Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Morning After: The Word is Born, Now What?

Christmas mamamorializes not just the birth of the celestial Word in the terrestrial flesh -- or the vertical child in the horizontal voidgin -- but the eternal conception in the mamamatrix, or "womb with a pew," where these two irreconcilable realities somehow become one.

In ether worlds, no conception, no birth. But birth obviously isn't the end of it. Or, like all births, it is the end of one mode and the beginning of another; every birth conceals a death, and vice versa. Where there's a wake there's awake.

Also, many things can prevent conception and/or terminate pregnancy, including such permicides as materialism or the various abortofascisms of the left. Such verbicidal techniques either prevent the union of Word and flesh, or assure a celestial abortion once it has taken place. For many people, spiritual conception is a disaster, as it would totally interfere with their preferred manner of living, i.e., their wholly narcissism.

I don't know if this is true, but I read somewhere the other day that Christmas wasn't celebrated for the first 400 years or so of Christianity's existence. One way or another, it grafted itself onto pre-Christian celebrations of the winter solstice, which marks the moment when the world arrests its descent into cosmic darkness, and imperceptibly moves toward the new life of spring.

But this hardly makes the cerebration of this any less Christian. Rather, it simply makes Christianity the most adequate expression of permanent truths that have always been known. As Warren mentioned in a comment the other day,

"Basically, everybody more or less knows this stuff. It's the wisdom and experience of the entire human race speaking here. The only people who claim to deny it are a few little fringe modernist groups (materialists, certain fundie Protestant sects, etc.).

"In fact, this is a big reason why some fundie Protestants view Catholics as 'pagans'. In a way, they're quite correct, because the Catholic tradition includes much wisdom from the pagan world, while trimming away (ideally) the false and/or devilish elements in it. Rejecting the entire pagan worldview, as certain Christians do, is to needlessly throw out a large chunk of the human race's traditional wisdom, thereby making oneself much more clueless than is strictly necessary."

Raccoon omeritus Meister Eckhart agrees with this view, in that "throughout his life, [he] championed the... position that philosophy and theology did not contradict each other and that philosophy was a necessary tool for Christian theology."

I suppose this is one of the ways in which I part company with the mainstream, which, it seems to me, tries to derive metaphysical truth solely from history, whereas I would say that it is the other way around -- that what we call "salvation history" must be the instantiation of certain meta-cosmic principles.

I will grant that a potential danger in the latter approach is the reduction of the personal God of history to a kind of quasi-mathematical deism, but that is not my view at all. Rather, the Creator is a person. But he has principles. And unlike Democrats, his principles are not for sale to the highest bidder.

Here is how Eckhart put it: "What philosophers have written about the nature and properties of things agrees with [the Bible], especially since everything that is true, whether in being or in knowing, in scripture or in nature, proceeds from one source and one root of truth." Philosophy, science, theology and revelation all "teach the same thing, differing only in the way they teach, namely as worthy of belief, as probable and likely, and as truth."

Remember, although Jesus is "Word made flesh," this does not mean that the Word was nowhere to be found in this vale of tears prior to the Incarnation. Rather, I would say (with Augustine) that the Word and wisdom of the Christic principle were (and are) always here, and couldn't not be here; again, where there is truth there is God.

So Eckhart's whole project was guided by a coonviction "about the conformity between reason and revelation, philosophy and theology." The Meistrʘ, who often used paradox to convey truth, expressed it thus: "It does not so much seem to me that God understands because he exists, but rather that he exists because he understands."

Do you see the point? Surely, understanding must be anterior to existence, to such an extent that to understand is to exist (I mean, someone had to have understood all those finely tuned mathematical equations that govern the big bang; surely we can't have been the first). Naked existence itself is neither here nor there. Thus, God is first and foremost "the negation of negation," or perhaps the negation of invincible cosmic stupidity.

I would go so lo as to see that the affirmation of anything is the affirmation of God, and therefore the negation of "nothing," i.e., the absurd affirmation of blind nihilism. Otherwise, there is no ground for any affirmations at all, not even "I am an idiotic troll named anonyorthogonal." For to know that one is an idiot is to at least know a permanent truth, and thus nurture a conception that may eventually come to full term.

All of the above quotes are taken from Bernard McGinn's The Harvest of Mysticism. I'm going to just keep philipping along and see where it leads.

Starting tomorrow I guess. I still want to catch up with my work by the end of the year.....

11 Comments:

Blogger walt said...

And speaking of idiotic things, the "affirmation of blind nihilism" would be an oxymoron, wouldn't it?

Of course, if we take 'idiot' from the Latin as "ignorant person," then I reckon to have my share of that, as well. For instance, had you asked me, "Which comes first, existence or understanding?", I'd have said "Existence!"

Ehh ... backassward (again).
So, thanks for turning my head around.

12/26/2009 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That is one of the most critical metaphysical distinctions between left and right. For Marx and all of his bastard leftist children down to Obama, existence precedes essence, but for Christians, essence is anterior to existence.

The implications of this are innumerable. For example, to affirm with America's founders that our rights are derived from God, is to acknowledge that essence precedes existence. But to affirm with the left that they derive from the state -- e.g., the "right" to healthcare -- is to say that we are nothing except what the world makes us.

12/26/2009 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Let it be noted that there is satanic mirror image of the incarnation of the Word, and that existentialism and relativism are its twin children.

