The Moon Shining at Midday
You could say that with Christianity, male and female (i.e., Absolute and Infinite) are harmonized and love hopefully ever after. We needn't divorce the primordial couple and grant custody of our lives to One or the (M)other. But the materialist gives custody of his soul to mamamaya, while the idealist gives it to papurusha (in Vedanta, purusha is the masculine principle which "witnesses" the play of maya, the eternal feminine).
Since God manifests as the wholeness of beauty, we must enter a mode that is adequate to this beauty, since beauty always transcends the components through which it expresses itself. According to Balthasar, faith is the theological act of perception. And naturally, this faith must be with the whole being -- heart, mind, and soul -- in order to be adequate to the wholeness we seek. This would be one of the meanings of "no one comes to the father but through me," because faith in the Son objectively reveals the beauty of the Father (i.e., he is the Form of the Formless, not in some secondary manner, but intrinsically so).
Or am I off base? I'm not a theologian, but I play one in cyberspace. Let's just say it makes sense to me so far.
Speaking of which, one of the reasons I still hesitate to join a formal organization (aside from the Raccoons) is that I would have a hard time with someone saying to me, "nope. Can't think that. This is the proper way." That may well be the case, but I still need to discover these truths independently, or they might never be realized in me. Or, put it this way: I find it very.... bracing to independently discover and realize this or that transcendent truth, even (or especially!) when it's been discovered millions of times before by earlier pneumanauts. On the other hand, I find it tedious to merely learn it. It's like the difference between reading about love vs. falling in love, or studying child development vs. having a child.
Obviously, I give great weight to precedent and tradition. But say, in the case of Balthasar, I'm not merely trying to "learn" from him, much less memorize his ideas. Rather, I am attempting to enter his world, so that I might begin to see what he sees. And I am doing so in faith, because I am quite sure that he is someone worthy of my entrusting it to him. How do I know this? Well, first of all, judge the tree according to its fruits, and I'm feeling pretty fruity lately, even if I only understand about half of what he's talking about and just bobtize the rest.
Here, this is good: elsewhere, Balthasar says that "Faith is the light of God becoming luminous in man," for in the end, "God is known only by God." So faith is the dark light with which God sees himself through us.
Which reminds me of a vivid dream I had the other night. The idea of the "sun shining at midnight" is a common metaphor for the mystical experience, in which plunging ourselves into the deepest darkness reveals the brightest light. But in this dream, the moon was shining at midday. It was a moon as bright as the sun, setting out over the ocean.
I meditated on this image, and it made me think of gnosis (the good kind), through which we are able to apprehend the subtle light of God even amidst the overpowering brightness of the material world. I would even go so far as to say that cOOnvision is nothing less than "the mOOn shining at midday," through which our night vision is preserved even within the blinding brightness of the day. A materialist knows only the midday sun, as his faculties are too dense to apprehend anything more subtle than that.
So the first thing we must cultivate is this subtle "light of faith," which can more or less become extinguished if not tended to and nurtured. Here again, this is quite different from the manner in which religion was presented to me as a young kit, and which made it so easy to reject and even ridicule. For it is not simply a matter of transferring "the psychology of the purely human belief in testimony onto the Christian faith," as if we are studying something as concrete as matter.
I am reminded of something James mentioned in a comment about the intelligent design/evolution debate:
"Both sides of the ID/Ev debate want to be seen as doing 'science' as the term is presently accepted, which (in their context) means they want to be seen as doing biology. This is why I see the whole debate as an inner-biological turf war. So long as all sides are insisting 'I am doing biology' I don’t see how my opinion is of any ultimate importance."
As you no doubt recall, I mentioned this point on page 38 of the Coonifesto: "And yet, our wonderment at the mere order of the universe -- marvelous though it may be -- is misplaced. Both the scientific priesthood and the creationist countermovement make much of this order, but to opposite ends (one to prove the necessity of a creator, the other to prove a creator unnecessary). Either way, a metaphysics of order is a metaphysics of the dead-on-arrival past, an eternally frozen or repetitive universe seen through the rearview mirror of mathematical invariance."
James points out that "the upshot of no one respecting the rigor of theology, and everyone respecting the rigor of science, is that when people want rigorous arguments for God’s existence they turn to physics or biology or thermodynamics, etc. Let ‘em go if they want to. They can see what the modern sciences will give them. In the meantime, theology still remains with all of its rigor, all of its certainty, all of its non-hypothetical knowledge, and a whole cache of proofs that work regardless of how the ID/Ev debate falls out.
"And yes, some of the arguments that theology has are design arguments. The design arguments (as St. Thomas articulates them) work just fine regardless of whether living species came to exist by chance. St. Thomas, following Aristotle, never denied that many things arise by chance."
The point is, the ID proponents are in a way as metaphysically hamhanded as those they would presume to defeat, because they are still conceding true theology to science, instead of developing a mode of perception adequate to the theological object. Once you accomplish the latter, then you realize that of course the cosmos manifests a deep intelligence and beautiful order on every level. How could it not? If intelligent people want to spend their lives proving that intelligence doesn't exist, let 'em go nuts, since they already are anyway.
For as Balthasar writes, "When the spirit attains to real Being it necessarily touches God, the source and ground of all Being. The spirit's horizon is not confined to worldly being, but extends to absolute Being, and only in this light can it think, will, and love; only in this light of Being does it possess language as the power to know and to name existents. Otherwise, no proof of God could ever be formulated, or be in any way conclusive." For it is "only here in the innermost sanctum of the spirit that the deeper and higher light of the self-disclosing God can shine out of the light of Being."
By first becoming adequate to this Being through the grace of faith, grace then assimilates us into its endless depths. The moon shines at midday. Congratulations. You are a loony Coon.