Folie à Dieu (12.30.11)
The Fool. This is one of those chapters in which it seems that UF rambles around without ever getting to the heart of the matter. Which is fine, except that I need to say something about the Fool. Or maybe I should have reread the chapter ahead of time. Or maybe I should just start my year end hiatus now. Or maybe I should just let Bob's Unconscious handle this one. Bob doesn't seem very interested.
Blah blah blah yada yada, "the trial of our epoch is that of Faust. It is the trial of the satisfaction of desires." How very true. But what does that have to do with the Fool?
Ah, here we go: 14 pages into the chapter, UF finally says that the Fool "teaches the 'know how' of passing from intellectuality, moved by the desire for knowledge, to the higher knowledge of love." This is "related to the transformation of personal consciousness, where the self (ego) is no longer the author of the act of consciousness but its receiver."
I don't know about you, but this fool can relate to that. Whatever wisdom my little ego can muster on its own is so limited as to be.... well, folly to God, that's for sure.
There are two ways of dealing with the bobstreperous intellect. It can simply be abandoned altogether a la Zen, or "placed in the service of transcendental consciousness," which is of course the Raccoon way, that is, "the active surpassing of the intellect" -- which is also a kind of sacrifice. For it is the "method of sacrificing the intellect to spirituality in such a way that it grows and develops instead of becoming enfeebled and atrophied."
This involves a marriage of opposites, "namely discursive intellectuality and illuminative spirituality," the former being male, the latter female, or Sophia. It is "the union of human wisdom, which is folly in the eyes of God, with divine wisdom, which is folly in the eyes of man."
Surprisingly, this does not produce a hybrid lowbred fool, but rather "a single wisdom which understands both that which is above and that which is below." Again, this is the Raccoon way.
UF then goes into a discussion of scholastic philosophy, which nobly aimed "at an as complete as possible cooperation between spirituality and intellectuality" -- the marriage of the sun and moon discussed a few posts back. It is what we call "pneumacognitive co-upperation." UF says that the mission of Hermeticism is to advance the progress of this union of spirituality and intellectuality, which is none other than the "philosopher's stone," or the legendary "ark of the Raccoon" that is supposedly stored away somewhere in Toots Mondello's basement amidst the sacred bowling trophies.
UF does an admirable job of explaining the centrality of (n) vs. (k) in this endeavor. Again, the whole project only works to the extent that the tradition is alive and one's knowledge is living. It is not like operating on a corpse, for "the tradition lives only when it is deepened"; mere "conservation alone does not suffice at all," as it can all too easily be reduced to a kind of glorified mummification. We are not embalmers.
Reminds me of something Schuon said: "When God is removed from the universe, it becomes a desert of rocks or ice; it is deprived of life and warmth.... the soul becomes impoverished, chilled, rigid and embittered, or it falls into a hedonism unworthy of the human state; moreover, the one does not preclude the other, for blind passions always overlay a heart of ice, in short, a heart that is 'dead'."
One must start with faithful reverence for the "heritage of the past," even while humbly bumbling to deepen and expand it. Since this verticalisthenic takes place at the innersection of the vertical and horizontal, it is always necessary to do the work of assimilating new "horizontal revelations" into Revelation as such, and demonstrating their interior harmony. This is the fruit of "two faiths," of which Jesus is the quintessential archetype, that is, "the perfect union of divine revelation and the most pure humanism." To isolate one at the expense of the other is intrinsic heresy.
In fact, it is only because of this fusion that Jesus was uniquely able to combine a divine birth with a divine death, which is another thing entirely, isn't it? As UF states, prior to this, man "had only the choice between renunciation and affirmation of the world of birth and death," but now we may participate in its actual transformation, you know, one bloody fool at a time.
The paradox of the human condition is that nothing is so contrary to us as the requirement to transcend ourselves, and nothing so fundamentally ourselves as the essence of this requirement, or the fruit of this transcending. --Schuon