Friday, March 27, 2009

Getting Intimate with Sophia

I remember my first time. It's not the kind of thing one forgets. Suddenly I knew in my bones that

"The intimate character of being, which reaches its completed end in the conscious spirit, has its preliminary stages in unconscious nature. There is no being that does not enjoy an interiority, however liminal and rudimentary it may be."

Bear in mind that I am not talking about the first few fumbling attempts to pierce the veil of reality after getting hopped up on reefer pills with my buddies in the back of Lumpy's van.

Rather, this actually occurred in a state of sobriety while walking the dog on a warm summer evening. I was idly contemplating something Whitehead had said along similar lines, when the Gagdad coconut "snapped" in such a way that the inside was now out, and the outside in. I suppose you could say that it was like the sudden solution to a koan, which is not an intellectual affair, but more of a breakthrough into the ground of being.

In turn, once you have secured that realization, then so many other pieces of the puzzle naturally fall into place. In other words, once one understands that interiority is not somehow magically confined to animal brains in such a way that it defies all explanation, then the most intractable problems of philosophy more or less vanish. We see that these "problems" were just the inevitable residue of our defective mode of knowing.

Just a brief soph-reverential note about the circularity of the Coonifesto. When you first read chapter one, you may get an intellectual "feel" for this cosmic interiority. But after having broken through into cosmobliteration on p. 266 and returning to the ground on p. 6, the next journey through chapter one should be rather different, in that you are now equipped to "realize" what you could only "know" the first time around. I don't want to give away all of the jokes, but this is what we were driving at on page 264, where it is written,

O me ga! I can explain everything. I know this place. Been here before. Where we started. No it this time. A huge mythunderstanding. The word made fresh. Non-friction. Telos when its over. Now. It is accomplished. End of the piper trail. You're on your own.

This passage has more baggage than I can unpack at the moment, but "O me ga!" is the shocking realization of the end (omega), the telos, which tells us all about the beginning. Thus, we can "explain everything," but only in the eternal now, where there is no longer a radical disjunction between the "it" and the "I," or subject and object (no "it"). It's the same place, but now we know it in an entirely different, participatory manner.

However, this is not something any mortal can give to you, like a piece of information. You cannot follow me like a pied piper. Rather, you're "on your own" (O-->n). Well, not really. "It is accomplished" by the One who has already rejoined heaven and earth, inside and outside, man and God. And he's always happy to extend a little nonlocal assistance to get it accompliced.

With regard to scientific law, one could never say "it is accomplished," since the laws apply only to a finite realm that has already been unnaturally split into rigid categories of subject and object.

Thus, at their margins, both science in general and the scientific method in particular generate metaphysical absurdities that can never be resolved within the realm of science, since it assumes up front what it tries to eliminate at the back. This is strictly impossible, but don't tell the tenured. It would be cruel to deprive a primitive people of their comforting myths.

Suffice it to say that Sophia never makes passes at scientistic asses, despite the latter's "never-ending attempt to woo the core of the material world" (and remember, matter is related to mater and maya, or the primordial feminine). While the physicist no doubt "thinks" he understands the charming ways of mamamaya, so long as he is stuck in his fully masculine mode of thinking, he won't get to first base.

Rather, as Balthasar notes, the scientist's "perplexity about the ultimate essence of matter" is a permanent fact, whereas "living being, to whose realm we ourselves belong" may "in the end [be] better known to us than inanimate nature."

This should by no means come as a surprise to senior Raccoons, who know that metaphysics is the only truly "exact science," whereas everything else is more or less opinion. And one of these metaphysical laws is that the realm of matter, "not merely by reason of some accidental circumstance, but by reason of intrinsic necessity, must always remain richer than any cognition of it and that the truth of the lowest level of being contains a richness that so utterly eludes exhaustive investigation that it can continue to engage inquirers until the end of time..." This is the nature of Sophia: veils upon veils upon veils.

The interiority of the cosmos is an irreducible fact (or principle), but it obviously becomes more concentrated and expansive as we move up the vertical, and therefore gain greater access to the Mystery of it All:

"Even on the lowest level of life, the living entity already irradiates such plenitude and power from the hidden core of its interiority that we should fall back, blinded, before every one of its outward forms." Any scientific inquiry that clams to explain the Mystery of Life is "simply absurd." It "touches the the sacred core of life with profane fingers" and "covers the unknown with names and concepts but does not see that it has only glued a mere label onto a container of unknown content."

