Friday, March 13, 2009

Truth, Freedom, Interiority

Perhaps I should start with some basics while my brain is still coming on line -- I woke up with a sort of fog in my head, and it's not dissipating as rapidly as one would like. Blood sugar slightly low. Perhaps that was a factor.

Anyway, the Theo-logic is presented over three volumes, and we're only only in the beginning of the first, The Truth of the World; this is followed by the Truth of God, and then The Spirit of Truth.

This first volume is actually an immanent phenomenology of worldly truth, without any bearing on God per se. That will not come until volume two, when HvB gets into the problem of finite and infinite truth.

Nevertheless, the second volume is surely implied by the first, for anyone who has truly stood in the ground of truth has under-stood the necessity of God. In other words, truth implies and points to its ultimate sponsor, without whom there wouldn't be the slightest possibility of truth, much less having faith in it. No: worldly truth is grasped in "the sustaining ground from which it emerges: eternal truth." It can be no other way, for necessity cannot be derived from pure contingency.

Any truth carries a promise, and the promise is this: "a sphere of absolute truth in which eternal being and eternal self-consciousness have always already coincided and by which all finite objects have always already been measured and... delivered over to be known by finite subjects." This will become clearer as we proceed, but it is critical to appreciate the relationship between truth, freedom, and interiority, in both their metacosmic and worldly manifestations, the latter again being a reflection of the former.

For truth of any kind quite obviously "presupposes a free, personal inner space." One must be free to discover truth, or it isn't truth at all, and freedom is a function of interiority.

Here again, this is our profound objection to the leftist tyranny of totolerantarian political correctness, which, in one fallen swoop, undermines both freedom and truth. And it also implicitly attenuates the interiority upon which truth depends, since radical secularists and neo-Marxists are absolutely committed to a blind materialism in which our precious interiority is just an epiphenomenon. Thus, no truth, no freedom, no objective interiority. Other than that, we have no problems with the left.

Now, just as worldly truth depends upon absolute truth, so too, ipso facto, do worldly freedom and interiority depend upon the Absolute Subject, who also happens to be infinitely free. We can never measure him; rather, he is the measure of us. Here again, this would have to be considered to be in the realm of the obvious, at least if one takes the time to think about it deeply (assuming other qualifications that the non-Raccoon will not possess, either by training, or more likely, vocation).

Okay, the caffeine drip is beginning to kick in. Unfortunately, Future Leader could stir at any time, plus I have to leave fairly early. Let's get busy.

Phenomenolgically, there is self and there is world, or interior and exterior. However, as mentioned a couple of posts back, while our senses only register the exterior, our intellect innately recognizes that the exterior actually has an interior -- that existence is the manifestation of essence.

As I reflect upon this primordial mystery -- about which I will have much more to say -- I go back to chapter three of the Coonifesto, where I discussed the extremely unlikely situation of a neurologically incomplete baby being born into the trimorphic structure of mommy-daddy-baby, the cosmic implications of which are well beyond this post.

But somewhere in there, I related this to that first bit of purely exterior matter that wrapped around itself and then persisted through time: i.e., that first cosmic declaration of subjectivity, Life. But the cosmic purpose of infants -- who otherwise seem so useless -- is to be the breach in time and space which allows interiority to come flooding in. Here again, it seems that the A.I. people -- much less the sociobiologists -- will never appreciate the profundity of this truly cosmic-developmental event. For it is to the evolution of Spirit what metabolism is to Life.

Here again, we don't have time to get into it, but Bion had a symbol for this interior process, which he called "alpha-function," which is basically the ability to "think about thinking" -- or, more to the point -- to actually think one's thoughts, rather than, say, being thought by them, allowing them to be hijacked by primitive emotion, projecting them, etc. Each of these interferes with the development of the interior world, and therefore erodes freedom and truth.

Now, a human being is not only open to the world, but he is also open to the infinitely wider world of other Subjects, beginning with the (m)other. Indeed, a good mother does not relate to her baby "surface to surface," but reaches "way in," so that they touch subject to subject, interior to interior, and ground to ground, in the most profound and intimate way.

