Sunday, January 03, 2010

A Very Impotent Spiritual Message

A Sunday Sermon to start the new year off in the right key:

Bolton writes that "dualism would appear to be an intellectual image of the cosmic order." I would prefer a term such as "generative complementarity," which is to be distinguished from a static dualism by virtue of the fact that the former is capable of evolving into the "higher third," thus converting existence from the closed circle to the open spiral, or.... what's the term, Jeeves? Yes, an asymptotic gyre. (On second thought, let's call it a dual gyrescape.)

In most cases, the stubborn dualism we try to eliminate is a complementarity we need to illuminate. Of course, that is not always the case, for one side of a duality can be a negation, rather than complement, of the other; for example, leftism is the negation of classical liberalism, not its complement, much less any kind of "progressive" integration. Similarly, feminism ends up creating masculinized women and feminized men, and is the death of the dynamic tension that.... that.... Let's just let Frank describe it:

How little we know / how much to discover / what chemical forces flow / from lover to lover / How little we understand / what touches of that tingle / that sudden explosion / when two tingles intermingle

Indeed. That is an example of the electricity that flows with true complementarity. But we all know that relationships can descend into an alternatively static or agitated dualism, the former like kissing your sister, the latter like being married to Tiger Woods:

The broken dates, the endless waits / the lovely loving and the hateful hates / the conversation with the flying plates / I wish I were in love again / Believe me sir, I much prefer / the classic battle of a him and her / I don't like quiet and I wish I were / in love again

Yes, who among us hasn't had the conversation with the flying plates? Isn't that why the trolls come here? They're not here to con-verse, which means to "flow together." Rather, they are here to stir up contro-versy, which means to "flow against" in their characteristic unerotic -- to say nothing of unDude -- manner. Our devoted anonymous troll cannot help getting his jollies by throwing around the plate in his head.

The very possibility of knowledge hinges on the generative dualism of phenomena and noumenon. To "know" means to shorten the distance, or close the gap, between appearances and reality. (As we shall see later, the reverse is true for "spiritual progress," in that the closer one draws to God, the more one appreciates the distance.) It seems that Truth bifurcates into these two realms, which it must do on pain of having no creation at all. Paradoxically -- but not really -- you could say that existence itself is the first "fall," since it is a descent from the Principle. But don't sweat it. Eternity is still in love with the productions of time. Eternity might even say of time, can't live with it, and can't love without it.

Obviously, it is impossible for us to imagine what the cosmos looks like "with no one there." The possibility of knowledge presupposes not just a knower, but a particular point of view, a "separation of the subjective and objective components of perception" (Bolton).

But this split is not a pernicious one, nor can science ever heal it. Rather, I agree with Polanyi that the separation of subject and object creates a generative transitional space in which our understanding may evolve into deeper and more comprehensive syntheses of reality. Thus, the practice of science can be seen as a kind of shadow of infinite truth, except that, unlike mysticism, it can never reach the goal unless it first escapes the gaol of matter.

As Bolton says, dualism "enables us to go abroad while staying at home. All that is 'out there' is at the same time 'in here,'" meaning that science is simultaneously a deepening of the objective and subjective horizons -- so long as one doesn't regard the external world in the naive manner of the simple materialist or bonehead Darwinian. As we always say, consciousness reveals more about Darwinism than Darwinism will ever reveal about consciousness. If you remember this, you can accept any findings of Darwinism without being captured in its pneumacognitive net.

Bolton agrees that representation "commits us to the idea of a Representer, and this is what is normally identified with the soul." Furthermore -- and this is a key point -- "for the soul, the body and the whole physical world which the body belongs to, appear as content. While the body is essentially something contained, the soul is essentially a container of phenomena." As such, the "complete I" includes "the world-containing and world-representing soul," and "the world, as it appears from one's own unique point of view, is in a real sense a part of one's identity" (emphasis mine).

This makes perfect nonsense to me, because we all know how dramatically different the world appears when we are depressed, or in love, or an atheist, or floating upstream on a current of (↑). Each of these conditions allows one to "see" realities that might otherwise be foreclosed. For example, I do not deny that atheism discloses something about reality, just as does depression or schizophrenia. If nothing else, they teach us that we always transcend the content of experience, for when we return to normal, we see that we had been living with blinders on, which is another way of being dead.

