And That's the Way It Isn't: News and Meta-News
Rather, in order to get anything out it it, it must not only be chewed -- 40 times -- each page -- but swallowed, digested, and assimilated. And when I say "assimilated," I mean that it must either be used for energy or for renewing or filling out one's celestial form. The purpose is not just to make you intellectually fat and lazy with a lot of useless knowledge, like a tenured bore-belly or coldblooded faculty lounge liztard.
I hope that every book I eat will be this chewy and nutritious, but that is the exception, not the rule. Actually, that's not entirely true. In the evenings, I try to opt for somewhat less rich fare, since this type of book can only be understood with all one's faculties operating at maximum capacity: mind, body, and spirit. You need the cooperation of all three to benefit from this type of book.
For example, without the higher spirit (¶), I can't imagine how this book would make any sense at all. I have no idea what an atheist would think of it. I suppose it would be similar to what a dog thinks of a fire hydrant.
Which is unfortunate, because the subtitle of the book is The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor. In other words, it's all about the all and the everything, forever and always. I suppose the spiritually anorexic atheist might cleverly ask, "what could this man possibly know about the universe? He died in the seventh century, way before Bill Maher proved that God doesn't exist and that Obama is His prophet."
Let's just say that physics is derived from metaphysics, not vice versa, and that metaphysical truth is always true, and therefore always accessible to man -- not to his evolved mind but to his intellect, i.e., the nous. This is how a man who lived and died over a thousand years ago can be every bit as fresh and relevant as today's news.
In case you missed it, that was a little joke at the end there. The point is that almost all "news" is completely irrelevant, just a distraction that ultimately serves to obscure what I call The Eternals. It takes no intelligence whatsoever to be a producer or consumer of MSM "news."
When I began this blog, you might recoil that this was a major part of my mission: not necessarily to avoid the news, but to look at it in light of eternal truth, i.e., to illuminate it with timeless principles. And really, this is the only way one can understand the news, just as the only way one may understand the physical world is in light of certain mathematical constants. If the constants changed every day, it would be ridiculous to say that we "understand" the world.
And one of the major purposes of "news" -- and I am speaking here of the moonstream media, or MSMistry of Truth -- is to obscure the rules of reality, precisely, so that the impossible may seem possible, e.g., that it is possible for a man to marry a man, or that "experts" can predict the weather 100 years hence (but not next week), or that high taxes are good for the economy, or that providing more of something at less cost will cause people to consume less of it, or that arresting an obnoxious clown for being one is an instance of "racism," etc., etc., etc.
As Walter Cronkite might have said if he had had an ounce of irony or self-awareness, And that's not the way it is. Not at all. Not even close. Rather, this is just the current Liberal Truth, a cognitive pacifier for the spiritually dead, a fount of elite conventional wisdom for over- and undereducated rubes, which is to say no wisdom at all. Good night clowns.
Okay, back to the eternals. Balthasar points out that Maximus was able to serve as a living bridge between the scholasticism of the West and the mysticism of the East (yes, we are speaking in generalizations and of major trends). This naturally arrests my attention, because "scholasticism" is related to school, which was something I absolutely detested. And why did I detest it? I can't even necessarily blame school, not completely anyway.
Rather, it's an issue of temperament. I'm not sure if I want to get into all of the personal details at this juncture, but let's just suppose that God speaks in diverse ways in order to serve a diverse population. It is not that God is diverse. Rather, people are. Obviously. Therefore, the identical truth must be tailored, so to speak, to suit different people. This is why a certain amount of "fragmentation" of Christian truth is permitted at the human margin, but only up to a point.
For example, there are denominations of Christianity that cater to the sick, the perverse, the envious, the racially paranoid. These can never be true forms of Christianity, for they are well beyond the permissible human margin.
Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ would be a fine example. It is actually the Perpetually Divisive Bank of Racial Victimhood, and now we know that Obama wasn't just snoozing in the pews all those years. Rather, he absorbed and assimilated their template for interpreting reality, which is why he could reflexively come to the defense of his undignified friend from the prestigious Harvard Department of Race Hustling. And what happened to Gates doesn't hurt his business but helps it, for it allows him to sucker in more aggrieved customers at $150,000 per.
So Maximus speaks to me quite directly, especially in his cosmic vision. In fact, I have had to invent a new pneumaticon that I place in the margin of the book every time Maximus says something that mirrors the main idea presented in my book. I don't know if I can reproduce the symbol on my keyboard, but it looks something like this, for reasons we will get into later:
At any rate, Maximus clearly saw the importance of unity between dogma and experience, or what I would call (k) and (n). There is nothing wrong with (k) so long as it remains "within the orbit" of (n), so to speak. But I can't tell you how many Christians I meet who begin spewing spiritual (k) that makes no sense at all in light of eternal truth, and cannot possibly be true. It's all just man-made heresy. And it finds a home in people for the same reason liberalism does: because they have forgotten how to think metaphysically, which must always be simultaneously experiential.
If you emphasize one pole over the other, then you are bound for trouble. You end up in a realm of pure subjectivism on the one hand, or a kind of abstract system on the other, detached from the Real and then infused with human passion. You know the type.
Ironically, this is where the deep structure of liberal fascism meets up with religious fundamentalism. The former is religious passion in the absence of religion, while the latter is religious passion in the absence of intellect. As we know, whatever the leftist accuses someone else of may be interpreted as projection. This is why they are so preoccupied with the "religious right" in general and Sarah Palin in particular. Pure projection.
Now, scholasticism is all about fine distinctions within the One, whereas mysticism is all about unity amidst multiplicity. Or, you might say analysis vs. synthesis.
Here again, you can't really have one without the other, for they are analogous to anabolism (building up) and catabolism (breaking down), which constitute metabolism. Since bodily metabolism is a declension from spiritual metabolism (not vice versa), I think you see the point. Ultimately, the "purpose" of scholasticism must always be unity -- or to better understand the nature of unity -- which, of course, Aquinas himself proved in the mystical experience he was granted near the end of his life. This in no way contradicted his magnificent system of thought, but sealed it.
"... [D]ogmatic theology and the spiritual ascent to God, according to Maximus, offer each other no opposition.... the ultimate and highest degree of reconciliation occurs only within the active range of clear, discerning, and decisive intelligence. The power of thought is the force that transforms the world" (Balthasar).