Because this goes on for such an unusually extended period, during which time the brain is assembling itself, it puts in place the fissure in being, the crack in the cosmic egg, that will allow the celestial light in. Again, absent this interior space, neither truth nor freedom would be conceivable, for this space is also -- obviously -- the Cosmic Interior, with all that implies. It is why we can relate not just to people -- but to the world -- interior to interior and essence to essence.

Perhaps this is sounding too abstract, but it isn't. For example, when you open yourself to the beauty of virgin nature, and allow it to breach your boundaries and come pouring in, what do you think is happening? We've recently had a series of particularly beautiful days here in Upper Tonga, and I mentioned to an acquaintance -- a flatlander -- how odd it was that there was no such thing as an ugly cloud. He immediately launched into a dissertation about how he is an "empiricist," so that such statements have no meaning. Suffice it to say, I didn't pursue the subject. As always, the secret protects itself.

The point is, the human subject is not only a window on the world, but he is the only being that also sees the world as one big window, with the light of truth and beauty shining through from essence to existence. Imagine if the world were not like this! Again, this would be tantamount to a living death of severe autism, just flat people in a dead world (and vice versa).

But the human vocation is to serve as "host" for the world's beauty and truth, so long as we have a developed interior and allow it to remain receptive to being. In my view, the essence of psychopathology revolves around these two factors, 1) the absence of a highly developed interior, in which one has colonized a substantial portion of the subjective horizon, and 2) the extent to which the person is an open system (both horizontally and vertically), particularly on a deep emotional level. We will have much more to say about this in a future post, when we discuss the cosmic implications of coonjugal Love.

Damn, better stop again. No time to even spiel-check. Gotta get ready for work. I need a slabatical to really get into this!

30 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Any truth carries a promise...

Whoa.

Back to reading...

3/13/2009 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"a sphere of absolute truth in which eternal being and eternal self-consciousness have always already coincided..."

I'm reading Savitri, in fits and starts, but this part puts a new facet on the dance between He and She as expressed in Chapter 4.

And as an aside, just this one section of your post is setting off the sub-quantum gong. Just... wow.
back to reading again.

3/13/2009 08:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Reading Savitri? Why not start with something easy, like Finnegans Wake.

3/13/2009 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

He immediately launched into a dissertation about how he is an "empiricist," so that such statements have no meaning.

I can barely imagine living in the world inside his head - the very thought is almost suffocating. It would be like a horrible form of sensory deprivation, minus the fun hallucinations.

3/13/2009 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

:D

I'm enjoying Savitri immensely. I find I absorb it best when I just let it flow through the Unconscious, but there are clues in there to things I wondered about a couple weeks ago. It also does a nice little holographic dance with Kingsley's Reality (which has some good truthy nuggets, but strikes me as a bit breathless. Much of what he discusses isn't shocking to me, which he clearly expects to be the case for the majority of his readers. After all this time at One Cosmos, what he reveals just seems natural). Between all of that and here, my interior space is doing some startling things lately :)

3/13/2009 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Julie, you locked-onto the same part I did. It was the pivot point or center of Bob’s take on the whole conversation. Imagine a religion that did not test for beauty. I mean, not to mention the guy sounds proud of his dedication to it. If you ask me, Bob is the True Empiricist as he tests everything for beauty. Can you imagine rejecting such evidence? What’s the attraction to this religion, I would like to know. Is anyone running such important tests, including this fellow? Look what he has sacrificed for it. What is the value (meaning, point) of his answer, according to his standards of rejection? Bob, how many clouds did you test before reaching such a conclusion? Answer: every one, without even trying. I know because this test has been repeated here countless times with identical results.
You said he was a “he” which means my other test is also providing steady results. Bob, has he ever kissed a girl?
:-)

3/13/2009 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

On a Friday tangent, related to all of those things I mentioned above plus a sprinkling of a seedling planted at Walt's a while back, I've been thinking about the metaphoric significance of Sleeping Beauty-type stories (and I apologize in advance if I'm jumping the gun on the Coonjugal Love post :). In those, all of the focus is usually on the fact that there's this girl, and she's asleep, waiting to be woken by the man who holds the right key (or sword, as the case may be). Most of the stories, once she falls asleep, are about his battle to get to her. But what's going on in her interior while all this is happening? It could be said that her sleep is a profound stillness; in that space, any number of things can be represented. Maybe she's undergoing her own journey of transformation, maybe she's existing in being-consciousness-bliss. Her sleep could be a means of dying in order to live, the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly... I don't think we ever hear much about that, though - she's young and beautiful when she falls asleep, and she's generally represented as being the same when she awakens, a changeless divine feminine archetype.