One thing we must be aware of is the ubiquitous societal pressure to see and experience the world in materialistic terms, which is to die to God for the sake of the world, rather than vice versa. Balthasar:

"[N]aked matter remains an indigestible symbol of fear and anguish. Since nothing else remains, and yet something must be embraced, twentieth-century man is urged to enter this impossible marriage with matter, a union which finally spoils man's taste for love. But man cannot bear to live with the object of his impotence, that which remains permanently unmastered. He must either deny it or conceal it in the silence of death."

God gives himself to man as far as that is possible, and it is only possible to the extent that the individual being is a world-containing entity with endless extension described above.... In short, there must be some common measure between the recipient and the received. When the human state is seen in this light, it will not be difficult to proceed to the idea of man as God's mediator in the world. --Robert Bolton, Self and Spirit

Then again, as Saint Teresa of Ávila might have said of the Groom, So long as you kiss me / and the world around us shatters / How little it matters / how little we know.



*****

First images of the new pack member:


48 Comments:

Blogger Mizz E said...

Sublime Sunday Post Bob! Thank you!

Another spiritual message I heard on national TV this morning:

"The extent to which he [Tiger] can recover seems to me depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of redemption and forgiveness offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger is, 'Tiger turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world." ~ Brit Hume, Fox News' Chris Wallace Sunday show.

1/03/2010 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Let us be perfectly clear:

Asymptote

Gyre

1/03/2010 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

To be honest, I'm not sure what I meant by "asymtotic gyre," but I did snag an excellent image from your gyre link, now placed in the body of the post. The image is quite accurate, depicting the holographic transitional space humans occupy by virtue of the innersection of upward and downward spirals.

1/03/2010 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

"In most cases, the stubborn dualism we try to eliminate is a complementarity we need to illuminate."

Heh, so often a little Light makes a World of difference!

I would prefer a term such as "generative complementarity," which is to be distinguished from a static dualism by virtue of the fact that the former is capable of evolving...

I think we get "tricked," as it were, by being a literate people -- so used to seeing dualities expressed as opposites frozen in print, in words, and we get stuck in our minds and forget that Reality is verb, forever in motion. So our imagined "model" for our existence becomes a ping-pong match, back-and-forth, ding/dong, etc./etc.

"Generative complementarity" doesn't exactly roll off the brain, but is a very complete thought.

Good sermon, Father B'ob!

1/03/2010 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

For instance, the picture you swiped looks to my un-Jewish eye like the Star of David in motion.

I've often imagined the yin/YANG symbol spiraling, or gyrating, as it must, since the Tao is endlessly moving.

1/03/2010 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"...you could say that existence itself is the first "fall," since it is a descent from the Principle."

Fallen... or severed? Severed might be too harsh... maybe... shown the door, in the same sense as a baby bird is shown the air by being kicked our of the nest.

Being Human means that we have no automatic means of intellectual support, there is no deterministic connection between our understanding and the environment around us - a key point of separation between us and the left... we recognize not only the importance but the necessity of Free Will, they reject it.

Once out of the nest and into existence, it is now our responsibility to fly on our own, to observe reality, to follow natural law, God's law, discover what is true, follow it's updrafts and gain altitude... or drop to the ground, reject your wings as oppressive feathery obstacles to walking on all fours, and demand someone continue to stuff worms down our throats.

There's something about the term 'Fallen' that's always bugged me... can't put my thumb on it at the moment, but there is Truth, and we are only able to grasp it by carefully aligning ourselves with it in thoughts and deeds, through our choices to do so. I guess I see 'fallen' as less of a 'corrupt' state, than a disconnected state which we are then able to connect back into, our opportunity to discover (rediscover?) what is good and beautiful and true, replicating, mirroring, the original flame within us.

We wish to live, which requires the possibility of failure, otherwise you and your choices are negated - they wish to be robotically maintained.

sigh. words. Ok, back to yours.

1/03/2010 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Words 'lost and found':

"The possibility of knowledge presupposes not just a knower, but a particular point of view, a "separation of the subjective and objective components of perception" (Bolton)... I agree with Polanyi that the separation of subject and object creates a generative transitional space in which our understanding may evolve into deeper and more comprehensive syntheses of reality. Thus, the practice of science can be seen as a kind of shadow of infinite truth, except that, unlike mysticism, it can never reach the goal unless it escapes the gaol of matter."

