Thursday, June 16, 2011

Is Man the Problem or the Solution?

The disease or the cure? Or the very disease he pretends to cure? If so, is there an actual cure for man, or is the condition always fatal?

It seems that we are born in critical condition, and that it's all downhill from there. At best, we can manage the human condition with increasing sophistication, but not cure it. I mean, can we ever win the war on greed? Jealousy? Envy? Rage? Sloth?

One thing is certain: before the arrival of man, there were no problems in the cosmos, and therefore no solutions either. For roughly nine or ten billion of its thirteen or fourteen billion years, the cosmos was free of even the shadow of a hint of a problem, since it hadn't yet left mother nature's basement and gotten a Life.

Once matter was emancipated into life four billion years ago, one could say that there were problems -- specifically, the problem of staying alive -- but not really, since I don't think prokaryotes are conscious of being alive. No, I'm certain of it. Rather, they're like some needlessly baroque filigree on the elegant and tasteful laws of physics.

The true cosmic bar mitzvah doesn't occur until the arrival of man -- at least if we adopt a wide enough view, and regard primordial life as the metabolic bridge between nothing and everything. Prior to it: matter + law, or chance + necessity, and that's about it. Subsequent to it: everything that transcends those two, up to and including the Phenomenon of Man.

If we trancelight this into biblical terms, first there is nothing but the formless void, then separation into two. It doesn't matter what two per se; rather, it's twoness as such that counts. Thus, darkness and light, day and night, heaven and earth, man and woman, form and substance, wave and particle, inside and outside, whatever.

The point is that complements will get you everywhere, since they are all founded upon the primordial parting of the Dead Sea, and provide a way out, up, and into the Promised Land, or the Land I AM will show you. By appointment only. Do not disturb occupants. When the buyer is ready, the seller will appear.

Yesterday I wrote a spontaneous note to my future: An irony curtain has descended upon America. What I believe this means is that the above referenced division between light and dark finds roughly half the population on the wrong side of the tracks, without so much as a fig leaf of irony to conceal their futile dreams of control. But has it ever been different? I doubt it.

And while looking up the exact wording from Churchill's speech, we find the following timelessly timely truths:

"The United States stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power. It is a solemn moment for the American democracy. For with this primacy in power is also joined an awe-inspiring accountability to the future."

Accountability to the future. Is this true? To whom or to what is man accountable? As we discussed in yesterday's post, man either has transcendent obligations to the Cosmic Law, or he doesn't. Only if he has this prior obligation is he intrinsically obligated and accountable to the future generations who, from their timeless perspective, already stand in judgment of our actions today.

Now, regarding that principial division of darkness and light, we can see that from Iran to the Palestinian territories, from Harvard to Berkeley, from the White House to the foreclosed house, a vertical curtain has descended across the Continent.

On one side of that line lie the Founders, prophets, saints, heroes and defenders of liberty and virtue. This we call the sphere of Light.

On the other side is what we must call the moronosphere, and everyone there is subject, in one form or another, not only to moronic influences but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from the state-controlled media and its political arm, the DNC. These fifth columns and columnists constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization.

Please note that we are not being Manichean here, any more than it is Manichean to divide humanity into male and female, or to respect the division between man and animal, or to place a line between truth and falsehood.

Manicheanism proper is a gnostic heresy, and while there is some truth in it (as there is in most any enduring heresy), it places a false division between matter and spirit. It is dualistic, as opposed to the complementarity of Christianity, where there can be no such sundering of man's integral psychosomatic unity.

More generally, the creation itself is "good," a fact that is crowned by the appearance of the Godman who fully divinizes both matter and human nature. Yes, we are at war with the "forces of darkness," but these forces have no ultimate reality. Ahriman is always his own worst enemy.

As Ratzinger explains, man's essence "precedes all history and is never lost in history," although it is often stolen, misplaced, or foolishly bartered away.

Man is simultaneously mere "dust of the earth," and yet, in-spired with the Divine breath, i.e., mouth-to-ear resuscurrection. Thus, we embody a complementarity that spans every degree of creation, from the lowdown downdest to the toppermost of the poppermost, and everything in between.

"Human life is untouchable because it is divine property" (ibid.). Which is why we can say to the state: get off my property! (Pre-emptive memo to trolls: yes, I know, but an unborn child is not the mother's property, or we are all someone's property, to be disposed of as they please. Unlike you, we don't make up the rules.)

"Both aspects, the divine dignity of the human race and the oneness of its origin and destiny, are definitively sealed in the figure of the second Adam," who "appears with total clarity." This is the authentic humanism on our side of the cosmic divide. All of the other so-called humanisms, regardless of how seductive, are manifestly false, for they cut themselves off at the roots.

For example, if man is nothing but a random accident enjoined by nature to pointlessly reproduce, he has no dignity and no value at all. He is but a pernicious disease of matter, a compulsively driven weiner with no cure short of extinction or a one week stay in rehab.

Here again, there is truth in this heresy, as man must indeed extinguish himself and be reborn. As a consequence of our freedom, there is always this fork in the road, one way leading to life, the other to death. Way it is. Or I AM, rather.

The stream of Western man bifurcated with modernity, as civilization "passed from an affirmation of the rights of freedom, detached from any objective reference to a common truth, to the destruction of the very foundation of this freedom" (ibid.). This was conspicuously untrue of America's founders, who were spiritually mature enough to anchor our liberty in ontology, not mere existence.

And this was simply the recognition that our rights "belong to man by nature, that the state recognizes them but does not confer them, and that they belong to all human beings as they are human beings and not because of secondary characteristics that others would have the right to determine arbitrarily" (ibid).

But "it is an illusion to think that man is in complete possession of himself, that he enjoys absolute freedom." Rather, because our sacred rights are a gift, they come with an obligation; or let us say a kind of reciprocity, or an open "vertical flow."

Thus, "conscience is the capacity to be open to the call of truth, which is objective, universal, the same for all who can and must seek it. It is not isolation but communion" (ibid., emphasis mine).

This brings us back to our opening question: is man the problem or the solution?

Well, he is both and neither, depending upon how -- or through what -- one looks at it. He is a problem insofar as he severs himself from his nonlocal ground, and supposes himself to be radically free and self-sufficient, which immediately reduces him to a cosmic nothing with no possibility of meaning.

But if the creation is "good" and it is good to be human, then it is human to be good -- or, more specifically, to be the cosmic eros shot into the transcendent realms of truth, beauty, goodness, and the One.

8 Comments:

Blogger vanderleun said...

Disease or cure? Well, as we learn in the sacred book of Saint Stallone, One man is the disease and another the cure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mE2-7a_F_B0

6/16/2011 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Thus, we embody a complementarity that spans every degree of creation, from the lowdown downdest to the toppermost of the poppermost, and everything in between.

Elvis Meets Bardot. Granted, only in Avrech's dream, but it works for me...

6/16/2011 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"Human life is untouchable because it is divine property"

This is a good point. If not, THE point.
Yes. To end the life of a child in the womb is one thing. The child has a soul and a body which constitutes a person. You may decide to end the body but the soul continues. Can we say the soul of the child will be all right (without sin) if the life of its body has been ended? I think so. But what about the soul of the one who decides against the life? It is this person that is saying something to God. Perhaps this is the point, I mean.

I remember reading an Orthodox Christian answering the question "What do we do with the unwanted pregnancy." His said, "Let us have the baby. We will worry about tomorrow tomorrow."

6/16/2011 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

Great post as usual. Man is the problem, God's grace in man is the solution.

6/16/2011 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

...conscience is the capacity to be open to the call of truth, which is objective, universal, the same for all who can and must seek it. It is not isolation but communion.

Speaking of communion, I was struck by the bit, earlier in Intro to Christianity, where Ratzinger discusses the etymology of "symbolum":

"The background of the word's etymology is an ancient usage: two corresponding halves of a ring, a staff, or a tablet were used as tokens of identity for guests, messengers, or partners to a treaty. Possession of the corresponding piece entitled the holder to receive a thing or simply to hospitality. A symbolum is something that points to its complementary other half and thus creates mutual recognition and unity. It is the expression and means of unity."

Which brings one back to this particular symbolum:

"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body."

6/16/2011 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

For some reason this post made me think of Jeremiah: The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. (Jeremiah 18:1-4)

6/16/2011 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Pajak said...

@ Rick "Let us have the baby. We will worry about tomorrow tomorrow.": or, as G.K. Chesterton phrased it back nearly one-hundred years ago, “Let all the babies be born. Then let us drown those we do not like.” – Babies and Distributism, GK’s Weekly, 11/12/32

6/17/2011 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"And this was simply the recognition that our rights "belong to man by nature, that the state recognizes them but does not confer them, and that they belong to all human beings as they are human beings and not because of secondary characteristics that others would have the right to determine arbitrarily" (ibid). "

And everything Right in American govt follows from recognizing that. You can guess what ignoring it produces... complicating matters which have no substance, forces that "... have no ultimate reality"... like Weiner at a roast, their own worst enemy.

6/17/2011 02:10:00 PM  

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