I don't know if I'm expressing this very well, but anyway these are the kind of things my brain is playing with at the moment.

***

Ricky, obviously that prince hasn't even considered looking for his sleeping beauty. I'm sure he could find no empirical reason why he should look for her when there are probably plenty of other women who would be satisfactory, without all of the hacking and slashing to get to them. Now if he could just figure out how to impress one with his expansive dry logic...

3/13/2009 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

What Julie and Ricky said™.

Clouds, windows.

3/13/2009 10:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

We've recently had a series of particularly beautiful days here in Upper Tonga, and I mentioned to an acquaintance -- a flatlander -- how odd it was that there was no such thing as an ugly cloud. He immediately launched into a dissertation about how he is an "empiricist," so that such statements have no meaning.

This guy must be the life of the party, and a real virtuoso in the sack.

3/13/2009 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Julie,
What you say about the Sleeping Beauty story is intriguing. You may have a new tellin in your melon :-)

Not really related but what I love about that story is how people just love it. I always did. Same as any kid. Now how is that?...and why do kids love stories? Do we teach it, or simply allow it?

I’ll tell you, for a bunch of computerized-fancy-apes, we sure spend an awful lot of time considering the meaninglessness of meaning. Billions of people leading or searching for meaning in their lives. Risking everything for it. Pushing people out of the way of trains. That’s one strange ape. Shouldn’t he be happy (whatever that means) with a couple bananas a day? Everything was going along so well.

3/13/2009 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

The Empiricist strikes back!

3/13/2009 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

:-D

3/13/2009 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Bob,
You mention autism and the face often. And today also the preposterousness mission of AI. I’ve been reading McGinn’s book on Eckhart lately. He wasn’t exactly saying the same thing, but while reading it the other night, it occurred to me that the face, what truly “makes” a face is so much more than its physical existence or motion. It may be more accurate to say that the face is an open wound on the soul. The “face” is what rushes out that area of the body. I mean, surely every atom of it may be employed during a conversation, but there is way more transferring here than the atoms can put out. When you are truly engaged with another you don’t “see” the face anymore. It effectively or essensetially goes away. In fact, the atoms are nothing, there is no matter, if I understand Eckhart correctly, RE his defense at Cologne and Avignon when he says, “To say the world is not nothing in itself and from itself, but is some slight bit of existence, is open blasphemy.”

McGinn says, when Eckhart says that ‘creatures’ are ‘nothing’, Eckhart means “the existence they posses is a pure receiving”. In other words, the atoms, electrons are merely along for the ride. They don’t vibrate of their own accord. That should be obvious. My point is, the atoms and electrons contribute so little to what truly a face is. The beauty even of this face over that face has not as much to do with the arrangement of their molecules. Obviously this is the case with the whole human body, but much more so with the face. It is what is pouring through the face that “says” ‘face’ or ‘not face’ to another.

3/13/2009 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ricky, I think it's got a huge factor of Ones upin a timeless. There's all kinds of truth lurking in there, and just when you think you know the story, you find that you really don't know it at all. Probably why there have been so many versions of it over the centuries. For instance, here it is in song form (well, lyric, anyway; can't find a music link).

Yet another way to see it is in the play of container and contained; asleep, she exists in Ignorance until he gives birth to her in knowledge, even as she gives birth to him by being the Truth for which he seeks, and in the seeking becomes the man capable of awakening her.

Or something.

3/13/2009 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

It may be more accurate to say that the face is an open wound on the soul.

Exactly. That's why we wear so many masks.

3/13/2009 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob provides a broad general brush of how to mentally prepare for the spiritual life.

Of course, the basic thing is to believe in God.

Having achieved some measure of truth, freedom, and interiority, the puzzling thing to me is how to manage the emotional states of the mind.

I am neurotic. I do stand back one remove and observe my own neuroses, and I'm struck by how uncommonly strong and pervasive emotions are and how they tend to trump, cancel, and otherwise twist every spiritual gain.

Besides the main enemy which is the Godless attitude of the materialist, there is another horizontal axis which is troublesome, and that is the fear/anger/desire/greed/lust/ego axis.

