Friday, January 16, 2009

Four-Dimensional Bowling, Sensible Footwear, and the Metaphysics of Death

What would be the nature of the resurrection body? What would it "look" like? Would it be me at 28? 49? 77? A combination of all multiples of seven?

One approach is to consider the nature of the self, which you might think of as a hyperdimensonal object that necessarily discloses its nature within the container of linear time, "one piece at a time." On a personal level, this soulprint is our "alpha and omega," the secret map of our existence. Maurice Nicoll has an interesting way of thinking about it, following along the lines of Hermetic tradition:

"think that you are not yet begotten, that you are in the womb, that you are young, that you are old, that you have died, that you are in the world beyond the grave; grasp in your thought all this at once, all times and places, all substances and magnitudes together; then you can apprehend God" (in Bolton).

Thinking of the problem in this way allows us to get beyond the veil of time and to catch a glimpse of what it would truly mean to be an image of the One who is beyond (and the source of) space and time. It is not so much that it is an either/or proposition; rather, this nonlocal and "universalized form of identity integrates our individual natures with a world of objective realities," and represents a "necessary supplement" to our natural, or local identity.

For one thing, it shows how the past can be preserved -- how "previous states of being still really exist in objective reality, even though they are not perceptible by our time-bound senses" (Bolton). Sense perception is what affixes us to the present moment, which "is why it is always deceptive if taken for anything like a complete representation of reality." We must use time, not be used up by it.

You could say that time forms the basis of our local subjectivity, and moors it down below. I'm trying to think of an appropriate metaphor... maybe it will come to me later. But Bolton points out that "the illusion of temporality can be overcome when we perceive the passage of time as a movement through a fourth dimension" where "there are no distinctions between past, present, and future." It would be like, say, a history book, which externally looks like an object; but internally, you can see that it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, all mutually copresent.

Indeed, human beings have their own history book, known as the unconscious. It is the unconscious that provides the deep continuity to our life, since one of its characteristics is that it is "timeless." There, hidden away in the unconscious, is our infancy, our childhood, every personally significant experience we have ever had. It is always holographically resonating with the present moment to produce -- or disrupt -- "meaning." (It is also what creates the "false meaning" of, say, an obsession, or paranoia.)

In fact, as I have written before, I think it is misleading to refer to "the" unconscious, since every waking moment is a product of the dialectic, or complementarity, between conscious and unconscious. For example, if you enter psychoanalytic therapy, you are basically talking to someone who is trained to observe and interpret the "underside" of your verbalizations and experiences, when you are accustomed to seeing only the "top." Materialists, atheists, and other shallow types are usually precisely the people who overvalue the surface and know nothing about their own unconscious (which again, extends both "up" and "down"; transpersonality extends in both directions).

Change is always relative. When we say we have changed, the question is, "relative to what?" Thinking again of psychotherapy, if it is successful, we want the person to be able to say that he has changed in such a way that he is "more himself." Here we can see that the change we seek is incomprehensible in the absence of the changeless, i.e., that personal blueprint alluded to above.

But at the same time, once we have made contact with this higher self and begun to live our lives from this new psychic center, time takes on more of a "flowing" quality, in that it becomes the mode of our actualization instead of the graveyard of our hopes and aspirations. It begins to be seen as the very substance of life, rather than merely the ineluctable train track to our doom.

Looked at in this way, you could say that we must not allow time to be our container. Rather, we must see that the real container is the nonlocal self. And since it is a higher dimensional object, it obviously cannot be completely contained within time, any more than a sphere can be contained in a plane. So it is not so much that time is the "great destroyer"; rather, as Bolton observes, "what is destroyed or ceases to be is only as much of the object as can be contained in the moment," which isn't much. The destruction "has no effect on this object in its other places along the fourth dimension." So, "not only are we invisible as spiritual beings," but "by far the greater part of our physical being is also invisible because only an element of it can be visible at any one time."

The only reason we have a personal memory is because it is a reflection of what you might call "cosmic memory." Science obviously operates on this basis, in that our cosmic past is encoded in the present, to such an extent that it can be interpreted so as to disclose "events" that took place all the way back to the horizontal "beginning."

