Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A River Runs Through Us

... again, what is it about truth? Why is she so darned attractive and lovable? And what is wrong with the sophisticated cretins who treat her so shabbily? Truth is something -- or someOne -- with whom we have a real and intimate relationship. Truly, it is philo-Sophia, who is the very essence of mystery. The archetypal mysteress, as it were.

For example, this is why, as Balthasar says, the person who opens himself up to truth never experiences its containment, of "comprehension and exhaustion." Rather, he "makes the paradoxical discovery that knowledge does indeed make authentic progress, which means that there is such a thing as certitude but that every new step displays the field of truth in ever greater, ever more infinite enlargements."

In an analogy I have used in the past, our knowledge is like a dot of light at the center of a black space. The more the dot enlarges, the greater the circumference of the dot as it shades off into the darkness. How can this have lead to a situation in which we quite obviously know more about the world than ever before, and yet, people seem to think this diminishes, rather than deepens, the mystery? For there is no scientific theory, from quantum physics to Darwinism, that doesn't open up whole new mystas of vistary; and not mystery in the sense of "ignorance," but in terms of awe before the numinous O, which tosses out scientific theories like grains of sand on the beach.

Thus, "the more of the truth the subject manages to master, the more the truth overmasters it." In other words, the more we contain (♀), the more it shatters (♂) the containers. "The more particular truth the subject comes to know, the higher and vaster the firmament of truth as a whole arches above him." You might say that truth, like love, radiates, but never encloses." Binds, yes, but not encloses.

When a patient comes in for therapy, it is not just that they believe things that cannot possibly be true. Rather, it is also that their area of colonized truth is so tiny. In a way, as this area is expanded and colonized in therapy, the persecutory mind parasites simply become "smaller" in comparison.

As a matter of fact, many longtime readers of this blog may have noticed this merely by virtue of the daily verticalisthenic of coontemplating these posts. They obviously require you to "stretch" the boundaries of your mind, so it shouldn't be surprising if, over the long haul, psychic knots that appeared large a couple of years ago now seem comparatively smaller. If we could harshly interrogate these parasites, they might even say, "I'm still big. It's the damn psychic cartography that got bigger!"

It reminds me of the AIDS virus, which is apparently quite old, but could not flourish until introduced to the... let us say, cramped quarters of the San Francisco bathhouse scene. Likewise, Islamic terror wasn't such a big problem until the physical worldspace got much smaller as a result of modern travel and communication.

The only solution, of course, is to literally expand the mental space in which the typical Muslim (and leftist) lives. After all, we've got medieval Palestinian savages murdering people over olive trees in a digital age that measures wealth in a far more abstract manner. Think of Adam Smith as the quintessential example of someone who opened up the infinite world of wealth, whereas our enemies -- including our domestic enemies of the left -- still see wealth as a tightly bound, zero-sum game. But it is obviously quite difficult to expand a leftist's mind, since they have a death grip on the educational establishment, not to mention media, pop culture, and higher locodemia.

No doubt you've all noticed the psychic pettiness of the left, the tiny container in which they live, move, breath, and think. I'll just leave it at that. I'm only up to page 50 of a 272 page book. We've got lots of space to expand and expound upin.

Speaking of which, I might add that Balthasar is similar to Bion, in the sense that both of them -- albeit in very different ways -- demonstrate while they elucidate. In fact, I actually try to do this myself, which is to say, provoke the actual experience of what it is I am writing about in these posts, i.e., engender the experience of O-->(n).

And, now that I think about it, this is how I distinguish true mystical writing -- i.e., theosophia -- from mere theology. The seal of authenticity of a genuine mystic is that they will be able, to a greater or lesser extent, to directly convey what it is they are trying to communicate with mere words. In my case, I really want you to have a kind of palpable experience as you read these posts. If you are only having an abstract intellectual experience, then im doin it rong. I suppose it helps that these posts are "fresh from the source," with very little interference from this Bob imposter.

Anyway, as for what Balthasar directly communicates in his writing, it literally feels as if I am very close to a kind of geyser of inexhaustible and uncontainable truth. He wrote only 100 or so books (or whatever it was), and if he had lived another 50 years, there would have been 100 more. Truly, he was a living example of what he is saying about the uncontainable nature of truth, and how there is only more of it the more you possess -- again, think of that image of a point with concentric circles around it, except that the closer you get to the point, the larger the territory, until you get to the point, which is infinite.

You could say that the central point is marked by the cross, sort of the way the flagpole shows you where the hole is in golf. The cross shows you where the Whole in Oneness is located.

Many implications follow from the above. First of all, being can never be grasped in its totality, because if it could, it wouldn't be true. Rather, we would be the truth, and we are nothing (since we are contingent), so that won't work. Relativism is always a dead end, or cosmic null de slack.

No. As Balthasar emphasizes, the illumination of being is not confined to our own little heads. Rather, in Truth, we are participating in the uncreated (and uncreateable) light that illuminates both subject and object, or being and consciousness. Yes, this may sound paradoxical, but it is true: our thinking "is embedded in an infinite thinking of being and so can serve as a measuring stick only because it itself is measured by an unmeasured, yet all-measuring, infinite measure."