Yep, those are the One's I was looking for, thanks.

1/03/2010 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"As Bolton says, dualism "enables us to go abroad while staying at home..."

Heh, I like that.

"... All that is 'out there' is at the same time 'in here,'" meaning that science is simultaneously a deepening of the objective and subjective horizons -- so long as one doesn't regard the external world in the naive manner of the simple materialist or bonehead Darwinian. "

Yes, it is "in here", just by virtue of opening our eyes and moving about in the world, it is all imported into here... but until we attentively re-cognize it, actively connect the dots ourselves, we don't 'see' what is in here with us... or if we mistakenly connect the wrong dots, or attempt to draw our own dots and alter the picture by connecting them in, the image ceases to reflect what is true, and we risk being captured by it.

"Bolton agrees that representation "commits us to the idea of a Representer, and this is what is normally identified with the soul." Furthermore -- and this is a key point -- "for the soul, the body and the whole physical world which the body belongs to, appear as content. While the body is essentially something contained, the soul is essentially a container of phenomena." As such, the "complete I" includes "the world-containing and world-representing soul," and "the world, as it appears from one's own unique point of view, is in a real sense a part of one's identity" (emphasis mine). "

Oh... my God that's good!

1/03/2010 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "The image is quite accurate, depicting the holographic transitional space humans occupy by virtue of the innersection of upward and downward spirals."

Thanks for the pic Walt, and I think you're right, it does have the Star of David look to it... interesting.

Great new family photo pic too! I'm riding one of those unavoidable downdrafts at the moment... I've learned to not take them too seriously, staying somewhat detached from mysoph... but those little reminders of the whooshing updrafts of wonder are, well, wonder-full balm for the sOul.

1/03/2010 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

On asymptotes, if memory serves the asymptote is a line which demarcates the absolute boundary of a curve (I don't know that any of the definitions Walt linked expressed it quite that way). The curve, no matter how close it may come to that boundary, will never come into contact with it, nor surpass it.

One could see the asymptote as the Absolute, and the curve as the relative. The curve may be at one point so far away as to apparently bear no relation with the asymptote, while at another point it may be so close as to appear to be unified with it, yet the distance between them is always, in actuality, infinite.

Notable also is the fact that an asymptote may be a curve - that is, another relativity, which would in all probability be bounded by an asymptote as well. Suggesting, for instance, that relationships between relativities may operate in a similar fashion, apart and together but not ever actually one. There is always the space between, which as we know is where the magic takes place.

Kind of like Zeno's paradox of distance, which I've always thought isn't a paradox at all, given that at the atomic level it remains true; nuclei may dance around each other, but without massive coercion they don't actually make contact, and when they do the results tend to be explosive.

Back to the asymptote, how that would look in gyre form I couldn't say; I don't think my brain wants to make that attempt without coffee. Nonetheless, the concept strikes me as both sound and apt as metaphysical metaphor.

***

Re. the new family member, I love the ears & the expression. She looks very sweet.

1/03/2010 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The One is obviously prior to the Many, but the one is ineffable. The Tao that can be spoken of is not the eternal Tao. Dualisms on the other hand are a great excuse for verbiage.

1/03/2010 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Jokey Smurf said...

I will say one positive thing for anony - every time he pipes up, I become more grateful for dynamic duality.

1/03/2010 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Aloysius Miller said...

An interesting link going tangential on this post.

http://www.singularity2050.com/2010/01/the-misandry-bubble.html

1/03/2010 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good God(win)! Is that room wherein your new canine and your son repose, groaning with books, acutally contained within your home?

Along with the round mirrored object and large ornate bed with a sumptuous cover?

Suddenly I feel like a stable-maid that has been tilting with the Earl of Greystoke. I am not in your monetary class.

Suddenly feel the class-gap. I suddenly feel clumsy and stupid.

Nonetheless, I shall try to bear up and troll (throw plates around my head) at this site per my usual custom.

But not today. Today I will sulk.

1/03/2010 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The Tao that van be spoken of can be spoken of.

