Monday, July 25, 2011

On Having Faith in Reality

One simply cannot comprehend the cosmos without appreciating the orthoparadoxical reality of continuity and discontinuity, which, in a way, is quite similar to the complementarity of wave/particle in quantum physics.

Unfortunately, the shocking nature of this complementarity has been reduced to a bit of a cliche, but it means that at bottom, the cosmos manifests in two mutually exclusive ways, as continuous (wave) and discontinuous (particle).

I do believe that this complementarity is here to stay, irrespective of what physicists may or may not discover in the future. That is to say, it is not physical but metaphysical, and is a vital principle for understanding most everything; and not just in an abstract and theoretical way, but in an existential, phenomenological, and experience-near manner.

To cite one obvious example, man is a social animal, and yet, a unique individual. Not only are these two absolutely inseparable, but there is no possibility of individualism in the absence of a prior ground of social-ism (obviously not in the political sense, which defeats its very purpose by trying to impose an exterior socialism on what can only be interior and spontaneous).

I might add that this complementarity provides a quite natural way to think about the trinitarian nature of the Godhead, in which there is distinction but no separation, which is none other than Love, baby, yeah!

Curiously, mine is the only book of which I am aware (out of 129,864,880 in the entire world) in which the chapters are both continuous and discontinuous, as God intended. But despite my loneliness in the face of these daunting odds, I nevertheless believe that I am in the right. And one man with delusions makes a majority, at least in his dreams.

(Although, come to think of it, if I am not mistaken, the Hebrew Bible has no punctuation, but is one continuous stream of Words.)

So, now you are in a position to understand what Balthasar means when he writes in his Theo-Logic that "Although spirit is something qualitatively new with respect to all natural entities, it is at the very same time the crowning of an ever more unmistakable development in nature itself."

In other words, spirit is both alpha and omega, in that it is simultaneously an "attainment," and yet, the underlying ground, or surrounding tortilla, of the whole existentialada. One might say that, just as in individual development, the cosmos becomes what it already is, which is what we call in the book Cosmotheosis, another word that should have been made up long ago.

Please note as well that theosis (or divinization, or sanctity) of the individual is simultaneously (due to the spatially and temporally holographic nature of the cosmos) the crowning achievement of the cosmos itself, the beyond which of which there is no whicher.

This is directly addressed by Paul, who wrote of how "the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs until now" (Rom 8:22-23), just as we do. Every time the cosmos gives birth to an individual, the individual gives birth to a cosmos, in an ever-ascending spiral. This we call the cosmic gyroscape (sometimes joyrescape), or unabsurcular stairway.

Here again, we must insist that there can be no neutral or fully "objective" truth, since prior to truth is relationship -- for example, the relationship between knower and known. But what is this relationship? Again, it must be love, or so we have heard from the wise.

Now, recall what we were saying the other day about reality, i.e., the Absolute, manifesting as either Truth or Presence; the former is on the plane of knowing, or intellect, while the latter is on the plane of being, which for us is life. Any revelation must partake of both, i.e., knowledge and being -- what we symbolize as (n), to distinguish it from mere (k) -- and it is not difficult to see why.

Obviously, no contact with God -- or O -- is experienced in a neutral manner, shorn of such elements as awe, mystery, wonder -- in a word, presence, or the old mysterium tremendum et fascinans, i.e., (?!), the sacred WTF! For some it is the guffah-HA! experience, which is sometimes funny, other times quite serious, especially when the punchline is oneself and the yoke is on us. But don't worry, it's a light wave for your private particle.

So, "no communication of truth is devoid of mystery, for truth is never so unconcealed that no aspect of the thing is left outside its revelation." Again, truth proceeds from inside --> to outside --> back inside, but never in such a way that it exhausts itself (or us!).

And in communication that is "free," i.e., between two subjects, the truth is limited by "the freedom of the one revealing." Now, truth is not just a kind of "fact" waiting to be discovered, but a testimony, which can only be received in faith, i.e., faith that the revealer is not pulling our leg: "Without this faith, any exchange of truth between free entities is unthinkable."

Moreover, "To exclude testimony and faith from the way in which spirits communicate would be to dislodge their freedom from the center of their intelligence." I symbolize this complementarity as O, on the one end, and (o) at our end, or simply "openness to O."

"Only by welcoming things from the outside and remaining open to them, only by being given over to the service of what is other than itself, can man's spirit lay claim to a being of its own. And only if it has served the world can it hope for the measure of independence due it as spirit" (ibid.).

Testimony requires a witness. Is the witness reliable? Can we trust him? Can we place our faith in him? Shall we Cross-examine him?

This blog is never about mere facts. Rather, there is always an element of testimony. Am I asking for your faith? Yes, but surely not blind faith, rather, only faith in reality and in our ability to comprehend and convey it.

I would never knowingly lie to you, but even so, I would not advise putting faith in me, since I am the faithful one here, faithful to the testimony of the Other. If you have a problem, you really need to take it up with him, not me. For I am just an errant boy zenned by glossary quirks to correct some bull.

(All the Balthasar quotes are taken from Theo-Logic vol. I.)