12/26/2009 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Bob, I agree completely, and I saw it as soon as you pointed it out. After 2+ years of hanging-out around here, I'd like to think my thinks would be a little more clear.

Yet there I was, toeing the Party line. First thought, worst thought, in this case.

Implications, indeed!

12/26/2009 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

On that topic, I just re read a part in MOTT (High Priestess) where he describes the difference between viewing God's essence as Love vs. Being (existence).

If God's essence is primarily Being (as opposed to a part of His substance), one has a tendency to view God as fluid, passive and depersonalized. (Deism)

Whereas if God's essence is Love, it will be fire, active, and personalized. (Theism)

12/26/2009 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, that's a very fruitful way of looking at it.

12/26/2009 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It would also lead to the realization that "God is, therefore I think."

12/26/2009 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Hey, what's up here? Someone spike the egg nog? Who said Existence had to be equated with 'mere' Material? It is One indivisible One, there's no separating one from the other!

We humans do have an intellectual barrier, past which we cannot proceed, and it has a threefold gate,
... 1-2-3-1... - Existence exists
... 2-3-1-2... - What exists, exists as some one thing and not another at the same time and in the same context - Identity
... 3-1-2-3... - Our conscious awareness comes through being aware of existence existing as something

There is not a single thought we can have, which does not involve all three of these at the same time, trying to name one as having come into being before the other is not only not an option, but would introduce an arbitrary as a fact, and with that, an even harder fall than we normally need experience awaits those who insist upon that.

"For example, to affirm with America's founders that our rights are derived from God, is to acknowledge that essence precedes existence."

Which is to say Metaphysics... accidental as the name may have been, sOMthing precedes Physics, and although me may gno it, we have no way of knowing it.

Now as for the order that we come into the picture, Existence comes first (again, is Existence only 'stuff'?), and as we become aware of it's identities, we experience consciousness and eventually self consciousness... if we try to insist on Descartes nipped notion (he didn't come up with it first), "I think, therefore I am", then you insist that your notions are primary, and so narcessarily all existence must jump to your toon, ivory towers can be lept in a single bound, and you're off on a life of perpetual left turns.

"Raccoon omeritus Meister Eckhart agrees with this view, in that "throughout his life, [he] championed the... position that philosophy and theology did not contradict each other and that philosophy was a necessary tool for Christian theology.""

Yep. A philosopher has to know his limits... Philosophy helps us to Know, but it degenerates into misophy when it attempts to tell us what we gno....

12/26/2009 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

... or I could have just refreshed my browser and saved myself the previous comment.

wv:fooke
wordvery is developing a Scottish accent

12/26/2009 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

""Basically, everybody more or less knows this stuff. It's the wisdom and experience of the entire human race speaking here. The only people who claim to deny it are a few little fringe modernist groups (materialists, certain fundie Protestant sects, etc.).""

I was reading Epictetus last night, and chuckled at this short chapter (how long the left has been with us!), and was going to slap one of the recent omniorthoginalninnies with it, but seems fitting for today's post too, particularly Warren's observation -

"Chapter 5

Against the academics

If a man, said Epictetus, opposes evident truths, it is not easy to find arguments by which we shall make him change his opinion. But this does not arise either from the man's strength or the teacher's weakness; for when the man, though he has been confuted, is hardened like a stone, how shall we then be able to deal with him by argument?

Now there are two kinds of hardening, one of the understanding, the other of the sense of shame, when a man is resolved not to assent to what is manifest nor to desist from contradictions. Most of us are afraid of mortification of the body, and would contrive all means to avoid such a thing, but we care not about the soul's mortification. And indeed with regard to the soul, if a man be in such a state as not to apprehend anything, or understand at all, we think that he is in a bad condition: but if the sense of shame and modesty are deadened, this we call even power.

Do you comprehend that you are awake? "I do not," the man replies, "for I do not even comprehend when in my sleep I imagine that I am awake." Does this appearance then not differ from the other? "Not at all," he replies. Shall I still argue with this man? And what fire or what iron shall I apply to him to make him feel that he is deadened? He does perceive, but he pretends that he does not. He's even worse than a dead man. He does not see the contradiction: he is in a bad condition. Another does see it, but he is not moved, and makes no improvement: he is even in a worse condition. His modesty is extirpated, and his sense of shame; and the rational faculty has not been cut off from him, but it is brutalized. Shall I name this strength of mind? Certainly not, unless we also name it such in catamites, through which they do and say in public whatever comes into their head.
"

The more things change, the more the aninnies remain the same.

12/26/2009 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Bob, this is where you and I agree so completely...about the source/root of all things; I'm with Eckhart. A person's philosophy, whether consciously or unconsciously imbibed, is part and parcel with his "faith." How he reasons (or not) is part and parcel with the whole thing. It's why I come back to your blog again and again. "For many people, spiritual conception is a disaster, as it would totally interfere with their preferred manner of living, i.e., their wholly narcissism." It's funny you mention this. Just this morning, out of the blue, hubby commented on how *mean* people turned as soon as he came to the Lord. They really turned on him! Yet, at the time he was shielded from it by an inexpressible joy--the joy of God's presence... But even at the time, he thought it odd that people would be so dead set against something that, at the very least, promised to make him a better person. (Not to mention bringing the spirit to life!) The Spirit's presence is either a fragrance of life, or of death, depending on which side of the divide you're on. As Van quoted, "He's even worse than a dead man."

12/27/2009 10:26:00 AM  

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