Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama and the Emperor's New Empty Suit (10.17.11)

Slept too late. Speed post time. We're on to #4, The Emperor. This is a timely timeless archetype, what with the likely election of a president who embodies so many elements that are the precise opposite of what this arcanum symbolizes.

UF begins with the observation that "the less superficial a person is -- and the more he knows and is capable of -- the greater is his authority." Specifically, "to be something, to know something and to be capable of something is what endows a person with authority." Being, knowledge, and/or action. The more of these one has, the more intrinsic authority. And importantly, this won't be any kind of secular or conventional authority. Rather, the person will simply radiate the authority outward, from the center to the periphery.

In turn, each of these categories has a dimension of depth. One can know superficially or deeply. One can do something adequately or with great depth, like the artist. But the most interesting category is that of being, for that is the most mysterious of the three. One of the primary purposes of religion is to confer depth at the level of being.

The other day I was reading an article about Schuon by the Orthodox Christian scholar James Cutsinger, whose initial experience of Schuon's "intrinsic authority" was virtually identical to mine. No one had to tell me that this man was an authority. Rather, the depth of his authority was communicated directly, center to center:

"Nothing had prepared me for my first encounter with a book by Frithjof Schuon. I vividly recall reading the opening page, and then rereading it again, then a third time and a fourth time, before proceeding" (Cutsinger). Now interestingly, the depth is not a matter of "complexity" or sophistication. Indeed, those things are often just tricks of the tenured to make you believe they are deep when their ideas would be recognized as utterly banal if conveyed in plain English.

Cutsinger agrees that "the words themselves were certainly not difficult, nor the style at all complex. Indeed, compared to many a modern philosopher's work, Schuon's books are noted for their simple, and often poetic, beauty. And yet for some reason I found myself unable to move with the speed I was accustomed to."

Precisely. Part of it involves the question of rhythm, in particular, the rhythm of eternity. I noticed this the other evening, when I was watching a baseball game. For most people who cannot appreciate baseball, it is often because they cannot attune themselves to its rhythm and its depth (which only becomes more difficult as the jagged rhythms of the culture around us "speed up"). Unlike most other sports, you have to imagine waves of greater length and deeper troughs.

Anyway, during a commercial, I switched over to the hockey game (hockey season has just begun), and it was a totally jarring experience compared to the leisurely rhythm of baseball. Instead, the rhythm was frantic and chaotic.

Now, after baseball season ends, I'll get back to hockey, because once you get used to its rhythm, it starts to slow down and become more decipherable. But I realized that one should "respect the seasons," so to speak, and not blend them, otherwise you'll miss some subtle elements. You cannot treat baseball like hockey or basketball, or you'll miss all of the deeper rhythms that slowly unfold from April to October.

It also reminds me of Keith Jarrett, who talks about how much internal preparation it takes for him to move between jazz and classical. I believe I read somewhere that it takes him about six months to make the transition, and I can well understand why. (cf. Will's comment on yesterday's post about the potentially dangerous and even deadly rhythms of jazz.)

I can also see it in my own life. My job has become much more difficult for me since I started the blogging. You can well imagine why. I greet each day by doing my best to resonate with the rhythms of eternity and bring down a little nugget of joy. But then I have to turn my attention to some loser who's trying to scam an insurance company, and write a 30 page report. I feel like a rabbi who studies the Torah one day and works at the kosher meat packing plant the next.

There is another corollary at work here, for just as only depth can recognize depth, only depth can recognize shallowness and superficiality. This is clearly why so many shallow people seem to think that Obama is deep, or nuanced, or even beyond that -- that he truly represents some sort of messianic or "transformational" figure. I feel as if his entire mind could safely fit into a little corner of mine. And I'm not bragging. I would assume that all Raccoons feel the same way.