Do you understand what he means? For example, let's take a gorgon-variety, ovary-tower academon who tries to take the measure of the Bible with her own puny intellect. What happens? Well, nothing, really. In reality, we can only understand the Bible because it understands us. Only a fool tries to measure the infinite, or contain the uncontainable, within himself.

Rather, we must become hosts for the uncontainable, a very different thing. In the latter case, we are like a river, but we do not confuse the river with the molecular state of the water flowing through it at any given time. Indeed, it is only human convention that separates the spring from the river and the river from the ocean. In reality, it is all one flowing process, from God to God -- except that it is a spiraling flow, not a strictly circular one.

In this way, we see that God is known implicitly in every explicit instance of truth: "It follows, then, that truth is indeed disclosed to the subject, and because it is truth, it always touches upon the sphere of the absolute, the infinite, and therefore, the divine."

To summarize: "[T]he more the subject grows by its knowledge in the certainty of the truth, the greater the distance between its own measured measure and God's measuring measure must appear to it. The truth proper to the creature is not so much the possession of the absolute truth as the readiness to receive it again and again."

To which I can only add, again and again and again and....

19 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

To which I can only add, again and again and again and....

And thank O for that.

3/17/2009 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

In my case, I really want you to have a kind of palpable experience as you read these posts.

Most of the time, it's like being slapped awake. Repeatedly.

"It follows, then, that truth is indeed disclosed to the subject, and because it is truth, it always touches upon the sphere of the absolute, the infinite, and therefore, the divine."

It seems the closer one gets to Truth, the more simply spherical it becomes, a dot of light growing in added dimensions, unmasking the form.

Sperm, meet Egg.

Repeat. Multiply.

3/17/2009 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Ha ha - next wv = spilliz.

3/17/2009 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Djadja said...

This blog is a host for the uncontainable. If it pointed to itself we would stop reading it and seek elsewhere.

3/17/2009 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Only a fool tries to measure the infinite, or contain the uncontainable, within himself."

Which is the implicit result of Descartes Cogito,

"I think, therefore I am."

A full reversal of ground between quantity and Quality. It is the anti-thesis of,

"... God is known implicitly in every explicit instance of truth: "It follows, then, that truth is indeed disclosed to the subject, and because it is truth, it always touches upon the sphere of the absolute, the infinite, and therefore, the divine." "

Descartes's Cogito doesn't say "IT is, and through my awareness of IT, I realize that I AM", it implicitly says that "Through my own motive assertions, I AM, and I am justified in doing what I want", and all else that has devolved into the blackhole of leftism must, has, and does, follow from that.

From that modern twist, and the accretion of centuries of elaborating epicycles of wackademic theories, follows the assumption that because of what YOU want, IT must be (you are entitled to, and victimized when frustrated from getting what you are entitled to), it follows that nothing which can be historically demonstrated to be true (Good and Evil, America, property rights, capitalism, objective law), can have any weight or relevance in the face of what you want to be 'true'.

And the opposite of,
"To summarize: "[T]he more the subject grows by its knowledge in the certainty of the truth, the greater the distance between its own measured measure and God's measuring measure must appear to it. The truth proper to the creature is not so much the possession of the absolute truth as the readiness to receive it again and again.""

follows, as instead of expanding outwards, leftist thought can only condense proregressively inwards, more and more and more densely until eventually it will achieve maximum density.

3/17/2009 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"In my case, I really want you to have a kind of palpable experience as you read these posts."

Robin said... "Most of the time, it's like being slapped awake. Repeatedly."

;-)
Ho!

3/17/2009 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One who doesn't gnOw, may try to contain the uncontainable within him/herself .....

Hey Bob & Ccoonkins' , first time posting n' hoping my attempt of verse-writing in this lil' window will look half normal. If not - ohwell.

I wrote Feather On the Breath of God circa 1999'. A word-version of what Grace feels like.

***

Shall I praise your name in verse and rhyme?
Would it please you if I walked the paths of one who knew you well
On those distant shores of days gone by?. . . . .
Is the radiant blue of Forget-me-not, Spring's testimony to your beauty?
Is the essence of your majesty captured in the splendor of a rainbow?
Can it be that the ecstasy of your creation is in every heartbeat,
every sunset, sunrise, thunderstorm and each blade of grass? . . . .
When the eyes of my eyes were opened
I saw wonders that can't be spoken
You took my hand when I least expected
And blessed me with your Golden Presence . . . .
Is this why in your Heart I found mine,
And in your face I see a Treasure?
Do the tears of joy as I contemplate you
Pay tribute to your sweet embrace?. . . .
How can I proclaim this Glory when I'm just a feather on the breath of God!

3/17/2009 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

It is fascinating that science now assures us that the universe itself is expanding faster and faster. This comes at a time when knowledge is expanding faster and faster. Presumably the universe behaved the same way 500 years ago, but at that time it was literally unthinkable.