1/03/2010 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Lao Tse Luck said...

Must be spoken of.

1/03/2010 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous spanky said...

Anon said,
"I suddenly feel clumsy and stupid."

That's what's known as an epiphany.

1/03/2010 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Bob,

Love the Bat-Ears on that new dog.

1/03/2010 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The bat ears should retract as she acclimates and feels more at home...

1/03/2010 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Petey said "The Tao that van be spoken of can be spoken of."

... and support laughter as well...no matter how dark.

(See the new end of my "Myth of myths" post yesterday)

1/03/2010 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Michael Mc. said "Do we ever get to go on offense? I don't want to go down without a fight. What can we do? Any ideas? "

Of course you can and of course there is something you can do!
#1, don't remain silent when someone spouts off with an insulting joke or comment regarding the Right, Constitution, Tea Party, etc.
#2, learn about the The Constitution, and or inform & teach others about it.
#3, let your legislators know how you feel, local, state and fed level.
#4, find out if any of your state legislators are backing a State sovereignty bill as a challenge to D.C.'s power grab.
#5, argue principles, not programs... the latter is the flatland province of the left, don't try arguing good and bad policy, but what is Right and what is Wrong.
#... well... teenager's demanding I do what I said I'd do... gotta run, you can find posts and links to other options at my site, here (health care) and here (Tea Party)

1/03/2010 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Gorgeous dog. I saw a really big male a while back at a dog show. I grew up around hunting dogs which spent their lives flushing, trailing and retrieving. Recently I acquired my first dog in about 25 years -- a Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier puppy.

1/03/2010 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

As I was writing the previous post my new 10 week old puppy left a present in the kitchen. He's at that 2 steps forward, 1 step back stage of housebreaking. Unlike Bill Maher, at least he's gradually developing a sense that there are boundaries involved when it comes to defecation.

1/03/2010 03:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Yes, but for both dog and Maher, the deed is done for the attention.

1/03/2010 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Another grotesque spiritual fraud on the level of Deepak: Marianne Williamson.

1/03/2010 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Her big thing used to be A Course in Miracles, but I see on Amazon that she's dramatically broadened her, er, market share.

I tell you, Bob, there's money to be made out there....

1/03/2010 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

With her taste for secular statism, it should be called A Course in Manacles.

1/03/2010 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

From the marianna's trench link "What the current administration is giving us is minimal change"

Omg.

Of course when you understand their philosophy, you 'know' what it's goal is... but... that's just... my Wife has a thing she used to ask the kids "Are you actually hungry, or just "Head" hungry?"... knowing the ins and outs of their philosophy is just "Head" knowing what they're about.

For some reason the above quote brought on one of those moments where I didn't just "Head" know, but really knew what they are after... one of those times when it hits you, just how far gone the 'true' leftist can be... anti-American doesn't cut it... anti-human just begins to....

I'm not feeling very hungry at the moment.

1/03/2010 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger C W Seper said...

"Our devoted anonymous troll cannot help getting his jollies by throwing around the plate in his head."

"bonehead Darwinian"

Out of curiosity, if these were the words of someone claiming to be a psychologist, someone who is supposed to know what proper behavior for an adult is, and he were called to be an expert witness in court, and you were the opposing attorney, and you had gone through every internet posting you could find by this guy looking for all the degrading statements he had made to, or about, other people, what questions could you bring to a judge and jury's mind about the ability for this man to be any kind of real authority on psychology or human behavior in general?

It may have been Michael Gurian who first mentioned your blog to me. Like you, he's what Chesterton coined as a Mystagogue--someone who preaches neither orthodoxy nor the boldness of heterodoxy. What you disperse is the cold, murky waste of cryptodoxy. You send your audience down the rabbit hole only to find more holes. And the myriad of quotes like those above that are found scattered throughout your musings bear witness to your festering stagnancy. I will leave you and your son to enjoy the murky waters.

And you still don't know the differnece between liberal and conservative thought.

1/03/2010 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

sweeper said "You send your audience down the rabbit hole..."


Ehhh... what's up doc?

1/03/2010 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Northern Bandit,
Congratulations on the puppy!!! What's his name? If you want any puppy tips, just let me know. I only mention this since it's been a while since you've had one.

