Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Truth as Mystery, Mystery as Truth

This ought to be good: Truth as Mystery. But if truth is the mystery, who is the mysterer?

Too easy. Well, perhaps not, for there are two broad possibilities: either mystery is an immanent property of truth, something that radiates from its inner core, or else just a kind of peripheral "noise" added by human minds.

Science (i.e., scientism) is about eliminating mystery. If we could only know everything, then all mystery would be eliminated, and the world would be... hell, in my opinion.

This problem starts to bear on Theo-Drama, and we don't want to get ahead of ourselves and spoil the surprise. But to live in a world bereft of mystery would be like knowing the end of every story, the punch line of every joke, and the hour of your own death. It would be a kind of prison of absolute jadedness.

Imagine if there were nothing to read except for The Nation, or Glenn Greenwald, or Richard Dawkins (meaning nothing but mindless atheism and soulless leftism). For it's not just the intrinsic lies, but the spiritual asphyxiation that kills you. To put it another way, only the spiritually dead can expose themselves to these kinds of things and fail to notice that "something's missing."

If you are at all familiar with the atheist literature, or even left wing cultural commentary in general, then you know what I mean. Because before all else, the left demystifies, but when one does that, one cannot help extracting the humanness along with it. This happens when one demystifies sex, or religion, or marriage, or childhood, or education, or art -- basically anything important to the soul.

Note that the troll will reflexively conflate "mystery" and "ignorance," when to live the mystery is to know the transcendental truth, precisely; for to dwell in the mystery is to belost & coonfounded in the state of higher bewilderness, or "upper Tonga."

For the belighted ones (i.e., those who are blinded by an excess of surface light), mystery is an annoyance, whereas for us it is the point. (And let us not give a pass to the spiritual materialists of the right who do the same thing with religion, i.e., reduce it to a kind of surface formula.)

I'm guessing that even the most doctrinairehead materialist isn't sufficiently delusional to imagine that we will ever reach this glorious state of fully saturated (k), which would represent the elimination of O, and delumenation of being.

Nevertheless, he believes we are approaching it, and that we should approach it. For as we have mentioned before, scientism is about the demystification of the world, whereas one of the essential features of Raccoon religion -- one of the six or seven "promises of Toots" -- is the remystification of the world. With bells on. (Of course, this also bears on the esoteric meaning of the Raccoon who has "gone on to Bismarck.")

Now, one of the keys to understanding truth is its relation to freedom; for if we are not free, then there is no truth, and if there is no truth, then there is no freedom. We must be free to discover truth, which, of course, also adds the ethical dimension, for truth is what we must know, just as good is what we must do. But if truth is reduced to pure quantity, then out the door go freedom and goodness as well.

Let me take a little break, and see what HvB has to say about it. He begins by noting that truth "transcends the predetermined outlines of nature," and that this transcendence is "an entryway into truth's character as mystery." And where there is mystery, there is interiority, in both being and in the subject who apprehends it.

Therefore, truth "emerges" from being, so to speak: being as such is pure mystery, even while it perpetually (and mysteriously) discloses itself in the form of truth. So if we are "reading being" properly, then the mystery should always be legible to us, along with the truth.

It would appear that "mystery" and "interiority" are almost synonymous terms; at the very least, you could never have one without the other. Furthermore, they always "co-arise." This means that the deeper one plunges into oneself, the deeper the "external world" will appear to us.

Now, this idea of "depth" is a particularly important one, for as I have noted in the past, depth is the dimension of soul in all human activities, and it is utterly inaccessible to any form of materialism (for how can matter possess degrees of ontological "depth?"). If you want to plumb the depth of someone, just find out what they consider "deep." To grab a particularly low-hanging fruitcake, consider the things that Mtraven considers "deep," and you pretty much know all you need to know about him.

More to the point, everything he considers deep, we know to be shallow. But since he will automatically reduce what is deep to his own soul's depth, one can again see the pointlessness of arguing with him. This is what the leftist does and cannot help doing, and it is critical to bear it in mind; in other words, they desecrate, they profane, and they blaspheme (proudly!).

Whatever delicacy you give to a dog becomes dog food. They have no way of knowing whether it came from a five star restaurant or the local Quickie Mart. Nor does the materialist, by his own acknowledgment, know what comes from God. Rather, for him, by definition, the finest soul food might as well come from McMatter. Which is certainly to put the nugget before the chicken, but we'll let it go.

