden, but the increase still comes from God. Because God is merciful it is easy for men to conceive that they did the work, just because it seems so automatic that if you put a seed into the earth a plant comes out.

But there will be a time when it won't. Then people will think long and hard, long and hard about whose power is real.

In short, Mormonism is simply western Islam. The notion of the community of God being God (which is part of what the Trinity is) does not exist in either.

7/24/2008 08:38:00 AM  

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