Flood Lights and Laser Beams
But I have to admit, at this point, I'm seeing a lot of pointless pedantry that's not really moving the argument along. It feels like we're in dryasdust flyover country now, with a long way to go before we flow into our deustinocean.
You might call it argument by volume rather than weight, just piling one endless paragraph upon another. I'm not getting any feeling of forward momentum at all. He's one of those writers who has no sense of rhythm or drive. Probably a German thing. A key point might be buried in the middle of a two page paragraph. There's no building up to the "ah ha!" experience, much less the sacred guffah-ha! I mean, 1500 pages so far. That's a long tome to go with out a single gag.
This reminds me that, when purusha comes to shiva, I would have to admit that I'm not a scholar, but more of a mystickle innertainer. But darn it, there's no reason at all why one can't combine both. It's just convention, really. That and a lack of talent. Most academics are dreadful writers, but turn it into a virtue. And then they marginalize the ones who do know how to communicate, with the epithet "popularizer." But I'm obviously not that. If anything, I'm an unpopularizer. Nevertheless, to quote Petey's scryptural exejesus, our yokes are easy, our words enlight.
It seems to me that Balthasar's essential argument is laid out in volume one, with the subsequent volumes just filling it out. So I may just finish posting on that, and then move on.
Brevity. That's what it is. Don't give me the dissertation. It just makes it look like you've got something to hide. Out with it. Get to the freaking point.
I don't mean to fawn, but this is why I am so drawn to Schuon, who never makes me yawn. It's as if he's done you the courtesy of assimilating everything beforehand, so he can rewordgitate it back to you in the form of a highly polished gem of wisdom that you can turn around in your mind and examine from various angles. Unsaturated, don't you know.
Vincent: Okay, here's the first sentence from perhaps Schuon's most accessible book, Spiritual Perspectives & Human Facts. Truly a model of brevity and unsaturated clarity, like a righteous pimp slap from above:
Metaphysical knowledge is one thing and its actualization in the mind is quite another. All the knowledge the brain can hold is as nothing in light of Truth even if it is immeasurably rich from a human point of view.
Ah, refreshing! Balthasar gives us all [if not more than] the knowledge the brain can hold, whereas Schuon facilitates the direct actualization of metaphysical knowedge, i.e., O-->(n).
Second and third sentences: Do you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in France? Royale with cheese. Do you know why they call it a Royale with cheese?
Oops. Wrong text. Try it again: Metaphysical knowledge is like a divine seed in the heart; thoughts represent only faint glimmers of it. The imprint of the divine Light in human darkness, the passage from the Infinite to the finite, the contact between the Absolute and the contingent -- this is the whole mystery of intellection...
Bingo! The rest is up to you.
This is good for me. Like a refreshing rinse after a lot of transcen dental work:
A proof is not convincing because it is absolute -- for this it could never be -- but because it actualizes something self-evident in the mind.
Ahhhhhhh. Frankly, you could summarize the entire argument of Balthasar's theological aesthetics with that one sentence, for he is essentially making the point that the divine beauty -- the Glory of God's revelation in time -- provides its own proof, a type of proof that clearly transcends mere reason, for it is seen and apprehended whole, not argued in any linear sense (although it does disclose itself in the form of the theodramatic "arc of salvation").
Correlative to every proof is an element eluding the determinism of mere logic and consisting of either an intuition or a grace; now this element [what I would call (↓)] is everything. In the intellectual order logical proof is no more than a thoroughly provisional crystallization of intuition.... One can most certainly prove every truth; but not every proof is accessible to every mind.
Indeed, the need for logical satisfaction "increases in proportion to ignorance, not in proportion to knowledge."
Balthasar definitely says the same thing but in a different way. For example, God's being "can encounter us centrally only from within the a priori of spiritual being itself -- as the deepening of the spiritual being worked by grace." In receiving this Mystery, man "conforms the proportions of his own thought and work to the proportions of the object of faith which are determined by God." Through this process we are led to "an ever deeper awareness of the experience both of the presence within... of God's being and the depth of the divine truth, goodness, and beauty in the mystery of God," i.e., (↑↓).
In this regard, there is a "deepening of a merely notional apprehension into an experiential apperception by the whole person" (Balthasar). At the same time, it is the movement from an exterior relationship to an interior relationship with God, in particular, as the "interior light" begins to shine in the dark.
And just as physical light is never seen -- rather, it is merely photons banging against our neurological apparatus -- the Divine Light is not so much seen as that by which we see -- especially that by which we see God, or the very source of the Light which shines forth its own radiant proof.
And only in man can the fullness of this light become apparent. Or ignored.