Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life and Death Are Like Night and Day

Addendum at the beginum of this postum: Please consider this post entirely speculative in nature. I don't normally like to engage in idle speculation, but in certain matters of the night, one hardly has a choice. So this is just Bob's unconscious, riffing off the top or possibly bottom of his head, depending on your point of view. It is anything but dogmatic, just a bed-time story made up on the spot... or maybe like fumbling around for your shoes in a dark closet.

It just popped into my head that perhaps there are two paradises -- a night paradise and a day paradise. This would be one sensible way to reconcile dualism and non-dualism, the former corresponding to the eternal daytimelessness, the latter to the endless nighttimelessness, when everything merges into one. If this were the case, it is definitely something I could live with, because it would be just like life.

I mean, I love my days, but by 10:00, I've had enough. I'm ready to let myself go, die to the day, and blissfully dissolve into the sweet darkness of the underworld. But then in the morning, it's like a brand new creation. Really, life would be unendurable without the gift of sleep, no matter how good the day. It's like rebooting your computer.

Thanks to the sleep/wake cycle, life isn't an endless line, but an inward spiral. I always feel a bit sorry for people who say that they sleep as little as possible because they want to cram as much living as they can into their short life -- as if one isn't alive when asleep! Most such people actually have a fear of the unconscious -- of falling into its world -- and defend against it by staying "awake." But that just ends up being a wake, as Joyce knew. These types are usually pretty boring, the superficial "excitement" of their lives notwithstanding.

In fact, the whole structure of Finnegans Wake revolves around the sleep/wake cycle, both on a macro and micro level. It's fractally constructed, so that nearly every page reflects the death-rebirth (or sleeping-waking) motif of its overall circular structure. In the end, the dreamer flows into the ocean, only for the ocean to evaporate, form clouds, and resupply the river. We can isolate one part, but it's obviously a total process, like systole and diastole.

It reminds me of psychoanalytic training, during which the candidate undergoes analysis four or five days a week. One of the reasons for this is that material that comes out during the session is worked over at night, so that the dream material becomes grist for the mill in the next session. Just as there are times that heaven and earth are brought closer together, e.g. the "sacred time" of religious ritual, it is possible to bring the worlds of the conscious and unconscious "closer," resulting in a more creative and harmonious life.

There is no question that the unconscious is "feminine" while the conscious is "masculine"; the same can be said of night (female, lunar) and day (male, solar). Can it then be said that non-dualism tells us something about the feminine side of God?

Oh, I think so. Christianity is an explicitly solar religion, and yet, since it is a full service faith, Mary plays a prominent role, even if it is not necessarily articulated into a coherent metaphysic by most of the faithful. Nor does it need to be, for that is part of the whole point: to "understand" Mary with the wideawake and cutandry logic of the day is like trying to r**son with your w**e when s*e's in one of those "m**ds." Can't be done. You just end up in a deeper hole.

Now, let's suppose that since man is in the image of the Creator, the sleep-wake cycle does indeed reveal something of what goes on inside the godhead. As it so happens, there are those who maintain -- and I believe Bolton would be one of them -- that creation itself follows this pattern. In other words, it is as if, on the macro scale, creation itself is the "day of God," so it will not and cannot last forever. Someday it will all end. The cosmic sun will set. But that is no more the end-end than to sleep is to die. An awful lot of stuff goes on at night on every level -- mind, body and spirit.

In my book, I think you can see that I struggled to reconcile east and west, dualism and non-dualism, naught and deity. My "solution" is found in its circular structure, which, in a way, harmonizes dualism and non-dualism through the metaphor of birth. In the womb we are at one with the cosmos, floating weightlessly in a watery medium, all our needs spontaneously met before we are even aware of them. Indeed, to be aware of "need" is to be aware of self; this is what Bion meant when he said that the infant's experience of "no-breast" was the dawn of self-consciousness.

For that is when you "realize," however inchoately, that you are not the source of life, able to magically feed yourself, but in relation to it. So the birth of the self is also the breakthrough of relationship into being. It also puts the kibosh on narcissism; or alternatively -- if something goes awry at this stage -- cultivates the soil of narcissism, which ultimately comes down to the delusion of primitive self-sufficiency, even while one needs to surround oneself with two-dimensional others -- who are just props in the narcissist's psychic fantasy -- in order to support the delusion.

