Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Getting Intimate with Reality (While Tossing Bombs in the Graveyard)

We were discussing the cosmic revolution marked by the emergence of life, which occurred on a Tuesday afternoon some 3.85 billion years ago.

We are all the benefactors of this revolation and revelution -- yes, even trolls, because the undead can only maintain themselves by parasitizing the living whom they envy. They are quite literally "reactionary," analogous to the manner in which a frog (pardon the French) will react to the presence of a live insect. Otherwise they do not see it. Likewise trolls who can see that we create and know stuff, but can't imagine how.

One cannot just say "life" and leave it at that. Truly -- and we really don't mean to rag on scientists, because we adore science qua science -- one must be some kind of neanderf*ck to not appreciate the endless implications of a living cosmos.

Imagine going into your backyard and seeing an entirely new mode of being, completely unknown to any existing categories of science. You'd be pretty excited, wouldn't you?

Back when I was a carefree bachelor like reader William, living in my own little Port Hueneme paradise, I once found something like that growing in the moist carpeting near the bathroom where the toilet had overflowed, and it was real enough to result in losing my security deposit.

Well, something similar happened -- and happens -- with the emergence of Life, even though we do all lose our security deposit in the end. But then we move on to a new apartment and a new mode of being.

Everyone knows that in order to begin to understand Man, one must study hard sciences such as neurology, along with relatively flaccid ones such as psychology, and then hybrid forms such as anthropology.

But most of all, one must study the humanities, because only these really reveal what man is all about and what he can do, irrespective of the science. After all, science may conclude, for example, that free will is impossible. Whatever. Bees also can't fly. Placebos can't work. Waves can't be particles. Sanctity is impossible. God can't play dice. What's your point, Einsten?

Obviously we need to define humans by what they can do and what they reveal -- or, to put it another way, we cannot intimately embrace a definition that absurdly renders the actual impossible. Same with life. Otherwise one is in the position of the liberal economist or global warming fanatic who won't acknowledge that something works in reality unless it works in his theory.

So, just as we have the humanities to complement our infrahuman arsenal for understanding man, we need a.... what? biolities? to complement biology. This has, of course, been attempted in the past by philosophers such as Bergson and Hans Jonas, and even Whitehead to a certain extent, but I am thinking of something different.

It is also explicated in certain eastern philosophies such as hatha yoga, with its focus on prana, but as pleasant as that can be, it also isn't exactly what we have in mind.

The latter gets a little closer to, and more intimate with, our meaning, as it has some convergence with the idea that when God creates man, he specifically breathes into him the the breath of life, breath in this context being synonymous with spirit (i.e., the Creator's ex-piration is our in-spiration; or, his ex-wholation is our in-wholation, like a kind of inverse image). This gift is our birthday presence, and it is the one gift that never stops giving unless we give up receiving and leave ourselves for dead.

For those of you playing along at home, see p. 248: We are Ones again back to oursoph before the beginning, before old nobodaddy committed wholly matterimany and exhaled himself into a world of sorrow and ignorance. Now you know what that nonsense was all about.

As mentioned yesterday, with the emergence of Life, we have the undeniable existence of a cosmic interior. Looked at one way -- the important way, to be exact -- all subsequent evolution will represent but the "expansion" and colonization of this subjective space; or let us just say space, since the latter is merely a projection of the divine-human sensorium; there is no space in the absence of the Center surrounded by it (or which orthoparadoxically contains it), which is ultimately how One puts the ʘ into cʘsmos. But let's not get behind of ourselves.

But what is subjectivity? Is it only parasitic upon, and reducible to, objectivity? If so, then you are a zombie, and you needn't read any further. Except you do need to, don't you? Where is this going? What comes next? How can I find some trivial bobjection to fight back against and prove to all and sundry that I am indeed dead? As if we didn't know!

According to Balthasar, "Subjectivity is intimacy." Does this mean that we live in an "intimate" cosmos? Yes, precisely. And if you don't believe me, just ask yourself, with whom I will assume you are on intimate terms.

"This intimacy cannot be forcibly invaded, nor can it be communicated as such. Whoever has being-for-himself has, of course, the capacity to express himself outwardly, but he does not have the capacity to get rid of his essential solitude." Thus, -- again, in an orthoparadoxical manner -- loneliness and intimacy, solitude and communion, go together like William and his cat, Pickles.

This leads to the notion that there is a reciprocity built into subjectivity, without which the subject would be completely "empty" or bereft. You know, it is not good that man should be allone. If he is, he can tend to get a bit cranky and eccentric. We all remember what Dupree was like before Glodean.

Balthasar goes on to say that any "community of truth" must be built upon "the foundation of this basic resignation," i.e., that one is not, and cannot be, complete. To believe so is, to a large extent, what we call narcissism, but it is obvious that the narcissist's completeness is only in fantasy, as he requires other subjects around him to confirm his wholeness and perfection. Thus his simultaneous need of, and contempt for, the devalued people who reflect back to him his fraudulent "completeness." See Hollywood for details.

