Monday, May 18, 2009

A Role to Die For in the Cosmic Drama

We're still slowly making our way through the Theo-Logic, which is, of course, the logic of God. And his logic is not our logic, so....

Actually, that's not quite correct. His logic is our logic, but ours is not his. That is to say, his logic transcends but includes our logic, analogous to how calculus transcends but includes simple mathematics.

For example, this is why many liberal fools imagine that it is morally inconsistent or hypocritical to be in favor of, say, capital punishment for murderers but against abortion, or to be against torture but in favor of harsh interrogation of terrorists: same act, different rules. Liberals think this means they have proven we are moral relativists, when we are the exact opposite. How can this be?

The real problem is that a liberal living in flatland is by definition someone who only knows moral math but not moral calculus. Schuon expressed it well when he said that a particular virtue is consciousness of a plane of reality. The more conscious one becomes of the plane, the less one has to think about how to convert it to a rule.

In fact, it is not at all difficult to find examples of how the ethical rule often clashes with the moral reality. Unfortunately, this leads people to reject the Absolute that is reflected through religion, but which can never be fully captured within religion, that is, within a finite formula. Rather, the formula is like language itself, which is supposed to be transparent to the meaning it conveys.

The same applies to moral rules -- say, the Ten Commandments. First of all, bear in mind that this is not something I would tell a child or a leftist, because it would just confuse him. For example, I'm not going to tell Future Leader that the rule against lying must be placed in the context of a total truth that we cannot know.

No. Just like learning a sport, he must start with the basics, otherwise I'll have a young Obama or Bill Clinton on my hands, men who use their intellectual gift to distort and maim the truth.

Better yet, it is like music. One must spend years internalizing those "rigid rules" of music -- scales, chords, and finger exercises -- before one becomes conscious of the plane from which music arises. You cannot start out by being a rule-breaker such as Thelonious Monk. It is only because he is a genius that he can hit a "wrong" note but resolve it in the context of a higher musical space. For the non-genius, the wrong note is just a clam -- an error. You could say that a Monk such as Thelonious comes not to abolish the musical law, but to fulfill it.

I suppose something is still rattling around in my subconscious. It was a comment by Scipio about Notre Dame perversely honoring Obama for "spitting in the face of God." In the comment, he mentioned that "The American Catholic Church has been in schism for decades. Weak, vacillating and corrupt priests and bishops had made it so. But they cannot at all affect the truth of her teachings. To abandon Catholicism is to abandon Reason itself."

I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I would presume this to mean the Reason of reason, the Truth of truth, the Goodness of the good, the Beauty of the beautiful, the Freedom of the free, the Love of love, the Justice of the just, and the Oneness of the harmony.

In each case, the former transcends but includes the latter, just as the Church transcends its flawed members, who can by definition never am-body the total truth entrusted to it. In fact, we have a special name for those who come closest to doing so: saints. And even then, not every moral saint is an "intellectual saint," so to speak. In other words, only one man ever reflected the totality of the higher planes within the lower. And this was because he didn't "have" truth but "was" Truth.

It is the denial of this implicit metaphysic that leads directly to relativism of all kinds, and from there straight to hell on earth. This is the hell that Obama speaks for and from.

To cite just the latest example, to say that he wants judges who are "empathic" is to say that he wants lawless judges. Which would be fine if the judge were "lawless" from above rather than below -- who can see, for example, that there is no "right to abortion" in the Constitution, despite what a bunch of Supreme Pettifuggers might think.

But as Bob Dylan said, "to live outside the law you must be honest," which automatically excludes the relativists of the left, since relativism is "dishonesty itself." It is the lie-made-true, which is naturally an impossibility. But they never stop trying.

The problem is, religion and secularism represent rival claims to totality, except that totality is precisely what the secularist denies up front.

I apologize for the ramble, but yesterday I was reviewing volume one of the Theo-Drama, which, in the final analysis, is all about the dialectic -- or drama -- between infinite and finite freedom.

The problem isn't that man is unfree, assuming that he is not living in literal slavery or attending a politically correct university. Rather, the problem is that man's freedom is not absolute but finite; it is constrained, for example, by death. As is the case with truth, our freedom is inexplicable in the absence of an absolute freedom that we can never possess, but which we can know about.

The question is -- and this is a question God must "ask himself" -- how can I overcome man's "no" without denying him the precious gift of freedom that I have granted him? You could say -- so to speak, of course -- that this is the question God must have pondered before coming up with the idea of the Incarnation.

Or, from our side of the divide, we could reverse engineer the Incarnation, or play metaphysical Jeopardy: A: The Incarnation. Q: How does God overcome man's rejection of Him without denying him his freedom?!