So, my question, now that I can frame it, is what in Balthasar or other knowledge available to you, Bob, or other raccoons, can be used as ammunition or advice on this front? How to gain dominion over the unruly emotional core?

3/13/2009 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

First, what makes you believe you are called to this path?

3/13/2009 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Bob: "the Absolute Subject, who also happens to be infinitely free"

there've been worse definitions of 'Noumenon'

3/13/2009 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Anonymous,

It always boils down to the simplest things:
Be humble.
Pray - not for what you want, but for what God wants for you.
Mean it.
Be humble.
Listen.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

3/13/2009 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slightly off topic...I was just listening to Kenny Burrell's (Raccoon Artist of the day) "Midnight Blue" and wondered if it was still possible to make an album like that these days...worth a try.

3/13/2009 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No. The technology no longer exists. Nor does the vibe. Blue Note was a very special place -- as was Rudy Van Gelder's living room.

3/13/2009 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It would be like trying to recreate the Phil Spector era, or the British invasion, or the Sun records sound, the Stax, Atlantic, or Motown sounds, the sunshine pop era... you just can't reheat a souffle.

3/13/2009 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger The Slackosopher said...

GB-

I think you are right...but oh, if only we could! Just the idea of musicians all playing live together in a single room on studio albums is a thing of the past... Maybe once we get beyond this digital/protools 44.1 phase, some young genius will find a better way to record music...it's gotta happen!

3/13/2009 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"For truth of any kind quite obviously "presupposes a free, personal inner space." One must be free to discover truth, or it isn't truth at all, and freedom is a function of interiority."

Or it isn't truth at all.

That one lesson, if learned, would transform the world, from the inside out, which is of course, the only way that it can be transformed.


That's some serving of cheese cake today (uhlp... 'scuse me)... I need to pause and adjust my belt.


wv:deptness
Yep.

3/13/2009 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I see Julie and Ricky were caught by the flatlander too, as were probably most raccoons "Look what he has sacrificed for it. What is the value (meaning, point) of his answer, according to his standards of rejection?".

What is important to realize, is the deliberate, consciously chosen steps to ignore what you know, perhaps even gno (at least at the beginning), in order to engage in an artificial process of 'critical doubt', to pretend not to know, what you do know, in order to see if you can render all you know as quantifiable items on a checklist... in order to prove to yourself that you are allowed to know what you know. and if not?

Fuhgedaboudit (thanks Descartes).

Truly awful.

This is one of the key ways in which the flatland becomes, and remains, a black hole.

3/13/2009 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "Her sleep could be a means of dying in order to live, the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly... I don't think we ever hear much about that, though - she's young and beautiful when she falls asleep, and she's generally represented as being the same when she awakens, a changeless divine feminine archetype."

Another way of looking at it, is that while He is not asleep, neither is he Awake, until he kisses and awakens her... her sleep contains the means to awakening them both.

3/13/2009 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "...even as she gives birth to him by being the Truth for which he seeks, and in the seeking becomes the man capable of awakening her."

Heh... should have know you'd beat me to it!

;-)

3/13/2009 03:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Cassandra said...

Wonderful, interesting comments on a great post. Thanks all!

3/13/2009 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

If the time scale of a human life was comparable to that of boulders or bristlecone pines, I bet this is how we'd see the night sky.

3/13/2009 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

My 13-year-old nephew is coming to visit for spring break tomorrow, so I'll splurge and add one more observation. This may be the last you guys hear from me for a week :)

...when you open yourself to the beauty of virgin nature, and allow it to breach your boundaries and come pouring in, what do you think is happening?

I'm reminded of when I was a kid, back in the house in the woods by the lake. Every once in while, fierce windstorms would rip through Washington. When they did, my Mom and I would go and stand on the back porch (or even out in the yard) in the dark, electrified by the wild beauty of the rushing wind, the sighing and moaning of the trees (not to mention the ever-present danger of falling limbs) as they danced, going from gentle swaying to whiplike crackling, the scent of the maple and cottonwood as the leaves spun, sending helicopter seeds whirling through the air. In hindsight, it was a kind of elemental communion. There were lots of those kinds of moments there, which I think is why, in spite of all the bad things that happened there I loved that place.

3/13/2009 10:32:00 PM  

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