Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Give Us This Day Our Daily Slack, As We Cut Some Slack to Others

Reviewing where we left off: "there are different levels 'within' God. It is not just God and World, although this can be a useful shorthand for people so long as they don't abuse the concept. But in reality, there is a vertical scale, with the Good at the top. In between the top and bottom is the murky world inhabited by the maninfestation of human beings -- a world that is deliberately made murkier by the sizable class of humans in whose interest it is to work under cover of darkness."

Probably critical to point out that this class of people doesn't just include the disorganized irreligiosity of the tenured and the organized anti-religion of the left, but much of organized and disorganized religion as well.

Oddly, denominations that tend to be looked upon as more authoritarian -- e.g., the Catholic Church -- actually both posit and mimic the cosmic hierarchy in structure. Love or hate the idea, but there is a Pope at the head because there is God at the top, but with lots of degrees in between.

The very opposite of this pattern is found in the radical split of Islam, where there is God and world, period. And Mohammed is his messenger, full stop. The existence of certain exceptional Sufis proves that this needn't be the case, but until that becomes the norm, we're going to have problems. Please note how the culture and the political structure follow the metaphysic of the religion.

Another idea occurred to me, which is that some Christians make a distinction between the economic and ontological Trinity, which might be a useful way to conceptualize and think about the Within and Without of God, or the Being/Beyond Being divide.

The economic Trinity of the without "refers to the acts of the triune God with respect to the creation, history, salvation, etc.," while the ontological Trinity of the within "speaks of the interior life of the Trinity... without reference to God's relationship with creation."

Now that I think about it, this is probably the reason why the cosmos has a within at all. The exterior of the cosmos isn't as much of a mystery. Rather, it's the presence of an interior that freaks one out. But without an interior, there could be no exterior, certainly not one that could ever be known or freaked out about. The point is that the exterior is posterior and dependent upon the interior, for the converse could never be true.

Sure, this makes no sense to scientistic metaphysics, but scientism makes no sense to reality. Either way, "from the viewpoint of metaphysical intellection, the world has far less obviousness and intelligibility about it than the Transcendent Unseen" (Schuon). The interior is our true home; the exterior is a kind of exile, familiar and yet alien.

To say interior is to say subject and subjectivity. You will have noticed that human beings are inhabited by multiple subjectivities, both horizontally (i.e., mind parasites) and vertically (i.e., the ego/self or •/¶ distinction). In reality, we have only one subjectivity, of course, but it is refracted through the prismhouse of manifestation, similar to how God "becomes what he is not" (in a manner of speaking) by manifesting himself.

As it pertains to God, Schuon notes that we are "in the presence of two divine Subjectivities, the one belonging to the Absolute and the other already determined by Relativity..." And here is the key point: "while being intrinsically identical, they apply extrinsically at different levels, whence the possible appearance of a contradiction" (emphasis mine).

This can even take on the extreme form of a rebellion against God, for the world of relativity is necessarily a world of contrasts, mixtures, imperfections, and complementarities. In the end, it seems that all possibilities must be exhausted, even the most absurd (hence the truism that there is no idea so stupid that it isn't taught in some university).

Reader Verdiales anticipated this line of thought, supplying another passage by Schuon to the effect that, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, we must remember (literally re-member, vertically speaking) that Creation is ultimately "made of goodness," which is to say "the existential unfolding of the Divine Qualities, hence too of all the goods that we know and can conceive, around us and within us."

Verdiales adds his own helpful wise crack, noting that "the basic idea in life/relativity/contingency is to hang out on a Raft of the unfolding Good as much as possible. Helping others aboard is good, too."

Precisely. This is to align our will with the Divine will ("on earth as it is in Heaven") and to arrest our fall into the "necessary but impermissible" shadows of mayaplicity ("deliver us from evil").

Speaking of prayer, this leads to questions of its purpose and efficacy, and the extent to which God directly intervenes in the herebelow to counter contingency, excess, willfulness, and just plain gravity.

This is getting a bit ahead of ourselves, but I think Robert Bolton -- I forget in which book at the moment -- shows how alignment with the Divine will gradually exhausts the karma of one's past misdeeds, which allows the Divine energies (↓) to operate more directly in one's life.

And yes, as Bolton demonstrates with numerous passages, there are plenty of references to karma in both the Old and New Testaments, which you might say is nothing but cause and effect on the interior plane, prolonged into the horizontal.

