On Practicing Your Scales of Being
I think the great lesson of Groundhog Day is not that there is a magical way to prevent yourself from living the same day over and over. Rather, the idea is to imbue the day with transcendent meaning, perhaps in the way that a melody confers meaning "from above" on the notes below. After all, there are only twelve notes in the chromatic scale, but an infinite number of melodies that can be created out of them.
And although two melodies can employ the identical notes, one of them can be deep while the other is trite and shallow (just as two scientific theories can rely upon the identical facts to arrive at very different explanations). As we were saying the other day, it's all a matter of soul, which is the dimension and measure of depth in the cosmos. No soul, no depth, irrespective of the discipline.
This is why, by the way, a blues giant -- say, Howlin' Wolf -- can achieve great depth despite the structural simplicity of the music, while a virtuoso can be an artistic mediocrity despite all the training and complexity. Simple is not necessarily simplistic, or every garage band would sound like Creedence Clearwater Revival.
I remember a comment by George Martin, the Beatles' great producer. Someone asked him if he could have written any of the Beatles' tunes. Despite his indispensable contribution to the actualization of their musical vision,
"the answer is definitely no: for one basic reason. I didn't have their simple approach to music.... I think that if Paul, for instance, had learned music 'properly' -- not just the piano, but correct notation for writing and reading music -- it might well have inhibited him.... Once you start being taught things, your mind is channelled in a particular way. Paul didn't have that channelling, so he had freedom, and he could think of things that I would have considered outrageous. I could admire them, but my musical training would have prevented me from thinking of them myself."
Repetition, of course, is the mother of pedagogy, but this is especially true in realms transcending the senses and the (small r) reason (i.e., those pertaining to the "eye of spirit" discussed in yesterday's post). The reason for this is obvious. There is an ascending cosmic force and a descending one. In the metaphysics of Vedanta these are referred to as the gunas of sattva and tamas respectively, but I just call them (↑) and (↓) in order to sheer them of the unnecessary wooly mythological accretions and to sheepishly trancelight them into one's own tradition.
The point is that the descending tendency -- at least for most people, and especially for some -- must be actively countered. Which is why I engage in these verticalisthenic gymgnostics first thing in the morning, in order to sound the tone for the day. The day -- and the secular world in general -- inevitably draws one's consciousness down and out, so most of us need a way to gather consciousness in and up.
And as I've also mentioned before, persistent practice of your Orobic exercises will eventually reach a tipping point, at which one transitions from the terrestrial to the celestial attractor. At that point, it is no longer such a struggle to shun the downward pull of the (so-called) "world" and its terminal moraine of urgent nonsense. (Not to be confused with our slackrament of the Beer O'clock tippling point.)
Schuon discusses the idea of repetition in a useful manner. That is, despite his detailed exposition of the universal Sophia, it "is quite evidently inexhaustible and has no natural limits." Furthermore, "as it is impossible to exhaust all that lends itself to being expressed [think of the notes/melody analogy above], and as repetition in metaphysical matters cannot be a mistake -- it being better to be too clear than not to be clear enough," it is always possible to express new "illustrations and applications" of metacosmic principles that are not themselves subject to change.
So, do I repeat myself? It never feels like it when I'm in the middle of it, because it always feels like a discovery, or a jam session in O.
At any rate, the next two chapters almost require no commentary, as their titles should be sufficient to provoke intellection: One is called Bricks without Mortar, the other Arch without Keystone.
What is the mortar and who is the keystone of reality, Grasshopper?!
Hint: start by reverse imagineering the world!
Now, regarding our evolving I-magination of the cosmos, Jaki has an excellent chapter on the transition from the Newtonian to the quantum-relativistic world of the twentieth century, and once again, it is only Judeo-Christian metaphysics that made it possible. The great physicist Max Planck, for example, was driven by an unshakeable belief in "the objective existence of a rational, wholly harmonious cosmos in which everything was united through a single, ultimate law," and the "unswerving commitment to the notion of an objective, absolute truth embodied in the physical universe" (emphasis mine).
So, how Lo can He go? How about all the way inside-out and upside down, a vidy long descent indeed to the farthest reaches of sorrow and ignorance! --The Wholly Coonifesto