Thursday, August 06, 2009

On the Cosmic Possibility of Divine Synthesis

Yesterday we spoke of the universality of the Christian message, a universality that can be distorted as a result of certain "particular" misinterpretations cut off from the wholeness of integral truth.

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!

13 Comments:

Anonymous Abdul said...

When they are really happy that you have the beginning of the hour and the connection of quality with his son, I considered that fixed example totally. They mark the people of the other, therefore of its depreciation for indifferent, than further on its small comfortable ones of the group, that little thinks it to the face of the attention of God. I recognize of me advance payment, this is very intelligent that you, if I are for the contact with all, I that can frequently without opinions of here, with my part of later in the ruin. I can really give I credit myself well. Who thinks for does to him that you are you? You foretell, like you the end to announce, more in the rent--producing a modest man, I can an angel believe, the end to make to slip to me. Never you not here, so very impressive come they, nobody would want to be, Abdul

8/06/2009 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

The mind boggles. But unless I'm mistaken, I think Abdul likes you today, Bob.

If your posts are translated even a quarter as poorly into his language as his comments are into ours, he must be reading complete nonsense, with just enough sense thrown in to make it all sound vaguely intelligible. Come to think of it, that must be how the average troll reads you, too, though in those cases the difficulty lies in the gray matter, not the software.

8/06/2009 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"His face lights up, he drops what he's doing, he runs toward me, and joyfully cries, "Daddy!" before leaping into my arms."

Yes, this kind of a scene would be impossible in Iran, North Korea, or Palestine. Or, you know, among leftists or other sub-humans. After all, what child could love such a monster as a member of any of the above groups?

8/06/2009 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

At least that makes Abdul sound lucid and on point.

8/06/2009 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"His face lights up, he drops what he's doing, he runs toward me, and joyfully cries, "Daddy!" before leaping into my arms."

O... I do miss the "Daddy!" leap! Although... on the other hand I suppose I'm glad they don't do it anymore... if either of the boys caming running down the hall and jumped 'up' into my arms today, I'd have numerous broken bones and contusions, at the very least.

While I only get a nod and a "Hey" from the boys now, the consOlation prize of having a girl too, is that though she's outgrown the "Daddy!" leap, I do still get a smile and a kiss.

The differences fit together well.

8/06/2009 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

(Anyone caught on to the fact that Abdul is only copying a paragraph from the day's post, running it through a few translators, and pasting it back? I think today's is from the last. Abdul? What's my prize?)

8/06/2009 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"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."

A fractal comment of infinite applicability. What begins in some measure of a denial of reality (either in evasion or the attempt to impose your preferences over it), can only widen in separation and jaggedness.

8/06/2009 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

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.


Today's further example, banning history for the good of the children™. Not too long ago, I saw a comparison somewhere of the original Richard Scarry books with the contemporary pc versions. The differences were not subtle. So now we have a loving governmental reason for pitching those dangerous old books and replacing them with the newer, cleaner versions. Ruthless, indeed.

8/06/2009 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unhealthy ideologies are one thing, but on the individual level we find that smaller thoughts are the poison--

"I'm not good enough."

"I'll end up drooling in a nursing home."

"My parents prefer my sibling."

"I deserve to suffer."

etc, etc, etc.

The harm comes from the emotions of guilt, shame, anger, and sadness that arise from negative thoughts.

Some discussion of emotions should be carried out on this blog.

Mind parasites and so forth have been well descibed, but the slough of negative emotions has yet to be drained here.

Who wants to comment on sadness? Anger? Frustration? Lonliness?

Bring out your festering pain to parade before the group and be studied.

8/06/2009 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Sun at Midnight
for an intriguing americanized up=to=date presentation of sufism

nobody
opens
rumi
anymore;
television
eats
muslim
books

8/06/2009 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Shemp said...

"Mind parasites and so forth have been well descibed, but the slough of negative emotions has yet to be drained here."

We did that before we arrived here. It's the reason that, unlike some, we are able to grasp what Bob offers.

8/06/2009 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous puss boil said...

Anon,

You go first ya sick bastich.

8/06/2009 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger sehoy said...

Hi , Julie,

I'm glad to see you back again.

I think you a correct about Abdul. That was also my impression. I suspect his reading
comprehension is better than his writing. It was so for me with German.

8/07/2009 07:05:00 AM  

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