Cool Fools and Foolish Tools
This is good timing, since it means we can start off the new year with a new subject, the substance of which has not yet been revealed to us, if ever.
And this might be an appropriate time to thank readers for using the Cosmic Love Box and other links to amazon, for which we receive a modest kickback when you pull the trigger on a purchase of any kind. Do feel free to spring for that tropical island you've had your eye on, or even this understated Diamond Cluster Fancy Necklace for only $116,849.00. After all, Valentine's Day is right around the corner, not to mention MLK's birthday!
But seriously, you should know that 100% of the paltry proceeds from amazon are plowed directly back into the blog, in that they are mostly used to gamble on books that I would otherwise h-h-hesitate to purchase if I were frittering away my own funds. But since it's "house money," I can venture far afield, which every once in awhile pans out in terms of providing healthy blogfodder. This also provides an invaluable service to you cosmic explorers, as I am able to serve as an advance scout in hyperspace, letting you all know when a seductive little path turns out to be a disappointing nul de slack. In short, I do it all for you.
What kind of fool would do that? A wide-eyed fʘʘl, that's who!
Now, where are we? I mean temporally? Yes, we are "now," just as we are "here," but where is this now in relation to the totality of time? According to our unKnown Friend, "the trial of our epoch is that of Faust. It is the trial of the satisfaction of desires." How very true. But what does this have to do with the Fool?
[A brief sidebar -- just yesterday I read an intriguing comment by Samuel Beckett, who was discussing the Vico-dian temporal structure of Finnegans Wake, which takes us from necessity to utility, convenience, pleasure, luxury, and then abuse of luxury. Is not contemporary western man veritably dissipating in his own abuse of luxury? If not, why is -- are? -- the majority of "poor" people so fat? And why do they have widescreen plasma TVs to park their fat asses in front of? What about the tattoos and other body mutilation? That stuff's not free, is it? I mean, before Obamacare kicks in?]
[And in no way is this intended to apply to the deserving poor, who constitute only a small minority of the Liberal Poor, loosely defined as "people who don't have all the stuff they want."]
[Note that in an absurcular cosmos, "abuse of luxury" comes back around to "necessity," which is one of the motive forces of the OWSers, whose main complaint is that their desires are actually needs which others are obligated to fulfill.]
In contrast, unKnown Friend writes that the fʘʘl "teaches the 'know how' of passing from intellectuality, moved by the desire for knowledge, to the higher knowledge of love." This is "related to the transformation of personal consciousness, where the self (ego) is no longer the author of the act of consciousness but its receiver."
I don't know about you, but this fool can relate to that. Whatever wisdom our little ego can muster on its own is so limited as to be.... well, følly to God, that's for sure. Or, as Rick said in a comment, "it must be grace, because I'm not that smart."
There are two principle ways of dealing with that boastful know-it-all, the (egoic) intellect. One is to jettison it altogether, a la Zen; or, it may be "placed in the service of transcendental consciousness," which is of course the Raccoon way. This involves "the active surpassing of the intellect," which is also a kind of sacrifice. For it is the "method of sacrificing the intellect to spirituality in such a way that it grows and develops instead of becoming enfeebled and atrophied."
This involves a marriage of opposites, "namely discursive intellectuality and illuminative spirituality," the former being male, the latter the female we call Sophia. It is "the union of human wisdom, which is folly in the eyes of God, with the divine wisdom" which is folly in the eyes of the tenured.
Surprisingly, this doesn't produce some kind of hybrid lowbred fool, but rather "a single wisdom which understands both that which is above and that which is below." Again, this is the way of the good ship Raccoon, if your aye-aye be single.
UF then goes into a discussion of scholastic philosophy, which nobly aimed "at an as complete as possible cooperation between spirituality and intellectuality," or the marriage of the sun and moon discussed a few posts back.
Our mission -- i.e., our fʘʘl's errand -- is to advance the progress of this union of spirituality and intellectuality, which is none other than the "philosopher's stone," or the legendary "ark of the Raccoon" that is supposedly stored away somewhere in Toots Mondello's basement, amidst the sacred bowling trophies and beer bottle collection.
UF explains the centrality of (n) vs. (k) in this endeavor, or of be-who over know-how. Again, the whole project only works to the extent that the tradition is alive and one's knowledge is living: "the tradition lives only when it is deepened"; mere "conservation alone does not suffice at all," as it can all too easily be reduced to a kind of glorified mummification. We are not embalmers. Nor is it like operating on a corpse.
Reminds me of something Schuon said: "When God is removed from the universe, it becomes a desert of rocks or ice; it is deprived of life and warmth.... the soul becomes impoverished, chilled, rigid and embittered, or it falls into a hedonism unworthy of the human state; moreover, the one does not preclude the other, for blind passions always overlay a heart of ice, in short, a heart that is 'dead'." (And this comes back to the "excess of luxury" which is needed by people so spiritually numb as to not notice the luxuries we take for granted, and what they're Good for.)
One must start with faithful reverence for the "heritage of the past," even while humbly bumbling to deepen and expand it. Since this verticalisthenic takes place at the innersection of the vertical and horizontal, it is always necessary to do the work of assimilating new "horizontal revelations" into Revelation as such, and working out their interior harmony. This is the fruit of "two faiths," of which Jesus is a quintessential archetype, that is, "the perfect union of divine revelation and the most pure humanism." To isolate one at the expense of the other is intrinsic heresy.
In fact, it is only because of this fusion that Jesus was uniquely able to combine a divine birth with a divine death, which is another thing entirely, isn't it? As UF states, prior to this, man "had only the choice between renunciation and affirmation of the world of birth and death," but now we may participate in its actual transformation, you know, one bloody fʘʘl at a time.
And it apparently renders death a kind of gnuclear fission instead of linear division, and initiates what we call God's "scorched birth policy."
The paradox of the human condition is that nothing is so contrary to us as the requirement to transcend ourselves, and nothing so fundamentally ourselves as the essence of this requirement, or the fruit of this transcending. --Schuon