To cite a vivid example, the narcissist is always masturbating, even -- or especially -- during sex. But sex itself is just a metaphor. The narcissist is also masturbating while, say, delivering a lecture on climate change, which is why Copenhagen is truly an international jerk circle.

Let's return to Father Rose's account of the after-death situation. We've been greeted by the two angels at the terminal, who grab us by the astral body and conduct us... where? Why, to court, of course. Everyone is entitled to deus process and their deity in court, even terrorists and other mass murderers.

Rose quotes St. Ignatius, who wrote that "A judging and distinguishing are required to define the degree of a Christian soul's inclination to sin, in order to define what predominates in it..." Here, the elaborate veils of self-deception and self-justification are stripped away, and your true motives revealed. In that sense, God doesn't even have to say anything, for the problem becomes obvious: "Oh. I get it now." This is very painful, the pain depending upon the distance between the lie and the Truth, rationalization and Reason.

Interestingly, Father Rose acknowledges a striking similarity between Orthodoxy and The Tibetan Book of the Dead, what with its account of various "bardo planes" one passes through. These correspond to neither heaven nor hell, but depict "the aerial world of the under-heaven where fallen spirits dwell and are active in deceiving men for their damnation." It is actually an "invisible part of this world that man must pass through to reach the truly 'other' world of heaven or hell."

Father Rose discusses the intense feelings of peace and tranquility people reportedly experience during near-death experiences, but here again, these could be deceptive. He points out that these could be more or less "natural" sensations that occur as a result of being liberated from the body. To paraphrase Ram Dass, death is like removing a tight pair of shoes. Father Rose says that "When separated from this body, the soul is immediately in a state more 'natural' to it, closer to the state God intends for it.... In this sense, the 'peace' and 'pleasantness' of the out-of-body experience may be considered real and not a deception."

However, deception enters the picture if these transient feelings are considered ultimately real, "as though this peace were the true peace of reconciliation with God, and 'pleasantness' were the true spiritual pleasure of heaven."

Father Rose contrasts this with various saints who have had the experience of the "space of heaven" breaking into this world: "more important characteristics are added in this experience: the brightness of the light of heaven; the invisible presence of Lord, Whose voice is heard; the Saint's awe and fear before the Lord; and a tangible sensing of Divine grace, in the form of an indescribable fragrance. Further, it is specified that the multitude of 'people' encountered in heaven are... the souls of martyrs and holy men."

To be continued...

Why Frank? Why not?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Addendum at the beginum of this postum: Please consider this post entirely speculative in nature."

Sure that shouldn't just be appended to the entire blog?

12/16/2009 08:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

There's your answer.

12/16/2009 08:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the speculative post; speculation cannot be beat for entertainment value.

Entertainment value should not be denigrated; the whole cosmos might be an entertainment for all we know.

When all utilitarian needs are taken care of (and sometimes before) people spontaneously turn to playing, storytelling, and so forth.

Children know that fun is the whole point of a day.

But I digress. I like the post, and have no speculation of my own to add (for once).

The old troll rests in peace, smiling.

Tommorrow may be a different story.

12/16/2009 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

This is a great series, Bob. Steady as she goes...

12/16/2009 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Apologies on getting self-referential, but something I said yesterday at Mushroom's place seems somewhat fitting here, as well.

"He did not spare His own Son in order to bring me home, what’s a fatted calf to that?

Of course, there's also a flipside, which is where anyone with sense acknowledges the fear and trembling. When we are willing to be shaped according to his purpose, it is good to remember that sometimes, a death is involved. He did not spare his own beloved son from this. Usually the death is of some aspect of our selves, I think, but just as real and just as painful nonetheless. But the other thing to remember is that with that death comes the promise of new life.

This journey, it isn't for cowards. Though of course even the most cowardly is welcome to try, and try, and try again. Always with open arms, always with the promise."

12/16/2009 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Thom said...

