The Almighty B'ob, Master of Trolls
One other trivial item I want to mention. The other day I read a review of Christopher Hitchens' new memoir, in which it mentioned that he writes 1,000 words a day. That got me to wondering. How many words does Bob write? I checked a few of my posts, and they all came in at over 1,000 words. Being that I have written some 1500 posts, that means well over a million words.
And now you know why the arkive will never be organized, and why a second book is probably impossible. Unless I can find a way to cap this underwater gusher, but I have no idea how to do that. First I need Dupree to tell me whose ass to kick.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program. If we're going to seriously or even jocularly employ the Ø <-- (•) --> O schematic, the first thing we need to recognize is that (•) --> O is impossible and even unthinkable in the absence of the reverse flow of (•) <-- O, or grace. In fact, to think otherwise is one of those intrinsic heresies we've been gabbing about. And when I say "intrinsic," I mean that it is an error not just for a theology, but theology as such.
To put it another way, to the extent that one imagines that one can successfully approach God unaided and on one's own, this represents the most rank form of cosmic chutzpah and spiritual grandiosity, because it is really just a roundabout way of saying that you are God -- which, in a certain sense, you are (as is everything else, so it qualifies as a truism).
But this hardly means that the converse is true, that God is you. To paraphrase something Schuon said, before you can declare "I AM THAT," you had better realize the extent to which DUDE, NO WAY AM I THAT! Communion is only possible in separation, just as ignorance is a prerequisite of knowledge. Spiritually speaking, the peace, quiet, and openness of (o) and (---) are prior to (n). Or, first faith, then knowledge, faith being a kind of preconceptual foreknowledge.
The left and right sides of my schematic are literally different universes, which is why to be born again from above only changes everything.
Speaking of which, would it not be accurate to say that those readers who fundamentally mis- and disunderstand what I'm saying have not been so reborn, and that they are therefore trying to understand O through Ø -- that the left side doesn't know what the right side is doing? If this is the case, it would certainly explain the intrinsic stupidity of their questions and observations, would it not?
(And as always, I mean this literally, not as an insult. If you are being cosmically stupid, it is an act of mercy for someone to point it out to you. You needn't get sore about it. No one knows who you are. We're just goofing on you for the purposes of higher insultainment. Whack!)
Imagine, for example, a devoted reader who obsessively pores over each and every post, and still cannot penetrate the hull and reach the kernel. He says -- oh, I don't know, "but Bob, that's illogical!" What's really going on here? What if this person isn't only a malevolent, parochial, joyless, and ill-tempered troll, but is honestly confused. What to do? How to help him?
Well, first of all, is it not obvious that Bob cannot help such a person, since Bob may be qualified to be a nursemaid or au pair for a short time but certainly not your cosmic midwife? In a manner of speaking, of course. In other words, exactly who vested in me this power to awaken others from their spiritual slumber? I have never represented myself as some kind of "guru" or "spiritual master," and never will. All I know for certain is that some people say they benefit from these public verticalisthenic exercises in self-help. And that some say they don't benefit. But why the latter keep coming back is a bit puzzling.
For those who do benefit from my improvisational cogitations, I think we would find that, to a person, it is because they have already been -- however you wish to coonceptualize it -- "born again from above," so that their principial orientation is to O, not Ø (and certainly not to me, God forbid!). So for a premetanoiacal troll to ask me for answers I can never provide is a priori evidence of a problem I can't help them with, since -- for the benefit of morons and imbeciles, not regular readers -- I am not O. Rather, for the Raccoon, vertical re-orientation and grace are everything. We are not deus-it-oursophers.
I've mentioned this before, but I'm thinking of when a Christian student came to Schuon for guidance. He said words to the effect of, "fine. But just remember: Christ is your Master. So in response to that flurry of asinine questions and comments yesterday, I suppose my first question to them would be, "who is your Master?" The answer to that question should automatically provide answers to the others.
It's a little startling to me how Pieper's and Zizioulas' books are lining up on this discussion. I keep going back and forth between one and the other, and it's as if the two are conversing in my head. I find it fascinating that one of our trolls persistently mischaracterizes our position as one of certitude and finality, when precisely the opposite is true. Only the atheist has that kind of bovine certitude. Again, for the person in (•) --> O, we are always on the way, never at our final deustination.
In this regard, Pieper has a fascinating discussion about the delicate balance required of the already but not yet, and the various vices and sins that result from over- or underemphasizing one side or the other. In other words, the "already" implies a kind of certitude, while the "not yet" implies imperfection, progress, doubt, "seeing through a glass darkly," etc.
He begins by defining the nature of virtue, which is "the enhancement of the human person in a way befitting his nature." Virtue involves "the most a man can be," but again, it is always more of an orientation than an accomplishment. It is "the steadfastness of man's orientation toward the realization of his nature, that is, toward good." I cannot imagine a clearer description of (•) --> O.
But again, as alluded to above, (•) --> O is impossible, precisely. Rather, "theological virtue is an ennobling of man's nature that entirely surpasses what he 'can be' of himself" (emphasis mine). It is "the steadfast orientation toward a fulfillment and a beatitude that are not 'owed' to natural man," a transnatural "potentiality for being" that is "grounded in a real, grace-filled participation in the divine nature..."
Although Pieper is, of course, speaking in a Christian context, it is difficult to imagine a better description of the (•) <-- O that must complement (•) --> O if we are to get anywhere, vertically speaking. (Alternatively, one could simply say, no ↓, no ↑.) And memo to trolls: stop trying to make me your ↓, and get a Master -- and a clue. Then perhaps you'll understand what's going on here.
That's 1150 words. To be continued tomorrow....
This is important enough to embed. It describes what happens when a nation loses contact with O: