Atheism: There's Nothing To It!
That's you in the middle (•), right between Nothing (Ø) below and the Absolute (O) above. But existence is never static, therefore you are always moving in one direction or the other, even if you're not trying. (One thinks of the three gunas of Vedic metaphysics, which convey the idea that human beings are always rising, falling, or expanding with the cosmic winds; it is also interesting to note that these correlate with creation, destruction, and preservation -- i.e., the trinity of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu, respectively.)
Now, as we were saying yesterday, the Raccoon lives in the Light of the already but not yet. In contrast, the existentialist, the village atheist, the materialist, the secular leftist, the troll -- all try to live and navigate their lives in that beam of darkness we call Ø.
And please note, this is not some kind of insult or jab, but an objective account of their own acknowledged metaphysic. Any variety of materialism obviously reduces to nothing, unless you're just too stupid, frightened, or dishonest to draw out the ultimate implications of your first principle.
For a Raccoon, being is dependent upon O. Therefore, all reality is infused with the light and truth of O -- not to mention the beauty which is its penumbra.
Furthermore -- and we'll get more into this later -- just as truth is the light of O, I think we can all agree that love is its "warmth." But where there's heat there's light (and vice versa). Not for nothing does Genesis characterize carnal love as knowledge. Oops! He said a dirty world! But not really. Only if you forget about O. Indeed, you might even say that pornography is the sexuality of Ø.
Unless you are severely retarded and completely stuck in the now, your life is either oriented to O or Ø. To be oriented toward the former means to live in faith and hope, while to be oriented to the latter means to live in concrete. By definition it means that life is hopeless, and that there is no reason whatsoever to have "faith." You already know your future and final end, which is death and nothing more.
But since you know the future, the future infuses the now, which is why you have that damned hellhound on your trail. Everything you do and think is just a distraction from the reality of Ø, and you know it. You are constantly receiving "visitations" from your hopeless future, from the black angel of Death, which is why you have created your Death Culture (in other words your frantic denial of Death always contains traces of Death, precisely.)
I hope this isn't going too slow, but I can only proceed at the rhythm of O.
Everything in the cosmos -- with the exception of the human being -- simply "is what it is," and nothing more. But a human being always lives in the "not yet." Only a human being is aware of time, and therefore stands outside or above it (while still being in it, of course). Thus, as Pieper explains, this "not yet" is a janus-faced thingy which "includes both a negative and a positive element: the absence of fulfillment [Ø] and the orientation toward fulfillment [O]."
Pieper further explains that the former orientation results in a closer "proximity to nothingness that is the very nature of created things."
In other words, the Raccoon is quite aware of Ø, which is a necessary condition of existence, of a creation separate from the Creator. This is important to appreciate, because while horizontal man does not recognize O, the Raccoon actually acknowledges the "reality" (so to speak, i.e., the relative reality) of the materialist's god, Ø.
To put it another way, you could say that Ø is simply the ultimate destination of man's fallenness. Zizioulas explains this well, noting that the state of fallen existence involves "the rupture between Being and Communion," or between O and ʘ, and therefore resulting in (•) and even worse.
Let me explain in more detail, or put some flesh on those bony pneumaticons. Zizioulas notes that "the fall of man -- and for that matter, sin -- is not to be understood as bringing about something new," since "there is no creative power in evil."
Rather, this fall -- and it really is a "fall," from verticality to horizontality -- should be understood as "revealing and actualizing the limitations and potential dangers inherent in creaturehood, if creation is left to itself." This is because if man denies O, he makes himself "the ultimate point of reference in existence," which is to say, he will "become like God," authorized to determine for himself what is good and what is evil. In merging with Ø, he is the god of all nothingness, or a king in hell.
And that's how you end up at MSNBC.
Now any form of materialism -- I hope this isn't too obvious -- necessarily makes Ø the ultimate frame of reference, but this ends -- and must end -- in fragmentation, the impossibility of truth, and hatred of the Other (who also rightfully claims to be God, the bastard!). Why is this? Because "the fall consists in the refusal to make being dependent on communion, in a rupture between truth and communion" (Zizioulas).
In order to understand why this must be so, you must see that Truth is prior to Being. If Being is prior to Truth -- as existentialists believe -- then the simple fact of your (•) becomes the ultimate substance of truth. In other words, your so-called truth actually emanates from Ø. And you don't "commune" with this truth so much as sink into it and dissolve, nothing to Nothing. You are just one fragmented object among an infinite number of others. Frankly, you're a leftist, but we won't get into that. I just want to make sure Stevenonymous is paying obsessive attention.
But if the essence of existence is communion -- and therefore Love -- then your union with truth and reality, O, is prior to your alienation, or fall, from it.
Which is again where faith and hope -- and, of course, love -- come in, which are nothing more than orientation toward reality, or O.