All of this is also addressed in psychoanalytic developmental theory. I am especially thinking of D.W. Winnicott, who wrote of how oneness, is both anterior and posterior to twoness, as in: oneness with mother, followed by the discovery of twoness with (always with!) her, followed by oneness again later in life -- hopefully not with mother, symbolic or otherwise. But if so, at least I'll get a cut.

Now, in the twoness-in-oneness represented by love, there is a kind of mutual "gift giving" built into the very fabric of being. To jump ahead a bit, I believe this is why the free market, properly understood, can be a kind of Festival of Love, for the entrepreneur can only succeed in the proper sense by knowing all about you and by satisfying your needs.

For example, I know this big amazon who understands me in a quite intimate way, as she is always giving me little tips on books I might like to read or CDs I might want to hear. And if she is wrong, I can exchange it for something else without even hurting her feelings.

In a way, if we follow these implications to the end, we might even say that the ultimate communion is also the ultimate abandonment, son.

We begin, for example, with the experience of raw sensation, unmediated even by mind as we understand the term. As Balthasar describes it, "The subject's solitude begins already at the level of sensation, where the ineliminability of its solitude also becomes immediately evident. But the same solitude remains even in the realm of mind, despite its heightened possibilities of communication" (emphasis mine).

In other words, "the walls erected in the sensory sphere for the benefit and welfare of subjects also rise up into the sphere of intellect. Any attempt to demolish them, hence, to disregard the mystery of the other subject, violates the mystery of existence and the ultimate nature of truth."

That, my dear friend, is a passage worth pondering. For it bears upon the necessary existence of certain boundaries that cannot be transgressed or demonolished without destroying man (because the subject has been destroyed).

Note what happens, for example, when an admittedly infrahuman scientism reduces man to an object. While this may appear to be a cold and dispassionate stance, the implications of it are as endless as its inverse.

For with a single sci-entific de-cision (scindere, cut, cleave), one has at once disinfected the world of of such nasty viruses as love, mutuality, intimacy, communion, reciprocity, and more.

Only because there exists an infinite gap between subjects can there be an eternal love between them, i.e., existential distinction without ontological separation. And baby makes trinity (whether lateral or fatherative).

33 Comments:

Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This is pretty weird. The boy just woke up and told me he had a dream about us last night, in which we were tossing a bomb into the graveyard, trying to wake up the zombies.

How did he know?

7/20/2011 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just adjusted the title of the post accordingly.

7/20/2011 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, that is weird.

Goes to something that crossed my mind the other day, that even if one person could directly share an experience with another, in a completely intersubjective way, there would still be an experiential barrier between them - of interpretation, response, personal associations, etc. - that would render the experience unique to each person, and thus there would still be a barrier of mystery and unknowing between them.

For instance, you speak of zombies and he dreams them. maybe the source material is the same, but your experiences of them (obviously) are entirely different and you-nique.

7/20/2011 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

And non-transferable, I might add.

7/20/2011 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And he was actually dreaming while I was writing, because I heard him counting down (with the bomb) in his sleep! Obviously, I had no idea why he was counting until he told me.

7/20/2011 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

That is seriously eerie. I had something similar happen with DH once; he was napping on the couch, and I was watching (with the screen facing away and the sound off, so as not to wake him) a ballet video clip at Neo's website. When he woke up, he said, "I was just having the weirdest dream about ballerinas. Where did that come from?!" Think I had to pick my jaw up off the floor before replying.

***

But speaking of our resident zombie, it occurred to me at some point when I should have been sleeping last night that he bears a strong rezomblance to Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius.

7/20/2011 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Our ferrous cranus troll seriously imagines that those of us who do not think it is right for the state to compel people to pay for art they don't want are somehow "anti-art." But it is precisely because we do love art that we do not want the state supporting the types of art that comport with its interests. It is for the same reason we oppose a state religion or federal department of education (not to mention the fact that it is unconstitutional anyway).

7/20/2011 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"The boy just woke up and told me he had a dream about us last night, in which we were tossing a bomb into the graveyard, trying to wake up the zombies."

I think that's a parable about the Bible.

7/20/2011 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

As a New-man once said,
"Oh, the humanities!"

7/20/2011 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Which went over like a led zeppelin.

7/20/2011 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Thanks, Julie. What does a zombie live for when all the brains are gone?

Regarding, "public" funding of the arts, I've noticed that an usually high percentage of leftists are getting a government check and would like to keep it coming.

7/20/2011 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dateline 0: Father and Son Toss Bomb into Graveyard


Rick, I do believe you're right about that.

