Monday, October 11, 2010

Drunk on Truth and Lit Up From Within

I try to read a little Schuon every day. Why? Because there is simply no other author who in-spires and speaks to me the way he does: straight through the peripheral bobscurities and directly to the center. My center, anyway. Obviously I don't agree with everything he says. But that's no different than not liking every performance of a musical artist I otherwise love.

He speaks with such clarity and force about matters that are unclear to -- or at least expressed unclearly by -- others. For example, he states that any cosmos -- which is to say, any ordered totality -- "reflects the homogeneity of the principial order," but that the manifest universe "is woven of necessity and liberty, of mathematical rigor and musical play, of geometry and poetry."

Come to think of it, most theologians tend to give you one or the other, but any discussion -- or "performance" -- of (or in) O clearly requires both: words and music, melody and harmony, spirit and letter, rhythm and surprise.

Revelation is both "systemic" and beyond any system. Somehow one needs to balance both. He writes that a particular religious doctrine is like "a crystal that captures the divine Light, refracting it in accordance with a language that is at once particular and universal."

How precise! The Light is one thing, the form another. The Light descends and vivifies the doctrinal form from within, a within that can only be seen with the eyes of faith. Faith is like the light that causes a reflector on the back of a bicycle to become luminous in the dark.

As we have said before, religious literalists at both extremes -- atheists on one side, "fundamentalists" on the other -- cannot see this. But "in reality, a theoretical expression can only be an 'allusive indication,' the implications of which are endless" (Schuon).

It's quite the opposite of the linearity of science -- which is not to criticize science, which has every right and duty to be so. But it has overstepped its rightful bounds when it suggests that religion should reduce itself to the cognitive modalities of science.

And this is hardly to say that science is objective and true theology isn't. Rather, as Schuon says, objectivity is not only the true essence of intelligence, but its moral imperative: to see and describe something "as it is" is to be objective, whatever the domain.

Conversely, to see something "as it isn't," is a kind of lying, or bearing of false witness. But how easy to see a rock or tree as opposed to seeing God!

Note also that God is by definition "in the rock," even though we can still speak of rocks as if they have some sort of independent existence. But if we forget this -- if we separate intelligence from its ground and source -- it devolves to mere cleverness, which is in turn conformed to pride, power, or some other passion.

In short, intelligence detached from its principle and sufficient reason is no longer objective at all. Which is why scientism, atheism, and materialism are all pure subjectivity. Only the mystic or sage is truly objective, since only God is necessary. All else is contingent in his Light.

Another subtle point: as we have discussed in the past, language cannot possibly be what bonehead Darwinians and other materialists imagine it to be. Not only does it usher us into a world that is above and beyond the call of matter, but it is an emanation from that world. Truly, the medium is the message and the message is Truth!

According to Schuon, the prototype of language as such is "universal Existence," so that we are ontologically "enclosed," so to speak, in both.

Wish all you like, but you cannot wish yourself out of Being, short of suicide. Nor can you wish yourself out of language and remain human, short of cluelesside.

Thus, to undermine the foundations of language -- as do deconstructionists and other postmodernists -- is to attack the basis and possibility of human being itself. In other words, to injure language is to damage being (not Being, of course, which is impervious to the petty insults of the tenured).

Think about that: we are enclosed in truth by virtue of being enclosed in language, which is enclosed in Being. This is precisely in conformity with the existence of a logoistic principle that is prior to manifestaion and "with God" from before the beginning. Every thing is made of it, and not a thing can be made -- or thought -- without it. Man is condemned both to be and to know, but these are just two sides of the same coin: He exists -- or I AM -- therefore we think.

Everything short of God is woven of essence and contingency. Only God is pure essence with no accident. Thus, although we have an essence, or essential being, it is necessarily veiled and obscured by layers of contingency, and not just mind parasites.

Rather, there is the time into which we are born (since we are not eternal), there is culture, there is our particular language, there is our family of origin, and there are genetic quirks. Man is a "fragmentary totality" (•••) on the way to totality. To paraphrase someone, our task and duty is to heal the inevitable wounds made by history.

Thus, it is our earthly duty to realize our essence, which is to simultaneously realize our origin, our destiny, and our vocation. It is to realize the soul, which is to realize God, the one being literally un-thinkable without the other. To know the soul is to know that God exists, and vice versa.

It is not just love, truth, and beauty that connect us to our source, but pleasure too. I don't think it is accurate to say that animals experience pleasure in the way human beings do. There is analogy, of course, but not identity. For example, no animal knows the pure joy of learning, or the tingle of aesthetic arrest, or the unalloyed bliss of coming into contact with truth.

For Schuon, any normal pleasure "is a kind of reverberation and therefore anticipation -- quite imperfect, no doubt -- of a celestial joy..." This is the ananda of pure being. In Vedanta, the oneness of God, or ultimate reality, breaks into the trinity of sat-chit-ananda, or being-consciousness-bliss. Or, one could say existence-truth-joy. Or Father-Son-and the Love that flows between. It's all Good.

Gotta run.

20 Comments:

Blogger Kurt said...

A beautiful post, today, Bob. I read 'Survey of Metaphysics' this summer - my first Schuon - and it was bracing! Felt like a fresh, strong breeze blowing through my mind. It was so tightly packed with concepts that required extensive 'chewing on' that I almost had to take it one line at a time to capture even a part of what he was saying.
One of my favorites: “It is indispensable to know that there are truths inherent in the human spirit that are as if buried in the ‘depths of the heart’…” (Schuon) And when you find one of these truths, an echo of it sounds from your own heart - it clicks! I found a lot of that with Schuon, and a lot here on your blog, too. Thanks for helping me find the 'echoes', amigo!

