Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where There is No Vision, the People Need their Third Eyes Examined

Here's a good rule of thumb: the light of grace "strengthens and deepens the power of sight," and "makes the eye proportionate to what is being shown" (Balthasar).

Or, you could say that faith "essentially consists in an ability to see what God chooses to show and which cannot be seen without faith." In fact, this very much reminds me of Polanyi's theory of scientific vision, only transposed to a higher key. The messy book of history is lettered with little divine hints and clues, but "the spirit searching for meaning requires a higher light of grace in order to synthesize the signs" (Balthasar).

This is something I discussed on page something or other of my book. It seems that non-believers begin with the idea of trying to rationally prove the existence of God -- which they fail to do -- and then conclude that he doesn't exist. But this makes about as much sense as me taking a few awkward hacks against a major league pitcher, and concluding on that basis that home runs don't exist. Plus, Babe Ruth was a liar. No one can hit a ball out of the yard.

Forget about God's existence. That's for God to worry about. If he doesn't exist, only he knows it. Rather, our job is simply to develop that "part" of ourselves that is capable of initially "detecting" and increasingly understanding the divine. After all, we don't speculate about realities for which we don't have the requisite sensory apparatus to detect. For example, humans -- at least since the 1960s -- don't bother thinking about the sound of red, or what music looks like.

As far as I am concerned, it's just flat out strange that we are able to understand the divine at all, much less to deepen and expand our understanding. I mean, if God did not exist, we couldn't say that this person over there has a childlike understanding, while that person over there has an exquisitely subtle understanding. Nor would there be any "inter-rater reliability," which there surely is, especially the further one ascends up the sacred mountain (cf. the Spiritual Ascent for mountains of evidence of the mountain).

The point is, as I put it on page 194, "Even if we assume that scripture is a revelation of God, it seems axiomatic that it still has to be revealed to someone," so that the meaning will vary widely from person to person, partly depending upon their capacity to receive it.

In a way, it is analogous to physics, which is way beyond the point that it is dealing with any ponderable human reality. Rather, it must employ elaborate particle accelerators that span several miles in order to create very special circumstances for the desired reality to make itself manifest. In short, change the experimental situation, and a novel reality emerges -- or, features of reality emerge that would otherwise go undetected.

Why should it be any different with the study of consciousness? Obviously, strange things occur inside an atom smasher. But even stranger things occur inside an ego-smasher -- and perhaps for similar reasons. After all the ego is a cluster of energy, a "knot" in consciousness, something like a virtual molecule. Blow it apart, and what happens? Well, usually the neutron bomb of psychosis, which destroys the mind but leaves the body standing. But splitting the atom can also result in heating your home. Is it possible that splitting Adam can result from bleating the Om? So we have heard from the wise.

To a certain extent, the nonlocal God "requires" us in order to manifest locally. Or, you could say that God is not known unless we do the not knowing. And we must not know what we think we know in order to begin unKnowing the unknowable One, that's for sure.

So, as Balthasar says, "the signs of revelation crystalize about a center which becomes visible in the light of faith." This, I think, is a key point. Just as in science, as one synthesizes more and more, the resulting "center" becomes deeper, more interconnected, more robust, more enduring. Once this begins to take place, then you cannot isolate just one component, because you appreciate its part in the whole existentialada.

But how does one begin to coonfur this vision upon the willfully blind? I just don't see how it is possible unless they leave their ego at the door and surrender to B'ob. Why? Because I'm trying to show you what I see, and you won't see it if you don't drop what you're doing and see things from my perspective.

Obviously, I don't mean that in any grandiose way. I only mean it in the sense that it is true of any philosopher or artist. In order to understand any metacosmic vision, one must abandon oneself and deeply enter into it. Only afterwards do you return to yourself, so to speak, and reassess.

This is what I do, whomever I am studying. That is, I extend the courtesy of plunging heartfirst into their world. If it is a valid world, several things will become evident. At the very least, it will be both internally and externally consistent. Also, it will have a "richness" and "texture" that will only be present if the guide in question really knows what he is talking about from the inside out. In other words, "second hand" theological writing will lose this fineness of detail [you could say that it becomes (k) rather than (n)]. The life is drained from it.

Another thing that becomes evident is a communication of the light necessary to "see" within the given structure. No divine structure can be seen without a source of divine light. All pneumanauts are aware of the fact that this Light is every bit as evident as the light that illumines the physical world.