These karmic seeds operate along different timelines, so that even after one is vertically reborn, this doesn't mean that bad things will stop happening all at once. Rather, some of the old seeds will still come to fruition in their season. And of course, no amount of personal divinization will remove every weed from your garden and transform earth into heaven.

Rather, we live in an orthoparadoxical world which, "taken as a whole is good because it manifests God," but "involves a partial and contingent aspect of badness because, not being God while existing nonetheless, it sets itself against God [the left] or tends to be the equal of God [the tenured]" (Schuon).

So give us this day our daily vertical sustenance to continue the journey, and please go easy on our karmic debts, as we cut some slack to others.

10 Comments:

Blogger Warren said...

>> there are plenty of references to karma in both the Old and New Testaments

Oh, yeah. Even before I was a Christian, I used to tell people that the clearest, most beautiful statement of the doctrine of karma I'd ever read was in Luke's Gospel (can't cite chapter and verse, sorry). Usually I just got stared at when I said things like this...

8/10/2010 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

“In the end, it seems that all possibilities must be exhausted, even the most absurd (hence the truism that there is no idea so stupid that it isn't taught in some university...”

..or "for sale" in some gallery.

8/10/2010 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or President of some country...

8/10/2010 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

True dat.

8/10/2010 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

This is unrelated to your excellent post, but I have to mention that I saw the poster for the movie "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" on a bus stop yesterday and it reminded me of a young Gagdad. He even has the Rickenbacker bass in hand.

I don't know much about the movie, but the synopsis says "Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in order to win her heart."

I wonder if the exes represent 7 deadly sins. Hmmm, maybe this is related.

8/10/2010 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I just saw the poster. Although he has the Rick, he looks as if he's playing lead guitar. I don't recall seeing anyone play bass like that, all hunched over. Most rock bassists don't play that high up on the neck, unless they are John Entwhistle. And usually the bass player is trying to provide more structural "stability" than the raw emotionality conveyed in the poster. But these are topics for Music Saturday....

8/10/2010 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

I have the impression that contemporary Christians tend to not understand just how vast is the distance "up" to God, or more precisely, to the center of God. (Obviously God is everywhere, but I'm not talking about physical distance.)

I'm not really sure what to think about this. If people see the distance as unimaginably far, God tends to just fade from view entirely. On the other hand, if God becomes just some guy, like a nice grandfather you can call anytime to rattle off your wish list and rant about your trivial problems, God too becomes trivial.

In either case, we lose the shock and awe and "OMG I better work on my salvolution right away" effect, which I believe is often what sets true religion apart from mere pneumatainment.

I don't know about the distances within God. I may return to that eventually, but the voice in my head is mainly occupied with the distances within the human soul, more exactly within my human soul. Most notably the distance between where I am and my highest aspiration. The latter has kind of sprinted away from me over the past couple years or so.

I heartily support your conclusion and headline though, for that very reason.

wv:anchorma

8/11/2010 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

I am tenured. Very tenured. Make alot of money.

I'm not tenured. I'm quite sure that unless you've written best-sellers repeatedly that I have on many occasions made in a day what you make in a year (liquidity events in successful startup software firms tend to outstrip even Harvard's pay scale by orders of magnitude).

Have lots of friends. Plenty strong coalition. Those opposed screwed we are so strong. Quake. Tremble.

Have many, many more friends in Christ (in the billions). Also have many wealthy and powerful Christian acquaintances who are beginning to take note of the likes of you and your pipsqueak confederacy of the damned. The difference is, we don't need to threaten you. Just love you, which isn't easy.

8/11/2010 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

pneumatainment

Magnus hits the nail on the head, again. We need more fear and trembling. And Love, more real Love.

8/11/2010 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Verdiales adds his own helpful wise crack, noting that "the basic idea in life/relativity/contingency is to hang out on a Raft of the unfolding Good as much as possible. Helping others aboard is good, too."

Precisely. This is to align our will with the Divine will ("on earth as it is in Heaven") and to arrest our fall into the "necessary but impermissible" shadows of mayaplicity ("deliver us from evil").

Great post!
To paraphrase a common (well, at least to me) movie phrase:

The pearl is in the (de)liver. (or "river", which also works).

From that classic flick, Under The Rainbow (why it wasn't nominated for an oscar is beyond me).

8/11/2010 01:12:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home