Friday, January 09, 2009

My Free Sons

Today let us throw invocaution to the wind that blows where it will, and boldly proclaim:

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

25 Comments:

Anonymous Bulletproof Monk said...

Or another way to state this is...

"Man is called to become by divine grace all that God Himself is by nature."
-- St. Maximus the Confessor (7th c.)

"I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy." (Leviticus 11:44)

"..as He who called you is holy, be holy yourself in all your conduct; since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy." (I Peter 1:16)

wv: metashl (and mazel tov!)

1/09/2009 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Dr Atkins said...

Don’t you mean... buttertize every nook and cranium of the cosmuffin?

1/09/2009 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Bulletproof Monk said...

It's a slow day, but a buttered muffin does sound good right now.

wv: ponfors (French golfer slang)

1/09/2009 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Ah, "Butter the Muffin" - blueberry, blackberry, corn, pumpkin, coffee cake, bran... all go better with a little oil on top.

1/09/2009 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous S said...

Wish I had MoTT in front of me to flesh out this half-baked thought.

Something UF said about man becoming triune as God is triune. Resurrection body, soul and spirit.

Damn neurons, always making connections.

wv: phosurr? Fo' Sho'!

1/09/2009 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Drrrr Atkins said...

Actually, Bob reminded of the Thomas’ English variety. May be only a local flavorite here in New England…

RR :-)

1/09/2009 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

As an English Muffin, I can say, we, though more of a biscuit, also can accept the anointing.

wv: extorn!

1/09/2009 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

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.

Seems to me that this concept reconciles a lot of what is discussed here.

This series really is like a meditation. Just when I think you are reaching a conclusion it rolls over into some other related aspect. This affects me in a kind of "disruptive" fashion.

1/09/2009 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'ts as if when two causes combine to create an effect such as the mind/matter state,that state in turn,creates the cause/effect fallicy. This fallicy in turn gives rise to the farcical notion of beginnings and endings. May God help us all.

1/09/2009 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

"What if the unconscious is the past within the present, the realm of the unthought known?"

Since this seems like a slow gnos day I've carried a B'ob quote from a past post (about a week ago) to the present because it's a great question.

Consider a great pianist, Arthur Rubinstein; when at the keyboard in his old age he certainly was not conscious of the many, many hours of lessons and practice he spent as a youth, yet those hours are present and accounted for in his playing. Once assimilated into his being he had no need to remember them.

Anyway, that question is pregnant and capable of multiple births.

1/09/2009 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

wv says you need to degump; just thought I'd pass that along.

Anyway,

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.

Going back to the rope trick I mentioned last week (and my apologies; I really don't mean to beat a dead horse, it's just that this thing keeps grabbing my attention, like the little bouncing icons at the bottom of the Mac screen when they want something. I can't ignore them, so I'm sharing instead), I came across this passage last night in Divine Light, which also seems relevant/ complementary to what you said today:

We see the soul in prayer climbing "a great shining chain hanging down from the heights of heaven to the world below. We grab hold of it with one hand and then another, and we seem to be pulling it down toward us. Actually it is already there on the heights and down below and instead of pulling it to us we are being lifted upward to that brilliance above, to the dazzling light of those beams.

1/09/2009 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

(The wv message was probably for anonymous, not bob f., btw)

1/09/2009 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Jack White said...

I may be your third man, mama/but you know I'm the seventh son
I may be your third man now/but I won't be when I'm done

1/09/2009 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

wv says: zings!

1/09/2009 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Ryan Close said...

Tradition is the living encounter with the Holy Spirit. Customs, traditions, traditionalism, or conservationism are a form of sickness. As Fr John S. Romanides once wrote, "religion is a neurological sickness caused by a short circuit between the brain and the heart." He goes on to explain that Theology is not "mystical," but "secret" (mystike). The reason for this name "Secrete" is that the glory of God in the experience of glorification (theosis) has no similarity whatsoever with anything created.

http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.02.en.the_cure_of_the_neurobiological_sickness_of_rel.01.htm

I love your holographic hyperbolastic excursions. I probably only understand 1% of what is going on here!

1/09/2009 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"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."