Really liked today's post. A little Joyce in there, a little MOTT...

Another jerk circle. The Oscars.

12/16/2009 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Absolutely -- this is the very reason liberals are always giving each other awards -- Nobels, Pulitzers, Oscars, Emmys, fellowships, whatever. It's all masturbatory.

12/16/2009 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I have long believed that sleep is Sacred. More than fearing to wake the sleeper's ire, I see the act of waking someone for careless reasons more like interrupting a meal, a healing conversation, or a blood transfusion.

Life is imparted during sleep. Just go without sleep for too long and you'll believe it with all your heart, mind and soul.

I love that God's day begins at night. We begin our day in sleep, it's that important.

But then, as I woman, so I am mostly unconscious. . .

wv says I'm a small fish, a minishad in a big pond.

12/16/2009 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

The narcissist is also masturbating while, say, delivering a lecture on climate change, which is why Copenhagen is truly an international jerk circle.

Or while voting -- sometimes quite literally.

12/16/2009 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

RE sleep, when I became depressed, it may have been the one thing I looked forward to..really wanted to "reset" be able to do it. But I couldn't on my own. Catch-22.
Meds helped to at least get past that roadblock.

wv: noboti (I ain't got)

12/16/2009 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


Very good points. The sabbath begins at sunset, just as Genesis begins with darkness over the face of the deep. And the first division is called Day and Night. Thus, it is as if night and day are even the first words... or the Word bifurcates into day and night....

12/16/2009 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


Yes, one of the primary symptoms of depression is nonrestorative sleep. No matter how much the person sleeps, it's not enough. In that sense, it's not even really sleep, more like living death.

12/16/2009 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

BTW, if the Word bifurcates into day and night , this would account for the denotative and connotative aspects of speech, or of quantity and quality, mathematics and mythsemantics...

12/16/2009 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I also love that we start our day resting in a place of non-control. A place of primordial slack, if you will forgive the self-reference.

I would suppose that many sleep disorder issues that aren't physical could be chalked up to control issues.

12/16/2009 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Oh yes, absolutely regarding sleep disorders....

12/16/2009 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's one battle for control you can't win... or, if you win, you lose. It would be an unending curse to contain that which contains us.

12/16/2009 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

RR, I was told that sleep is another form of self-medication, and like other forms, we must be sensitive to discern need from crave.

12/16/2009 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I saw a patient not too long ago who managed to give up smoking pot all day, but now she sleeps all day instead....

12/16/2009 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Apropos again, DH gave me an early Christmas present yesterday (too bulky to bring along): a contoured body pillow for pregnancy, so I can sleep better the next few months. Priceless. Works great, too.

(Psst - NB, you might consider one if you're still shopping for the Mrs. ...)

12/16/2009 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said... has always struck me as the home of a particularly loathsome form of leftism. They definitely are not hard left; rather they are what I once was: arrogant smug atheistic pseudo-intellectual narcissistic cynical hedonists. Not sure it even qualifies as "leftism" since frankly there is a whole sub-species of "conservative" which isn't far off the mark when it comes to the Weltanschauung. It smells more like... blasphemy.

This week they've done a "travelogue" on the sites of 18th century British "sex clubs" which according to the writer "mixed in a spicy dash of Satanism".

It seems that a mock grace was recited in Latin, and fine claret was drunk from cups made from human skulls. Pornography was read from volumes bound as sermon books. Scraps of food were tossed to the club mascot, a baboon dressed as a priest.

All of this is related with a knowing wink, and he's upset that "unfortunately" much of this fine tradition is lost. There is simply no question that the writer (and presumably much of his spiritually nullified readership) finds these Georgian rituals in extreme depravity evidence that their cherished beliefs are not so outre after all. See, they liked mocking God and having anonymous, brutal sex with semi-indentured servants too!

At one point the author informs us that a clergyman currently living near this site (an underground cavern, literally) becomes sick to his stomach whenever he passes by. Slate's author thinks this is ever so silly, and asserts that the vicar's denunciations from the pulpit have fortunately served to bring more widespread attention to the site, and to the perfect naturalness of satanic bacchanalia.