(By the way -- and this would be a good topic for a post -- none of the shallow sophisticates -- both liberal and conservative alike -- understand that Sarah Palin's greatest effect is at the level of being (similar to Ronald Reagan). This reality is so much deeper than a Peggy Noonan or David Brooks column that to compare the two would be silly. When we hear about this liberal-approved elite "conservative intelligentsia" before whom we are supposed to show great deference, it is mostly a cult of entirely conventional mediocrities. In my world, there is a group of intellectuals that far surpasses these liberal-approved conservatives, precisely because they have evolved beyond the head and into the higher mind, or mind of light. Dennis Prager comes to mind. Mark Steyn. Roger Kimball. Victor Davis Hanson. They have no problem with Sarah Palin, and they run circles around a tiresome hack like Peggy Noonan.)

Oh yes, just to finish up with Cutsinger's observations about reading Schuon. He writes that it was as if he were running along the beach, and then suddenly found himself in the ocean. Very mysterious. In other words, he was merrily scampering on the surface of one medium, but then, to his surprise, found himself in a different medium. Let's just call it "being" for short, but being is not monolithic, and has "many mansions," such as the sacred, the holy, etc. As Cutsinger notes,

"Here was a new medium, no less able to support my movement, but requiring an altogether different engagement. There would be no more running now. I would have to swim."

And here is the irony: you will notice that our scientistic jester never stops trying to walk on water. Ho!

At the same time, he can't help thinking that we are trying to swim on dry land. Guffah-ha!

Back to the Emperor. Among other things, the Emperor is the symbol of divine authority on earth. He is not a replacement of divine authority, but its horizontal prolongation. And along these lines, perhaps the most important point is that, as UF writes, "God governs the world by authority, and not by force. If this were not so, there would be neither freedom nor law in the world."

This automatically excludes Obama from being a legitimate ruler, in that the left is all about governing by force. He will not "lure" you toward the good by his intrinsic authority, but compel you to "share" and "spread around" the fruits of your labor with his purely earthly power. And that's all it is. His profound lack of understanding of Christian doctrine is too well documented to discuss here.

God does not "compel" acceptance of his authority, or we would not be free. Thus, the typical atheist who asks for miracles in order for God to "prove" his existence is really asking for God to remove his freedom. But that is something he will never do. Rather, only humans can do that to themselves and to each other. UF elaborates:

"One is free to be believing or unbelieving. Nothing and no one can compel us to have faith -- no scientific discovery, no logical argument, no physical torture can force us to believe, i.e., to freely recognize and accept the authority of God."

The atheist says to Jesus: "Come down from that cross, then I might believe in your power!" But power is not truth. Rather, truth is power. And the truth is, Truth is crucified in history, and yet, survives. And that is a powerful miracle.

To be continued....

55 Comments:

Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Nothing and no one can compel us to have faith -- no scientific discovery, no logical argument, no physical torture can force us to believe...

Of course, that being the case, then something as simple as an open verbal conversation wouldn't be any problem for free will, right?

There's an equivocation on the meaning of 'belief', there - exactly what's being believed in. Demonstrating existence wouldn't compel acknowledgement of authority. (Heck, that's allegedly a distinction made by satanists, no?)

10/20/2008 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

Ray, not being facetious, I am amazed at how well you can summarize an atheist argument and embed so much in so few words.

You mean an open verbal conversation with God wouldn't be a problem for free will if what Bob writes is true?

If God is simple, his being is his authority. And if that is so, demonstrating his being, really understanding that "demonstration", would also be to understand his authority, his goodness, his infiniteness, and above all his mercy, because that he is and who he is are in some sense the same question. He's not a thing one could sit across from to have a conversation, to put it crudely, "for in him we live and move and have our lattes." In that sense, one could see life itself as an open verbal conversation.

10/20/2008 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"This automatically excludes Obama from being a legitimate ruler, in that the left is all about governing by force."

This has already been demonstrated over and over and over again; anyone who makes Obama look bad is slandered, denigrated, un-"vetted;" signs for Mccain and Palin are torn down and destroyed, symbolic of what many leftists would like to do to conservatives who (they feel) have cheated them out of their rightful power for eight horrible years; the use of force in support of Obama leading up to this election is truly disturbing. If he gets elected, I think that most of our lives, in the short term, probably won't be all that different, barring any major calamities. But in the long term... I guess the real question is, will we still recognize this place as America in the years to come, or will it look more like Europe?

