Wednesday, February 04, 2009

God and His Jnâni Quest

The Boy woke up early at the same time I did, so I'm blogging under somewhat trying, and even three ring, circustances this morning. Let's see if we can get anywhere. (First of all, for those who don't know their sanskrit from a sand crab: Jnâna.)

Hmm. Return to our previously scheduled program, or continue with Soloviev? Magnus made a comment that is worth highlighting. He likes "the idea of the 'conquest of the nondivine,'", and sees "everything since the onset of the Big Bang (at least) as part of a relentless expansion of God into the void of utter nonexistence. First space and time, then matter, then life and mind etc., culminating with the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth (and the cosmos in general), until it is leavened all the way through and God is all in all, every bit of creation glowing with divine beauty, harmony and sheer rightness."

So is the creation ascending toward the divine, or is the divine coondescending toward the creation? I would suggest that they are ultimately the same movement looked at from different angles. God kenotically pours himself into creation, while we pour ourselves back into God, in a mutual surrender. But only if we are already partially divinized can we surrender at all.

Again, that is just one of the startling innovations of Christianity -- the idea that God "surrenders" and turns himself in to fallen man, in the hope of raising him up again. Our task is to surrender to the surrender, so to speak. As Balthasar describes it, "the divine and integral wholeness is answered from the side of created reality by a progressive integration into that integral wholeness," but not before the "glorious descent of Agape," which makes "humanity the object of God's quest." In contrast to the blues musicians of old, we have a heavenhound on our trail.

Magnus continues: "I may be wrong, though. There are only a few passages to this effect in the Bible, while there are chapter after chapter with threats of death and destruction and going on about how angry God is and [the] good reason He has for it. The conquest of the nondivine must be pretty hard work -- if not at the still center of the Godhead then certainly out here at the frontier (though I suppose some of us are more frontier than others...)"

Re God's "anger," elsewhere in The Glory of the Lord, Balthasar speaks of a progressive "demythologization" of God that occurs in the Old Testament, so that the God of Proverbs or Wisdom has quite a different character than the earlier, more anthropocentric depictions. Eventually Judaism is essentially completely cleansed of mythology, and develops a fully apophatic notion of the divine, to such an extent that this sacred cow can't even be uddered (i.e., G-d).

In turn, once the idea of God is completely demythologized -- or what we would call "unsaturated" -- the historical stage is set for God to appear as he is, as opposed to how we would like for him to be.

In other words, not only did God have to prepare a people for the divine descent, he had to create an "empty space," a literal void, a "higher nothingness" (which in a way parallels the original creatio ex nihilo). This is why Jesus' appearance was so unexpected (to say the least) and unprecedented (although in hindsight, we can see that there were hints and clues all along). Those who did nurture the idea of a specific messiah obviously didn't envision anything like Jesus. No one saw it coming in this particular form. Only after the fact did the apostles begin putting two and two together; or perhaps we should say three and one.

Also, as Magnus suggests, the divine descent is not the end, but only the beginning. And while in some sense the "victory" over matter is assured, this hardly means that it will be a smooth ride from here to the eshchaton.

Rather -- and I mentioned this in a comment yesterday -- it seems that the later Soloviev (1890-1900) was considerably more pessimystic than the early, more optimystic Soloviev (1873-1883), which is a good thing. While he never abandoned his Christocentric cosmic evolutionism, as he matured, he developed a much greater appreciation of the Hostile Forces that oppose the evolution, both individually and collectively. Balthasar feels this makes him a much deeper thinker than Teilhard, who had a fair amount of new-age fuzziness and happy talk about him. Teilhard definitely failed to appreciate the Dark Side.

This is also what elevates Soloviev above Hegel, as well as the upside-down Hegelians, i.e., the left. In the case of Hegel, his idea of the Absolute is far too abstract, and tends to blot out both the individual and the historical landscape, as if we are all just riding on the dialectic that inevitably returns us to Absolute Spirit.

And in the case of the left -- and we see this in an astonishingly immature form in the Obama cult -- people really believed that the election of this cunning and transparently mendacious politician would lead to some kind of "transformation of consciousness," or Deepak's "quantum leap in awareness." Please. Leftism can only create a heap of ants, not any true interior unity.