Here, I didn't even see this coming, and Balthasar confirms it: "The interior light of faith and the external historical revelation confront, recognize, and strengthen one another." Indeed, "the active synthesis of the signs of revelation and the light that makes them possible" are both understood "from the spirit's perspective of self-realization in its striving toward God as he is in himself," but also "the genuine expression of the divine Being." This is again none other than the ascending spiral of (↑↓), as the divine glowtons bang up against (¶).

38 Comments:

Blogger Van said...

"For example, humans -- at least since the 1960s -- don't bother thinking about the sound of red, or what music looks like"

ummm... do I lose points for the later? Can't help it, lines, dots, patterns and bursts always around the edges of awareness when listening. Only thing I did in the 60's was get born. Oh well.

Back to the post....

2/11/2009 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

(Van, it's not just you, I do the same thing. Imagine my delight when, upon "seeing" particular color patterns emerge from various songs by a group I like, I saw them in concert and the lights they used at different points were virtually the same as the colors I had always imagined.)

Anyway, so of course I'm back to reading The Spiritual Ascent (having finally finished MoTT, I'm determined to finish this one as well). Last night, I started on Knowledge, virtually all of which is apropos yesterday's discussion.

No divine structure can be seen without a source of divine light. All pneumanauts are aware of the fact that this Light is every bit as evident as the light that illumines the physical world.

Not that that means anything ;)

2/11/2009 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

" Just as in science, as one synthesizes more and more, the resulting "center" becomes deeper, more interconnected, more robust, more enduring. Once this begins to take place, then you cannot isolate just one component, because you appreciate its part in the whole existentialada."

And also when someone attempts to insert a component that just doen't fit... it's sooo damn obvious that it just doesn't fit.

2/11/2009 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Sort of off-topic, but need to deposit this somewhere as it has been bugging me...

Further proof that the Left is well along in their the long march through the culture. The New Scientist was a leftist front from the get-go (e.g., Born believers: How your brain creates God) Writing that rag off isn't such a big deal.

Writing off the likes of the Lancet and Nature is however quite a bit more serious. Bob routinely offers the qualification when he justly attacks wackademia ("except for the hard sciences"). This is getting increasingly harder to justify. While there obviously is plenty of good hard science still being done, the Left is steadily worming its way into American lecture halls and labs. Nature--once the sine qua non of reputable popular scientific journals--has become utterly worthless, especially after their most recent publication of charlatan/fraud Michael Mann's antarctic fairy tale.

The Lancet not only made up data wholesale about Iraq (claiming that 2-5% of the population was killed by the US), but continues to stick by this crock of crap long after it has been thoroughly debunked.

The humanities have been eviscerated and true knowledge-seekers are relegated to off the beaten track blogs and dubious cafes. I'm afraid Bob's disclaimer re the sciences will be short-lived.

What about engineering? Well, look what happens when an earthquake hits a socialist paradise.

2/11/2009 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie, ever 'forget yourself' when trying to get someone to recall the hook of a song you've got stuck in your head and can't think of the name of, and begin describing how it looks?

"Ya know, it's got this thin part with streaks and dot dot dot... ehm... I mean ... it sounds like " - sometimes takes a few minutes to wash away their suspicion that you might ax murder them if they turn their back on you.

;-)

2/11/2009 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Van,
here; you can see the lights at the beginning, just a hint of what I always saw in my mind from the CD version.

I've never tried to describe a song by its colors, though. People would look at me more strangely than they already do...

2/11/2009 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

“Plus, Babe Ruth was a liar.”

Exactly. Similar to implying that given enough monkeys, pianos and time you would eventually get the works of Beethoven. Add more of those and you exceed him.

2/11/2009 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

“the light of grace ‘strengthens and deepens the power of sight, and makes the eye proportionate to what is being shown’" (Balthasar)

This reminds of what I was reading last night in Arnot’s “The Parables of Our Lord” where he is talking about the Parable of the Talents.

“For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”

2/11/2009 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I see moving pictures in my mind's eye... like, movies, when I listen to good music. It's all inter-related; sometimes I recall dreams or have day-dreams. Maybe that's how Enoch got called up into heaven: He fell through the dream in a song.