10/20/2008 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Use of force (via Insty, but this is the first I've heard about it, and Drudge doesn't seem to have it. If it were Obama's bus, how would the media respond? Un. Real.)

10/20/2008 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

One more thing I've learned from UF is to ask: By what Authority?

10/20/2008 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Paintballed, shot at, then forced off the road?

10/20/2008 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

It is a pleasure and a joy to serve someone who has real authority. It is a horror to serve under someone with no authority just higher rank in a man-made hierarchy. You can learn all the important things about someone by imagining what it would be like to serve them.

10/20/2008 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

What James said, can you imagine serving Madonna or any of the big name libs (Shudder).

10/20/2008 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Off topic, but I just got back from my thrice-weekly torture session (Pilates-based floor exercises; Lisa would be proud), and the instructor had a comment at the end:

"I really appreciate your moans - it helps me to get through the day!"

In other words, flogging - it does a body good ;)

10/20/2008 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

"to be something, to know something and to be capable of something is what endows a person with authority."

This strikes me as another of UF's "magical formulas": to be, to know, to be able. All three are qualities of the true Man, but all three are also necessary for him or her to be truly whole. If only two are present, then trouble brews.

And in the third, to be able, there is the implication of "mastery," whether it's the mastery of the craftsman, or the mastery of oneself, or the Master in oneself (purusha); and also the "alignment" with proper action, i.e. Ethics. So once again, the third element lifts the other two (being and knowing) higher.

10/20/2008 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Via Gerard, this post ties in nicely with today's topic.

10/20/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"His profound lack of understanding of Christian doctrine is too well documented to discuss here."

Indeed! This holds true for many Christians as well, unfortunately.

For example, Rick Warren who wrote the Purpose Driven Life (which is very shallow, BTW. Yeah, I read it).
Warren praised Bush for pledging 13 billion to Africa to help slow down AIDS (a total waste of time, money and resources, but I digress).

Why would any Christian want the government to force it's citizens to give money to anyone?
Why would Christians want the government to do their jobs?

I have no qualms if Warren and his church wants to help those folks in Africa, but as a Minister he should know better than to support theft, because that's what it is.

Obama is so much worse, of course, because he's a master thief. His entire ideology revolves around stealing from us and spending the money as he pleases.
Everything will be forced under Obama's rule, including more radical Leftist indoctrination (under the Obama/Ayers template), supressed speech, etc..

Basically, everything the Left has accused the Bush administration of these last 8 years Obama and the Leftists will attempt to impose...by force.

I think too many Christians think if the government does something for folks that's less they hafta do.
In reality, it's more they hafta do. Much more. And it's satanic, not Christ like to force people to "give."

10/20/2008 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Phil - So the being that has to be, according to Bob, at least a mind can't manage a phone call? It doesn't have to be an avatar to be an avatar...

10/20/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Good point, Ben. There is no virtue, and certainly nothing transformational in doing what one has to do. The left is "holding to a form of religion but denying its power", as a modern translation of 2 Tim 3:5 puts it. The verse ends with the imperative, "Avoid these people!" If only we could.

GB says: I feel as if his entire mind could safely fit into a little corner of mine. And I'm not bragging.

Amen. As Walter Brennan used to say on The Guns of Will Sonnett, "No brag. Just fact."

10/20/2008 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Doctor Manhattan said...

bob said

"But then I have to turn my attention to some loser who's trying to scam an insurance company, and write a 30 page report. I feel like a rabbi who studies the Torah one day and works at the kosher meat packing plant the next."

One's capacity to know Divinity is poor indeed if one cannot see it in things like the scam artist or the meat plant.

10/20/2008 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ha ha! Dirty Harry interview of conservative comedian Evan Sayet:
Evan Sayet

"Modern Liberalism is incredibly easy to ridicule because it is based on a wholly Orwellian mentality."

"I’ll give you an example (even though I know jokes in print just never come off like they should.) I talk about Obama’s claim that Europe is superior to America because everyone there speaks two, three or four different languages. I say “of course they do, you schmuck, they keep getting invaded!”

Ho! Good stuff.