The queasy stomach part stuck with me. It's exactly what I felt when reading the article. It wasn't so much the descriptions of 200 year old depravity among British aristocrats, it is the underlying assumption that this historically validates the inclination of the morally insane today. I am nauseated by evil, and for me that represents enormous spiritual growth. Oh, I've always been nauseated and repelled by the Holocaust and other egregious forms of great evil (those who aren't are absolutely beyond the pale). 25 years ago however I might have been intrigued by the idea of these sex clubs. God knows I did things (sex with strangers, drugs, etc) which today would be impossible for me (the last remnants of my once formidable appetite for alcohol are evaporating even now).

The thing that the atheists and the spiritually destitute can never know (unless they themselves go through spiritual transformation and growth) is that the "boring" life of a Christian is infinitely richer and more satisfying in every possible way than the wretched scavenging for stimulation that masquerades as life in the heart of the unbeliever.

12/16/2009 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

I was fortunate to have found a good Dr on the first try. He recommended the sleep meds. I needed something in my life to work…something…something that would make sense to me. At the time, I knew sleep had that ability. Or might still. Something to build on. Then I could get to the other hard work. A rotten day can look quite different, not to mention what you think you’re capable of, the next morning.
Once you get healthy, or healthier, you don’t need them…that’s just a I guess, unless it’s a biological problem.
I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep. There must be different forms of depression. Mine was mixed with or just plain was a form of anxiety. The anxiety maybe caused the depression. I wanted to sleep, but when I was there, I wanted to get the hell otta there! :-)

12/16/2009 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...


Thanks for your post, loved it!

12/16/2009 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Sorry for the depressing turn this has taken :-) but we're not so far off course. Unknown Friend has a bit to say about sleep...sort of related to the general topic of life-after-death and the "restorative" and "unrestorative" kinds of both. Sleep is to death as remembering/memory is to life..
Or something like that...

12/16/2009 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...


I was lucky to be truly and miraculously set free in a moment, a visitation, a revelation.

It's been almost 20 years now of peace.

I think if the Vertical doesn't separate the psychological Light from the Dark, we have no way to fully relinquish control and rest.

The miraculous nature of the experience may be off-topic and not a good point for esoteric noggin' noodling, but I think it was just a beautiful and curious event in my life, and that it compels me to build a cairn of remembrance and a point of reference for future exploration on my bewilderness adventure.

12/16/2009 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

There is, I think, much to be said for trying to synthesize and harmonize seemingly opposite things, such as (per today's post) dualism and non-dualism. I would be the last to say that there is no value in it. And yet, and yet... I wonder if there doesn't come a point where we have to take out our sword (or battle-axe) of discrimination.

For example, non-dualism, for all its spiritual insights, etc, is - when taken as an all-explaining Theory of Everything - logically incoherent and self-contradictory (just like its twin brother, materialism, and for the same reasons). It's not that it probably isn't true - rather, it's that, taken in its totality, it can't possibly be true. Once one has seen this, I wonder if it doesn't make more sense to just chop it away rather than trying to synthesize it at a higher level?

See, this is exactly the problem I had with the Traditionalists. The "transcendent unity of religions" sounds great, and there's a fair amount of truth in it. Still, I couldn't help but notice that these guys were (almost) all Muslims, and that their doctrine included Islam as one of the genuine divine revelations. Problem: some of the foundational claims of Islam are objectively, historically, demonstrably false. It's not a matter of "interpretation" or whatever. Conclusion: Islam, whatever its undoubted merits, is a false religion, a man-made thing.


Secondary conclusion: the doctrine of the Traditionalists, whatever its undoubted merits, is also false.


I know, this is strictly "daytime" logic speaking. I'm not really criticizing anyone or anything here, just offering a different point of view and asking questions. Sorry to be the turd in the punchbowl.

12/16/2009 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I hear what you're saying, but this is why I'm looking at them in a more complementary, not oppositional, way. And now that I think about it, this would also be a way to reconcile the valuable insights of people like Denys and Eckhart, -- in fact, the whole apophatic approach of Eastern Christianity, which stands in contrast to the more cataphatic approach of the West. Just a thought...

