Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vertical Creation and the Rhythm of Eternity

Continuing with yesterday's post, as there are two cerebral hemispheres, there are naturally "two worlds" that result, given the truism that there can be no world but an experienced world.

The scientific world of abstract quantity is one world, true enough in its own way, but obviously not the real world. The scientific world is an abstract and artificial construct that sees things separately and serially, as if the world -- any world -- could ever actually be an agglomeration of discrete, atomistic particles. This metaphysic falls on the basis of its own discoveries, most notably, the wavelike sea of quantum energy that underlies our illusory experience of discrete matter (also the genome, which is much more nonlinear and holistic than biologists had assumed).

But is this sea of energy -- a sea that no human has ever seen or ever will see -- the real world? No, it is merely a physical world, an abstraction of science, a science that starts with the only world we can experience, the corporeal world of every day life. Scientists maintain that the corporeal world accessible to our senses is the secondary, derivative world, and that the abstract world of quantum physics is the more primary one.

Traditional metaphysics turns this upside-down picture back right-side up, which in turn resolves many of the paradoxes of “creationism.” The fact is, despite the best efforts of science, we remain engulfed in a Mystery -- the mystery of our origins, of our present being, and of our final destiny. Science searches outward, toward the periphery, looking at the data of the senses and into the mathematically projected past to find the answers (and in so doing abandons formal and final causation, and therefore any hope of understanding the purpose of our existence).

Mysticism reverses our gaze from the periphery to the center, looking for our source and origin in the mysterious withinness of the cosmos -- by following that withinness all the way back "upstream" to its vertical source above.

A traditional cosmology -- including Genesis -- is only secondarily about the creation of the horizontal world. It is primarily about the mysterious manifestation of reality from the darkness of nonexistence to the light of conscious experience. Out of the Great Unborn, the timeless womb of eternity, forms and beings are ceaselessly given birth and then vertically "sustained" by that same First Cause. As I hint at in the book, we are all beneficiaries of this voidgin birth.

This transcendent ground is the one place in the cosmos where we may truly gain first hand knowledge of the source of All, since the cosmos is psychic through and through. This is the real meaning of traditional cosmologies. On the one hand, they tell the story of the outward manifestation of the cosmos. But at the same time, they convey implicit knowledge of the inward vertical procession of phenomena from the great noumenal Within.

Consider it this way: the big bang didn't just happen once upon a timeless, some 14 billion years ago. Rather, a cosmos mysteriously explodes into being every moment, in every individual's consciousness. Likewise, an entire cosmos comes into being with each new birth, and a whole unrepeatable world withdraws over the subjective horizon with each death. And it's all happening now.

In this view, the vexing duality of mind and matter is resolved in the only way it can be -- by showing how both poles of the dialectic arise from a single, nonlocal source, outside space and time. Every moment -- that is, the ineffable now -- represents a ceaseless flowing out of eternity into time, accompanied by a simultaneous "flowing in" of time back to eternity. This is the cosmogonic cycle upon which grace allows us to hitch a ride, the pullmonistic rhythm of the breath of the eternal.

The beginning of my book -- through page seventeen -- attempts to convey in ponoetic language the "flowing out" of the absolute One into the Infinite many -- for example, The molten infinite pours forth a blazen torrent of incandescent finitude, as light plunges an undying fire into its own shadow; or He expectorated a mirrorcle, now you're the spittin' image. On the one hand, these statements could be about the big bang. On the other, they could be about our own consciousness.

The end of the book -- pages 252-266 -- simply reverses the process, taking us on the ascent from the many back to the One. Again, the reality of the situation is that this is occurring on a moment-by-moment basis. You might even say that this perpetual process represents the "interior life" of the Godhead (with certain modifications introduced by the Christian trinity or Jewish Sefirot that I won't get into here; both, in their own ways, are trying to describe this "interior life" of God.)

Thus, a sample from the end of my book reads as we approach the singularity at the bigending of cosmic history: Returning to the Oneself, borne again to the mysterious mamamatrix of our birthdeath, our winding binding river empties to the sea. Only here are we provisionally cured of plurality as we are Ones again back by oursoph before the beginning, before old nobodaddy committed wholly matterimany and exhaled himself into a world of sorrow and ignorance, no longer dispersed and refracted by so many banged-up and thunder-sundered images of the One.

Traditional cosmologies -- like any other spiritual truth -- will not yield their meanings to the cognitively greedy accustomed only to linear, exterior, fragmented, and scientistic ways of knowing; one cannot simply grasp at them, but must approach the endeavor with open hands (and more importantly, open heart and mind). And whatever you do, don't be serious. Sincere, absolutely. Serious, never. For,

Could it be true that in jesting we are contemplating? Yes. As do all who jest, in jesting we contemplate. --Plotinus

Addendum: I just finished this book, The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism, and it's remarkable how similar the arguments are to mine. Feser does an outstanding job of demonstrating how this guy named Aquinas absolutely demolishes the feeble and quite blatantly irrational arguments of the atheistic crowd. Unfortunately, the book is so abusive and polemical that it sometimes distracts from the brilliance of the arguments. I mean, I certainly don't mind sticking it to the adversary, but it should be done with a little style -- with a stiletto, not a sledgehammer.

In any event, look for this Aquinas fellow to gain some notoriety, although I can't imagine that any university would ever hire him, much less offer him tenure, given his thorough debunking of the fashionable materialism of the times.