I discussed this problem in my book -- how science begins with the real world, constructs abstractions from that world, and then proceeds to confuse the abstraction for the reality, so that anything falling outside the abstraction is no longer real! It is definitely a kind of madness.

We can see this madness in the global warming hysterics, for whom a speculative weather report 100 years into the future is more real than the living people who are freezing their asses off today. And we obviously see the same thing in the metaphysical Darwinists, for whom theories of life are more real than Life Itself. (And as Dennis Prager mentioned yesterday, this is also the perennial pathology of leftist thought, which habitually regards its theories as more real than the reality they are supposed to describe.)

What is the Mystery of Being? It has to do with the fact that Being is "permanently concealed," and yet, "permanently divulged," like an "intimate-public secret." And as Balthasar emphasizes, in a certain very real way, we know more about this "secret" if we accept its testimony "as it is," rather than trying to peel away the endless layers in a futile effort to find its "essence." One will never find the essence of so much as a single tree by that route. Rather, the essence of the tree may be in its majesty, its dignity, its beauty, its strength, its generosity. As such, "no one who has witnessed the unfolding of a plant's life ought to say that he has seen 'only' the appearance of life, not its essence."

Again, the essence is the appearance, only not in any exhaustive way. Rather, the essence is a kind of plenitude that displays itself in the endless play of appearances. We know by looking at the manifestation "that the possibilities of life are infinitely more abundant than what is actually on display." This only becomes more apparent as we move up into the higher realms. For example, this blog and my essence are "not two," even while not being identical. I do my best to reveal my essence, and yet, there is no end to it.

And being that we are in the image of the Creator, I think that pretty much sums up one aspect of his creative activity. Just as his transcendence is necessarily immanent, his immanence is necessarily transcendent. Thus, his inside is everywhere outside (and vice versa), which is one more reason that the outside is so permeated with infinitude. Manifestation is a kind of gift of the inexhaustible divine essence, but only if we open his presence.

(All quoted material playgiarized from Theo-Logic: The Truth of the World.)


Gagdad Bob said...

The same essence from another angle.

Peter said...

It struck me as I was reading this post that the feeling of almost sadness or being slightly "left out" when I am looking at great natural beauty is because there is something there, an "inside" that I am not fully participating in. The day is coming where this will change. Hints of this are scattered about for those who can see even now.

Petey said...

True enough, but on another level we must bear in mind that "paradise is the prison of the sage."

Anonymous said...

Bob's speak: "Matapysics is the only truly "exact science"
"His inside is everywhere outside, which is one more reason that the outside is so permeated with infinite."

Peter, know that You are not in the slightest "left out". Let me descibe why this is so - my witnessing moment of Sweet Flowing Waters of Life.

Many years ago just sitting enjoying the bright sunny mid - summer's day under the shade of a tree....Next thing I knew I was witnessing (with eyes open) a crystal rainfall!

That's exactly what it looks like (with higher-sense vision), this absolutely freely-given Gift of Life...Drenching all, just like 'regular' rain, but it looks clear/transparent.


Jim Baxter said...



+ + +

Van said...

"Rather, the essence of the tree may be in its majesty, its dignity, its beauty, its strength, its generosity. As such, "no one who has witnessed the unfolding of a plant's life ought to say that he has seen 'only' the appearance of life, not its essence.""

Interesting to note, that one of the first steps of initiation into scientism, is to try and get the young student initiate to distrust "mere appearance", like a pusher offering a "free hit" in order to hook the naive experimenter on his dazzling drug, the scientismist offers the eager student a toke off of the heady powers of materialism, by encouraging them to devalue and even discard the 'truth value' of appearances, he too can gain power over reality.

"You can imagine ice that sinks or burns, because that is merely a synthetic truth, the result of appearances that have typically occurred in the past, but they aren't necessary to it; however you cannot imagine a square circle, which is an analytic truth."

After hooking the initiate on this dazzling drug, they soon experience the thrill of being able to discard any truth that happens to be staring them square in the face.