Just so, the purpose, say, of Genesis, is to show that echoes of the vertical origin (as opposed to beginning) are everywhen and -where present: paradise, temptation, fall, talking snakes, etc. Genesis is a hyperdimensional text par excellence. How could it be otherwise?

Speaking of hyperdimensional books, Bolton notes that "Death, or what we call the end of life, could thus only be the end of a person in the way that the last page of a book is the end of the book." It is only the end of the line, not the sphere.

Even if we view the emergence of man solely in naturalistic terms, from "the bottom up," it nevertheless can be shown that the human mind is the cosmos' first hyperdimensional organ. To say that it is somehow the result of our linear senses is pretty much unalloyed lizard droppings. Rather, it's the other way around: the senses are always deployed by a subject who is their a priori unification in a higher dimension.

The point is that our mind is an "organism," but strictly a transtemporal organism that unifies "all our past momentary selves in both their mental and physical states" in order to "form a single continuous organism with what we are now." Which is why "our present psycho-corporeal state is in dialogue with all we have been before." And which is also why the past can be altered, as in psychotherapy. It becomes altered by properly metabolizing it in the present.

I see that Bolton gets the point: "We assume that the present state of the self can thus heal earlier ones because they really exist in union with what we are now." It obviously works in reverse as well, which is why our past can muck up the present and ruin our quality of life. It is also why you can kill your own future, even to eternity.

So, when we reach the end of the line, we exit, or "withdraw" from time. Which is apparently like removing a tight pair of shoes. Or so ve have heard from the vice.

Rishi does it. Take your shoes off and set a spell. Relux & call it a deity. --The Coonifesto

24 Comments:

Blogger James said...

Beautiful.

1/16/2009 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

previous states of being still really exist in objective reality, even though they are not perceptible by our time-bound senses

This is one of those ideas that seems sort of flaky until you think about it a while. We know that time is related to velocity -- movement.

Time stops for an object that can exceed the speed of light -- I think it would also stop for anything that was perfectly at rest.

1/16/2009 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

And which is also why the past can be altered, as in psychotherapy. It becomes altered by properly metabolizing it in the present.

Ah - I suspected something like that was the answer.

I like the music selection; I don't think I've heard much of their music before.

1/16/2009 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

This weeks posts.

1/16/2009 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ooo, the bell is nice. I heard it more like this, though. :)
(also, don't miss this page...)

rewaygre: I didn't think the Cardinals would make it far in the playoffs; looks like I'll need to rewaygre.

1/16/2009 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

I have known for years, from pure physics, that we merely leave the past like a boat sailing out from the coast: It certainly looks like the land is sinking in the sea, but it is merely an illusion. Nothing that has ever been will be truly lost.

For the same reason, physical resurrection is trivially simple if you are not drifting with the time stream. It is not the physical aspect that is a problem at all.

One scientist mused in an article a few years ago in Scientific American: If someone could actually see time the way it is, they would worry no more about dying than about being born.

That said, I do "grieve" for the end of a good book.

wv: unsta

1/16/2009 04:16:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Bob, we have simply got to find a way to inject you into the indoctrination ceremony next Tuesday.

Maybe it's just me, but I've been awestruck and deeply moved by these recent posts. Is there a way to email them with the Youtube punctuation point, because I just think they need to be spread around?

wv: crecra!, the truncated sound made by a Canadian goose that is being sucked into a jet engine.

1/16/2009 04:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a question: seeing as how the past, present and future are copresent, what about the concept of "wasting time?"

Is it possible to misuse time, seeing as how the supply is endless?

Or is every tedious moment of waiting in line, having a tired circular argument with someone, or looking for lost keys somehow redeemed?

What is the practical relationships we should cultivate with time? Is it ever appropriate to be in a hurry, seeing as that there is time enough for all things to transpire?

Just curious. Take a stab at it?

1/16/2009 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

You ain't wastin' time, time is wastin' you. For the night is coming, when no man can work.

1/16/2009 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

But never hurry, for it is supremely written, you can't hurry love. Rather, dilate time and jump in heart first.

1/16/2009 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

You bowled another strike, Bob!
I'm sure glad you're the captain of our team. :^)

1/16/2009 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

On a personal level, this soulprint is our "alpha and omega," the secret map of our existence.