12/16/2009 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

To put it another way, there must be a oneness underlying the threeness, just as there is threeness in the oneness... Just two different human perspectives on the unthinkable....

12/16/2009 11:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Over the past few months (or more) I've had trouble sleeping usually in the early morning time I started to call the "witching hour". Sometimes it could be 2-3 hours of anxiety rolling through my mind before I finally nodded off.

I mostly sleep through the night. So I ask myself what changed?

To be honest I saw a "Klavan on the Culture" a while back about prayer. So I tried it (Note: And while I have meditated for a while now, I have never really attempted discursive prayer before). So basically instead of endlessly obsessing about aspects of my life...I prayed about them.

I now pretty much sleep like a rock through the night.

Funny how that works.

12/16/2009 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Jack said...

I've been thinking more about Arvo Part and my resistence to calling what he does "music" (it just seems incoherent to put him and say, Brittany Spears, in even the most broadly defined categories. Even some of my favorite pop music seems fundamentally alien to what Part does).

Certainly Part uses the same basic materials i.e. pitch, rhythm, form, harmony, melody etc. So in a "cataphatic" sense he creates music just like everyone else...including *sigh* Brittany...though at a significantly higher level of organization.

Perhaps where he differs is how he "apophatically" creates music. Though "creates" seems like the wrong word in this instance. Maybe it is more how he is a *conduit* for "apophatic music"? Regardless there is a profound silence at the core of his music. I find this to be a relatively rare occurance in Western Music--outside of say gregorian chant etc.

Don't mind me. I'm just trying to work this through!

12/16/2009 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

The following from Father Teilhard on what he called "Nostalgia for the Front" while serving for four years as a stretcher bearer during WWI may bear some relation to night/day, asleep/awake in today's post:
"...the front cannot but attract us because it is, in one way, the extreme boundary between what one is already aware of, and what is still in process of formation. Not only does one see there things that you experience nowhere else, but one also sees emerge from within one an underlying stream of clarity, energy, and freedom that is to be found hardly anywhere else in ordinary life - and the new form that the soul then takes on is that of the individual living the quasi-collective life of all men, fulfilling a function far higher than that of the individual, and becoming fully conscious of this new state...This exaltation is accompanied by a certain pain. Nevertheless it is indeed an exaltation."

(The first rule of Fight Club is we don't talk about Fight Club.)

12/16/2009 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


Cooncur about Part. His music very definitely emerges out the space of silence. Speaking of which, his primary label -- ECM -- started out as an exclusively jazz label, except with a decided European classical, or chamber, quality. Their motto is "the next best sound to silence." Many of their artists have this ability to convey the pregnant spaces between the notes.

12/16/2009 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

One ECM artist, drummer Jon Christensen, has four rules for playing:

1) Band feeling is more important than bravura.
2) Less is more.
3) How fast can you play slow?
4) A beat is not always what you think it is.

12/16/2009 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

BTW, Jack, thanks so much for sharing Arvo Part. I downloaded last night the "intro" collection Bob raccoomended called "Tribute..". It recalls some of the best parts of the Lord Of The Rings score...of which I always wished there was more. This stands on it's own and greatly exceeds that.
So I'm blown away last night listening and then remember Bob saying this collection was a good intro to Arvo, and thinking, "It get's better than this?"


12/16/2009 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Well said. Thank you.
I don’t at all regret what happened to me, as terrible as it seemed. What I found down there, needed to be found, and is not replaceable. It was for me a necessary stepping stone to something closer to what you are talking about.


12/16/2009 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You can't listen to it and not know that the sacred is a real reality.

12/16/2009 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

“Father Rose discusses the intense feelings of peace and tranquility people reportedly experience during near-death experiences, but here again, these could be deceptive.”

I have to say that this “sorting-out” is important – maybe all serious seekers will do this naturally. It’s very helpful and reaffirming to hear, Bob. You know, when you “discover” what or that others have been here before you.


12/16/2009 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...


I don’t at all regret what happened to me, as terrible as it seemed. What I found down there, needed to be found, and is not replaceable. It was for me a necessary stepping stone to something closer to what you are talking about.