Here again, this emphasizes the importance of demythologizing the spiritual space, because if you don't, you will simply fill it with your own retrograde fantasies, as does the left. One would hope that no true conservative is foolish enough to believe that the evil in man can be transformed by electing this or that politician. If anything, a noble man such as Ronald Reagan only makes them hate that more fervently. The left despises nobility in all its forms, and nobility is one of the first fruits of Spirit. In reducing man to matter, they rob him of his nobility and try to make up for the loss with stolen goodies, thus plunging him further into the abyss.

The "principle of progress" can only be located in the individual, and only then because he is embedded in a deeper movement of "the evolution of nature towards man, of history towards Christ, and the Church toward the Kingdom of God in its completeness." Absent this movement, there is no progress, only agitation and change. Nor is there any true hope, only a counterfeit and reactionary hope that obscures their cosmic hopelessness.

Like me, it seems that Soloviev tried to playgiarize with everyone and everything in order to Bobtize the cosmos. Thus, "he fully appropriates" these sources for himself; "the muddy stream runs through him as if through a purifying agent and is distilled in crystal-clear, disinfected waters," so these sources might "live and breath... in an atmosphere of unqualified transparency and intelligibility."

Regarding mind parasites, Soloviev came to appreciate that "the forces of egotism are given to man not to be destroyed but to be transformed, just as God himself creates good out of evil. The dark 'ground' is constantly in need of being brought to illumination." Illuminate and eliminate, as Petey always says.

But the main point is that we do not escape from matter, but transform it: "Christianity sees material life as the necessary foundation for the realization of divine truth, the embodiment of divine spirit.... [I]t is only the acknowledgment of matter in its true significance that sets us free from actual slavish dependence upon it, from an involuntary materialism." Indeed, "so long as man does not feel material nature in himself and outside himself as something that is his own, something akin to him, he does not love it, and he is not yet free from it" (emphasis mine).

So real freedom is identified with love, but especially in the "sacred marriage of Heaven and earth," or the union "between the fully incarnate deity and divinized reality of the world." "Sophia is the eternal feminine in the world, the eternal object of God's love." In their eternal union, God and Sophia become "one flesh," or Theosophia (in its proper sense, not the brand name).

Again, this is why Christian wisdom is always embodied wisdom, not some abstract ideal that is imposed upon reality. No: "the understanding alone is in no way the organ by means of which we can know any actual reality. Such reality can be known only through genuine experience," i.e., O-->(n).

38 Comments:

Blogger jwm said...

Again, this is why Christian wisdom is always embodied wisdom, not some abstract ideal that is imposed upon reality. No: "the understanding alone is in no way the organ by means of which we can know any actual reality. Such reality can be known only through genuine experience," i.e., O-->(n).

Intellectual knowledge is so much tinder. It takes three components for combustion to happen: fuel, air, and heat. Willingness is air. The fire has to come from below.

That just leaped into my head.

JWM

2/04/2009 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"...the idea that God "surrenders" and turns himself into fallen man, in the hope of raising him up again."

Would you care to reword that? "Fallen man"..."hope"? I know you were distracted, but...

2/04/2009 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Rich food! Even better, on the second read.

As always, there are tidbits with the main course:
"...nobility is one of the first fruits of Spirit."

I have seen this in others, read of it, and can "recognize" it to a certain extent. Isn't this, too, a form of Beauty, and elegance? I mean when its genuine, and embodied.

Perhaps nobility is a word that helps us "name" a spiritual station, so to speak.

2/04/2009 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nomo:

That was a play on words, for did He not "turn Himself in" to the corrupt Roman authorities?

2/04/2009 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Walt:

I've been thinking a lot about nobility, ever since reading Balthasar's chapter on Dante, more on which later. But in so doing, I really see leftism as a direct assault on nobility. I mean, just their leveling impulse alone guarantees the loss of transcendence, but any impulse to nobility is especially attenuated.

2/04/2009 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

'tis oft your word play
so far 'oer my head doth soar
clutching at doctrine

wv: stati (hardly)

2/04/2009 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

To the left, nobility is something that must be stamped out at all costs, for to imply that something can be noble is to imply that something else can be less than noble. And to most leftists that means they must realize how ignoble they themselves are, which is just too painful of a thought to those who value self-esteem above all else.

Nobility and humility are two faces of the same bright coin, after all, indivisible from each other and probably giving birth to a higher third (which escapes me at the moment, but I'm certain it's there).