Kurt

10/11/2010 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"...as Schuon says, objectivity is not only the true essence of intelligence,

but its moral imperative: to see and describe something "as it is" is to be

objective, whatever the domain."

Excellently put!

"Conversely, to see something "as it isn't," is a kind of lying, or bearing of

false witness. But how easy to see a rock or tree as opposed to seeing God! "

To do otherwise, no matter how 'clearly and distinctly' you imagine it, would be

to put Descartes before duh whores.

(sorry, couldn't resist)

10/11/2010 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Van, are you posting from one of your mobile devices?

Because it formats like space-age poetry.

wv:loadmen

10/11/2010 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Good question, Magnus - I assumed he did it that way on purpose. Intentional or not, it works :)

10/11/2010 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/11/2010 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

The quoted sections in Van's comment are delivered in cuplets. And the line breaks mid-sentence are particularly an airy joy. Suddenly makes me laugh!

wv: sarsebat
Doesn't mean anything, just funny.

10/11/2010 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

It is funny how just today I was thinking of this, that if my spirit was to have appeared at another time in history, the soul fashioned would have been different from the "me" of today.

Of course, even during a lifetime, the soul changes greatly. Even with the same genes and a related language, I am a much different person from who I was 30 years ago. At the time, I would not have predicted that.

How much harder would it be to imagine who I would be generations hence, if this spirit was to appear in matter again and fashion another soul in that meeting. Nobody would know, unless perhaps that soul were to come across some of my words and feel a vague familiarity, an inexplicable assent. But then again we can feel that even with the living.

People who put their trust in reincarnation are vastly underestimating the role of contingency, methinks.

10/11/2010 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Toots Mondello called it "coontingency" -- those coincidences or chance meetings that result in recoonecting with the Brotherhood.

10/11/2010 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

People who put their trust in reincarnation are vastly underestimating the role of contingency, methinks.

Yes, I think you're right about that. I've never ruled out reincarnation as being something possible, but it strikes me as incredibly foolish to count on it, since we'll probably never know from one life to the next anyway. The only one we can do anything about is this one, right now. Which is why when a coontingency comes up, it's important to make the most of it.

10/11/2010 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Magnus said "...it formats like space-age poetry."

Hey, what with Robin not posting Haiku anymore, someone had to do something!

(yeah... some 'word wrap' features add more to the message than intended. Sheesh.)

10/11/2010 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

(Van, you're supposed to say you planned it that way! ;)

10/11/2010 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

I thought you were in an e.e. cummings phase or trying to find ways to sound extra "deep"... Just kidding.

10/11/2010 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

“Think about that: we are enclosed in truth by virtue of being enclosed in language, which is enclosed in Being. This is precisely in conformity with the existence of a logoistic principle that is prior to manifestaion and "with God" from before the beginning.”

And if that’s not enough to make you drunk, or at least giddy, you haven’t drunk in enough of the keywords triple entendre’s.

I gno imbibing from them makes me clearly drunk and lit up from within every time.

10/11/2010 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "Van, you're supposed to say you planned it that way!"

I wish I had, it did turn out pretty cool.

Anna said "I thought you were in an e.e. cummings phase or trying to find ways to sound extra "deep"... "

;-)

... or at least muddy....

10/11/2010 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Word Warp 10!

10/11/2010 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

This story almost brought me to tears (senior US physicist tells truth about massive global warming fraud upon retiring).

For one thing it proves once and for all that the "hard sciences" in places like America and Europe are every bit as corrupt and compromised by progressives as are the liberal arts.

Hard to feel much Christian forgiveness for these leftist demons today.

10/11/2010 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

To forgive people does not mean to condone what they do. If we did, there would have been no need to forgive them in the first place.

Sometimes you have to do unto others what you would have others do unto you if you went crazy. But that requires an intense and experienced honesty.

10/11/2010 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

As an addendum to what Magnus just said, one of the translations of the forgiveness line in the Our Father is
"Forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors."

In other words, it is a way of saying that nobody owes you anything - no eye for eye nor tooth for tooth. No retribution for wrongs done. It's not saying you weren't wronged, but that you will let it go.

In the case of the AGW pushers, I do wish they would let it go, but I can't say they owe me anything, except perhaps the same courtesy I would extend them of minding their own business...

10/11/2010 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "... I do wish they would let it go, but I can't say they owe me anything, except perhaps the same courtesy I would extend them of minding their own business..."

Not contradicting what you or Magnus said, but... they're proregressives - there'll be no courtesy extended or guilt admitted, and given the slightest opportunity, they will use every bit of force available to them - see the "'no pressure' red button, exploding child video” - to force all of the controls over your life which they see as being necessary (not necessary to avert AGW, you understand, but necessary for their being able to control every action you, your child, and your little dog Toto too, have even the possibility of making.)

Let them go in your mind & spirit, sure, but out here in the physical world, best keep your guns (or the political equivelent thereof) loaded and at the ready.

10/11/2010 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, of course. Just because they don't owe me anything doesn't mean they're not gonna give me something anyway - for my own good, of course. Or Gaia's, at least. Nor does it mean I won't try to thwart them. It just means when all is said and done I'm not going to be wishing nor praying for anything but that they'll see the Truth. Which, to be honest, is about the worst thing I can imagine wishing for most people anyway...

10/11/2010 03:32:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home