30 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

"Without this faith, any exchange of of truth between free entities is unthinkable."

And here again, as above, so below. For one of the underpinnings that allowed our civilization to grow is the culture of trust - trust that what is bought and sold is, more or less, what it is purported to be. Obviously, the system is flagrantly abused all the time; nonetheless, think of how willingly we trust ourselves to products produced by other people without a second thought. Most of the time, our faith is well-placed, and everyone benefits as a result.

Of course, economically that trust has been seriously undermined in recent days, and the result is as anyone with half a brain ought to suspect: with no trust, there can be no business, and ultimately no economy. Just crude and envy-based fighting over suddenly unobtainable resources.

7/25/2011 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Bob says:

"Every time the cosmos gives birth to an individual, the individual gives birth to a cosmos, in an ever-ascending spiral. This we call the cosmic gyroscape (sometimes joyrescape), or unabsurcular stairway."

Yep.

Although then you have to get into the exciting issues of the pre-existence of the individual and whether you can create anything without simultaneously creating it's opposite.

7/25/2011 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Importantly, trust and paranoia are on a continuum; the two are inversely related. Fukuyama wrote a book called Trust, which I remember being quite good.

7/25/2011 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Now, truth is not just a kind of "fact" waiting to be discovered, but a testimony, which can only be received in faith, i.e., faith that the revealer is not pulling our leg: "Without this faith, any exchange of of truth between free entities is unthinkable." "

With that in mind, imagine the incredible devastation which Hume caused with the assertion in his "Enquiry into Human Understanding", that we cannot trust our senses, that anything unquantifiable is unquestionably unimportant... his skepticism convinced people to disbelieve their lying eyes and take on unfaith the assertion of his solitary i, that no cause can be known and so no Truth is.

Not only is no exchange of truth possible once you accept his, modenity's view, it isn't even conceivable.

We look around us and wonder where the Good, the Beautiful and the True went... they didn't go anywhere, like the child that thinks the world dissappears when he closes his eyes, we closed ours to it, and then complain that we see less and less of it in our lives.

Argh.

7/25/2011 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"Curiously, mine is the only book of which I am aware (out of 129,864,880 in the entire world) in which the chapters are both continuous and discontinuous.."

That makes two of us (The first book remains written out of order. Because, Way It Is). So I gut the idea from you or the Bible. Either way, one must always complement The Source.

7/25/2011 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"And in communication that is "free," i.e., between two subjects, the truth is limited by "the freedom of the one revealing."

And by how much we might restrain ourselves from seeing... it burnsss....

"Testimony requires a witness. Is the witness reliable? Can we trust him? Can we place our faith in him? Shall we Cross-examine him?"

What use a witness who claims they cannot see? You've gotta wonder about a people throw off the what their own eyes can see, in favor of the say-so of a witness who claims he cannot see.

Only the very intelligent are capable of being so entirely stupid. Unfortunately the less intelligent tend to assume the more intelligent are also wise. And makes them into Professors and the teachers of the teachers of their children.

7/25/2011 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

And indeed. As far as "witness" goes, I've beginning to suspect that one's mission hear on the tarmac is to prove one's case. Before it's too late.

7/25/2011 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Am I asking for your faith? Yes, but surely not blind faith, rather, only faith in reality and in our ability to comprehend and convey it."

(Just wanted to see it again)

7/25/2011 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "For one of the underpinnings that allowed our civilization to grow is the culture of trust - trust that what is bought and sold is, more or less, what it is purported to be."

Yes, honest individuals and trust in them, is a vital component of the free market - it cannot function without them. See the bizarre bazaars of the mid-east to see just how far a civilization can climb up without that.

Or... Victor Davis Hanson for a glimpse at what is coming our way.

7/25/2011 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"By that I mean, I didn’t do a very good job of explaining why this place is titled Beach Head. It’s not something that is so easily put into words; which is sort of the point, the teleological “point” of this project and the “point” or purpose of people in general, myself included. In other words, and as many as it takes, we hope to find out who and what Beach Head is by the time we’re finished. Or die trying. This is everyone’s job. Whether they like it or know it or not. As I offered in the side bar, it is also your mission in the herebelow, to establish your own beachhead. And then populate it. With as many good friends and descendants as you can drag onto your I-land. There you will enjoy banquets and coconut cream pies in the face."

Nicely put Rick.

7/25/2011 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Thanks, Van.

7/25/2011 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

... it is not physical but metaphysical, and is a vital principle for understanding most everything; ...

Somewhat related: As we get older, it harder to see the forest for the trees.

Prompted by some commercial blurb on television the other night, I asked my wife how it is that age has become a disease.

While I would not dare compare myself to a brilliant young person like Julie, comparing my old self to my young self, the only component that has degraded is my near-infinite memory capacity. But I wouldn't trade my improved problem-solving "wisdom" to have it back.


WV has given us a great new word: POOFSWAT, what Bob does to trolls.

7/25/2011 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Warren-G said...

>> For I am just an errant boy zenned by glossary quirks to correct some bull.

For that, you owe me a new keyboard, Colonel....

7/25/2011 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The horror...

