On the Cosmic Possibility of Divine Synthesis
I see that Maximus had the same cooncerns, for as Balthasar writes -- this is somewhat of a mouthful, so chew it carefully -- the intrinsically correct christological formulation expands "into a fundamental law of metaphysics. Illuminated by the highest level of theological synthesis -- the union of God and world in Christ -- Maximus searches out the traces of the developmental principles, of the conditions of possibility of this synthesis, and in the process discovers the formal structure of all created being, even the formal structure of the relationship between the absolute and the contingent" (emphasis mine).
In other words, prior to the actual synthesis of God and world in Christ, there must be the ontological possibility of this synthesis. It's not just "magic," like, say, radical Darwinism, which incoherently rests on principles that render itself impossible.
This "possibility of synthesis" is always present, which is what Augustine meant when he made the wise crack about how "the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist." It existed as potential, a potential that was actualized in Jesus.
What is the nature of this cosmic potential for divinization and synthesis? Maximus is surely on the right track when he writes of a "universal presence... unrecognizably binding all things together, yet dwelling in each being in a different way; this presence holds the individual parts of the whole together, in itself and in each other, unconfused and inseparable, and allows them, through this very relationship of creative unity, to live more for each other than for themselves."
In other words, this principle of wholeness is also a necessary condition of love. You might say that love is the intimate and spontaneous recognition of this love, and as Leonard Cohen sang last night, "love's the only engine of survival." "Partness" sundered from wholeness is death itself -- or worse than death, since it is "living death." But love is synthesis and union.
Also, freedom is only located in the whole, so freedom is obviously related to love. To say that hateful people are not free is a truism.
But even more basically, as a therapist, one of my underlying tasks is to help the person achieve a more unified self -- that is, to actualize more of their latent wholeness and assimilate their missing parts into a coherent Self. And as we become more whole, viola!, we become, as Freud said, more capable of "love, work, and play," or let us say intimacy, creativity, productivity, and transparency. Each of these categories only subsists because of the prior cosmic wholeness.
Now, in my book of the same name, you may recall the handy pneumaticons of (•) and •••(•)•••. That latter symbol stands for the mind that is riven by quasi-autonomous mind parasites with agendas all their own. As we know, the word "health" is etymologically related to "wholeness." Both physically and emotionally, we are in the condition of health when we are in a state of dynamic and harmoniously integrated wholeness.
In fact, this is also true of our intellect. This is why we can truly say that there are "healthy" and "unhealthy" philosophies (which will in turn be related to their creativity, generativity, productivity, and, of course, love). Unhealthy philosophies not only produce hate, but emanate from hate, in that they divide us along various fault lines such as race, class, and gender. Truly, leftism is "the hate that hate produced."
But you will have noticed that it must always masquerade as love. That is just a given. However, it is always a counterfeit love, since the state cannot love you. Or, like nature, it loves you ruthlessly. The state itself becomes a kind of quasi-autonomous being that replaces God. This was precisely the mission of Hegel's philosophy, which trickles down from his mountaintop into the various creeks and crocks of Marxism in all its varieties.
As Doctor Zero writes, "We’re tired of checking the papers each day, to see which group of us has been targeted as enemies of the State. We’re growing impatient waiting for the Democrats to come up with ideas that don’t require their supporters to hate someone. We’ve had our fill of 'progressives' who act as if we’re living in 1909, and none of their diseased policies have ever been tried before."
Wholeness can never be imposed from the top down, only discovered from within. To again cite the prophet Cohen, "give me Christ or give me Hiroshima." In the end, those are the only two options. God can create genuine GM parts, because the God-made parts are unified in him.
But when man tries to do this, he ends up a kind of black god who simply blows things to smithereens. Think of the hateful Iranians, or Palestinians, or North Koreans, who live in self-imposed and stagnant isolation. There is no possibility of wholeness in those cultures, only its counterfeit in the form of top-down totalitarian statism.
In the case of Iran, one wonders if this has to do with the nature of Islam, for in Islam there is God and there is man, but no Christ to unify them. Yes, I understand that Sufis such as Schuon see things differently, but he is hardly representative of Islam "on the ground," since virtually every Muslim country is a dungeon of the human soul.
Back to Maximus. The wholeness that dwells in our particularity is the source of our freedom, not to mention our dignity and nobility. At the same time, it is the source of our ability to love, which cannot be greedily acquired, but recognizes and unifies intrinsic differences. In other words, love must "let it be" by honoring the beautiful differences that constitute the world. Thus, love involves a paradoxical combination of calm "indifference or openness toward the constituent parts" -- you could say (o) and (---) -- and an active "affirmation of their difference."
Balthasar adds that "the difference between creatures is a feature of their perfection." It's not a bug, it's a feature! It only becomes a bug if you fail to realize the prior unity that makes the differences possible. We need to appreciate the differences, knowing that they "reflect God's beauty more perfectly in their very nonidentity than a unitary world could do." Differences are "particular perfections," but perfection only stands in relation to the Absolute.
Let's see if we can dumb this down a bit. Perhaps an example will help. Yesterday evening Mrs. G. took the boy to the park. I was walking the dog, and made a surprise visit to the park. Off in the distance, my son recognized me. His face lights up, he drops what he's doing, he runs toward me, and joyfully cries, "Daddy!" before leaping into my arms.
How to describe such a precious moment, the sudden ingression of eternity into time? You can't, not really. But it was always there in potential, just waiting to be actualized. If the potential weren't there, then we would just be like a couple of autonomous billiard balls colliding into one another, with no possibility of the interior union which is pure Life, Love and Joy.
This is what I beleaf I was d'lightfully photosynthesizing on p. 259, where it is written,
Let's blake for a vision: ah, remama when she satya down in a crystal daze, grazing in the grass, loose & lazy beneath a diamond sky with both hands waving free, rumblin', bumblin', stumblin', we Could... Go... All... The... Way! Into the blisstic mystic, no you or I, nor reason wise, a boundless sea of flaming light, bright blazing fire and ecstatic cinder, Shiva, me tinders, count the stars in your eyes!