That's a good way to put it, Bob.
I find it predictable that materialists, atheists, lizardtards, etc., put so much faith into our physical DNA...as if that's who weare and what defines us. I mean, that's all they have so they cling to it like the AIDS virus clings to an immune cell, making it inert and turning it into a factory for more AIDS cells, and destroying the immune system in the process.

1/16/2009 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"But never hurry, for it is supremely written, you can't hurry love. Rather, dilate time and jump in heart first."

Amen to that. I was thinking tonight that, in 4d, all those best and most wonderful moments, the once upin a timeless, really are timeless. And will be timeless. All the more reason to be patient and let things happen when they're supposed to. Which isn't to say patience has ever been one of my virtues.

But maybe someday it will be...

1/16/2009 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

You could say that time forms the basis of our local subjectivity, and moors it down below. I'm trying to think of an appropriate metaphor... maybe it will come to me later.

Like an anchor maybe? It doesn't prevent set and drift, and it can be dragged, but we must Way anchor
to get underway. I dunno...sounds good anyweigh.

WV: lablo Okay, my comment lablos which is french for WTF, over? :^)

1/16/2009 09:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Hey Julie!

If your patient, it will be. :^)

1/16/2009 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Change is always relative. When we say we have changed, the question is, "relative to what?" Thinking again of psychotherapy, if it is successful, we want the person to be able to say that he has changed in such a way that he is "more himself."

So the complete, or perfect Self is the absolute change is ultimately measured by and based on?

1/16/2009 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The changeless?

Speaking of destiny, this is from an interesting little bio on Balthasar:

"Even now, thirty years later, I could still go to that remote path in the Black Forest and find again the tree beneath which I was struck as by lightning…And yet it was neither theology nor the priesthood which then came into my mind in a flash. It was simply this: you have nothing to choose, you have been called… All I needed to do was to stand there and wait and see what I would be needed for."

And check out Balthasar's spiritual collaborator, Adrienne von Speyr. Wild stuff.

1/16/2009 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good bio on Balthazar, Bob. And that's just a short one. Thanks!

It's amazing how prolific he was.
And the quality of his works...wow!

1/16/2009 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

BTW, Bob, have you read much of Adrienne von Speyr's books?

1/16/2009 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Obviously, Balthasar was impressed with her. He baptised her and took her confessions and they were close friends, from what I have read thus far.

"The Book of All Saints is a wonderful gift to the Church because it shows us how the saints pray and because it invites us--by contagion, as it were--to pray ourselves." -- Hans Urs von Balthasar

I like that: "by contagion." :^)

1/16/2009 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

By contagion, indeed.
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."

Of course, leaven (or sourdough) is a fairly slow process, so not all that common these days when time runs like a foaming rapid. On the other hand, there is no limit to how much it can convert, given time.

1/17/2009 01:23:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

And on a related note, cozying up to people like Balthasar and Speyr could well infect you too, even if you started out as a rather normal person. You never know. Keep at it long enough, and you may end up spending your available time praying and writing books, and find your favorite sins about as much fun as rolling in manure. Is that how you want to end your days? As some kind of saint or sage to which the ordinary world is little more than a baby crib in a dusty corner of the house?

1/17/2009 03:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ben:

No, I haven't yet read any von Speyr. I'm first trying to get a handle on Balthasar. But I may give his First Glance at Adrienne Speyr a whirl, as sounds like a concise intro.

And Magnus, you never fail to zap my cap and melt my pelt.

1/17/2009 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

wv says beers; it's a bit early for that.

But to go off on a tangent, from the bio:

On 26 July 1936 Balthasar was ordained to the priesthood and at his first Mass he preached sermon on the text "Benedixit, fregit, deditque [He blessed it, broke it, and gave it]"—bringing out the theme "Because he blessed, he broke, and because he broke you, he could give you."

The original significance of blessing (as wounding) and sacrifice is another one of those things that's been popping up and demanding attention for me since Christmas. But I think that quote sums it all up in a remarkably pithy way, rather like the calligraphy Walt was talking about yesterday. Beautiful.

1/17/2009 07:12:00 AM  

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