Monday, April 04, 2011

Incorruptible Adolescent Rebellion: O, Why Must I be a Teenager in Love?

I guess we're still technically in the foothills, making our way toward the seven terraces of Mount Purgatory.

We'll be spending a few more cantos here in ante-purgatory, which houses two main types whose metanoia was either too little or too late. These folks did eventually see the Light and vowed to change their ways, but with no time to put the plan into action; therefore, the purification must take place postmortem.

[W]e all sinned until until our final hour; / then light from Heaven granted understanding, / so that, repenting and forgiving, we / came forth from life at peace with God, and he / instilled in us the longing to see him.

But it's a painful longing. In fact, a couple of spooks are surprised to see us here, because 1) we can move -- specifically, up -- and 2) we cast a shadow from the Light that strikes us. But Virgil cautions us to pay no attention to these local gossips and to move on.

Just like life. Don't look back after placing your hand to the plow, and let the dead bury the tenured.

If someone is impressed with your vertical slackrobatics, don't let it go to your head, because there is no reason to be puffed up by the recognition of an inferior. Are you proud that your dog loves you? We treat an inferior with healthy respect and genuine affection. We do not look up to them. Rather, we are humbled by them.

What meaning have these whisperings for you? / Come, follow me, and let these people talk. / Stand firmly as a tower whose pinnacle / Sways not for all the blowing of the wind.

This is indeed a key point, discussed on pp. 220 and 236 of the bʘʘk. It falls under the heading of "faith," i.e., silence (---) and openness (o), which are achieved for the purpose of ascending; we must liberate ourselves from the "alien influences" of the world, and "break free of the chains, the limitations, and the restrictions imposed by environment and education" (Steinsaltz). We must always remember that what we get into gets into us. What do we get out of religion? A better question is what religion gets out of us.

Another way of putting it is that An intelligent man is one who maintains his intelligence at a temperature independent of his environment’s temperature (Don Colacho's Aphorisms). Since so much of what passes for intelligent discussion is just the steam that emanates from a fresh pile of manure, we should unplug from the crazocracy and seek our heat and light elsewhere.

Thus, there is always a two-front battle going on, one below and one above. The southern one has to do with administering the conquered territory, while the northerly has to do with pushing on toward our highest aspiration, colonizing more space along the way.

There is the kingdom of man, and the Kingdom of God. One way or another, we are trying to colonize the former in the name of the latter. We do not -- as do the tenured -- nocuriously attempt to assimilate the roaring torrent of O into a little crock of (k), but rather, sanctify all (k) in the absolute mystery of O.

Know that the Intellect has less to do with demystification than remystification: Everything that makes man feel that mystery envelops him makes him more intelligent (DC).

Absurd? Quite right! For Man calls “absurd” what escapes his secret pretensions to omnipotence (DC). "Absurdity" is the accusation a little godling makes of the bigOne he doesn't understand -- or only understands.

In the previous post we discussed how the ascent is more difficult at the outset, when we are closer to the world's center of gravity. One reason I never recommend the blog to others is that you had better be pretty sure that you're sick of the world before you begin -- otherwise, you might find yourself in a no-man's land of no-world and no-God as well, or a puerpoutual state of cynical nihilism.

Don Colacho has many profound aphorisms along these lines. I think my favorite is I have seen philosophy gradually fade away between my skepticism and my faith.

Quite contrary to what is believed by indentured atheists, Christianity is not an escape into fantasy, but an inscape from it. It is not religion as previously understood, but the cure for religion. It is no beliefs with the exception of what we are taught by the Holy Spirit.

With the help of our deosynchronous satellight we are cured of a thousand stupidities and turned away from countless nul de slacks: There is no stupid idea which modern man is not capable of believing, as long as he avoids believing in Christ (DC).

But until we have cleared a space for the Great Teaching to occur, we live in a space of pronounced -- and healthy -- skepticism which easily dismantles any worldly philosophy. Indeed, The believer knows how to doubt; the unbeliever does not know how to believe (DC).

Adolescent? Absolutely! For A fulfilled life is one which delivers to the grave, after long years, an adolescent whom life did not corrupt (DC). O, why must I be a teenager in love?! That's why. Because I AM said so. The world doesn't need another adolescent rabelaisian.

My six-year old is already able to stop me in my tracks with various ontological questions -- questions that are vastly superior to any worldly answer I can furnish. I could provide scientific answers, but these merely stop the question. They don't actually answer it, except for the pseudomature adolt who arbitrarily stops asking "why?"

So be about your Father's business, which spirals around Aspiration (↑) Rejection (---) Surrender (o) and waiting for (↓) to bear you updown here.

I know what you mean -- I was once much older too. I'm younger than that now.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Trent said...

Question: What is the theoretical endgame for the cosmos, spiritually?

If I was a tenured Christian professor at a religious institution, would that make me OK?

4/04/2011 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"A fulfilled life is one which delivers to the grave, after long years, an adolescent whom life did not corrupt (DC)"

That is fantastic.

4/04/2011 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

What meaning have these whisperings for you? / Come, follow me, and let these people talk. / Stand firmly as a tower whose pinnacle / Sways not for all the blowing of the wind.

Apropos.

4/04/2011 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

So be about your Father's business, which spirals around Aspiration (↑) Rejection (---) Surrender (o) and waiting for (↓) to bear you updown here.

Funny, I don't remember seeing (---) described as Rejection before. Fitting; I'll have to remember that.

4/04/2011 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Passive rejection, so one doesn't internalize what triggers the rejection.

