Inspeyred by O and Conceived in God
In attempting to impose some order on her vast and unruly body of work, Balthasar says that if viewed from the outside in, it "resembles a forest primeval"; but if regarded from the center out, one can sense a deeper nonlocal order from which her writings flowed. The trick is in locating the center.
This itself is an interesting point. As we have discussed in the past, science proceeds from the outside in, from facts to principles, whereas religious metaphysics proceeds from the inside out, from principles to facts. In my book, I use the symbols (k) --> O to schematize the former, O --> (n) for the latter. Or, to put it in plain coonglish, von Speyr was drinking straight from the firehOse of transpersonal experience.
There is no way to engage in O --> (n) without in some way "abandoning oneself" to the process, so to speak. After all, we are specifically using the mind to transcend the mind, and to obtain a kind of knowledge that surpasses us. We have to somehow align ourselves with this other subtle flow of energy, information, and refined sentiment.
It's almost as if it requires two different brains to pull this off, and in this regard it is something of a miracle that von Speyr and Balthasar found each other. After all, she is probably the one person in the world who "knew" more than he did (without having learned it), and he is the one person in the world whose erudition was so freakishly capacious that he was able to cut through her forest primeval and apprehend an order that even she couldn't have seen. She was the perfect explorer, while he was the perfect cartographer. He was the doer, she the higher non-doodler.
Balthasar writes of how there is a "constant center" (O) in von Speyr's work, which "fans out into various individual fields of application." But it's no joke: she truly engaged in a radical form higher non-doodling in order to engage in her lifelong bewilderness adventure.
That is, Balthasar notes that "the experiences granted to her were of a completely charismatic nature" and "cannot be logically inferred and deduced by any means." Rather, "they were simply given in this and no other way." She herself constructed no formal system, and in fact, was repelled by the idea of a "conceptual limit" being drawn around God. This makes sense, because in the final unalysis, no one can contain O. Theology can indicate, but pointin' a finger at your gnosis ain't the same as pickin' it.
Hmm. It just occurred to me that the relationship between HvB and AvS was in some ways analogous to that between the psychoanalysts Melanie Klein and W.R. Bion, the latter of whom came up with an abstract system to map Klein's forest primeval of rather wild descriptions of the primitive unconscious.
In order to "think" about anything, we must abstract from experience. The danger here, however, is that we can then confuse our abstractions with reality. Thus, we must always have one foot in the reality of experience, the other foot in our abstractions, which creates a kind of generative cyclical flow between the two. Experience fills out the abstractions, but then the abstractions can be used as "probes" to further explore experience.
Whatever your opinion about "religion," everyone -- theist and atheist alike -- must agree that human beings have what are known as "religious experiences." But what to make of them? The atheist magically makes them go away by affirming that these are ultimately experiences of "nothing," if such an absurdity is possible on such a widespread and universal scale.
The average person is either born into a religion or joins one, and this will both foster and lend order to what we call "religious experience." But religion cannot be the ultimate source of religious experience, any more than science can be the source of scientific experience.
We have a name for the latter fallacy: scientism. Perhaps we should call the former religionism. Ironically, these two approaches have much more in common with each other than either has with true science or religion, both of which converge upon the mystical, since they are two sides of the same O. In this regard, I think all Coons would agree that, say, Charles the Queeg Johnson, has the identical "form" as any fundamentalist preacher. Only the content is different.
HvB knew full well that the Church would be ambivalent about someone such as AvS, and one can appreciate why. After all, they can't just allow anyone's visions to be incorporated into the magisterium. But at the same time, you can't just ignore the fact that some people are closer to the firehose than others.
Are there characteristics we can look for that can help us distinguish the real coonman from conmen such as Deepak and his ill(k)? Yes, no question. There are certain "tests" that may still allow some false positives to slip through, but can eliminate some of the negatives, like certain medical tests.
So HvB appropriately begins with a discussion of AvS's overall character and approach. He says that she operated out of that same radical consent, the enthusiastic Yes! to God that crowns Mary's earthly perfection. Nothing could have happened in the theo-drama in the absence of that first unqualified Yes! that serves as a kind of mirror image of Eve's No way!
There is a true reversal here, for just as Eve came out of Adam, the messiah shall come out of the new Eve, who is the "church" in its most elemental form. The church -- the "body of Christ," both collectively and individually -- is perpetually saying yes, I am willing to give birth to God, regardless of the consequences.
HvB writes of Mary that "She is infinitely at the disposal of the Infinite. She is absolutely ready for everything, for a great deal more, therefore, than she can know, imagine or begin to suspect. Coming from God, this yes is the highest grace; but, coming from man, it is also the highest achievement made possible by grace: unconditional, definitive self-surrender."
This Yes!-- or perhaps "I do" -- is "the original vow, out of which arises every form of definitive Christian commitment to God and in God." Thus, to say Yes to God is to enter God -- and for God to enter oneself, in a mutual indwelling or spontaneous O-bedience born of love.
... and yes I said yes I will Yes. --Molly Bloom, Ulysses
A Divine child, a godsend, a touch of infanity, a bloomin' yes. --Petey, The Coonifesto
You could say that Christ is the sun, Mary the moon. As such, she is not the source of light, but of reflected light. She is the archetype of "pure transparency. Pure flight from self. Pure emptied space for the Incarnation of the Word..." She is spiritual poverty itself, as her empty womb is the very space where the conception God + man takes place. Thus we can perhaps again comprehend one of Petey's cryptograms:
... blissfully floating before the fleeting flickering universe, stork naked in brahma daynight, worshiping in oneder in a weecosmic womb with a pew....
In this voidginal state, we do not form our conception of God. Rather, he forms his conception of us within the sacred womb of our own being. Thus, we are both mother and child, and "the consenting person can be formed by God into the infinite: every possible figure that will be imprinted by God lies in the openness of perfect readiness."
According to HvB, Adrienne was in just such a state of "perfect readiness" that she entirely effaced herself when "dicating": "She could not remember the contents of her books and it would never have occurred to her to open one of them." By no means do I wish to compare myself to her, but I think I have some idea of what she's talking about, because I don't remember what I write either, the reason being that there is nothing inside "me" to remember in the usual way.
In fact, if I understand mysoph correctly, the blogging is a form of remembering, albeit vertical recollection. There's nothing there to remember horiziontally, because that's not where it came from. In this regard, I am reminded of something Captain Beefheart once said. I can't remember the exact quote, but it was something to the effect that I'd like to give my music away, because where I got it, it didn't cost me a thing.
You cannot fool God. You might as well try to be transparent on your end, because he certainly sees through you anyway on his end. You might be able to kid yourself about all the parts of yourself that are not surrendered to God, but you can't kid the kether, so don't even try, mister big shot.
He and She, innocently at play in the fields of the Lord: