Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On the Brothelhood of Man: Our Mater Who Art in Matter

For those of you keeping score, it's the top of the XIth canto with two men on first terrace, trying to make it home. At bat are the prideful, so it's not looking good. Frankly, they don't have a prayer.

Speaking of which, Dante begins Canto XI with a paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer, which, in a sense, can be more potent than the original, since the latter has become rather saturated with use -- indeed, just as the word "God."

But in order to grow in spirit, we must stay one step ahead of the dictionary, which inevitably domesticates the wild godhead. We must try to avoid this descent of Dogma into mere dogma.

Think of it: with the Lord's Prayer, the Creator himself is making it easy on us by teaching us not only how to pray, but what to pray for. I remember learning it back in Sunday school when I was five or so.

But in actuality, for me it was just a meaningless string of words, like the Pledge of Allegiance. By the time I would have been capable of comprehending the deeper meaning, it was already too saturated -- far too familiar to have any shock value whatsoever.

But if the Ultimate Principle calling you into his office and teaching you how to pray isn't shocking, then nothing is. You are a jaded soul.

Which reminds me of an aphorism: Every Christian has been directly responsible for the hardening of some unbeliever’s heart.

Fortunately, there is a kind of cosmic compensatory agency at work, through which we encounter fools, such as yesterday's troll, who serve to sharpen our faith as a result of seeing the intellectual consequences of their childish doctrines. Been there. Dumb brat.

Indeed, these foolish ideas are their own punishment. Remember, when the atheist talks about the "origin" of anything, whether of the cosmos, of life, or of the human person, he is simply boasting about the arbitrary limit of his metaphysic.

So anyway, Dante's paraphrasing of the Lord's Prayer has the effect of de-saturating it for us. For example, he begins with Our Father, you who dwell within the Heavens, but are not circumscribed by them.

In this single phrase, Dante is telling us that the Absolute is transcendent (within the Heavens) and therefore immanent (not circumscribed by them). The One is simultaneously closer to us than our own being, and yet beyond our imagining.

Another way of saying it is that the One is simultaneously absolute and infinite -- which finds its analogue in the herebelow in a diversity of ways, for example, the wave (infinite) / particle (absolute) complementarity of quantum physics.

Or, on a different plane, Father (Absolute, the Law, Justice) / Mother (Infinite, Compassion, Mercy). Although these are horizontally equal, the Absolute must be vertically prior -- as indeed Adam is "prior" to Eve.

To conflate the Absolute and Mother always leads to a kind of hell on earth; indeed, its horizontal prolongation is the contemporary ovary tower liberalism through which we are swallowed up by the All-Merciful nanny-state.

Its sociological prolongation is the destruction of the tripartite family, and its displacement by the pre-civilizational (and biological) dyad of mother-child.

The exclusion of father leads straight to barbarism, as we have seen with the feminized left's successful undermining of the family. For the left, a family is any two people in love with the state.

Hallowed be thy name. Dante says praised be Your name and Your omnipotence, but this still strikes me as too saturated. For what is the purpose of praising God's name? It's not as if we need to bolster his flagging self-esteem.

In Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict has a meditation on the Lord's Prayer, which explicates and illuminates its various dimensions. On the one hand, we need to recognize in the prayer "the thoughts Jesus wished to pass on to us." In other words, there is an exterior component to it.

But there is also -- and more principially, since the inner could never arise from the outer -- an interior dimension of the Prayer, which "reaches down into the depths far beyond the words." It originates from and memorializes the eternal dialogue between the first and second Persons of the Trinity.

Thus, it is an intersubjective prayer between what I would symbolize as O → (↓↑) ← (¶). The prayer takes place in the spiraling space between subjects.

Back to "our Father" for a moment. Clearly, to say "our Father" is to say "your child," so here again we are talking about a relation between subjects. And of course, its horizontal prolongation is the true brotherhood of man, rooted in the Absolute.

We can only be brothers if we share the same father. Otherwise we are all bastards in the universal brothelhood of man.

However, this again does not imply any leftist egalitarianism. To the contrary: My brothers? Yes. My equals? No. Because there are older and younger brothers.

I'm going to have to cut this off in midstream. I need to get to work.

"Yeah, it sucks, but at least we're all equal."

17 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

My brothers? Yes. My equals? No. Because there are older and younger brothers.

I was just thinking something along those very lines. Specifically, that one's age has in truth only a passing relationship to the number of times one has completed a circuit around the sun, and far more to do with one's Orbit around the Son...

4/13/2011 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous dloye said...