Now, to say "Yes" to the Incarnation is -- again, among other things -- a way for finite freedom to participate in absolute freedom, is it not? It is, to paraphrase Balthasar, to make the finite life of man co-extensive with the infinite life of God. Or, in more Raccoonish terms, it is to play a role in the eternal cosmic drama. To play this role is to simultaneously discover one's reason for being and the meaning of meaning.

I know that I am embedded in this cosmic drama, and it is without a doubt the epic of a lifetime. But what if one is a metaphysical Darwinian? Sure, there is "drama" there as well. The drama of passing along one's genes before being eaten. That's it. This is why I say that it is a "pornographic" world view, because it simultaneously shows "everything" while revealing nothing. It is the world unveiled of its hierarchical veils and forms, beneath which is.... bupkis, to quote Moses.

To paraphrase Balthasar again, you might say that God becomes what he isn't in order to kill it. He becomes "separate" from himself in order to finally end the separation.

Where does that leave us? It leaves us with the task of appropriating and assimilating God in order to become something we could never be in the absence of his radical intervention: ourselves. Jesus is simultaneously God's "anthrop-ology" and man's theo-ology. But thanks to his "solution," they are now two sides of the same coin. But only if you cash in your chimp.

Ascent you a son, amen for a child's job! That's the New Man, we're just putting him on. --One Cosmos, the Home Version

41 Comments:

Anonymous goddinpotty said...

We liberals may be utter fools but at least we know that calculus is part of mathematics rather than the other way around. A trivial point, perhaps, but God is in the details, and having the details wrong may be why you reach cosmic moral and metaphysical conclusions that are also wildly wrong. Maybe you mean the way real numbers transcend and include the rational numbers?

The problem is, religion and secularism represent rival claims to totality, except that totality is precisely what the secularist denies up front. So secularists are claiming something they deny. Tricky of them.

Oh yeah, and I'll add "empathy" to the list of things to be afraid of.

5/18/2009 08:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Godwin is not a mathematician.

5/18/2009 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good point, Godinpotty. I actually tried that explanation on my parents when I failed calculus. "Don't worry. Math transcends calculus, and I already know math." They didn't buy it. But then, they weren't as wise as you are.

5/18/2009 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh yeah, and I'll add "empathy" to the list of things to be afraid of.

Oh, good - at least there is something Bob knows that you don't.

5/18/2009 08:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Talk about mathsemantics...

5/18/2009 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yeah, verily, he who parseth the semantics for literalism misseth the entire Bobservation.

5/18/2009 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

By the way, I like the Gurdjieff album - it's just what I was looking for.

5/18/2009 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

It does vividly demonstrate the point of the post, though, i.e., seeing the part but missing the whole.

5/18/2009 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

I'm betting that godinpotty does much praying to the porcelain god.

5/18/2009 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Dupree, good point. The one good thing about our trolls is the frequency with which they show themselves to be the very image of that which you describe.

5/18/2009 09:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Spengler said...

His logic is our logic, but ours is not his. That is to say, his logic transcends but includes our logic, analogous to how calculus transcends but includes simple mathematics.Quoting St. Augustine today:

God rules the obedient city according to His grace, so that it sacrifices to none but Him, and whereby, in all the citizens of this obedient city, the soul consequently rules the body and reason the vices in the rightful order...And of course, since it's Spengler you'll want to read the rest ;)

5/18/2009 09:33:00 AM  
Anonymous simonsez said...

GIP = Empty Raven
who's so craven he needs to keep a fraidy list

He just can't quit you Bob

5/18/2009 09:36:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Has anyone else been noticing the reactions of the Boy King as years of marxist dragon slaying fantasy meet reality? Such as the look of smug self satisfaction that he is finally receiving his honorable due, as he is fitted with the Notre Dame graduation gown? Or the utter inner emotional turmoil as he meets with the evil Jew whose attitudes and actions are "no doubt" the cause of so much entropy around the world?
How bout you goddinpotty? You been noticing that?

5/18/2009 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous B.M. said...

mtraven deposits his goddinpotty each day after his morning coffee.

5/18/2009 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hoarhey,

Yepper, that look of self satisfaction I see every time.

T (*7*)

5/18/2009 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just heard some parents of new born babies are naming them Barack.

How wv "redne" is that?

T (*7*)

5/18/2009 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Via Spengler (post currently only available via rss) again comes this excellent article:

Religion has suffocated the Arab

We really have regressed from the scientific point of view. And in the field of religion, we are being suffocated by a religion of form, increasingly controlled from the outside, careful to appearances (to wear the veil, beard, burqua, or Niqab), to the infinite rules that the Imam’s emit in their fatwa. It has come to the point that for even the smallest aspects of private and social life fatwa’s are necessary: it is forbidden to wear lipstick; pluck one’s eyebrows; eat with a Christian; for Shiites and Sunnis to live together…..Dozens and dozens of fatwa’s to regulate how we dress, how a husband and wife make love, how we spend money….All of this is suffocating freedom and it is seen in the absence of science, democracy and freedom.