Hm. Not sure if that made sense, but no time to untangle...

wv says bleah; oh well, they can't all be winners ;)

2/04/2009 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The left fully identifies with the world in order to find its meaning. It is through detachment that only that the world becomes our own and we may love it. It is the paradox of 'regarding your body as naught' so that you may truly love it, or to 'love not the world' so that you may actually be able to have it...

2/04/2009 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger joshua schatzle said...

could you say more about the movement away from myth toward the incarnation. it seems i recall Lewis saying something to this effect in one of his sermons. does he get this from Balthasar?

2/04/2009 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, I'll go into the idea in more detail in a later post.

2/04/2009 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Bob said,
"So is the creation ascending toward the divine, or is the divine coondescending toward the creation? I would suggest that they are ultimately the same movement looked at from different angles."

You may want to check with Obama's Central Planning Department on that one comrade. He may have something to say about what runs from where to whom and in what quantity. It's for the future and the children don't you know.

2/04/2009 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

RE nobility, I don’t think it’s that the left doesn’t realize it, it’s that they do, and want their ignobility to be raised up -- because the target cannot be achieved, or so it seems, they throw in the towel as early as possible. And the culture encourages that you are ok, I’m ok. It’s the inverse shame thing. And lazy. “I’ll fix my shame by making it noble. In fact, I’m courageous to strut around in this state.” This is anti-evolution…if evolution means human improvement over time. I’m certain Regan had to grow toward his Reaganess.

2/04/2009 10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

What about Christian Bale? He's a liberal activist, but obviously a noble man.

2/04/2009 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Cassandra said...

Ortega y Gasset (in Revolt of the Masses)presents a classic contrast between "mass man" and "noble man" that is fully in line with what Bob and commenters are saying today. Writing in the 1920's, he saw the 20th century as the era when the values of "mass man" began to dominate the West, even among, perhaps especially among, elites.

(Ortega often has to remind the reader that he is NOT talking about lower vs. upper class, common vs. elite, etc.)

2/04/2009 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Cassandra said...

"Again, this is why Christian wisdom is always embodied wisdom, not some abstract ideal that is imposed upon reality. No: "the understanding alone is in no way the organ by means of which we can know any actual reality. Such reality can be known only through genuine experience," i.e., O-->(n)."

"Christianity sees material life as the necessary foundation for the realization of divine truth, the embodiment of divine spirit...."


I have often wondered whether this is what Jesus meant when he said "Nobody comes to the Father except by me."

2/04/2009 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger [...] said...

You remind me of a man riding an ox in search of an ox.

2/04/2009 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, at least riding beats grinding an ox while looking for one.

2/04/2009 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - another lost soul falls up into the raccoon gravity well and winds up discomBobulated, insisting that down is up when it is clearly up that is down...

2/04/2009 11:56:00 AM  
Anonymous word veri said...

Fo snizin, mah nizin

2/04/2009 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous word veri said...

blastr master!

2/04/2009 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Eventually Judaism is essentially completely cleansed of mythology, and develops a fully apophatic notion of the divine, to such an extent that this sacred cow can't even be uddered (i.e., G-d)."

Explains why we should approach the subject as one who is punitent.

2/04/2009 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger jwm said...

I like the stinkbomb troll better.

JWM

2/04/2009 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"a noble man such as Ronald Reagan only makes them hate that more fervently. The left despises nobility in all its forms, and nobility is one of the first fruits of Spirit. In reducing man to matter, they rob him of his nobility and try to make up for the loss with stolen goodies, thus plunging him further into the abyss."


And their materialism, and the vital task of maintaining its veneer, is the reason why; none of the leftist's vital vices can be indulged in without concern for appearances (and it is so important to them that all pretend to ignorance), if there is acknowledged something higher which their vice has fallen away from. As long as all are rolling on the bottom and refusing to glance upwards, they can pretend they haven't fallen from any height at all. Pleasure and Pain are remain the only poles on their compass, and they can revel in each, knowing that they just need some more of some thing to fix their pain.

Snoop Dog can pretend to being an artist, as long as no one is aware of Mozart... and whosoever dares to raise the issue of real art, will be brought low with extreme prejudice.

