Love and Knowledge at the Leading Edge of the Cosmos
It is not as if the world consists simply of objects that impress themselves upon subjects, like a seal in hot wax. That is too "bipolar" and ultimately static, and places too much emphasis on the object side of things. For if this were the case, then the subject would reduce to the object, even while providing no reason why this mirrorculous subject should inhere in here at all.
Not only that, but as we have mentioned before, the fact that the object has qualities waiting to be "unpacked" by subjects means that there is already an implicit subject in the object. Objects "speak" their qualities to subjects, but not all at once. Rather, it is literally a kind of endlessly recursive con-versation ("flowing-togther"), for in the final analysis we cannot fully know the essence of so much as a gnat.
Truly, we cannot "contain" a single object -- again, thank God! For if we could, the mystery of being would be nullified, and we would live in a brightly lit hell, which is the end result of the naive demystification of scientism.
"In reality, the objects of this world need the subject's space in order to be themselves" (Balthasar). It reminds me of how it is only human convention that separates the bee and the flower, when they are so interior to each other that the one could not exist in the absence of the other. Each is an "external organ" of the other, so to speak.
As Balthasar explains, the object "needs the sensorium as a space in which to unfurl itself. It unveils its color within an eye that sees color; it whispers only in an ear that hears sound; it presents its unique flavor only in the mouth of another capable of tasting. It makes use of the space furnished for this purpose just as surely as it makes use of the soil and the ambient air in order to develop." "[S]ubject and object expand within each other, thus helping each other in a common discovery of truth."
Wind that speaks to the leaves / telling stories that no one believes / Stories of love / belong to you and me --Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dindi
Just so, human beings are irreducibly intersubjective. Take away the Other -- and the love in between -- and no I comes into being. As we will later discuss, this goes to the very heart of the eternal dynamism of the Trinity, as it manifests its image or echo in the herebelow.
There are many fruitful ways to think about this, but I-magine the intra-trinitarian life as a kind of perpetual giving birth to its own Other (the Son), who is actually none other than itself. The Father bears witness to the Son and the Son bears witness to the Father in the love that flows between them -- which is also why love is prior to knowledge. There is no is that can be reduced to anything less, i.e., to any kind of static, loveless monism or narcissistic dualism. In other words, we are intrinsically trinitarian because God is. (I probably just said something heretical, but don't worry, I'm sure I can fix it later.)
Or again, think of a smiling face, which we can only artificially separate from the joyful interior state it radiates to the world: "A smiling face is not simply a dull reflection of inner joy but rather its embodiment, its communication, its formation, its liberation."
I will never forget the first time my baby smiled at me, for it was a communication of a kind of infinite joy that crashed through to my deepest essence. So, was it about him, or about me? As I have said before, we raise our children, but not nearly as high as they raise us! Only now do I realize that my parents got a much bigger kick out of me than I ever will. People who cannot get over themselves, or who are joylessly ambitious, are in a way forever trying to look at themselves through the eyes of their adoring parents, instead of looking outward and adoring something or someone else.
In this regard, it is almost impossible to exaggerate the damage done to the soul by the assimilation of crude materialism, for it is ultimately the very death of the soul. The soul is "all it knows," and in materialism, the soul not only knows nothing (by definition) but is violently uprooted from the creation.
Don't let this happen to you! Our recent trolls stand as living witnesses to what happens to a person who is biologically alive while remaining spiritually dead. Intrinsic falsehood, intrinsic amorality, intrinsic ugliness, and intrinsic violence -- a kind or rooted rootlessness, which also results in their absence of coherence or consistency. Zombies.
From a God's-eye view, mankind is more like a single entity in both space and time -- like a single "substance" that is stretched through history to serially reveal its inexhaustible essence in the play of forms. This is how, for example, we are able to be "one" with great souls who preceded us, because there is a non-local interconnectivity within this temporal substance, just as there is within space. Someday this will be obvious to more people, instead of only being so at the leading edge of that stretchy cosmic substance.
Again, think of truth as a "joint operation of subject and object," not a property inhering only in one or the other. There is no "discovery" that isn't simultaneously an "unveiling of the object" in the space between them. A human being who is not ushered into this transitional space is not really human at all; again, he will be either a kind of autistic "object," or else a new-age narcissist who imagines he creates reality -- or that reality is a kind of magical projection of the subject. Both are states of human non-being.
In truth -- again, as in the Trinity -- there is a kind of mutual surrender, or self-giving, between object and subject, which is why knowledge touches on the sacred. Not for nothing does Genesis talk about Adam "knowing" Eve, thus emphasizing the intimacy and love that are prior to knowledge. For is it possible to know existence without first loving it? Yes, I suppose so, if you reduce knowledge and sexuality to the friction between a couple of objects.
Here is the passionate witness of a true lover of his mamamaya: Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, reality ever newborn.... you who by overflowing and dissolving our narrow standards of measurement reveal to us the dimensions of God (Teilhard de Chardin).
You see? It is possible to lose the soul in its objects or to be "saved" by them, depending upon one's attitude toward this oneish world of holy matterimany, toward this manifestivus for the rest of us. For "God's idea is indivisible, even though it needs both the knowable object and the knowing subject in order to reveal itself in its unity" (Balthasar).
Amen for a child's job!