2/11/2009 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Forget about God's existence. That's for God to worry about. If he doesn't exist, only he knows it.

Who else could? This seems so obvious, but the anti-God people never get it. Ah, well...

Kind of similar to Rick's quote, yesterday Magnus mentioned that there are gods none of us believe it and brought up the danger of getting the god we deserve.

wv: glumbi -- Gumby on suicide watch.

2/11/2009 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

This is what I do, whomever I am studying. That is, I extend the courtesy of plunging heartfirst into their world.

the golden key is
suspension of disbelief
jack and the beanstalk

2/11/2009 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger debass said...

To a certain extent, the nonlocal God "requires" us in order to manifest locally. Or, you could say that God is not known unless we do the not knowing. And we must not know what we think we know in order to begin unKnowing the unknowable One, that's for sure.

I didn't know that!

Music is the same. I've forgotten more than I ever knew about jazz. Try teaching that concept to a beginning student. No wonder I never had many students past the first lesson.

2/11/2009 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Forgotten but not gone, no doubt.

2/11/2009 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But this makes about as much sense as me taking a few awkward hacks against a major league pitcher, and concluding on that basis that home runs don't exist."

Terrible example. You're comparison is absurd. Which seems to be saying because you can't prove something, doesn't mean it isn't true. somebody has proven home runs happen. In the atheist mind, nobody has proven God exists. Silly man, trying to simplify an argument by using false examples.

But say for example nobody had theoretically hit a home run, but we knew that the limits of human bounds and how we could hit a ball, then we could hypothesize it to be possible, and well within the limits of reality, because you can hit pretty far, so why not far enough to go beyond the playing field? Atheists aren't basing their decision off of limited observation.

It's almost like saying you think Atheists don't believe in God because they fail to see something you fail to explain, where nobody has successfully explained their knowledge of God in terms that they could even relate to anything significant.

Some say they "feel" God, but then again Greeks used to "feel" their Gods, but, pfft, we "know" that they were wrong. What's astounding is the exponential increase in excuses made, but the flatline progress in actual breakthroughs from religion to religion. Several thousand years and we've been through so many Gods, so many words about them, but still the same feelings, still the same questions. If we don't change the rhetoric soon we may not be able to resuscitate.

2/11/2009 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Whiff.

Strike three. Yer out.

2/11/2009 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I like this quote from Eckhart, and it seems oddly fitting today:

"This knowledge de-ments the mind"

2/11/2009 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Who's minding d'ment?

2/11/2009 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Anonymous:

Not. Even. Wrong.

Now have a blessed evening!

2/11/2009 01:29:00 PM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

You got to be in the game if you want reach even as far as first base, pal.

vw: receal

Recall the real, anybody?

/Johan

2/11/2009 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, even Swedes know you can't steal first base.

2/11/2009 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Martin T. said...

Come to think of it. I've never actually seen anybody hit a home run. I mean, on TV I've see a guy hit a ball then the camera changes to a different camera and it shows a ball going over a fence. Big woop. Any movie producer can fake that. Actually I've tried to hit a baseball. Maybe 20 feet is my best. If I concede there are others better than me, well maybe 100 feet or so but across a huge field and over a fence. No way. It's faked just like the moon landings.

Oh yeah, I once read somebody who had read some of Aristotle's writings. I was totally unimpressed. The Greeks really knew nothing at all.

I wonder what's on TV tonight?

2/11/2009 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Anonymous - You only imagine you're anonymous.

2/11/2009 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Some guys can excel at baseball or see God, but apparently drugs are involved. But only Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter while on acid, thus accomplishing both.

2/11/2009 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger lance said...

Van said "sometimes takes a few minutes to wash away their suspicion that you might ax murder them if they turn their back on you."

The jury is still out on you buddy!! ;) I have my 2nd eye on you!!

2/11/2009 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous word veri said...

Extra!
Read all about it!
Masked bandit goes on rampage after trying to explain how music looks...

2/11/2009 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"“the light of grace ‘strengthens and deepens the power of sight, and makes the eye proportionate to what is being shown’"

Just put of a post on a related idea, Forgotten Beauty and lost Justice

2/11/2009 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Lance said "The jury is still out on you buddy!! ;) I have my 2nd eye on you!!"

s'alright... got my third eye on both of us.