7/25/2011 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

My favourite enigmatic novelist and nutty drugged-out aristocrat frenchman is raymond roussel, [inspirational to Duchamp] whose working method consisted of playing with puns/homonyms etc in such a way as to generate the texts of his works...one reason i appreciate Bob's punning so.

Plays-on-words ...argot...L'art gothique...the most serious fun

Michel Foucault: “Things, words, vision and death, the sun and language create a unique form ... Roussel in some way has defined its geometry..."

7/25/2011 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Back in the day, I used to like Robert Anton Wilson -- e.g., Illuminatus Trilogy, Cosmic Trigger, etc.

7/25/2011 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I keep meaning to read the Illuminatus Trilogy. DH has a copy around here somewhere...

7/25/2011 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Skorpion said...

Robert Anton Wilson was a HUGE influence on me when I was younger. These days, however, I see most of his "philosophy" as hopelessly sophmoric, and intellectually dishonest. (As I put it once, "Wilson was Ayn Rand for the teen intellectuals who WERE *getting laid and doing drugs*!")

Too, he spent his last years with a bad case of Bush Derangement Syndrome --completely contradicting his own lifelong-maintained image as an ideological agnostic -- as well as a generally sour attitude about everything, prompted no doubt by the terrific pain his post-polio syndrome was inflicting on him. Old nihilists don't pass on with much grace or dignity -- see George Carlin or Hunter S Thompson for two more examples of what happens when you spend an entire lifetime smashing Daddy's Idols, and then have nothing to look forward to at the end, and no legacy but having popularized cynicism and bitterness in the culture.

7/25/2011 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Skorpion, that's a great analysis of both Thompson and Carlin. I was never much taken with Thompson who always seemed to me to be trying way too hard. But Carlin back in the '60's and '70's was pretty funny and insightful. It was sad to see him later on when there was clearly nothing on the inside but bile and bitterness.

And he was still funnier than Maher.

7/25/2011 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Entirely concur. RAW was just the logical extension of Mad Magazine and National Lampoon for rebellious adolescents of an older vintage. By the end, he was a bitter old crank.

7/25/2011 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Which I think is the rule for nihilists. In the end they either become "weightless" or heavy with bitterness.

7/25/2011 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I was just thinking that. Stewing in all the negativity nihilism engenders over the course of a lifetime has got to be akin to pickling your brain. There's nothing much to live for, but you don't want to die. Heh - I'll bet that's at least part of William's obsession with competitive running: he thinks he can outrun the reaper.

7/25/2011 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...

"Old nihilists don't pass on with much grace or dignity -- see George Carlin or Hunter S Thompson for two more examples of what happens when you spend an entire lifetime smashing Daddy's Idols, and then have nothing to look forward to at the end, and no legacy but having popularized cynicism and bitterness in the culture."

Winged Words, Skorpion.

Going in my quote Archive.

7/26/2011 01:30:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent post, Bob!

It's a veritable feast at OC everyday!

"In other words, spirit is both alpha and omega, in that it is simultaneously an "attainment," and yet, the underlying ground, or surrounding tortilla, of the whole existentialada. One might say that, just as in individual development, the cosmos becomes what it already is, which is what we call in the book Cosmotheosis, another word that should have been made up long ago."

Don't forget the guacamOle! :^)

I love that word: Cosmotheosis.
It definitely qualifies as a Word in my book.

It's also refreshing when you talk about faith not bein' blind.
Unfortunately, far too many priests and preachers don't realize that.

Faith, justice, truth, love, etc., is never blind but lots of folks are willing to go all out (instead of all in) with blinders on.
As if they could possibly contain them by bein' willfully (or brainwashedly) blind.

I believe a man or woman of God does far more if they manage to get folks around them to think and experience (or face) Reality rather than blindly accept whatever they are told.

Because faith, hope, love, truth, etc., cannot be realized if one is blind to them.
Bindness is a collective trait while seeing n' hearing n' experiencing is personal.

Once someone personally experiences and realizes these uncontainable things they can then experience it collectively with like-minded brothers n' sisters.

They will also gno that there's so much more to see n' hear through faith. It certainly ain't finite (or it only is in an infinite and eternal sense and verse vica).

7/26/2011 02:20:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

now i figgered back then why bother w/ RAWilson, when Crowley was there to dip into?
[RAW seemed like AC lite]

7/26/2011 04:01:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

WV says to gomingle so, I'm out of lurky mode.

7/26/2011 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

Bob,
Did you have the chance to talk to your friend on Friday?

7/26/2011 04:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dougman - No, our schedule was changed at the last minute. If things go according to plan, I should see him this Thursday and/or Friday, so I'll certainly find out what I can. I'm guessing that there's not a general rule except perhaps to try a more stimulating/less sedating SSRI, such as Effexor or Cymbalta. Wellbutrin is also stimulating, probably with a slightly greater risk of triggering mania....

7/26/2011 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

I could use a little mania to help me with the housekeeping chores :)

7/26/2011 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger swiftone said...

Way late to the picnic, but the comment section is quite a tasty buffet as well.

7/27/2011 06:43:00 PM  

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