When I was a kid, the universe was pretty much accounted for. Now we only have any sensible idea at all about less than 5% of it. That is probably optimistic - as our knowledge grows, we will probably realize that we never understood even the basics. Even though at that time, we will understand a lot more than now.

It certainly works that way with spiritual knowledge.

3/17/2009 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger jwm said...

Anon:
I used an excerpt from your poem in my post today over at the world famous blog. No disrespect intended. Just thought I'd let you know.

JWM

3/17/2009 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Bob,

I read this post twice, agreed throughout, and couldn't think of anything worth adding. The stretching felt good though. Sorry I'm so tongue-tied at higher altitudes, because really, every paragraph had valuable concepts and in-sights.

In poking about in Googlandia, however, I bumped into your arch-opposite. I suppose it's worth a glance in the name of "research" -- an example of dark passion, at least. Here 'tis. Quite a contrast to the experience you're trying to evoke!

3/17/2009 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

As it is beer o'clock and St. Paddy's Day, I'd like to take a moment to raccoomend Sam Adams Irish red. Hits the spot after hours of wandering around in deserts horizontal and/ or vertical.

Walt, I'm going to click that link, but first some fortification is in order...

And yeah, this is one of those days where Bob has managed to eff the ineffable so beautifully, there just isn't much one can add.

3/17/2009 06:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JWM,

No ofence taken belive me....You don't have to take my word for it even . . . In that case how 'bout I tell you my grangrrrl story - her soul's Joy - manifest. Will You then 'hear' something Real? Newborn babies don't have any agendas, right? Besides, Bob once wrote "If something is to come from Nothing, the something must have an element of genuine surprise..."

She was 4 days old, second day at home and my first visit to see her. Mommy and daddy chilling in another part of the house during my walk in the kitchen with her sleeping sweetly in my arms (Nana is allowed to say "sleeping sweetly":)

Drinking, with every step her baby-beauty...Now and again glancing out a window...And then she giggled out loud! And I mean, as real as it gets giggle! Startling my hair to stand up straight, I'm sure. Her half closed eyes darting from side to side. Moments later she did it again! and again!

I did not say a word about it to my daughter and her hubby. "Why should I?" , I thought "They won't believe me anyway".

Couple of weeks later, (maybe less) on the phone, daughter told me "she giggles in her sleep and sound just like a three year old when she does that!" Exactly so!

Perfect time to tell her about the giggling moments when I first held her (at home). "You're kidding?!" N. exclaimed.

~Theofilia

3/17/2009 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Theofilia,

I've got an unbelievable, impossibility too. When our eldest was born, it was a week early and a sudden emergency situation... I stood there stunned while two Dr.'s casually sliced open my wife's belly, plopped her guts out onto her abdomen, and a moment later lifted our baby out of her.

This wasn't going according to plan.

The nurse cleaned him off and brought him over and placed him in my still dazed arms. A moment later, he did what a new born can't do. Opened his eyes, focused on my face, and reached up and grabbed my nose.

Nurses, Doctors & all say it was coincidental muscle spasm's.

Not.

(Mom was sore for a while, but was soon fine, and years later his brother & sister came along fine. He's big as me, and I do my best to keep him from grabbing my nose... but I think he could probably get it if he tried.)

3/17/2009 07:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear'ya loud and clear Van:)

~Theofilia

3/17/2009 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

But it is obviously quite difficult to expand a leftist's mind, since they have a death grip on the educational establishment, not to mention media, pop culture, and higher locodemia.

New Screed up tonight.

3/17/2009 10:30:00 PM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

Ah, finally I managed to catch up on my reading here after a week spent skiing in the alps of Austria.

Truth always feels fresh as newly fallen snow, and we should always happily plunge right into it. You can't really be hurted if you fall, since newly fallen snow is both light and dense enough to carry your body. But you should not go unpreparied and without the right equipment, of course. With a good pair of skies under your feet it will be easier to get down to the bottom of the walley. Then you take the lift right up to the top of the next m0untain of Truth, and do it all over again.

/Johan

3/18/2009 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger QP said...

Welcome back Johan. Sounds like you had a divine holyday. I'm currently on one mysoph. I'm afloat in an Open boat, commandeered by Petey & Repetey; ably assisted by a non-local amphibious task force.

Photographic evidence coming soon w/o a grant from the NEA.

3/18/2009 05:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

That is one righteous fisking by Lileks.

3/18/2009 05:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking about blogs, how can one tell between a genuine 'highway to heven' and a 'tower of babel'. Which to choose,if only one had the choice; To walk in the shoes of the absentminded professor, or in the shoes of the inmind mystic. What I wouldn't give to be lost in the world, rather than lost to it. What I wouldn't give, is what I wouldn't know I had, if I were to be lost in the world. Namely my soul. So I guess I'll just have to keep walking in my own two odd shoes.

3/18/2009 07:56:00 AM  

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