Mrs. G

1/03/2010 09:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Brady said...

Not that Bob needs any defense from any one of us, but if C W Seper had been around here longer before making such a statement, he'd know that Bob has openly acknowledged that he is coming to certain spiritual knowledge and truth, namely Christianity, and working it through for himself inside out, rather that outside in. He just happens to share it publicly.

For those of us following the journey, and who may also espouse orthodox faiths, he's actually right on the money most of the time, too. More so than say, I don't know, saying God must take up mass even though God is pure spirit?

1/03/2010 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

CW:

Now see here. Festeringly stagnant cryptodox murky mystogogues have feelings too.

1/03/2010 09:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Bonehead Darwinian said...

C Dubs,

Had you given Bob the respect of reading through a short history of his blog posts you'd have seen that Bonehead Darwinian is a reference to an actual person.
You'll have to stop over to my blog sometime. Boneheaddarwinian,blogspot.cdu.state.gov.net_%*///nov.

w.v. whoses
Whoses he referring to now?

1/03/2010 11:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Denise Bithos said...

And you really need to do something with that mugshot.
Uhh mehbe a wash and comb and a collared shirt?
The tough guy thing doesn't work well with such a pudgy face.
Drop by and we'll talk.

w.v. pusnes

Yup.

1/03/2010 11:34:00 PM  
Anonymous C W Seper said...

Come out of the rabbithole, stop by my Blogspot profile and blog to hear some real wit and wizdumb.
"You've got to make contact with the alien leader. How will you tell when the conversation is finished?
When she lights up a cigarette, smiles at the sunrise, and says, "Well done Earth boy!"

You ladies can just call me Earthboy.
Hmmmm, I'll admit it's been a bit slow lately.

1/03/2010 11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael Gurian said...

I have no earthly clue who this man is.

1/03/2010 11:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"saying God must take up mass even though God is pure spirit?"

You must inform the rest of the world of your discovery. Most of us are under the impression that the only thing that can be made of nothing is nothing.

1/04/2010 08:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well CW:

Any reader of Bob eventually wonders why he's such a mean SOB. It has come up before.

How can a psychologist and a spiritual teacher be like that?

The meaness does seem to discredit Bob somewhat. His closest syncophants are also nasty buggers. I've broached this time and again for years; Bob likes it that way.

There is a spiritual teachintg tradition called "Rude Boy" utilized in the East, and Bob is reminiscent of them; they insult, allow rancour, etc; however this approach has been criticized because the Rude Boy teachers are invariably lechers. I don't think (I hope not) Bob swings that way.

But, yes, CW, you are not the only one to notice this effect.

1/04/2010 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Most of us are under the impression that the only thing that can be made of nothing is nothing."

How much does your soul weigh? Do tell.

1/04/2010 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said "Any reader of Bob eventually wonders why he's such a mean SOB"

I just can't tell you how devastating it always feels when the leftist resorts to it's big intellectual guns and fires the dreaded "You're all just a bunch of big meanies!"... shudder... gasp... I can't tell you how that always compels me to reevaluate my philosophical positions... wow... it's getting so hard to breath...
must...
stop...
laughing....

1/04/2010 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How much does your soul weigh? Do tell."

How can something be made of nothingness? Do tell. The whole science world will be in your debt.

Nothing is nothing and only nothing. Anything that is something must have mass. Explain how it cannot.

1/04/2010 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said "Nothing is nothing and only nothing. Anything that is something must have mass."

I look forward to your description of the mass of sound waves.

1/04/2010 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger C W Seper said...

I would appreciate Bob acting like a Christian for once in his life and removing posts under my name (and Gurian's) which obviously aren't by me. But since he probably made them I won't hold my breath.

....
And sound waves are nothing but a series of particles, all of which have both weight and magnitude.

1/04/2010 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I would be happy to remove comments you didn't make, but you'll have to let me know which ones they are.

1/04/2010 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger C W Seper said...

That would be the one that doesn't have my pic beside it.

1/04/2010 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Retriever said...

Beautiful dog. Enjoy.

1/05/2010 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger C W Seper said...

What a great job you did _not_ clearing out the ficticious post. Not exactly a man of your word, are you?

1/07/2010 09:54:00 AM  

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