Singing the Song Supreme
Or, more to the point: how Lo goes O? For it makes no sense to affirm that God doesn't exist. Rather, a more honest statement would be that if God doesn't exist, humans could never know it, because man would have no reason to believe in any absolute, including absolute negation. With no Absolute, all is relative. Period.
By definition there can be only one Absolute, which, in my opinion, is the "sponsor," so to speak, of all the "relative absolutes" we use to negotiate our way through life.
It is similar to the idea that all numbers are simply multiples of one. Until one has the idea of "oneness" -- and note that it is a quality before it is a quantity -- one cannot proceed mathematically. Bion felt that the "discovery" of oneness was the single greatest leap of mankind, i.e., the idea that, for example, five rocks and five sticks share the abstract principle of fiveness.
But because there is only one Absolute it is not possible to map it, because as soon as one tries, one has created two. It is analogous to attempting to map, say, "music." On the one hand we have an abstract system of musical notation, and yet, all of the millions of melodies added together don't come close to exhausting the realm of music, which might as well be infinite. At best, we can dip into this realm of musical potential and channel its infinite possibilities in ways that are deep, interesting, and beautiful.
Might we say the same of God -- or, let us just say O, for to say "God" is already to project a lot of implicit preconceptions? In other words, what if religion, like music, is a way to translate what is otherwise unthinkable into something deep, interesting, and beautiful? Here is how Schuon describes it:
"Metaphysical Truth is both expressible and inexpressible." In fact, I would say that this is what distinguishes the exoterist from the esoterist, or the normotic from the Raccoon: the implicit belief on the part of the former that his particular expression expresses the inexpressible -- that his relativity is somehow absolute (which, of course, makes him God).
I thought of this when I heard of that jackass pastor at the "value voters summit" who suggested that America's founders intended religious freedom to apply only to Christians. This is exactly the same argument Democrats used to deny freedom to blacks: that the founders did not intend for liberty to be a universal principle.
But "truth" and "liberty" in the abstract are much closer to God than any specific formulation. For one thing, truth is only possible if it is freely discovered, so it must be prior to doctrine. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Co 3:17). (I might add that freedom is only possible if it converges upon truth, otherwise it is just meaningless horizontal drifting, AKA the Left.)
Now, just because the Absolute is not (exhaustively) expressible, it doesn't mean it isn't knowable; indeed, we cannot not know it and still think, since all thinking is rooted in it.
One of the fundamental errors of modernity -- perhaps the fundamental error -- is to turn the cosmos upside-down, and imagine that consciousness is somehow built from bricks of inconscience -- that mind is actually mindless, that the secret of life is lifelessness, and that Spirit is just instinct or random error on a grand scale.
But if we properly view the cosmos right-side up, then things like truth, freedom, life, light, and love are at the top; truly, it is a tree with roots aloft and branches down below.
That being the case, everything is a kind of fractal of the whole, which goes back to the idea that all numbers are multiples of one. For to perceive any "one thing" is again to discern the transcendent principle of oneness in the herebelow.
Thus, to say that man is "in the image of the Creator" is both shocking, and yet, a truism. After all, man creates. He knows truth. He loves. He surpasses himself, meaning that he cannot be "contained" or treated as an object. And he is one, or at least tries to evolve toward dynamic wholeness and unity (or diversity-in-oneness).
Schuon notes that the Intellect "opens into the Divine Order and therefore encompasses all that is." The image comes to mind of an ocean current, which is not other than the ocean, and yet, is distinct from it. But as soon as one attempts to define the boundary with precision, one sees that it is impossible, for it is just "water within water."
One might say that man is "self within Self," or (¶) within O, or let us just say "within." Only man can know that his mind is "within" something larger, more vast and expansive, something both containing and grounding it.
I would suggest that to say "God" is to say "man," and vice versa, just as to say "relative" is to say "Absolute," and vice versa. Therefore, especially when we are saying something deep or meaningful, we cannot not speak of God, any more than we can sing of music-lessness. (Although I suppose Phillip Glass tried.)
The Absolute, or O, is expressible, in the sense that "it becomes crystallized in formulations which are all they ought to be since they communicate all that is necessary or useful to our mind. Forms are doors to the essences, in thought and in language as well as in other symbolisms" (Schuon).
So to preserve the mystery of God with a discrete silence is not to cop out or go wobbly just at the critical moment. Rather, this inexpressible essence is precisely that which provokes the forms we use to express it. Do such forms "prove" the existence of God? Yes and no. Does a song prove the existence of music? Or are there only songs, but no such abstract universal as music?
For Schuon, "The aim of metaphysics is not to prove anything whatsoever but to make doctrines intelligible" and "to provide symbols for spiritual assimilation and realization" (Oldmeadow). Thus, we might say that one cannot prove the existence of God, but one can prove his realization in man. And that is enough.