My Free Sons
Every time a form is generated and comes to perfection in the natural world, and even in the artificial world of human creativity, we can catch a glimpse of the glory of the Only-Begotten of the Father taking on flesh. --Bernard McGinn, The Mystical Thought of Meister Eckhart
First, an update on the bylaw situation, which sparked an unintended international crisis yesterday. Being that they are considered Smṛti and not Śruti, the bylaws cannot be considered immutable, like, say, the official club greeting or drinking toast, both of which were directly revealed to Toots by the archangel Armando.
Furthermore, the original bylaws applied only to the Bensonhurst chapter, but since we are the transdimensional chapter, it follows that our members would merely have to provide documentation of residency in no fewer than two metacosmic dimensions, or at least a plausible alibi for where they were at the timelessness.
Now, as they say on Palestinian TV, "back to our regularly scheduled pogrom." Don't believe me? Look at what one of our wicked competitors in the "best religious blog" category has to say: Jews must "drop this 'chosen land' nonsense and leave. They are outnumbered and can’t possibly live in peace in that land. There will be peace only when they leave (or are wiped out)."
If that is religion, then it is again a truism that Christianity represents the cure for religion. There is a reason why there are Palestinian Christians, but no Palestinian Christian homicide bombers.
Anyway, we are in the midst of a discussion of the ultimate nature of the personal self and its relationship to the whole existentialada. More specifically, we are still dialoging and playgiarizing with Bolton's Self and Spirit, since it is a very thoughtful meditation on this very subject.
Although he is a traditionalist, in chapter 5, Bolton goes into a critique of the Guenon/Schuon strand of thought, and I think it expresses well some of my own misgivings and reservations. One obvious point is that few religious practitioners understand their own religions in the terms set forth by Guenon or Schuon.
But who said that only strict adherence to tradition is a guarantor of truth, anyway? If that were true, then there would have been no Jesus, no Buddha, no Dobbs. I agree that great deference must naturally be given to revelation, and that, similar to law, established precedent is vital.
But sometimes a novel understanding can better explicate the meaning and intent of the original text. For example, the abolition of slavery, although it represented a major change, nevertheless reflected a better understanding of the principles animating the Constitution. To say that we should have retained slavery merely on the basis of "tradition" would be a rather weak argument.
In Guenon's case, one of his most valuable contributions was that "for many people, his writings broke the hypnotic spell of history, which was their spiritual prison" (emphasis mine). Remember, that particular time (early 20th century) represented the pinnacle of a naive materialism and crude reductionism that threatened to make religion all but irrelevant to most thinking people and all unthinking liztards.
As a result, "most of the educated felt unable to think outside the historical [and secular -- .ed] progression of thought into which they were born." Therefore, upon exposure to this more Raccoonish way of thinking, "it was a revelation to see that they could equally well identify with the wisdom of antiquity without dependence on the derivative and ever-deviating culture which had succeeded it."
But again, both Guenon and Schuon used Vedanta as their underlying template, which leads to the question of exactly who is "saved" in such a scheme. If the ego "can only be saved or 'liberated' by dissolving the illusion that it is separate from the Self," of what conceivable concern is this to the ego? Why should it be interested in a direct threat to its very existence? It is as if the soul, which should be the object of salvation, "is made to seem hardly worth saving," or "that something which clearly needed salvation did not merit salvation, simply because of being in need of it."
In other words, for those of us who believe in the irreducible reality of God and persons, if there were actually only "an impersonal 'Principle' and an unreal 'ego,'" then where's the bloody sense in that? It's just leaping from one absurdity to an even bigger one.
The point is, as Woody Allen said, I am not afraid of death. It's just that I don't want to be there when it happens. But I believe this can be arranged. As Bolton writes, "As the self is a microcosm, there will be nothing 'out there,' not even the Principle, which is not in some sense 'in here.' This is not compatible with being nothing. In this case, our nothingness is more truly the relative nothingness of one order of being in relation to another."
Looked at in this way, the human individual is "the epitome of the real" on this side of manifestation. It cannot die, being that it is not something that could ever have been produced by mere biology. I don't think we need to "transcend the ego" so much as infuse it with the light of the Son, through which immanence again becomes its own kind of transcendence. (This probably explains why the saint's body is so slow to decompose; it might very well account for the Shroud of Turin as well.)
Here's another problem. If the split between Principle and manifestation, or Creator and creature, is too radical, then one falls into the trap of a pernicious dualism, in which we have what amounts to "two gods," with no way to reconcile them.
But again, man as such is this reconciliation, especially once Christ took on human nature and infused relative man with the Absolute principle. Thus, it is not so much that there is reality and maya, and never the twain shall meet. Rather, in a much deeper sense that we must actualize, the relative is the absolute, time is eternity, and man is the very ground from which he must be reborn.
We do not wish to flee from matter or from our humanness, but to embrace both as fully as possible. This is not an "ascending" spirituality, but a descending spirituality, one in which our role is to baptize every nook and cranium of the cosmos.
Does this mean that we ourselves become the Second Person of the Trinity? Yes and no, according to Eckhart. Yes, in the sense that there is only one Sonship, which is not other than the Person of the Word; no, in the sense that "we are born God's sons through adoption." --Bernard McGinn