18 Comments:

Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I certainly don't mind sticking it to the adversary, but it should be done with a little style -- with a stiletto, not a sledgehammer.

I prefer the hatpin. It offers a surprising bit of pain and a satisfying amount of humiliation to one's opponent.

11/16/2008 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Traditional cosmologies -- like any other spiritual truth -- will not yield their meanings to the cognitively greedy accustomed only to linear, exterior, fragmented, and scientistic ways of knowing; one cannot simply grasp at them, but must approach the endeavor with open hands (and more importantly, open heart and mind). And whatever you do, don't be serious. Sincere, absolutely. Serious, never. For,

Could it be true that in jesting we are contemplating? Yes. As do all who jest, in jesting we contemplate. --Plotinus "

I Heartily cooncur, there is a far deeper relation between "Ha-ha!" and "Aha!" than is commonly thought, and to restrict yourself to 'seriousness', I think, cuts yourself off from a much wider creative understanding, than could otherwise be grasped. However, I'll quickly add, do not confuse a good humor, which ultimately integrates, with ridicule and a denigrating Maher type 'humor' that is usually attempted to be smuggled in when people say 'you need to laugh at yourself', and which is deeply disintegrating in style and effect.

11/16/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"In any event, look for this Aquinas fellow to gain some notoriety, although I can't imagine that any university would ever hire him, much less offer him tenure. "

Yeah... they'd have to undergo some type of a real... uhm... renaissance in their thinking, before hiring someone like that.

11/16/2008 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joan said "I prefer the hatpin. It offers a surprising bit of pain and a satisfying amount of humiliation to one's opponent."

I lean towards the martini olive sword, myself. Offers many of the same benefits, plus it offers some surprisingly good opportunities to mock them afterwards waving a little bitty sword in their face. And of course it's functional, who's gonna withhold their olives from you after that?

11/16/2008 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Third Rail
one for the walking
two for the heavenly bird
the river of lights

11/16/2008 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mongoose said...

I prefer post it notes. Am I being narcissistic?

11/16/2008 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

but for those peskiest foes...

11/16/2008 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

ge

Ugh,that's gonna leave a mark.

11/16/2008 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"This transcendent ground is the one place in the cosmos where we may truly gain first hand knowledge of the source of All, since the cosmos is psychic through and through. This is the real meaning of traditional cosmologies. On the one hand, they tell the story of the outward manifestation of the cosmos. But at the same time, they convey implicit knowledge of the inward vertical procession of phenomena from the great noumenal Within."

That's Beautiful, man.

11/16/2008 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Traditional cosmologies -- like any other spiritual truth -- will not yield their meanings to the cognitively greedy accustomed only to linear, exterior, fragmented, and scientistic ways of knowing; one cannot simply grasp at them, but must approach the endeavor with open hands (and more importantly, open heart and mind). And whatever you do, don't be serious. Sincere, absolutely. Serious, never. For,

Could it be true that in jesting we are contemplating? Yes. As do all who jest, in jesting we contemplate. --Plotinus

Ho! I sincerely cooncur! :^)

11/16/2008 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger HP said...

This may be off topic for today's post but I noticed a little while back you were reflecting on K-Dubs and T-Robs and asking input. Here is something that might be worth checking out on Ken that I think may connect with your comments.

http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j33/guru-pandit.asp?pf=1

Cohen: Without all three faces being included, Andrew Cohen one will have only a partial perspective on who and what God is. One’s interpretations of one’s own God-experiences will always be incomplete. And it’s been apparent to me ever since I began teaching twenty years ago that especially for us postmodern extreme narcissists, the second face of God is absolutely essential. Without God as Thou, the great Other before whom we all must ultimately submit, becoming a living, felt dimension of our own direct experience of Spirit, I wonder whether it’s possible to ever move beyond ego in any kind of authentic way.

Wilber: That’s so true. Because green pluralism won’t allow any principles higher than its own head, because it won’t allow any form of hierarchy, it ensconces its own first-person imprisonment. And without a second-person Spirit, I think you’re right, I don’t think they’re going to get out of it. And that’s a problem. But too often, we in the postmodern West tend to use only first-person and third-person—we use Vedanta and science, or Buddhism and science, and so on.

Cohen: Exactly. And because of that, when we have profound spiritual experiences, our ego remains unthreatened and secure.

Wilber: Well, yes. Because in a first-person approach, there’s nothing the ego has to surrender to except its own Self. And let’s just put it this way: In your attempt to go from small mind to big mind, you can end up going from small ego to big ego!

Warm Regards,

H

11/16/2008 07:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

I'm downstream from Bob
Another dense book floats by
Affiliate Fee$!

11/16/2008 08:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

sacred revenue
stream flows to cosmic ocean
Petey wets his beak

11/16/2008 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Now Petey has a beak? I'm so confused.

[8^]

And what Ben said.

11/16/2008 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

earlier, people here were commenting on various US locations--any experience with life in Santa Fe?... may be a temporary or fulltime new home for me

11/17/2008 02:42:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

More on Feser's book, "The Last Superstition" here:

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2008/11/goldsteins-book.html

Like Bob, I tend to prefer the stiletto - but I must admit that the sledgehammer also has its charms.

11/17/2008 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Could it be true that in jesting we are contemplating?

If you want to see how little jesting has changed over the eons, see here.

11/17/2008 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ah, Ray - we can always count on you to demonstrate that we can't possibly be looking at a mountain, because there's a great gaping chasm at the foot of it which you haven't looked past yet.

11/17/2008 09:00:00 AM  

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