Back to being, depth, truth, soul, and mystery. Again, all of these categories are intrinsically related. As HvB notes, the mystery at the heart of being is not an impoverishment but a wealth or "abundant fullness." It is not value subtracted, but value added. Indeed, you might even say that it is the addition of value, for value too lies on a vertical scale that can be known only to the soul.

HvB writes that "The truth of being can no more be without an indwelling mystery than being can be exhaustively unveiled to the eye of the intelligence. By its very essence, being is always richer than what we see and apprehend of it."

And just how do we know this? In other words, for the materialist, this does not count as "knowledge," only recognition of one's ignorance. But we know better, for we know that unKnowing the mystery is infinitely preferable to killing it with the trivia of materialism.

For again: mystery is not "beyond truth, but it is a permanent, immanent property of it. There is no aspect of truth that in any given act of cognition is ever so perspicuous to the knower that it contains nothing else to be known" (HvB).

There is always more: more truth, more light, more mystery, more depth, more life, until we know the Life Divine and therefore nothing at all. And this is the cerebration of the Voidgin Birth, one of the other seven or eight Promises of Toots.

Workin' on a mystery. Let's hope he never gets to the bottom of the big one:

43 Comments:

Anonymous Cory said...

This one clears up something that I have noticed in my own pursuits. On those occasions when grace has been granted and revelation received there is always a state of mind expressed as "How do you DO that!?!" or "How can you BE so!?!". Or just plan old (!?!). I always get a thought like this arising on the crest of a wave of awe and - yes - mystery. The more that is revealed the more I know I don't know the more I know I can go on to discover. And there is no end that I can see.

4/22/2009 07:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Yes, mystery is truly a mercy. It dilates existence like nothing else except perhaps love. But of course, the two are related.

4/22/2009 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

There is always more: more truth, more light, more mystery, more depth, more life, until we know the Life Divine and therefore nothing at all.So true; and so completely nonsensical if you don't know. With so much of this, there really is no way to explain so that it can be understood from the horizontal.

On a completely different note, are those fireman's boots?

4/22/2009 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

(Doh! stupid formatting...)

4/22/2009 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Oh yes. He has all the gear. If it's not heroic, he isn't interested.

4/22/2009 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

Even your non-scientistic scientists can appreciate the unfolding of mystery in the attempt to comprehend reality. As one told me, "For every question we answer, five new ones open up in its wake."

4/22/2009 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, it should always go without saying that not all scientists are bonehead materialists and that many are religious.

4/22/2009 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of mysteries, I find this sort of thing laughable:

"I don't expect William Donohue to have faith in me, so I encourage him to see Angels & Demons for himself. Then he will finally witness, and perhaps believe, that what I say is true."

*snork*

What Brown and Howard clearly don't comprehend even remotely is that the true mystery, including the mystery of the Church, is literally infinitely more engaging and, well, mysterious than anything they could possibly imagine, given their deeply shallow comprehension.

4/22/2009 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Mrs. G said...

OT-I thought that some of the enterprising-oriented raccoons might enjoy this article: http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/14/trappist-business-lessons-leadership-management-mepkin1.html

Augie Turak is both an entrepreneur and serious about his spirituality. This article is another of his which combines both of his avocations. I hope you don't mind the off-topic intrusion, but just heard from him and thought some here might want to know about him.

I don't share his politics, but like his approach to business quite a bit.

4/22/2009 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emerson, one of my fav authors has much to say on Mystery. From essay on Nature:

As a plant upon the earth, so a man rests upon the bosom of God; he is nourished by unfailing fountains, and draws at his need inexhaustible power. Who can set bounds to the possibilities of man? Once inhale the upper air, being admitted to behold the absolute natures of justice and truth, and we learn that man has access to the entire mind of the Creator, is himself the creator in the finite. This view, which admonishes me where the sources of wisdom and power lie, and points to virtue as to

"The golden key
Which opes the palace of eternity,"

carries upon its face the highest certificate of truth, because it animates me to create my own world through the purification of my soul.

*

"Fear not Mystery"

Theofilia

4/22/2009 11:13:00 AM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

Home run, Bob. Very nice.

4/22/2009 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Here's Mrs. G's link in clickable form. It's a very interesting article, too.

4/22/2009 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger ViolentLove said...

The exquisite unfolding...