There are a few notable points about this observation. First, it serves as an object lesson in what happens when form is worshiped over that which the form was meant to represent. Second, it is a lesson in the stultifying perils of micromanagement. And third, it demonstrates what leftists and Islamists have in common - the fanatical desire to control the behavior of others, ostensibly for the good of all(ah).

5/18/2009 01:35:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>> . . the Church transcends its flawed members, who can by definition never am-body the total truth entrusted to it. In fact, we have a special name for those who come closest to doing so: saints<<

It's certainly true that no one saint embodies the total Truth, but it would be difficult to find a spiritual virtue/blessing not emphasized somewhere in the entire body of saints. Each saint is unique, of course, and each is a certain refraction of the Light. For whatever spiritual challenge we might face, there's a saint in the gallery worth meditating on so as to acquire insight and courage on the journey.

Augustine and Aquinas - paragons of intellectual greatness, if the intellect is your beat. St. Solanus Casey, on the other hand, bit of an intellectual dodo, but a paragon of the virtue of acceptance and devotion - and there were thousands of healing miracles attributed to him.

Most saints actively did *something* in their lives, but St. Fina did absolutely nothing in the external sense due to a lifetime paralyzing illness - but she was the very embodiment of patience in the face of great suffering. Thousands of miracles were attributed to her intercession . . . but only after her death. ( it's known that a genuine saint has much more "power" after shucking off the mortal coil)

Point being - whatever your particular challenge, there's probably a saint out there for you.

5/18/2009 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

>>It is the denial of this implicit metaphysic that leads directly to relativism of all kinds, and from there straight to hell on earth. This is the hell that Obama speaks for and from.<<

Obama’s bromides can be taken as anything but what they are–an arrogant expression of his contempt for people who have the effrontery to disagree with his speechwriters’ holy writ–is just one more example of what public education has done to the American mind.   There is no common ground with these people, no area of fruitful cooperation, no meeting of minds.   They don’t have a mind.  When I was an atheist, I knew, from a apathetic scanning of my freshman biology text, that abortion kills a human being.  As an atheist I did not really care what other people did to their babies, but I was shocked and horrified at the thought that someone might do it to mine.On the other hand, I do not know why anyone without some connection–as student, professor, or alumnus– to Notre Dame went there to protest.   Protests are, for the most part, a complete waste of time.  Neither the president of Notre Dame nor the President of the United States has a moral conscience to appeal to, and the well-fed post Christian families who attended the event and applauded the politician who hates the Church are immune to reason and deaf to Christian charity.Excerpt from The New Rodney King

5/18/2009 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully ahoy said...

How to brew beer in a coffee maker, using only materials commonly found on a modestly sized oceanographic research vessel.

5/18/2009 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahoy there Scully!
I wonder if you could do me a lil' favor?
Can you ask Ben if he's still mad as thunder at T?
'Cos if he still is then I have no choice but to go in the corner and cry buckets.

T (*7*)

5/18/2009 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous ahoy said...

Interjection:
(nautical) Used to hail a ship, a boat or a person, or to attract attention.

5/18/2009 04:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nautical Ahoy,
I take that to mean that Ben is so waaaay charmed by T. . .
selavie, eh? one minute one is arm-wrestling, the next we don't ship-swim by without at least "ahoy there!!!"

T (*7*)

5/18/2009 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger lance said...

Good stuff and interesting today Bob. It made me both think and write so feel free an and all to check it out. Just be gentle with me my mind is a work in progress.

http://neo-paganchristian.blogspot.com/

5/18/2009 06:37:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Anon T,
Ahoy's definition states: used to hail or attract attention of a person (Skully in this case)

Skully ahoy is a hailing to/for Skully regarding onboard grog-making.

5/18/2009 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Cast the die, we're rollin' in here!

I've been off the politics for some time now. Never been healthier (or loopier) in the head; the withdrawal was a Lent's worth of headaches, but it was worth it! I figure the whole tower is rollin' down on itself real slow like, and I best get on out before I'm made to do some jumpin'.

The most energy I've been able to devote to Obama is a sigh...

5/18/2009 07:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ximze,

Are you trying to tell me Ben is doing ala Van style now of ignoring me too?
How nice of you to chime in. How protective . . . Had you not, I would have been left with the impression he might come around.
I have no reason whatsoever to hold grudges. If I was the bitter type the Holy Spirit would have never found 'traction' in my heart/soul.

No matter, I'll find a way to trick him into speaking to me.

T (*7*)

5/18/2009 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said,

“First, it serves as an object lesson in what happens when form is worshiped over that which the form was meant to represent. Second, it is a lesson in the stultifying perils of micromanagement. And third, it demonstrates what leftists and Islamists have in common - the fanatical desire to control the behavior of others, ostensibly for the good of all(ah).”