"Socialism always fails"... oh pish posh, that's just a synthetic truth, we'll do it better, we can see that the collective is all and the individual merely a stray sliver, and since our statist epicycles are more clever than those of the primitive past (conveniently even 'last month' occurred in the past, and can be safely set adrift from conscious concern), and weee know better and weee will succeed where all the others failed! Wheeee!

With the result being that the integrity of appearances are divorced from the substance which they reflect, the metaphysical is reduced to mere arbitrary chance, object is divorced from subject, and with truth seemingly divided against itself and their foundation in it split, the initiate who once stood upon the foundation of Truth, can do nothing but fall.

Wheeeeeee… all the way down.

James said...

Great Post Bob. And all this time I thought I was a pervert. Erotics of being indeed.

Petey said...

Your not a pervert. Probably just a pure vert, rather than a skanky hor.

Anonymous said...

The Real . . . is reactive to thoughts and feelings...........
Do I want to feed the destructive force, or be a channel for Holy Spirit's in-flowing thoughts and actions for the benefit of all beings in all world-views?. . .
My mind may say "I'm nothing!" But the Passion Heart insists "I AM everything! Be willing, from your higher abode to be my helping hand streching out to those who are not at all sure I AM"


The Divine's "reactive" to thoughs and feelings moment - oh, circa 6 years ago.
Was standing in the middle of the back garden watching a Monarch butterfly feeding on the "Butterfly" bush's sweet nectar....Anxious times.....Next, he flew up and awaaaaaay. Waaay high, higher than the roof top now. Suddenly, I thought "if he obeys this, then it will be a sign of, "it will be ok". . . Silently screaming "COME BACK!!"

Next instant watch him making a beeline directly towards me! I thought at this speed he will fly in my face . . . But stood my ground as still as a whisper. Almost directly before me oh, maybe 2 feet distance from my face, he veered to my left making a full circle around me...Then off he flew to rest in the evergreen tree.


Van said...

Strolled over to Walt’s site and the discussion of depth & dimension… you know how silly the Object vs Subject (’Less filling!’, ‘More FLAVOR!’) arguments sound? It’s as if looking through a pair of binoculars, the person who has previously used a telescope all of their life, demands to know whether the illusion of depth is coming through the lens on the left, or the one on the right? The perception of depth comes from the presence of both, but only because the world of depth you are looking at exists on its own, no matter how you look at it.

‘Well, sure, but with which eye? Don’t be hasty, look these studies conclusively show that the image in one lens is different from the other, so you can’t really say which one is ‘actually’ ‘real’….

The depth is there you aninny, and you are able to perceive it, if you open both eyes and look! It is beautiful! It is it’s own reward, just look!


Van said...

(uh... not in any way saying that kind of discussion was going on at Walt's site, Walt, Ben & Ricky just got my neurons... neuroning....)

walt said...

Van -

Yes, it should be made clear that nothing ridiculous or anything but *serious* goes on at Froth ...

Ben will confirm this, btw.

julie said...

We can see this madness in the global warming hysterics, for whom a speculative weather report 100 years into the future is more real than the living people who are freezing their asses off today.

Speaking of which, there is something seriously wrong with the climate when I need to turn on the heater in mid-March.

oh, and off topic, wv says twaxes are what bikini waxers will have to pay in order to cover their extra licensing and liability costs.
(okay, I know that was groanworthy. I blame the cold weather.)

Anonymous said...

Response to Van, and pls. feel free to share you own God-union experience, eh? For surly, only God-spirit can verify supernaturaly 'God-union'.

Here's mine, which I actually email-shared and will more or less repeat what I wrote on 7th of Jan. of this year:

I read last evening Jan. 6th is Epiphany Day and had to open Webster to to read what this word means exactly, tho I knew sort of what it meant. Still, I needed to see it in print.
Having done so I was astounded at the auspiciousness of this date as it synch-related to my at dawn hour (event) of Solar Heart Initiation.
Here goeth, a pale only word-version of what transpired.