Yes, just so.

12/16/2009 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"To cite a vivid example, the narcissist is always masturbating, even -- or especially -- during sex."

While never quite putting it into quite those words, that's something I've long suspected... another instance of the perpetual fixation on appearances and fear of penetrating beyond the surface, that locks you into a depthless prison of the pinball perceptual. Unless you pause, look past your own reflection, and into the object of your affections, you'll never receive the satisfaction of depth, never penetrate to the truth within and its interconnecting paths without.

Stopping at the surface, you admire your own reflection until the sensation dulls, and then you're off to find some shiny new distractions to dazzle your I's and senses, never having actually engaged in anything but your own stimulation.

"Absolutely -- this is the very reason liberals are always giving each other awards -- Nobels, Pulitzers, Oscars, Emmys, fellowships, whatever. It's all masturbatory."

Ba da bing.

wo... honest, wv:jercl
Sometimes it seems to be going in circles

12/16/2009 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "... a contoured body pillow for pregnancy, so I can sleep better the next few months. Priceless. Works great, too."

Yep, I can vouch for that, NB, do yourself a favor, buy her one of those!

12/16/2009 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

We had one too. Invaluable for when the nameless guest is trying to push against your bladder all night.

12/16/2009 01:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do note that all of us touch ourselves.

Proclivities are installed in human beings by the Primary Programmer so if you have a beef with them then you need to talk to Him. Don't pest or fault yourself, fellow humans, etc, for yours our their proclivities.

The approach to these items is not working now, has not worked in the past, and is unlikely to be comfy n the future. How to let them hosses run free?

That is the question.

12/16/2009 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

"I do note that all of us touch ourselves."

You do not know this.

12/16/2009 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Warren said " I would be the last to say that there is no value in it. And yet, and yet... I wonder if there doesn't come a point where we have to take out our sword (or battle-axe) of discrimination.
For example, non-dualism, for all its spiritual insights, etc, is - when taken as an all-explaining Theory of Everything - logically incoherent and self-contradictory (just like its twin brother, materialism, and for the same reasons)."

It does have it's place, like an entryway, but if you just stand there and never open the inner door, you never make it into home. Aristotle (sorry to keep bringing him up, reading a bunch) considered some earlier theories that the earth revolved around the sun, but noting that there was no proof, no reason for supposing so other than it seemed a cool idea, he dismissed it, for from the visual evidence he had, the sun revolved around the earth.

And he was right for the right reasons, as the earlier heliocentric theorists were wrong, for the wrong reasons. When more observations began exposing more problems than more epicycles could do away with, and better instruments enabled better observations and better theories, then it became possible to know that the sun revolving around the earth was only true on the surface, and deeper investigation and consideration led to deeper, truer, understanding of not only how the earth revolved around the sun, but of night and day as well.

Non-dualists do state some fine spiritual insights, but it isn't enough to 'have the right answer', if you have it for the wrong reasons, or don't fully understand what you've concluded is the 'answer'; that could lead you into thinking that because you think, therefore you are... and nothing but night follows that one.

Sometimes the wrong answer is arrived at for the right reasons, and will lead to deeper, better, truer answers, in the long run. Most qualities are only discovered as a result of repeatedly experiencing their particular quantities. A word or phrase may be the particular label for a depthless concept, like "Let there be light...", but if you don't pursue it, it can leave you as lost upon the literalist horizontal planes as yin & yang can... and vice versa.

It's not enough to merely identify, or swing the sword and discriminate... and stop... it must be a continual process cutting deeper and deeper by stages of observing and considering, over and over, like night and day.

12/16/2009 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "...there must be a oneness underlying the threeness, just as there is threeness in the oneness... Just two different human perspectives on the unthinkable...."

Yes, for all the dueling between the dualists and non-dualists, it is after all, in the end, One Cosmos.

12/16/2009 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Though I've been a fan of Part for a few years, I am only now becoming acquainted with some the Jazz side of ECM (thanks in large part to the Raccoon store!). And have to agree that many of the artists have the same ability to "sonify" silence.