7/20/2011 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Mushroom:

Yes, there is always vulgar greed behind the "principle," but self-deception makes the left go 'round.

7/20/2011 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I shouldn't say "always," because sometimes its just plain old superiority and condescension.

7/20/2011 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Mushroom - someone left a sublime bit of wisdom on the Super Genius comments thread:

"Wile E. will live as long as the perils of ego do. That's why he's immortal."

Also, yes, I'd have to agree about Rick's interpretation. O! indeed...

7/20/2011 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Re, "art for Obama's sake" ... gag.

7/20/2011 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It was the same with FDR when the whole thing started. Lots of cash to starving socialist artists.

7/20/2011 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I guess that makes a certain amount of sense - if you can't create something great or even good, you may as well create something for the government...

7/20/2011 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ironically, this is where an autocrat with good taste is far preferable to democracy, e.g., Bach, Michelangelo, and so many others.

7/20/2011 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"But most of all, one must study the humanities, because only these really reveal what man is all about and what he can do, irrespective of the science."

Oh... what I wouldn't give for a widespread conception of the Humanities worthy of Humanity.

Alas, I must go fish.

7/20/2011 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Compel people to pay for "art they don't want?" How many red state woodchucks would choose to fund ballet and opera companies, orchestras, art museums? Yea, you're right Bob, it's art they don't want.

BTW... congrats on getting through one post without a flareup of your pathological Islamophobia. You'd love it in my community, we have become the laughing stock of educated America when it comes to fearing Muslims. Your wingnuttery is alive and well here.

7/20/2011 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Suuuper... Geeenius... I like how that sounds...

7/20/2011 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

If being a student of Schuon makes one "Islamo-phobic," then the world needs a lot more of it. Especially in Islamic countries, where he is banned.

7/20/2011 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

They are quite literally "reactionary," analogous to the manner in which a frog (pardon the French) will react to the presence of a live insect. Otherwise they do not see it. Likewise trolls who can see that we create and know stuff, but can't imagine how."

Skully sez: "That frog doesn't have a leg to stand on."

7/20/2011 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

Julie says:

"That is seriously eerie. I had something similar happen with DH once; he was napping on the couch, and I was watching (with the screen facing away and the sound off, so as not to wake him) a ballet video clip at Neo's website. When he woke up, he said, "I was just having the weirdest dream about ballerinas. Where did that come from?!" Think I had to pick my jaw up off the floor before replying."

Because when you are dreaming, you are somehow interfacing with the flow of experience around you.

I was trying to play with lucid dreaming to see if I could get some minor precognition (so to speak) up and running.

I've managed to trigger three (minor) precog events and no lucid dreaming. I was aiming for the lucid dreaming, not the precognition. Figures.

Although one dream was about a stock, so I could have made some money off of it, I suppose.

Go me.

Although my current problem in dreamland is that I keep waking up in the middle of the night yelling or screaming in anger (and fully consious of what I'm yelling).

The family does not enjoy this experience, being that it wakes the entire house up.

7/20/2011 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

willian... thanks for the good news on the NEA cuts and pushback against the islambies... I do appreciate it.

wv:feses
Wv! Don't be such a monkey!

7/20/2011 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger jwm said...

islamophobic?

Yeah- some folks are far too sophisticated to believe in anything as superstitious and primitive as holy war.

Other less enlightened souls are very busy waging that war against us.

No need to worry, though.

JWM

7/20/2011 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, good grief - your CA tax dollars at work...

7/20/2011 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...

"... the walls erected in the sensory sphere for the benefit and welfare of subjects also rise up into the sphere of intellect. Any attempt to demolish them, hence, to disregard the mystery of the other subject, violates the mystery of existence and the ultimate nature of truth."

...and the world of Psychology, in its hubris, continues to attempt to dissect the human mind to its bare mechanical - and predictable - components. But just like dissecting a frog, when you are finished, you do not have a frog.

This is where Dating and Psychology do NOT mix. heh.

Very Nice, Bob. Most entertaining.

PS: I think your Ferrous Cranus reference fits nicely to your pet Troll. :)

7/21/2011 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

Oh wake up William.
The "prophet's" religion is to be spread by the sword. "Convert or die."
Until they melt their swords into plowshares and adjust to the evolution of civilization I will call for death of Islam.

Summary of my belief:
Like the fruit of the tree, I fall away.
Taking the best the tree has to offer along with the seed.

7/21/2011 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

I could be mistaken though.
After all. I'm not a narcissist :)

7/21/2011 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Here's a deal, and it's the same one we offered to the Germans, Japanese, and Soviet Union: we'll give up the phobia if you give up the mass murder.

7/21/2011 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Heck, if that happened there'd be an entire nerd subculture devoted to Muslim cosplay, and along with steampunk and Lolita girls at all the conventions we'd be seeing dervishes and genies.

7/21/2011 07:38:00 AM  

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