Evolution and the Divinization of Man
I'd come across the name before, but never followed up. Now I'm so preoccupied, that it's difficult to pick up the thread from where we left off yesterday. Might as well get it out of my system. Or, as John Lee Hooker said, let that boy boogie woogie, 'cause it's in him and it got to come out!
This all happened at around bedtime last night, so I ended up staying up late on a wild nous chase. Here's what initially caught my attention:
"Soloviev's skill in the technique of integrating all partial truths in one vision makes him perhaps second only to Thomas Aquinas as the greatest artist of order and organization in the history of thought."
As the note to myself in margin puts it, (?!).
Balthasar goes on to say that "There is no system that fails to furnish him with substantial building material, once he has stripped and emptied it of the poison of its negative aspects" -- including Darwin and evolutionism. Which naturally made me think of Aurobindo, who was floating in just as Soloviev was floating out (Soloviev died in 1900; Aurobindo began his outpouring in about 1912 or so).
So then I'm thinking to mysoph, "maybe this guy already accomplished the Aurobindonization of Christianity (so to speak), so my work here is finished, except that no one knows about him." Hmm.
Balthasar goes on to claim that Soloviev's is "the most universal intellectual construction of modern times," and is "beyond question the most profound vindication and the most comprehensive philosophical statement of Christian totality in modern times." He brings the "whole ethical and theoretical scheme to perfection in a universal theological aesthetic."
Furthermore, "Soloviev's thinking has an urgency attained by no one since Hegel, and it operates on the same level as Hegel's," that is, in the highest reaches of Absolute Spirit. (Of course, many people have compared Hegel and Aurobindo in that regard, at least in broad outline.)
So, who wouldn't be curious? I read a little further, and discovered that Soloviev honed in on the ideas of process (anticipating Whitehead) and evolution (anticipating Teilhard), which provide a master key -- both macro- and microcosmically -- in the sense outlined in my book, i.e, Cosmotheosis:
"By this means, the total meaning of the world's evolution is clearly established for the future: the development of humanity and the totality of the world into the cosmic body of Christ, the realization of the eschatological relation of mutuality between the incarnate Word and Sophia" (Balthasar), in a profound marriage of cosmic coonvenience.
Or, put it this way (and this has an obvious Aurobindean flavor, in terms of the divine descent and the divinization of Man): "The theme and content of Soloviev's aesthetic is nothing less than this: the progressive eschatological embodiment of the Divine Idea in worldly reality."
On the one hand, "the Divine Spirit is indeed in and for itself the highest reality, while the material being of the world is in itself no more than indeterminacy, an eternal pressure toward and yearning after the form" (↑).
In turn, "the impress of the limitless fulness and determinacy of God [acts] upon the abyss of cosmic potentiality" (↓). The human state is the conscious meeting place of this metacosmic (↑) and (↓), but only because O took on human form and now dwells in human nature.
So we live in a kind of spiritual whirlpool or dynamic process-structure created by the vertical energies of (↑↓), which in turn have a "purifying" effect, somewhat like the rinse cycle in your washing machine, which baptizes the garments in clean water and spins out the entropic impurities.
Soloviev refers to the "conquest" of the nondivine, through which God can "manifest his plenitude and totality and cause it to prevail even in what is opposed to it -- in what is finite, separated, egotistically divided, evil." In other words, the (↑↓) process automatically lifts us out of the closed system of our finite state, while simultaneously "cleansing" us of various personal and cultural parasites.
On the other hand, materialism is like trying to wash clothes in the drier. In that case, the impurities are simply baked in.
Soloviev also makes room for the divinization (as opposed to obliteration) of the individual personality, which, of course, is of great interest to a Raccoon, especially me.
Specifically, Soloviev's thought integrates "all partial points of view and forms of actualization into an organic totality that annuls and uplifts all things in a manner that preserves that which is transcended," i.e., you. What is specifically preserved -- and this is a very Coonish sentiment -- is
"the eternal, ideal kernel of every person in so far as it has been integrated into the entirety of the cosmic body of God.... There is no ultimate absorption of all things into an absolute spiritual subject."
Again, evolution; it is not as if the Kingdom of God crashes down into history once and for all. Rather, the Kingdom "must necessarily grow into maturity just as much from within," like any other organismic entity.
True, Christ is dropped down into history at a certain point, but it is not as if the human soil didn't have to be prepared for thousands of years, nor does it mean that we don't have to nurture and gradually assimilate this divine explosion as it ramifies through history. Again, timelessness takes time.
As Soloviev explains, this ultimate divine descent becomes a kind of fixed foundation planted within the middle of change, as opposed to being the principle of change. What is therefore sought "is a humanity to answer to this Divinity," that is, "a humanity capable of uniting itself" with this object. Evolution no longer implies an absurd, open-ended nihilism with no ground or goal, but the very basis of hominization and its fulfillment in Homo noeticus.
This then becomes "the active principle of history, the principle of motion and progress," as man evolves toward what he already is in essence, thanks to the grand-me-down of the Son, or our adopted brother. "The outcome must be man divinized, that is, the humanity that has taken the Divine into itself." And vice versa, so that the world becomes "the vessel and the vehicle of absolute being."
What, you have something more important to do?