Thanks Mushroom. That's excellent scripture to apply!

10/20/2008 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"(By the way -- and this would be a good topic for a post -- none of the shallow sophisticates -- both liberal and conservative alike -- understand that Sarah Palin's greatest effect is at the level of being (similar to Ronald Reagan)."

No doubt about it! When I see her-she doesn't even have to speak-it's as if she is radiating spiritual authority. She is obviously so connected to higher and deeper dimensions that I would choose her to be my leader any single day of the week. I say to hell with McCain or Obama, those money-hungry demon brats, let Sarah be our leader!

I mean, it should be clear to any individual with half a brain that she is emmanating Integral Consciousness, that the eternal Love of Shakti and Supermind have manifested the enlightened body we perceive as Sarah Palin in an attempt to bring the idiotic, confused masses into alignment with the Perfection of Bliss and Delight.

No more of this! I say that we finally use the evil of cloning in the name of Truth, Goodness, and oh-so-obvious Beauty by making a copy of Sarah! Then we'll have the ticket we really deserve-Palin/Palin 08!

Can't you just see it? While one takes care of the everyday affairs of running the country, the other could be the subject of a reality show, so the dumbed down masses of the world can see what an enlightened human looks like. We'll follow her in the home as she rears her children and grandchild, on the hunt for moose in the wilds of Alaska, and even in the bedroom for tips on the raising of sexual energy up the spine into perfect union with the Divine.

One word: Masterpiece.

10/20/2008 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

Ray, how does a God who is completely simple speak?

10/20/2008 02:14:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Oh man, I gots to get me one of these St. Obama votive!
Will hit the Mi Pueblo Megamart a few blocks away to see if they have it.

Julie, did you know Cafepress now has I Am Joe items for sale:
"Celebrate and support Joe the Plumber. ALL profits from all sales go directly to Joe"

Also, Joe will be on Sean H's radio show this afternoon. In fact, any time now.

10/20/2008 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

”Intrinsic authority” in action...and more action - note the word ”immediately”...and don’t you think Zebedee must have been pissed?

10/20/2008 03:27:00 PM  
Anonymous popemobile said...

Mushroom's 2 Timothy citation expanded:

"THIS know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

10/20/2008 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

”I have to turn my attention to some loser who's trying to scam an insurance company, and write a 30 page report.”

I was mobbed by a machiavellian’s henchmen and unwitting tools at a job once, where I had been the star performer but was now in that machiavellian’s way. I required 30 sessions of therapy to be able to think clearly again. What a waste of my time and insurance money. I turned to weighlifting, streetfighting, small weapons marksmanship and the art of sweet revenge. You should be teaching the scamming loser how to empower themselves with self-esteem by evening the score. Worked for me!

10/20/2008 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Indeed. Vengeance delayed is justice denied.

10/20/2008 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Some loser."

Bob presents as a spirit leader, you get enthused, you buy in, and then you get something like that. I've been trying to figure it out; there is always, always the shattering of the spell. A failure of unity consciousness? Sudden forgetfulness? It is hard to put the finger on.

A deficit of some kind, but does it serve us well? Or what?

Perplexed in Powhatan

10/20/2008 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Aloysius said...

Off on a tangent but everyone does know that The Emperor's New Clothes story doesn't really end with the exposure of the escape of the unscrupulous tailors, may I presume.

No, in fact Hans Christian Anderson cleaned up the story a bit to avoid scaring children. In fact, the little boy who em-BARE-ASS-ed the Emperor was set upon by the Emperor's catamites and sycophants and brutally beaten to death. The Emperor kept parading around, the tailor's got rich and the rest of the people kept their mouths shut and went back to work.

10/20/2008 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Aloysius said...

oops, "exposure and the escape"

10/20/2008 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"God governs the world by authority, and not by force. If this were not so, there would be neither freedom nor law in the world."

Truth.

Nothing shows weakness more, than the desire to use power to make someone behave as you want them to behave. (Psst! That goes for your dealings with yourself too).

Ray said "Of course, that being the case, then something as simple as an open verbal conversation wouldn't be any problem for free will, right?"