Reminds me of a favorite Monk quote:
"It's not the notes you play. It's the notes you leave out"

I love Jon Christensen's four rules, #3 in particular rings true for me. In listening to the beginning Alaap section of N. Indian music it seems to point towards a "virtuosity of slowness" which can then be applied to any tempo. I will keep digging into the ECM archives as I am able.

R.R.- Part is some really fantastic stuff. I am glad you like it. I wholeheartedly agree that it's hard to listen and not know the Reality of Spirit. Truly extraordinary.

12/16/2009 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Great subject. My take away from Fr. Rose’s book was that there will be temptations after we leave the earthly realm (after the third day). Of course the tempters will know our weaknesses and will try to exploit them. I am pretty sure, assuming Fr. Rose is correct (which I think he is) that all the seven deadly sins will be tested along with others an the twenty or so “toll houses”. I think that if we have not conquered a challenge God has presented to us here we will get sidetracked on our assent to Heaven. I think as an example, that in the case of the Islamist (and anon) and the deadly sin of Lust, it could be terminal.

I recommend reading the book and reflecting on whatever weaknesses you may have in regards to the Commandments of God and His Law. Overcome all your weakness here so you are prepared for what is to come. If you can’t say no in the here and now you probably won’t do so well in your assent to God.

12/16/2009 02:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I should have been more specific.
"I do project that all of us touch ourselves."
And do all nature of things which I need psychic company with.

12/16/2009 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


I quickly built up my ECM collection by putting a bunch of titles in my wish list and then watching the prices. They often go down to 5, 6, or 7 bucks. You should also be aware that often they have two editions of the same title, and that one will be much cheaper, even though they are identical in every way...

12/16/2009 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Retriever said...

Great post. And comments. Especially like the reminders about the day and night sides to Christianity, and the male and female aspects. Well done.

But sleep is not always restorative and creative. A good feminine... Sometimes just a foxhole in which one finds temporary shelter from the artillery fire. Bandages one's wounds. Chews mouldy bread.

For some, sleep is to open the floodgates of nightmare. Even distracted busyness may seem preferable to some than the horrors. Unadulterated. Hence the popularity of the story of the boy with the finger in the dyke...

Agree with J of A about control. But sometimes a traumatized or deeply disturbed person dares not let go. Also, not all can afford or endure analysis (however valuable for those who have pursued it)

This isn't to disagree with what you say about the value of sleep, and balancing the light and the dark. You are on the right track. But for some, finding that balance is like trying to walk across a tightrope with no safety net holding a bag of wriggling rats with sharp teeth about to gnaw thru.

When I worked for a church, the only way I could find time to write sermons was by staying up half the night while my children slept. Even now, in "just" a job, since I work and do family chores about 12 hours a day, the only way to pray, study, reflect (if at all)is to steal it from sleep or rest. Obviously, I relax a few hours with family and pets and exercise, etc. But one starves slowly without the time to quiet oneself and learn. And sometimes only "sleep" time is left... It's probably less a problem for people with healthier kids than mine.

I have always been rather fond of the Coffee ad that says "You can sleep when you're dead."

12/16/2009 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

Van and Bob,

Excellent comments.

>> Aristotle (sorry to keep bringing him up)

Oh, don't apologize for that to a neo-Scholastic, logic-chopping pest like me.

As I said, I have no problem with the apophatic approach - think very highly of it, in fact. I'm just concerned with the idea of pushing "daytime" logic as far as it can go. Because even if it can't go all the way, it can still go a lot farther than many people seem to realize. It's not only an invaluable tool, but actually a miracle.

12/16/2009 05:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Gradus said...

Another Arvo Part fan here. One of the things to appreciate about his music is its lack of familiar lyrical gesture. If you listen to pop music long enough, you begin to realize they all move their musical limbs in the same way, usually for the same purposes. It becomes painfully routine and predictable. Totally conformist.

Part's music is built differently and is trying to achieve different ends. It sounds fresh, newly-discovered, strangely objective, and terrifying. Shocking, even, as if someone threw aside a curtain on a million beating wings of iron. Pretty extraordinary.

12/16/2009 06:47:00 PM  

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