I throw my waitlessness behind that unthought known as well.

wv:popersab
I don't know, but I like it.

1/09/2009 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Uhm... this talk of buttered and muffins and oil on top... has a certain ring of latenight activities... but as long as its Thomas (ahem), I'm in.

wv: inded
indeed wv has received a poetic upgrade. Spooky.

1/09/2009 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

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.

And yet Queeg, Dawkins, Maher, et al, continue there insidious attempts to put "creationists" in the same boat as Islamic terrorists.
Even when talkin' about Christian fundamentalists in all their varieties there is simply no way to make an honest comparison.

Might as well say we are all like psychopaths because we all drink water or some similar nonsense.

The thing is, Queeg, queeglings, atheists, the Left and "liberal" Republicans have to demonize Christians and Jews to justify their dead-end philosophies.

Oh look, the Christians are going to ruin public education.
Hello! Public education has been ruined by the Left for decades!
Even the most fundy of Christians is hardly a threat to society or science.

I think that what the above groups really object to is the very existence of Christians, Jews and free thoughts and ideas that don't fall into their little containers.
Secularlism alone is their god and they don't want anything else.
They are afraid to have their ideas challenged in any way.
And they say they love science. Yeah, right.

1/09/2009 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

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."

No wonder they have no sense of humor. They took the awe outta guffaw.

1/09/2009 05:31:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Ben:
They will not step on the slippery slope.
Once you concede the first step- that there is a god, then you're at the uncomfortable second step position of trying to figure out a way that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is not the God. And if you allow that, then you're at the next step, which puts you square in the path of Jesus, or worse, religion. And hey- who wants to be an uncool jesus freak, right?
Better to skip the whole business, and concentrate on evolution.

wv: fiblenes

JWM

1/09/2009 07:18:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

A quick primer in international relations.
from Israellycool

This joke explains all you need to know about Israeli-Palestinian politics.

What happens when a fly falls into a coffee cup?

The Italian - throws the cup, breaks it, and walks away in a fit of rage.

The German - carefully washes the cup, sterilizes it and makes a new
cup of coffee.

The Frenchman - takes out the fly, and drinks the coffee.

The Chinese - eats the fly and throws away the coffee.

The Russian - Drinks the coffee with the fly, since it was extra with no charge.

The Israeli - sells the coffee to the Frenchman, the fly to the
Chinese, drinks tea and uses the extra money to invent a device that
prevents flies from falling into coffee.

The Palestinian - blames the Israeli for the fly falling in his
coffee, protests the act of aggression to the UN, takes a loan from
the European Union to buy a new cup of coffee, uses the money to
purchase explosives and then blows up the coffee house where the
Italian, the Frenchman, the Chinese, the German and the Russian are
all trying to explain to the Israeli that he should give away his cup
of tea to the Palestinian.

JWM

1/09/2009 07:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob wrote:

"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."

This brings up the spector of "evangelism." The raccoon must radiate light; and can either do so by just living right, or can choose a target to influence.

Every raccoon should cultivate a target person; he or she that couls use some nudges in a good direction.

What's the group take on this? Does everyone have their special person of interest whom they try to influence?

Or do you shine by example alone and do not try to influence?

1/10/2009 01:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Green 'round the gills said...

Hm. It's somehow fitting that, as I sit here and ponder the unpleasant side effects of imbibing a wee bit too much to drink, I should happen to read your comment. The fact that you're going after this line of inquiry yet again, anony, coupled with the fact that I can recognize you personally so easily (unfortunately, even with a blank face certain elements of you-ness come through like a uniquely unpleasant odor), is just the purgatove assist I needed right now.

So, uh, thanks?

Also, wv says vagshed; I think it's suggesting that you seriously consider celibacy.

1/10/2009 01:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Anon said-
"This brings up the spector of "evangelism." The raccoon must radiate light; and can either do so by just living right, or can choose a target to influence."

I like to influence myself while under the influence.

1/10/2009 02:54:00 AM  
Blogger debass said...

"I like to influence myself while under the influence."

I'll drink to that!

wv-galacert. This is a certified gala.

1/10/2009 08:07:00 PM  

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