Glad to have found you.

4/22/2009 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Case you haven’t seen this:

Obama’s Spending vs Obama’s Spending Cuts in pictures.

What's funny too is, you could use the same graphic minus the text to illustrate the absurdity of man's affect on global warming. The little puny dot being the earth and the big yellow one as the sun. Relatively accurate proportions, I would say. Except for distance of course, but you get the idea…

Happy Earth Day!

4/22/2009 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another aspect of mysterey is to become it. To exercise and increase one's inscrutability, quietude, and general secretiveness can be a boon in a world where everyone is letting it all hang out.

One keeps the mouth compressed, the eyes hooded and slitted, movements sparse and economical, like a big cat's. Occassionaly one utters cryptic, short statements pregnant with multiple interlocking metaphors. People will chew these mind nuggets for hours.

"Climb a mountain once for sport, and then again for utility, and then ponder why the view from the top is so markedly different each time."

So.

It is particularly fruitful to veil off parts of the self from the mate, who will then move heaven and earth to get to the last domain of the beloved that cannot be fathomed or penetrated.

"Approach close to being spent, but never quite over the line, until each Christmas eve; and then allow yourself to spend, and you'll see why the Chinese Emperors swore by this practice."

So.

4/22/2009 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Superb post. I actually called someone to quote parts of it over the phone.

On another topic,

Queeg says "a little light breaks through" as one of his minions mounts a defense against false allegations of anti-Christian bias at LGF.

Mr. Johnson is apparently unburdened by any sense of the ironic, for this "defense" is itself one of the more corrosive and vitriolic broadsides against Christianity I've read in ages.

Lizards. Indeed.

4/22/2009 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Like this guy?

Seriously, though - haven't you been here long enough to know that playing at deeply mysterious only makes you look like a shallow pretender?

4/22/2009 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

(of course, my previous comment was directed at the long-term nony at 1:55)

4/22/2009 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Oh that’s a good one, Julie. Never seen it.
Thanks
:-D

4/22/2009 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

"And why am I wearing the watermelon on my feet?"

That's hilarious. I knew of this movie, but hadn't seen any of it before. Good clip.

4/22/2009 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It's a pretty good spoof of superhero movies, imho. I'm glad you guys thought it was funny :)

4/22/2009 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

What Ron doesn't understand is that basically, he's telling us that our mom's a lying whore.
And then he wonders why, since he doesn't really mean it, we don't find that interesting to comtemplate in a theoretical kind of way.
I can certainly understand why he made the sequel, since Da Vinci was such a blockbuster and all.

wv: gardn. Thank you, I think I will.

4/22/2009 03:46:00 PM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

Well put, Sal.

4/22/2009 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>it's not just the intrinsic lies, but the spiritual asphyxiation that kills you . . . . the left demystifies, but when one does that, one cannot help extracting the humanness along with it<<

As St John of the Cross tells us, the purgatorial process known as the Dark Night of the Soul is best described as an "aridity" of spirit - one treks through a vast arid desert that is void of God and Spirit. All previous encounters with God, all mystical experiences, all feelings of one-ness with the Divine, are as if they never had been, or if they had, were nothing more than empty illusions.

Of course the difference between the spiritual pilgrim's Dark Night and modern demystification is that the pilgrim is keenly, painfully aware of the loss of spiritual connection. The pilgrim then has to rely on blind, un-felt faith to keep going.

The modern demystifier feels no such loss, of course, thus has no need of faith. However - at the end of demystification is *chaos*. I think many modern demystifiers actually romance the idea of chaos, thinking of it as being an exciting jumble of events, a perpetual state of revolution. These are the people who hold up the figure of satan, lord of chaos, as an exemplar of revolutionary integrity. The truth is that chaos is the complete absence of integrity; the parts of the whole can't connect, the whole then dissolves, and presto, you've got the ultimate stasis.

Demystification/chaos - or hell, in other words - is the ultimate stasis, an infinite boredom.

4/22/2009 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Now, one of the keys to understanding truth is its relation to freedom; for if we are not free, then there is no truth, and if there is no truth, then there is no freedom. We must be free to discover truth, which, of course, also adds the ethical dimension, for truth is what we must know, just as good is what we must do. But if truth is reduced to pure quantity, then out the door go freedom and goodness as well."

One of those lines that just need to be repeated over and over and over....