The determinist can't imagine acting of their own choice, without some outside explanation to blame for actions; the thought puts them in a complete panic.

No Cell phones Ray, no speed dial, just honesty on your end and a willingness to face Truth. Seems to me, God's on the line already, it's you that has to say hello.

10/20/2008 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

... wait for it...

10/20/2008 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

We have a wonderful tool at our disposal that has not been used in political debate as far as I have seen: the question "When should force be used to achieve a goal".

The left has hidden the "power of the gun" deep in their subconscious and don't see how they array that power against their enemies.

History has been a movement forward to less use of force and more reason. "Progressives" are going against history by bringing us back to the use of physical force as the way of getting things done.

I've had some very interesting discussions using this question among what suddenly became a group of raving obamanauts around me. Unfortunately, though they eventually agree in principle, the One is "not going to do that at all.".

Yeah, right.

Bob: This series is very helpful in getting me to read UF again as among a group of friends in a book club... and my shift into reading Schuon is not like going to an Ocean - but a driving into a mud pit!

10/20/2008 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

let me clarify, Schuon's mud is very healthy to be slogging through

10/20/2008 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I've been converting some of my old CD's into MP3's today, and came across Steve Taylor's *Squint* again:

He don't worry 'bout the critics
(They've met their match)
No, he don't worry 'bout the cynics
(They sniff and scratch)

****He ain't gonna change the world,****
But he knows who can!

A song about a fellow who knows his place in the hierarchy. :) Unlike Obama ("Obama's gonna change the world, rearrange it, yes he cannnnn").

BTW, that album by Taylor contains one of the *best* descriptions of the bondage of sin that I've ever heard:

"We're locked in the washroom, turning old tricks,
Deaf, and joyless, and FULL OF IT."

I love that song. That song describes the course of my life through pure grace. Well, so far. I haven't hit the "Finish Line" just yet.

Still praying for you, Ray.

10/20/2008 09:58:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Anon 8:46

"presents as a spirit leader, you get enthused, you buy in... there is always, always the shattering of the spell"

spirit leader, enthused, buy in, spell?

Deepak & Obamessiah do not blog at this site.

Just say'n

10/20/2008 10:08:00 PM  
Anonymous austracoon said...

"Rather, the person will simply radiate the authority outward, from the center to the periphery."

Exo 33:8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.

10/21/2008 02:00:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Phil... Anything that can design universes is presumably capable of complete sentences. (God's only simple when it's convenient for the argument. At other times It's perfectly capable of encoding complex messages in the shape of a cloud, the angle of the sun, and the pattern of grass on the ground.)

Van - still waiting for it...

10/21/2008 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

Ray, your comments are so steeped in univocity, nothing will unfold from them. What does it mean for a subject "to design universes" who is utterly simple? You can't seem to transcend imagination, and of course seen from that perspective it makes no sense. I hope you won't just go for the sophisticated argument to score points - "the least he could do is pick up the phone..." if that's all this is, you can have the points and the yuks.

I'm not worried about convenience in arguing. I'm worried about knowledge of God. God is always and everywhere utterly simple - no parts, no potential, no motion, no change. It is true simply, absolutely and everywhere. To say otherwise is idolatry.

So what sense would it even make to say, "He could have a conversation with me?" Or to say, "And God said, "Let there be light!"? Or "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us"? How do we reconcile those?

People have been believing this for two thousand years, it's not exactly a novel consideration.

10/21/2008 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray, you are such a fundamentalist.

10/21/2008 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

Hey Ray,

Did you hear how a piece of toast revealed himself through a picture of Jesus? I mean, if toast can do it...

10/21/2008 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Ray: it should be uncontroversial that God does not employ human language firstly, thus if he were to speak words to you in any literal sense they would be through an angel, secondly that God speaks one Word eternally, and that Word is all things. If God ceased to speak we would all end without warning, at it would be as if we never were. God is having a conversation with you, you're just not listening.