;-)

2/11/2009 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Lance, you're second eye reminds me of a story: Back when I was in high school, I had a principal who was wall-eyed and had a speech impediment like Sylvester the Cat.

I got suspended for telling jokes at a student awards banquet. So my dad had to go in with me to get me back in school. The principal could look at both of us at the same time, and every time he would ask a question, Dad would try to look stern then glance over at me to see who was supposed to answer.

The principal didn't seem to think Dad or I took the situation seriously enough.

2/11/2009 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

This has nothing to do with anything today, but if you have a few minutes and want to revisit the heady days of innocent discovery, this movie is well worth your time.

(Warning, contains boobs. What? It's artistic.)

2/11/2009 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"For example, humans -- at least since the 1960s -- don't bother thinking about the sound of red, or what music looks like"

I can hear with my ayes!

2/11/2009 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ben said "I can hear with my ayes!"

Ahh, I can see that Ben knows!

;-)

wv:dings
Nyah... it'll rub out.

2/11/2009 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger jwm said...

Probably inappropriate, but, what the hell.
Back in the daze ('68/'69) I remember getting a hold of pharmaceutical LSD. You could tell it wasn't black market stuff. It came in small tablets: red, green, purple, and some salmon colored stuff that was just incredible. But they were hard, shiny pills just like prescription drugs. The experience was pleasant, clear headed, euphoric, and very hallucinatory- bright, colorful, fluid visions. I remember seeing music pour out of my stereo speakers, and spill into the air. Or being at a concert, closing my eyes and dissolving into the brightly colored sound.
The black market stuff that came later was nothing like that. There was very little in the way of visual hallucination, and you were amped, restless, sweaty, and awash in that awful, heavy, 'I'm in trouble, here' feeling.
But damn. How could that be forty years ago?

JWM

2/11/2009 08:06:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"I got suspended for telling jokes at a student awards banquet."

Mighty Coonish of you Mushroom. Well done.

2/11/2009 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Speaking of hallucinogenics, third eyes, danger, and...radio plays?

Enjoy.

wv: synebu (oh yeah, wv always comes through)

2/11/2009 09:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob wrote:

"But how does one begin to coonfur this vision upon the willfully blind? I just don't see how it is possible unless they leave their ego at the door and surrender to B'ob."

The task of trying to help someone attain "coonvision" is actually the most demanding and exacting on the planet. Training a brain surgeon is far easier.

Reasons:

1. Coonvision takes eons to cultivate. People that have it are like hot steel that has been under the blacksmith's hammer many, many times.

2. Knapping a flint hand ax is a good analogy. If you can knap just ONE good chip in your subject, you have done many years work. You cannot complete the whole task.

3. Therefore, examine your subject carefully. Keeping in mind the subject has much more time than you think (multiple lifetimes), find the spot where the chip needs to be struck. Your coonvision will help you to see it.

4. Once you have identified where to strike, strike repeatedly and forcefully until the chip flies off of our subject.

5. Step back to admire your handiwork. Just one SMALL thing is a great step forward.

6. Possible "chips": Self-discipline of any kind. Responsibility. For others, you might have to form an obstacle. You may help someone overcome an attachment to money, or some other kind of malignant desire.

7. There you have it. I hope you like my odious comment. May it serve us well. I have aimed my own hammer at the flint.

2/11/2009 09:31:00 PM  
Anonymous chip said...

What you talkin' bout Willis?

2/11/2009 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

@ Mushroom's 04:13:00 PM


Man, that made me laugh and laugh.

2/12/2009 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I agree with anonymous. Last week felt like multiple lifetimes, and man, I had to go through them all. I mean, how else to make it to grog o'clock?

"O, gladsome ale of the fermentations..."

And man, each reincarnation is harder than the last - it's tough dying to the world each day and being reborn!

It takes millions of 'em? I don't know if I have that many days.

Thankfully, when you really get into a new lifetime, you can look over the old one like the view from the cliff of a plateau. It might be hard to look back until you reach the next one.

Chip. chip, chip! Are those squirrels? They're always digging up my roots - roots of bitterness I suppose.

When I dream, maybe I can see back into those lifetimes vividly; or other times I just go and look at an old journal.

Somehow though I think I'm missing anony's point. It's my fault, I don't like getting stabbed.

2/12/2009 07:38:00 AM  

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