4/22/2009 04:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Yes, just as the not-God of creation mirrors the intra-trinitarian "not" (i.e., the Father is not the Son), the static no-God of the left is mirrored in their tedious world -- like an image of the Unmoved Mover, except that it is not moving because it is dead. No wonder they love the excitement of revolution, but from where we sit, they are like draft animals hitched to a post and circling it for eternity.

4/22/2009 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

"...they are like draft animals hitched to a post and circling it for eternity."

Great visual.

And interesting you should bring up St. John of the Cross, Will. I was just going over this again today...

“A sunbeam coming in by the window is perceived the less distinctly the more pure and free from atoms and motes the air is, but the more of these there are, the more distinct is the beam to the eye. The reason is that we do not see light itself, but by means of it we see the objects on which it falls, and these reflecting it, the light itself becomes a visible object; had it not struck them it would itself remain invisible…Thus this ray of divine contemplation, transcending as it does the natural powers, striking the soul with its divine light, makes it dark, and deprives it of all the natural affections and apprehensions which it previously entertained in its own natural light.”(Dark Night of the Soul)

4/22/2009 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

I got curious about the use of the word "mystery" in the Bible. It is used as the translation for the original languages only a handful of times in the Old Testament – all of which are in the Book of Daniel (surprise), and 25 times in the New Testament – nearly always referring to Jesus, the incarnation, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”, and the faith (again, surprise). In Daniel, “mystery” was used for a troubling dream of King Nebuchadnezzar that none of his wiseguys could interpret - except for Daniel. Which of course not only gave Daniel major cred in Neb’s eyes, but Daniel’s God as well. Interestingly, the interpretation of the dream / mystery prophesied future worldly kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome), as well as the future divine kingdom that would be founded upon the “stone cut out of the mountain without hands” (Jesus) – as further referenced in Isaiah, the Psalms, and as fulfilled by Christ in numerous New Testament books as the cornerstone that the builders rejected. Cornerstone of what? Why of the true house of God of which believers are “living stones”. Mystery enough for you?

I also found out that the Greek word “μυστηριον” (moostayrion) had its root in a word meaning “to shut the mouth” - perhaps meaning that there really may be no way to put it into words (and that I should quit trying?).

I do love the saying about the Testaments, “In the old is the new concealed; in the new is the old revealed”. But indeed the revealing is endless. The mystery unfolds ever so gradually.

4/22/2009 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Yup, it occurs to me that what we behold as the numinous is so because of its relation to all other things numinous. To demystify the numinous is to separate, isolate it from the Whole. Isolated, the numinous loses its vibrancy, its luster - worse, it becomes absurd, meaningless.

4/22/2009 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nomo--

Speaking of rocks and cornerstones, it just occurred to me that matter is the crock on which the Adversaries build their church.

4/22/2009 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

" This means that the deeper one plunges into oneself, the deeper the "external world" will appear to us."

This can be seen on just on the issues of an everyday level, when I think of how I looked at the picture of the signing of the Declaration of Independence as a kid, of strange guys in silly clothes, later as a young adult I began to pause on it as I understood (that word is ripe for mining) its dawning significance... and ever since the ever deepening meaning it has held since I began researching what they did, what they understood it to mean... and Adam's writing to Jefferson (words to the effect of)'Do you recall the awful impending silence of the moment' – what kind of life could you say you have lived, if that ever deepening process did not occur?

I’ve felt a similar process of deepening has occurred in my understanding of what I hold to be true, of my understanding of myself, and how once familiar commonplace things now resonate with deeper understandings of not only them, but of myself, positive and not so... the depth that can sometimes reverberate between the image seen, and the thoughts ignited within by it... it sometimes seems irreverent to not stop and ponder every other moment of the day... and ... so on. And then the old Zen saw of "before satori, chop wood, carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water".

Kind of like this snippet I found searching for the 'chop wood' quote, I found this (for all I know, the rest of the site is complete wackiness, but I kind of like this),
""A perverted sense of humility separates one from service to God." The experience of Samadhi, Devekut, Satori -- or whatever else you choose to call it -- does not destroy the ego so much as ripen it -- an experience out of which one emerges essentially no different than he was before, except between the times of "chopping wood" and "carrying water" -- both of which chores he carries out in exactly the same ways as he did before.......or at least to the eye of the casual beholder."