The Transfiguration of the Lord reveals this to us: Firstly that to be 'transformed' and to be 'revealed' are the same: When something is metamorphozed it does not become something essentially different but begins to more fully reveal what it actually is. Thus there are two translations for the 'words of institution' - St. John Chrysostom: "By thy Holy Spirit make this bread and wine to be thy very body and blood," and St. Basil: "Reveal this bread and wine to be thy body an blood."

Which is being transformed and which revealed? Or is it not both? We transform the cosmos as we are more fully revealed to it, and as the logos of things is more fully revealed to us we are transformed by it.

On one level you have to want to believe in him; he won't compel you to do so. To do that would destroy you.

10/21/2008 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Phil, if I were here to score points, I'd have left long ago. That's not the kind of payoff I'm looking for, as I've said before.

I don't make apologies for trying to be unambiguous, though. I'm arguing against univocity. My wife didn't impact my free will by showing me she exists and interacting with me. In no other area are we supposed to form a "relationship" with something that does not demonstrate its existence. (Indeed, in other areas people who form relationships with things that don't demonstrate their existence often get institutionalized.)

If the word doesn't fit, then find a new word. For example:

God is always and everywhere utterly simple - no parts, no potential, no motion, no change.

Then, ipso facto, It doesn't have thoughts in any recognizable sense of the term. When you're dealing with such a completely alien concept, you've got to be very careful about unconsciously carrying over ideas that might apply to one category but don't in the other.

I can't find the link, but Bob's talked about how he 'realized' that God couldn't be anything less than a mind, but I don't see how that follows.

10/21/2008 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"In no other area are we supposed to form a 'relationship' with something that does not demonstrate its existence."

Foolishness (in biblical terms). The demonstration of God's existence is plainly seen. You have blinders on your eyes, and are blaming God for it.

10/21/2008 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

"It doesn't have thoughts in any recognizable sense of the term"

This is the crux of the matter.

Look, Thomas is going to do a much better job explaining it than I could ever dream of doing, but if you're bored, here's my attempt:

Only univocity is unambiguous. When I say, "These Freedom Fries sure are good", and then later say "Aeterni Patris is good", 'good' means different, though related, things. So 'good' is ambiguous, though not equivocal.

In what sense then can we use the term of God? In a way that implies both a likeness to these other things, but an even greater unlikeness.

So if we say "God thinks", then we're making a comparison of things we do everyday, because we know them best, to describe something ineffable in a way that implies a greater unlikeness. When that last clause is stricken, one arrives at idolatry.

How does God demonstrate his existence? "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead" - from creation. For me, as a Thomist, the five ways.

Being a mind follows on God being immaterial. What limits knowing (not sensing) is always material, since knowledge is universal in its universality. Material determines a form to this or that thing. Because of the way we are made, we do this by abstracting from the product of our sensations.

10/21/2008 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

Thomist had an interesting post, as usual, this time about veils - Thomas' quote is:

Dionysius says(Coel. Hier. i): “We cannot be enlightened by the divine rays except they be hidden within the covering of many sacred veils.” I, 1, 9m.

If God is purely simple, he cannot be seen or related to by any creature, since that creature depends on God for its very being. The veils are necessary, for your own protection. That's why Moses could only see God's buttocks.

Consider Exodus 33:
He answered, "I will make all my beauty pass before you, and in your presence I will pronounce my name, 'LORD'; I who show favors to whom I will, I who grant mercy to whom I will. But my face you cannot see, for no man sees me and still lives."

"Here," continued the LORD, "is a place near me where you shall station yourself on the rock. When my glory passes I will set you in the hollow of the rock and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand, so that you may see my back; but my face is not to be seen."

10/21/2008 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"In my world, there is a group of intellectuals that far surpasses these liberal-approved conservatives, precisely because they have evolved beyond the head and into the higher mind, or mind of light. Dennis Prager comes to mind. Mark Steyn. Roger Kimball. Victor Davis Hanson. They have no problem with Sarah Palin, and they run circles around a tiresome hack like Peggy Noonan.)"

So, we should reject Noonan's criticisms of Palin and McCain not because you can explain what's incorrect in her criticisms themselves but because she isn't as "deep" as those who don't agree with her criticisms?