"Howard be thy name" is so saturated that it is meaningless. But I've been trying to unwind Tomberg's meditations on the ten commandments, and he has a lot to say about the name of our Father. There seems to be a lot more to that naming thing than I'd ever suspected.

WV: uncest.. I couldn't make that up if I wanted to!

4/13/2011 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

But there is also -- and more principially, since the inner could never arise from the outer -- an interior dimension of the Prayer, which "reaches down into the depths far beyond the words."

With that in mind, for myself I've found that making a conscious effort to de-saturate the meaning behind each line helps tremendously in reaching toward those depths. What I mean is, the whole thing, line by line, is like a series of koans. Considered slowly, in time with the breath, the veneer of saturated words melts away and the hidden depths start to come to light.

For instance, to Dloye's point, what is the name? YHVH, I AM, ⊙... pretty soon the answer is the breath that moves through the body, and with each successive line the prayer becomes the self. Ideally, anyway ;)

It takes a lot longer to go through it that way than by reeling the words off in rote repetition, but it seems to me far more fruitful.

4/13/2011 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Been there. Dumb brat.

I once had to go to anger management class, which really ticked me off. But I did get one thing out of it. I asked what I was supposed to do when people close to me would not listen to reason. The counselor said, in effect, "Stop talking."

4/13/2011 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

For what is the purpose of praising God's name? It's not as if we need to bolster his flagging self-esteem.

Praise is not flattery -- though one would not know that from most church praise-and-worship segments. I agree that Dante's phrase doesn't help much and it misses the point of the line as Jesus spoke it. Hallowed be Thy Name is more like Your Name is too utterly potent and holy for us to be tossing it around.

Praising God is meant, I think, to be a resetting of our perspective. I sometimes think of it as a cleansing of my tongue and voice after all the crap that pours out of my mouth most of the time. When Isaiah saw God in the temple, he lamented that he was a man of "unclean lips" dwelling among a people of unclean lips. In response one of the burning ones touched the prophet's lips with a hot coal from the altar.

4/13/2011 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a post yesterday by one "William" that was a brief treatise in defense of the practice of abortion. I found it to be well written, reasonable and even persuasive.

It was also an utter lie and dripping with depravity.

The true objection to abortion or to homosexual "marriage" or to coerced charity or to the relentless effort to collectivize humanity is religious.

The purpose of mortal life is to undergo and endure the tests and trials that every one of us experiences while learning faith and virtue even in the face of tireless evil. The goal is God - to return to His presence. The playing field is made in such a way that fallen man cannot do this on his own but must put complete reliance in Jesus Christ - the embodiment of Grace and Truth - as savior in order to succeed. But fallen man must learn truth, practice virtue and endure patiently all to the best of his ability. The reward at the end is to inherit all that the Father hath. This is unimaginable peace, bliss, knowledge and - yes - power.

To achieve this requires a mortal body. What better way to attempt to thwart this than to destroy these in the womb? Not to mention all the tempations to sin that come with the practice of such a great evil. Witness the bitter contention that has arisen in the wake of the creation of this "right". Witness the misery and guilt and moral rot flowing from the practice of this "right". The adversary is delighted.

Every evil imaginable has its apologists. Educated, erudite and earnest men have defended slavery, sexual depravity, eugenics and the genocide that necessarily follows in its wake, war, murder, torture -the list is nearly endless. These apologists appear to be sane, reasonable and persuasive. Some of them even claim to be religious. They "believe in themselves" and are wholly sincere. Chesterton pointed out that madmen believe in themselves - so much so that their belief which, he pointed out, in their minds is based upon faultless logic and reason, has become a substitute for reality.

Madness is usually attributed to those who see and hear things that no one else can see or hear. When such people become an obvious hazard to others or to themselves we remove them from the society for safety's sake.

This blog, if nothing else, points out how madness takes more and subtler forms than punching at phantoms or believing oneself to be Napoleon. The rampant wickedness and evil we see paraded today is the outer dramatization of madness and delusion. God is reality. He is the foundation and source of all. Today we see people proudly boasting of their disdain for Him, for His Son, for His commandments and teachings, for every aspect of goodness and virtue that stem from these. This blog, day after day, explains with rather amazing clarity, the insanity that grips so many and is leading them toward disaster.

I am often impressed by the speech and writing of the "Williams" of this world. I am impressed with the seemingly near infinite capacity of obviously educated and intelligent people to build such elaborate webs of deceit and lunacy and make these appear "reasonable". I think one of the reasons these sort don't hang around here for long is that Bob and many of those who post here expose their mendacity and subject it to the ridicule it so richly deserves.