Julie, good quote from Spengler, and spot on observation by you.

5/18/2009 08:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

o-o Van didn't notice his post is sooo very right next to mine! How peeved will he be when he realizes this?
T (*7*)

5/18/2009 08:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wv sez rimushal which = she is in a very chiding place rightnow:)

T(*#*)

5/18/2009 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

t-ball said “How peeved will he be when he realizes this?”

You misunderstand; you neither peeve me, nor disgust me… I am simply not interested in what you have to say, for me, there’s no content in your comments. If others are interested, ok.

It is more than a little strange that you keep ‘calling me’, and yes, with your new abbreviated comments, it is read in the glance before I can click on by; oh well… strange… but still plain ol’ uninteresting.

5/18/2009 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

“The problem isn't that man is unfree, assuming that he is not living in literal slavery or attending a politically correct university. Rather, the problem is that man's freedom is not absolute but finite; it is constrained, for example, by death”

And of course, that freedom to choose would have no reason to be exercised, without the constraining limitation of death (… and perhaps not so obviously, birth). Truly, there is nothing metaphysically speaking, nothing at all, that is unnecessary or that could be one smidgen different in this Cosmos… and still Be.

It is One Cosmos, One Reality, One Truth… and central to our experience of it is our choice to choose to recognize, and respond into it.

And I'd like to go off the board for $20 Alex... every choice, though perhaps incidentaly insignificant, is deeply moral, all the same.

(Yes... it is in the form of a question... isn't it)

5/18/2009 09:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, in this post you are running somewhat of a fever of the brain.

Take a few deep breaths. Visualize the following:

All athiests, liztards, leftists, moonbats and their ilk have, by a divine wind, been given coonvision overnight.

You wake up, and the liberal media has turned coonish. Every person you meet speaks in the coon lingo to you.

A week goes by. You realize that a global conversion has taken place. Everyone is a coon, and a good one. Many you meet outcoon you; they are practically unintelligibly enlightened.

Each morning during this week you go to your computer to blog. What then will you write?

Explore your feelings as you sit ready to blog in front of of your keyboard in this newly converted world, ready to address a congretation that is 100% coonified and radically so.

How do you feel?

5/18/2009 10:14:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

AnonoT
Around here, Ben speaks for himself.
Wild-hare constructs, they're all yours.

5/19/2009 12:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Now that's a right fine article fer makin' brew at sea.

Thanks Ximeze! Ha ha! I love the intro-

"Beer brewing is as much an art as a science. Finding the right blend of delicate grains, hops, malt, adding just the right flavoring agents, boiling for exactly enough time to release the tannins, starches, humic acids from you wort, these are all skills that take a lifetime to master. Perfect beer is meticulously planned and carefully crafted.

Screw that.

You’re six days into a 2 month expedition, and if you were lucky enough to not be on a dry ship, it’s de facto dry by now anyway. You’re eying the ethanol stores, the crew is eying each other, and all hell will break loose if y’all don’t get some sweet water soon. This is no time for artistry."

For those times when you need the grog yesterday.

5/19/2009 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"To play this role is to simultaneously discover one's reason for being and the meaning of meaning."

Indeed. To be holds infinitely more freedom and purpose than not to be.

Good post, Bob!

5/19/2009 07:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van 8:58

Not interested in what I have to say, because there is no content in my comments.

If ever there was a self/self-exposure/disclosure -- there it is.

Xime and skully,

I get yer drift loud and clear. You have each other's back covered.

progy T (*7*)

5/19/2009 07:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van, if you think T (*7*) 's comments lack content, check out spiritspeaks-theofilia.blogspot and see if Theofilia's "reminiscences" ring a different bell.

skiliti Theofilia (*7*)

5/19/2009 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

t-ball said "Not interested in what I have to say, because there is no content in my comments."

No, that's not what I said, I said "I am simply not interested in what you have to say, for me, there’s no content in your comments."

Which directs your comment,

"If ever there was a self/self-exposure/disclosure -- there it is."

...more pointedly back upon you, and gives another example of why I have nothing to discuss with you.

But let me try another tack.

There are many, many fine and wonderful people in the world, many of whom I'm not interested in speaking with, and none of whom are in any way diminished by my disinterest. I am not interested in what you have to say. Please practice applying your many mysterious and beatific ways towards my preferences and forgive me for having no interest in you, and allow me to continue on deprived of interaction with you.

5/19/2009 09:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van

I have not one iota of desire that you "have interest" in me. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

If you think I share to impress you or anyone else, you are very mistaken.

Theofilia (*7*)

5/19/2009 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Then please do me the courtesy of ignoring me, as I ignore you.

Thank you.

5/19/2009 10:28:00 AM  

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