Nobility is the first harmonization of the higher aspects of character into One form... courage, generosity, prudence, etc, contribute to the noble soul. Nobility embodies the realization that the left and right directions of pleasure and pain, are insignificant in relation to Up... and down.

The presence of a noble person doesn't just challenge the notion of one of the pleasures of the bottom, it isn't just the introduction of the claim that there is some-thing that is higher, but the demonstration that there are many things which are higher, that they each exist and they must be developed in order to reach an even higher plane, One which is ba'alatently obvious IS a higher and better place, than that of rolling about the bottom with the other swine.

2/04/2009 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

So is the creation ascending toward the divine, or is the divine coondescending toward the creation? I would suggest that they are ultimately the same movement looked at from different angles.

It seems that Julie and I were hard at work last night illustrating this light / dark principle. ;-)

2/04/2009 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Dougman said...

"Surrender" is a Cheap Trick

"God kenotically pours himself into creation, while we pour ourselves back into God, in a mutual surrender. But only if we are already partially divinized can we surrender at all."

When I woke up mom and dad were rollin on the couch
rock and rollin got my KISS records ooouut


wv:nonippe
I used to have long hair back in the day but I was no `ippe!

2/04/2009 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Dougman said...

In turn, once the idea of God is completely demythologized -- or what we would call "unsaturated"

The placenta ain't the baby and
and don't throw out the baby with the after birth.
There will be blood and water
but don't faint, the kid needs "you" now to cut the cord daddy.

2/04/2009 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

Cousin Dupree, let's not forget the venerable Bill O'Reilly...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFxca_OmiJk&feature=related

2/04/2009 04:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Even better: Bale vs O'Reilly.

2/04/2009 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

This is war. Some of us have sort of been rediscovering that the last little while.

The Hebrew word for "bitter" is "marah". Someone who knows told me a little while ago that marah can mean either "to embitter" or "to make strong". For example in 1 Samuel 30, David's men became embittered about the loss of their families to Amalekite raiders and murmured about stoning David. On the other hand, it says, "But David strengthened himself in the Lord" (some translations say "encouraged himself" - same idea).

The opposition is part of the plan. We decide whether it will make us bitter or make us tough.

WV knows -- "warym" -- yep, we are on the rym of war.

2/04/2009 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow, those fit together entirely too well.

I guess prima donnas all melt down the same way. They must share mind parasites like other people share STDs...

2/04/2009 06:25:00 PM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

A gem of a find, Dupree. : )

2/04/2009 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Once you encounter the "embodied wisdom", your quest is over...and it has just begun. Seriously, where else can you go?

2/04/2009 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van said...
"Eventually Judaism is essentially completely cleansed of mythology, and develops a fully apophatic notion of the divine, to such an extent that this sacred cow can't even be uddered (i.e., G-d)."

"Explains why we should approach the subject as one who is punitent."

Which is why Raccoons funkshin best when honoring the punal code. :^)

2/05/2009 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Regarding mind parasites, Soloviev came to appreciate that "the forces of egotism are given to man not to be destroyed but to be transformed, just as God himself creates good out of evil. The dark 'ground' is constantly in need of being brought to illumination." Illuminate and eliminate, as Petey always says.

And be holy whole not an unholy
a-hole.
The Left hates W so much they embrace the hole.

Yes, I'm an O-whole sometimes, hoping to be a complete O-whole.

2/05/2009 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

But only if we are already partially divinized can we surrender at all.

I used to think that being humble precludes even partial divinizing, but now I gno that I can't be truly humble or noble without it.

In fact, I used to also think that regarding myself as worthless was being humble.

Of course, when conviction hits, it's natural to feel worthless (ie a POS), but when I repent, the worthlessness should become an image of God, or Christ-like if I will.

IOW's, if folks don't see Christ in me (O), how can I regard myself as Christian?

Just as long as I never think that I am God, but rather, I Am God within my true Self, to be more Benscure.

Thanks for these outstanding posts, Bob!
And thay y'all for the excellent commentary. :^)

2/05/2009 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"In contrast to the blues musicians of old, we have a heavenhound on our trail." Indeed. In hot pursuit.

2/05/2009 06:47:00 AM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

A little something to cleanse the palette...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iUU6jTqB6k&feature=related

2/05/2009 07:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

A corrective gospel experience.

2/05/2009 07:20:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home