4/04/2011 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Right - not something to get all we we'd up about.

Speaking of which, here's a good example of how not to react - be sure to read at least the first few comments...

4/04/2011 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"In the previous post we discussed how the ascent is more difficult at the outset, when we are closer to the world's center of gravity. One reason I never recommend the blog to others is that you had better be pretty sure that you're sick of the world before you begin -- otherwise, you might find yourself in a no-man's land of no-world and no-God as well, or a perpoutual state of cynical nihilism."

I was just over at the Anchoress' place watching this video clip Inquiring Nuns: "Are you happy?" and trying to remember what part of Bob's post was brought to mind. I think the above quote from the post is the part.

Anyway, isn't it fascinating to see the man struggle to answer this simple question. No. Scratch that. Struggle to understand the question. I think I'd be delighted to be asked it. The nun looks delighted just to hear it asked. I don't think you need to even be happy at the time you are asked to know what it is or looks like.

4/04/2011 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

>>It (Christianity) is not religion as previously understood, but the cure for religion. It is no beliefs with the exception of what we are taught by the Holy Spirit. <<

"I pray to God to quit me of God." - Meister Eckhart

>>A fulfilled life is one which delivers to the grave, after long years, an adolescent whom life did not corrupt <<

"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18-3

4/04/2011 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Julie, that is really something...

4/04/2011 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

I do think it is nigh unto impossible to retain a child-like perspective from childhood to adulthood and straight through to the shucking off of the mortal coil. If there's a "Fall" in the individual lifetime cycle, it has to come around adolescence, maybe 12-13 years of age. Before this "Fall", there is unrestrained exuberance and un-self-conscious creative spontaneity. Then the kid starts getting self-conscious, aware of how he/she appears before others. The kid clams up, keeps an eye on his cool, starts getting a bit stiff, if not stilted.

In short, the kid starts getting fearful. If there's anything in this life that cripples the spirit and engenders nasty karma, it's fear. (well, that and sex) And I'm pretty well convinced that 99% of all human fear is fear of what others think about us.

Anyway, at this point, the kid is a kid no longer. Innocence lost. As it has to be, I think. There's more glory in the regaining of innocence than in simply retaining childhood innocence, the latter of which is impossible anyway. We are all the lambs that strayed. Just make sure you really do get back to the flock.

Come to think of it, if this micro-Fall is impossible to escape in the individual human life-cycle, then I would suspect that the macro-Fall that all of humanity experienced long ago was likewise impossible to escape, indeed, it was necessary.

4/04/2011 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Ah, I had a lengthy comment here, full of teenage angst about and redemption from the prideful arrogance of self-judgment, the need for the micro-fall, the freedom to love. . . and Blogger voted it off the island before ya'll could ignore it to death.

We've all been spared!

Will, you're only the second person I've heard dare say it out loud: the necessary fall.

I marvel at its truth.

4/04/2011 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Will - that gives new meaning to the story of the Prodigal...

4/04/2011 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Know that the Intellect has less to do with demystification than remystification: Everything that makes man feel that mystery envelops him makes him more intelligent (DC)."

How a simple fact is understood to become part of Truth, is indeed a very great mystery.

4/04/2011 11:26:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

>>the necessary fall<<

I can only speckalate, Joan. But, given that as it is above, so it is below, macro/micro, etc., it does make a certain sense.

Now if the Fall was indeed necessary . . . hmm, there are minds that could easily misinterpret that, dangerously so.

4/04/2011 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>Are you proud that your dog loves you?<<

Well, I'm proud that my cat loved me. Cats being what they are, I had to EARN that love, dammit.

4/04/2011 02:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

My six-year old is already able to stop me in my tracks with various ontological questions -- questions that are vastly superior to any worldly answer I can furnish. I could provide scientific answers, but these merely stop the question. They don't actually answer it, except for the pseudomature adolt who arbitrarily stops asking "why?"

Bob....Your son sounds like mine. I am usually awed and stumped by my six-year old on a daily basis. I wouldn't have it any other way!

I am enjoying the posts, even though I don't post often.

4/04/2011 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger philmon said...

Quite contrary to what is believed by indentured atheists, Christianity is not an escape into fantasy, but an inscape from it. It is not religion as previously understood, but the cure for religion. It is no beliefs with the exception of what we are taught by the Holy Spirit.

Man, I see the truth in this, but it's just a jumping off point. Something I'm going to have to dive in and swim around in and think about.

Food for thought.

4/04/2011 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger philmon said...

@Joan & Will

Will, you're only the second person I've heard dare say it out loud: the necessary fall.

I've stumbled upon this in my mind only in my internal road trips. I haven't spent too much time poking at it, but it is another interesting thought that probably has some truth to it to be mined.

4/04/2011 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew Casey Smallwood said...

Is Dante's chain of being typical of the medieval thought-world? And is it fair to say it began with Boethius?

4/05/2011 04:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Not sure, but I believe the idea of a vertical chain of being is standard equipment with the human mind. Pseudo-Dionysius had an extremely detailed model, and he was contemporary with Boethius....

4/05/2011 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew Casey Smallwood said...

I think you're right, which makes it so curious that the idea is generally considered revolutionary or fanatical in today's mindset. In fact, it's enough to make you think that we in some way share "Mind".

4/06/2011 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew Casey Smallwood said...

I really need to read your whole book.

4/06/2011 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew Casey Smallwood said...

Did Ficino share the idea?

4/06/2011 07:19:00 PM  

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