"If you want to plumb the depth of someone, just find out what they consider "deep." To grab a particularly low-hanging fruitcake, consider the things that Mtraven considers "deep," and you pretty much know all you need to know about him."

Tee-hee hee... see his notions of significant leftist 'ideas' from yesterday... what a maroon.

4/22/2009 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"For again: mystery is not "beyond truth, but it is a permanent, immanent property of it. There is no aspect of truth that in any given act of cognition is ever so perspicuous to the knower that it contains nothing else to be known" (HvB)."

Ooh... that's a goodie!...(just practicing the fine art of understatement...)

4/22/2009 05:42:00 PM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

Van, I totally concur.

"...does not destroy the ego so much as ripen it -- an experience out of which one emerges essentially no different than he was before, except between the times of "chopping wood" and "carrying water" -- both of which chores he carries out in exactly the same ways as he did before.......or at least to the eye of the casual beholder."

Being a parent to a young child helps me appreciate this.

4/22/2009 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Russian language has an interesting characteristic. Pravda is truth in the sense of accuracy, e.g., 2+2=4. Istina is Truth with a capital T. They do not much overlap.

4/22/2009 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger mtraven said...

More to the point, everything he considers deep, we know to be shallow.Such as?

Inverting your opponent's values is a rather poor mode of thought. I'm trying hard not to engage in it myself. For instance, just because the people here are juvenile, hate-filled, and apparently incapable of reason, that doesn't necessarily mean that your spiritual ideas are bad, although it certainly makes one suspicious. It doesn't necessarily mean that their favorite authors are a load of nonsense, although again, it makes one suspicious. It doesn't mean that all religious cults are based on hatred of an out-group, although it certainly is evidence in favor of that hypothesis.

Van, you seem to have serious reading comprehension problems. I'd recommend a good high-school equivalency program.

4/22/2009 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Schuon said...

As true greatness "signifies" nothing for the little man, he will see in it only a kind of infirmity the better to be able to enjoy his own "significant" inflatedness.

Thank you for the demonstration.

4/22/2009 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

What's interesting about this issue of depth, of how to one person a 'Thank you" is just an expected habit, and to another a deeply significant acknowledgement of The Good, The Beautiful and The True, is for those rooted in the vertical depths, the words 'Thank you' are contained within the phrase, it's meaning has not changed from the first person to the second, it has only deepened.

For the empty raver, they are the basis for holey different interpretations and disparate meanings and expressions of paternalistic power... and... every wider sweepings of nihil.

If you can't delve inwards and integrate, you can only spread out and disintegrate.

4/22/2009 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

"Inverting your opponent's values is a rather poor mode of thought. I'm trying hard not to engage in it myself. For instance, just because the people here are juvenile, hate-filled, and apparently incapable of reason,"

How about trying a little harder. Do you think that at some point we are going to take you seriously? Really, I'm trying to figure out why you're still here.

w.v. ponsey
Heh, figure out the ponsey scheme your worlview is built upon and then come back and talk to us.

4/22/2009 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I've got my traditional 'earth day' link up -
Exploit the Earth - or Die!

4/22/2009 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

mtcraven said "Van, you seem to have serious reading comprehension problems. I'd recommend a good high-school equivalency program."

No, what you'd said just wasn't worth going back and getting the quote.

I'd recommend learning to understand what you read... sadly, you won't learn that in high school.

4/22/2009 07:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOAk-7F1EVU

4/22/2009 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

In honor of the Earth I didn't drive my Prius today...I drove my SUV.

Heh, heh.

My new bumper sticker for the Prius: "Atlas Is Shrugging"

4/22/2009 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Nomo,
Me too…’cept I nicknamed my rig “The Freedomobile”.

You see, I am simply trying to counteract the shock to Mother Nature’s system. Has anyone stopped to think about her for a minute? Does anyone realize the damage we could do, the dramatic affect to the climate as half of Gen-cool suddenly abandons their internal combustion engines to drive their solar-powered lawnmowers to Starbucks? It could knock the earth out of orbit for all we know. Global temperatures swing the other way, icebergs materialize at the equator, dogs and cats living together. I rented the DVD. I wasn’t born yesterday.

I’m just doing what those selfish environmentalites won’t do. Coalition of the Willing, you could call it. It’s my civic duty. And yours. We approached Armageddon gradually. We gotta back off gradually. Back off Greenies. Back off.

4/23/2009 05:28:00 AM  

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