Am completly lucid-aware of which level of consciousness I'm 'in' as I cast my gaze out the large window....'European'looking village nestlled in mountain's most beautiful pastoral setting. Ran outdoors to see its splendor at closer range... Eye casting now at tall trees... Looking way up now, breathlessly drinking in Sun's brilliance (with) "Oh, my God! oh my God!", aware fully of its 'Solar Heart' significance.....Watching its brilliance descending in a beeline towards me. Directly, at chest level looking like a large, 'crystal' sphere which suddenly burst-enters my heart with a loud 'pop' sound.


Ricky Raccoon said...

Listen, Gagdadio…
They’re playing our song.

“In turn, once you have secured that realization, then so many other pieces of the puzzle naturally fall into place.”

Do you remember?

‘cept you spelt realeyesation rong. And it was a verb I believe He beleft you to give to me, and right before that, nothing but nouns in the old box.

Awe, heck. Who my kiddin. I still luv ya.

This two is good news:

“For example, this blog … there is no end to it.”

Gagdad Bob said...

Remember everybody, don't forget to turn on your lights tomorrow night at 8:30 PM. Push back against the hysteria, smite the anti-Dobbs, and strike a blow for freedom all at once!

julie said...

Today's news of the obvious (or, one more horizontal reason to listen to Jesus' advice).

Cassandra said...

Peter--- I wonder if the "almost sadness" you are talking about is similar to what CS Lewis called JOY....the mixture of pure enjoyment of the object, along with an aching for something it seems to point to.

julie said...

Getting back to Balthasar for a moment, I'd just like to observe that when he stops talking about what other people think and gets to the ultra-rich, meaty brain jazz heart of the matter, it's utterly transporting. I was going to quote a bit, but really that's like trying to give an impression of the rain forest by handing someone a leaf.

Gagdad Bob said...

It seems that these Big Books may be intended for real Catholic theologians, hence all of the citations and references. I just ordered a few of the shorter works that seem more intended for regular folk.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Bob I thought you might like this, from Mark Levin’s new book, the chapter, “On The Constitution”:

“Former Harvard University law professor and current Obama administration official Cass Sunstein, a leading advocate of delinking liberty and property rights–and President Barack Obama’s likely future nominee to the Supreme Court–considers Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights” to be among his greatest speeches. Sunstein believes that economic value and private property are not natural occurrences in human interaction but rather the outgrowth of government and law. … There are thousands of brilliant lawyers who can teach constitutional law. But there are relatively few faculty positions at Harvard Law School. Are the rules rigged in academia, where Sunstein was a tenured professor prior to government service, from competition by others who might want a chance at acquiring prestige and income that come with such a distinguished position? Does not tenure, in this case and generally, disserve liberty? Presumably Sunstein believes he has earned his way. But since his liberty and property (his job) were not linked, and since the government has the authority to determine what is or is or is not a property right–and its proper distribution–if Sunstein had been forced to surrender his post to make room for a more needy or deserving lawyer who coveted Sunstein’s professorship, it would seem, in Sunstein’s formulation of rights, a legitimate function of government.”

julie said...

Ricky, that's mighty disturbing.

Bob, I actually don't mind the theological history too much, since it's like a crash course in theologians I've never read (and mostly, probably, never will except as excerpted in books like these). It just isn't as erotically charged as what flows straight from his brain :)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Walt said...
Van -

Yes, it should be made clear that nothing ridiculous or anything but *serious* goes on at Froth ...

Ben will confirm this, btw.

Aye! The KROK is a veritable Slackatorium where you can bring yer own nous and hang.

Walt n' Sensei have some of the slackiest Tea parties you can find. :^)

Outstanding post, Bob!

Skully said...

"Walt n' Sensei have some of the slackiest Tea parties you can find."

Spiked wit grog of course.
And sometimes you can score some free nuts.
In other words it ain't just a jive dive, it's a classy dive, where you ain't too worried about bringin' yer Wench along.

Anonymous said...

Julie (5:07 PM)

Just now I decided to check out what Wikipedia has to write on "Sophia". Didn't have to go too far to see this golden nugget:

"In Eastern Orthodoxy humility is the highest wisdom, and is to be sought more than any other virtue. It is humility that cultivates not only the Holy Wisdom, but humility (in contrast to knowledge) is the defining quality that grants people salvation and entrance into the Heaven." --- did you know that??? I sure didn't.