"God does not "compel" acceptance of his authority, or we would not be free. Thus, the typical atheist who asks for miracles in order for God to "prove" his existence is really asking for God to remove his freedom. But that is something he will never do. Rather, only humans can do that to themselves and to each other."

Why would God's proving himself to us compel us to accept his authority? Wouldn't we still have the freedom to obey or not to obey? When God doesn't prove himself to us, isn't he depriving us of the highest freedom of choosing between alternatives we know to be true?

10/21/2008 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

God isn't obliged to us. We're obliged to him.

Until a person accepts that point, he can see whatever he asks for, and still not "see" it. God opposes the proud, and gives grace to the humble.

10/21/2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

We *have* seen his glory..."glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

You're rejecting him, is all.

10/21/2008 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Phil - If God is purely simple, he cannot be seen or related to by any creature, since that creature depends on God for its very being.

You wanna elaborate on that, filling out all the steps so it's not merely an assertion?

I already pointed out difference between avatars and avatars...

(I also have real problems with the quinque viae.)

10/21/2008 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Susannah - The demonstration of God's existence is plainly seen. You have blinders on your eyes, and are blaming God for it.

No, actually you know deep in your heart that there's no God, and you're just vigorously overcompensating to stave off your fear of death.

(Doesn't sound any more convincing the other way, does it, despite the exact same 'logic' being used, right? It's just another instance of Bulverism. To quote C.S. Lewis, "That is why the motive game is so uninteresting. Each side can go on playing ad nauseam, but when all the mud has been flung every man’s views still remain to be considered on their merits. I decline the motive game and resume the discussion.")

10/21/2008 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Ray, I was not seeking to address your motivations. I was addressing what I perceived you had said here; that God owes you a phone call, so to speak.

It's as simple as John 3:16. If your heart cannot accept that, then it cannot see God, for without a childlike faith (accepting God at his word) it is impossible to see him.

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'"

Either you choose believe him about this, or you choose not to.

God's glory is *already revealed* in the person of Christ. "He is the image of the invisible God..." Pick up the phone; it's ringing for you.

10/21/2008 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Keep in mind, too, that the faith itself is a gift. You do not have to--cannot, really--generate it yourself. But you can very easily look to the one who is the Author and Finisher of your faith.

10/21/2008 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

God doesn't "owe" me a phone call, just as I don't "owe" my wife flowers...but she can legitimately expect them. It's just the kind of thing that you do when you actually love someone...

10/22/2008 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Perhaps the perspective is a bit off. Do you really think G is looking to get something out of the call?

Is a child who is learning how to do long division in any way aided by someone giving him the answer which he hasn't discovered how to arrive at on his own? Truth that isn't understood, isn't fully truth in the person speaking it.

"Ooh! Look! God! See him on the stage!? Cool clothes! I gotta get me some!"

I'm guessing that ain't the result being looked for from above. If you don't grasp the Truth of your own understanding, it. literally. can't. be. given. to. you.

Anyone enjoy a good game of chess where some chessmaster standing over your shoulder tells you every move it would be best to make so you can 'win' the game?

If ya'll don't like the game analogies... I'm betting the game of life is just a game to you.

10/22/2008 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

Ray, your criticisms on the quinque via are shallow, at best. If you haven't already, explore the notion of potential infinite vs actual infinite. The text is much deeper than you think it is.

Your criticism of the argument from degree doesn't distinguish infinities. Try this article which has a list of links, click and download pdf #4 FirstWayP.pdf, see p 28 of that. The other objections in there might give you some other ideas to to what you could object to.

As for elaborating how God is related to creatures and how they relate to him, well, the Summa is already written, and I don't think I could write one sentence as well as it is stated there.

10/22/2008 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Phil, thanks for the 'Society for Aristotelian Studies' link, very nice!

10/22/2008 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Phil - The PDF you link to just asserts that infinite regress is impossible on page 89.

(Besides, the argument depends on arguing that because there are only potential infinities, there must therefore be an actual infinity. It violates its own assumptions that way.)

10/22/2008 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"when you actually love someone..."

Jn. 3:16

nak. sorry

10/22/2008 05:35:00 PM  

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