Cheating On the Ego and Running Off with Truth
Once again I use the analogy of a person. Say a patient comes into my consulting room for the first time. Thus, it is safe to say that he exists. But who is he? What is he all about? What's his story? Does he have insurance? I cannot know any of these things until he tells me.
More or less. You can actually know quite a bit by body language, posture, facial expression, eye contact, body odor. Many people have a gelatinous physique or drooping posture that says "I have given up," or that bespeaks a total lack of discipline or boundaries. To them you want to say, "go away and come back after you've learned to carry yourself like a proper Man!"
One of my rules of thumb is that if someone comes into the office carrying food -- especially while in the act of eating -- it is a sure sign of a boundary disturbance. Such individuals almost always have personality disorders with primitive boundary issues. It is as if there is no ontological distinction between the mouth they use to eat and the one they use to speak.
Again, we see how such disturbances are made possible because of the symmetrical logic of the unconscious mind. In primitive patients, one commonly sees what is called "zonal confusion," whereby, say, the ear becomes a voracious or angry mouth. As you might guess, such a person does very odd things with the words I transmit to them -- similar to what our trolls do -- e.g., tearing them apart with their teeth, swallowing them without chewing, spitting them out, etc.
It is a truism that you just never know what the patient hears, nor how they hear it. You can think you're making one crystal clear point, but they pick out something completely different. Again, communication becomes less problematic as one moves up the developmental scale, from primitive to neurotic to mature and beyond.
So now imagine the unenviable position of God. He wishes to communicate, to be known. But look at the bunch of losers and retards to whom he wishes to communicate! Humans! Of all people! Is it any wonder that the message gets so distorted? Talk about zonal confusion. For a primitive human being, it is the work of an instant to turn the ear into a mouth, an anus, a fist, or a phallus.
Inevitably this is going to sound a bit insane, isn't it? I well remember the first time I encountered such strange ideas (see also here). I skated through my masters program without ever truly penetrating beneath the well-lit space of the ego. It wasn't until my doctoral program that I was initiated into the noncivilized world of the primitive unconscious, mainly because I had an incredibly gifted professor, Dr. Panajian, who didn't just transmit (k) about it, but (n).
In this regard, understanding the unconscious is no different than understanding the supraconscious, for in both cases, experience is what counts. Book learning will only get you so far, and in many cases it will simply mislead. Here again, this is why in my book of the sane gnome I used the abstract symbols to talk about the supramental, for the same reason that Bion used them to talk about the unconscious.
Now, Balthasar makes reference to the "abyss that yawns between uncreated and created nature." Since we are creatures, we know there is a creator. But again, what's he like? We can employ metaphysical logic to understand certain things. For example, the neo-Platonists determined that God had to be "good," and that it was in the nature of the good to communicate itself.
True enough, but this reduces God to a kind of automatic mechanism. In short, it removes his personhood and therefore his freedom. To my knowledge, no Greek thinker ever conceived of God as a person, with all that implies (as opposed to a mythological figure such as Zeus).
Balthasar writes that this abyss "can only be bridged by a free creative act of God, not through some impersonal 'seepage' or -- as the Origenists suggested -- through the sinful disintegration" of the original unity of the ideal cosmos.
Again, it's the same as with any person. We don't just understand them because something seeps out of them, but because of what they choose to communicate. And there are varying levels of communication, from the very public, to the very private, to the intimate, to the secret.
This is why I say that everyone has a public life, a private life, and a secret life. Furthermore, these lives can become detached or split off from one another, when the task is to keep things flowing between them. If your public life has none of your private life, it will be without meaning. And if your private life has none of your secret life, it will be without passion. Etc. This is why rationalists are so boring. For the rationalist, all knowledge is potentially "public" and publishable, when the highest knowledge can't even be put into words, much less reduced to reason.
Certainly God couldn't publicize knowledge of himself with mere words. Rather, he could only do so by "becoming" that which he wished to convey. As they say, the primary teaching is "Christ crucified" -- and all it implies -- not any kind of explicit and unambiguous formula. Indeed, a formula is simply a defense against reality and thought, whether a religious one or a scientific one such as natural selection.
But reality is not like a leftist bumper sticker, such as "War is Not the Answer," "Question Authority," or "Don't Question Obama's Authority." Again, in the final unalysis, it is a person. And how do you understand a person?
Well, first of all you develop a relationship with them, don't you? You invite them in, maybe take them to lunch. Things deepen between the two of you, and then suddenly it goes in an unforeseen direction and you're being unfaithful to your ego. Then the ego gets a little jealous. Recriminations, ridicule, pleas for sympathy, wavering back and forth....
But you've made your choice. You must be strong! This time it's for real.
In this, most elevated sense, the phrase "Be what you are," as an invitation to conform one's existent being to the idea God has of it, is identical with the call to follow the Son of God. --Balthasar
Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it's lonely here,
there's no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
that's an order! --Leonard Cohen