The men who pull the triggers or turn on the gas or wield the whips and pincers are rarely the men who build the foundation of lies that give "legitimacy" to their actions. Guilty as the killers and torturers are their guilt pales to insignificance in comparison to that of those who labor so long and hard to make their actions "right".

4/13/2011 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The only difference between William and myself at a younger age is that I was more intelligent and articulate than he is in my defense of the indefensible. But that only means that I was all the more in need of a grace from outside myself.

4/13/2011 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

The men who pull the triggers or turn on the gas or wield the whips and pincers are rarely the men who build the foundation of lies that give "legitimacy" to their actions.

Indeed; that's why Dante reserved the lower circles of hell not for the physically violent, but rather for those purveyors of the lie and twisters of the truth who lead others away from what is good, true and beautiful.

Still, as Bob noted, so long as there is life there is hope, no matter how far nor how fast we run from grace. I may yank our trolls' chains, but I pray for them, too. After all, there must be some reason they wind up here, however briefly they stay, and however odious they may be.

4/13/2011 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

There, but for the grace...

4/13/2011 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous EMTA said...

Vis a vis abortion as it relates to the comment of anonymous.

I like the way you write, anon, and the fact that you recognize the need to make all spirit progress in the body and not after. That is key.

It takes two to create an atheist; a person and God.

The person for not being open to God, and God for not being very assertive.

God is a very nebulous and tentative presence for us; it cannot be denied.

Therefore when you call the atheist a dumb brat you are insulting God himself, who knows why said person is an atheist, when he or she will stop being an atheist, and all other pertinent data.

God is involved with the atheist and as an associate/brother she should not be discouted. That would be a mistake.

4/13/2011 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

OT, an essay by the Don is pdf'd here.

4/13/2011 05:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The true objection to abortion or to homosexual "marriage" or to coerced charity or to the relentless effort to collectivize humanity is religious.

Religion is, by definition, an attempt to collectivize humanity. And if you admit that your objections to these are essentially religious, you also admit that the government, which is constrained by the 1st amendment from "respecting an establishment of religion", cannot outlaw these practices, at least, not for your reasons.

Thanks for playing!

4/13/2011 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Indeed, these foolish ideas are their own punishment. Remember, when the atheist talks about the "origin" of anything, whether of the cosmos, of life, or of the human person, he is simply boasting about the arbitrary limit of his metaphysic. "

In willian's case, his limit is brain waves. That's the official "Hey? Human? Yeah? Me Too!" moment.

Where'd they come from? Why?

I guess someone brained 'em.

4/13/2011 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Mushroom said "Hallowed be Thy Name is more like Your Name is too utterly potent and holy for us to be tossing it around.

Praising God is meant, I think, to be a resetting of our perspective. I sometimes think of it as a cleansing of my tongue and voice after all the crap that pours out of my mouth most of the time."

Strikes me that 'Hallowed be Thy Name' prompts the question... to who? It seems less that it's doing the Almighty a favor, than by recognizing that his name is Hallowed, it's doing, that something is being done, to, and through, you.

Definitely a line to linger over.

4/13/2011 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

The sermon is a provocative event. And so prayer must be quite important for Him to take the time and sit in the audience and show us how it is done. It is pure Love. And the words not a parable. Quite literal teaching.
When He says, "Our Father" it sounds as if He is sitting beside us. As my brother and yours.
What kind of King is this? What kind of God?

4/14/2011 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger nightfly said...

The true objection to abortion or to homosexual "marriage" or to coerced charity or to the relentless effort to collectivize humanity is religious.

Anon replies: "Religion is, by definition, an attempt to collectivize humanity. And if you admit that your objections to these are essentially religious, you also admit that the government, which is constrained by the 1st amendment from "respecting an establishment of religion", cannot outlaw these practices, at least, not for your reasons.

Thanks for playing!"

Very neat, Anon... and quite incorrect, because of one false premise: "Religion is, by definition, an attempt to collectivize humanity." It is by definition the exact opposite - "for he who loses his life for My sake shall find it." Religion is the establishment of the soul's individuality on unshakeable ground, that of the One who created it unique and separate from all others.

That leaves said objections based on religion substantially unrefuted - at least, by you, since you did not bother to make the least attempt at it, preferring a sleight-of-mind trick of false logic.

4/14/2011 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Religion" is by definition a social institution; a collective mechanism for people to realize a variety of spiritual and other needs. If an individual can relate to the absolute all on his own, well, good for him, but most of us feel a need to band together in groups with a brand name belief system (Catholicism, Hinduism, whatever), which generally go by the name "religion".

Larger point, there is no such thing as "collectivizing" humanity; people are a social species by nature and will always be forming collectivities of one sort or another.

4/14/2011 09:03:00 PM  

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