Blasting into Upper Space On Genesis 1
While metaphysics is exact, it generally must be expressed in inexact terms in order to convey the depths of its exactitude.
As Sells explains, we begin with the "unresolvable dilemma of transcendence." Although it is beyond names, in order to unname it, we must give it a name. As such, we must always be mindful of the fact that this name cannot function as a "container" in the way normal words do.
Rather, the transcendent name -- or the name of the transcendent -- is more like a placemarker; it designates a "hole" that we must fill through grace-infused experience, lest we saturate it with a lot of preconceived ideas.
To put to put it another way, the word must simultaneously convey presence while at the same time evoking its own absence; this corresponds to the realm of mystery, which is the quintessence of present absence and absent presence, or like the "dark radiation" of faith.
It is not just God that must be discussed in this manner. The most intense human realities shade off into the ineffable and uncontainable, so that we risk trivializing them if we try to reduce them to some mechanical formula (which, for example, all bad drama and poetry do). Sex, death, love, and winning the Stanley Cup are all uncontainable, even though we obviously have words and even trophies for them.
But for those of you who have, for example, lost a loved one, you no doubt remember how you entered an alternate reality in the presence of Death, a reality that was entirely separate from the common use of the word. Among other things, the nature of time changes, and you are in the realm of the sacred. It's difficult to appreciate until you're in it.
Or perhaps you recall the intensity of the first time you fell in love, of being plunged into a reality that is beyond familiar words and concepts. It is then that you realize, "Oh. This is where all those stupid songs come from."
Likewise, modern people who imagine they are most sophisticated about matters of sexuality are usually the most naive. Human sexuality is like a signifier that cannot be signified or contained, but it can be "channelled" upward and inward, which is one of the esoteric purposes of marriage.
As a perceptive reader pointed out to a sightless troll the other day, one of the purposes of this kind of language is to to set up a seemingly paradoxical or binary opposition that vaults the mind upward toward a nonlocal "third."
For example, you will see a number of these in the Cosmogenesis and Cosmobliteration sections of the Coonifesto. Such orthoparadoxical language is a common -- but inadequate -- adequation to the Real, which is always just beyond the horizon of articulation, and well beyond the possibility of book sales.
The purpose of such spontaneous descryptics is to render our normal understanding of speech inoperative, so as to lure the mind in, up, and out. It is a "creative destruction" of language, very different from the mostly "destructive destruction" of deconstruction.
The distinction we are making is hardly postmodern. Rather, it is transmodern (at a light angle to time and history), and has always been understood by the most sophisticated theologians, e.g., Philo, Plotinus, Dionysius, Origen, Shankara, John Scotus Eriugena, and certainly Eckhart, who may have been the greatest genius in his startlingly fresh and novel uses of language to properly deutsch the undeutschable and eff the ineffingbelievable.
Recall that yesterday we spoke of the fundamental opposition -- or complementarity -- within scripture between its inner and outer meanings, or the spirit and letter; another balance it must maintain is between transcendence and immanence, for it is always both.
Again, scripture must simultaneously convey and yet only "suggest" in a provocative manner (here again, the sayings of Jesus are exquisitely constructed in this regard; not surprisingly, the balance he achieves is "perfect").
In fact, this is one of the ways to instantly recognize true from false revelation. For example, if you have ever read one of those incredibly dopey Scientology brochures, they contain the most leaden and almost retarded prose you could imagine. In fact, it is retarded, for just as one can be intellectually or morally retarded, one can be spiritually retarded.
You also see the opposite, that is, the use of pseudo-forms of religious speech toward wholly unholy absecular ends. Someone who is familiar with these techniques recognizes them in an instant in the vacuous rhetoric of Obama. It is clearly religious speech, but in the absence of the religious object (since it is essentially aimed at religious retards, and therefore, proglodytes who most hunger after transcendence without realizing or being able to acknowledge it).
As dangerous as an L. Ron Hubbard is, a B. Hussein Obama is infinitely more so, being that he is so much more skillful than Hubbard at aping religious rhetoric, including its "rhythms." Hubbard essentially engages in religious pornography, leaving nothing to the (higher) imagination.
Obama, on the other hindleg, specifically misapporoprates the higher imagination (after all, he learned this technique from a pneumapathic master, Rev. Wright). There is plenty of "space" in his rhetoric for the irreligiously religious hysteric to "fill in the blanks," which is a formula for infinite mischief. It is essentially a pseudo-verticalisthenic exercise in bait and switch -- of baiting the religious instinct and then switching the religious object to the almighty state.
In other words, Obama is simply recycling the same old lies of the left, except that he is able to skillfully communicate them as if they represent not just novelty or "change," but transcendence, of all things!
Anyone with spiritual discernment can see that his rhetoric does not point "up" and beyond itself toward the Real, as his hypnotized wackolytes imagine. Rather, it ultimately points down and out, something that becomes increasingly obvious as the campaign wears on. I am as sick of him already as I was of Clinton after eight long minutes.
But we're getting sidetracked. What I really wanted to do is to enter the linguistic wayback machine, which also happens to be in the same loquation as the wayup machine (i.e., Creator and Redeemer are One and the Same).
First, an invocation to announce that we are leaving secular time behind and below, and venturing into the nonlocal origins of All, which can only be discerned in the now, since that's when it was first accompliced for the last time; to quote Eckhart, the beginning of all things "also means the end of all things, since the first beginning is because of the last end."
In The Beginning....
This has all happened before; it will all happen again....
Once Upon a Time....
At the beginning of the beginning, even nothing didn't exist....
One's upin a timeless, without a second to spore....
Somehow, this story, no matter who tells it, always involves water and oceans. Most obviously,
And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
But how about,
From the Light there came forth a holy Word, which took its stand upon the watery substance. (Hermes)
Out of the infinite ocean of existence arose Brahma, the first-born and and foremost among the gods. From him sprang the universe, and he became its protector. (Mundaka Upanishad)
Unfathomable as the sea, wondrously ending only to begin again, informing all creation without being exhausted... (Chuang-tse)
For nor before nor after was the process of God's overflowing over these waters. (Dante)
I could go on, but you get the idea. Now, as Sells mentions with regard to poetry, drama, or most any other form of art, the deeper meaning "risks being trivialized when its meaning is defined and paraphrased discursively" -- like trying to explain the meaning of a joke, which defloats its whole porpoise.
As such, scripture is intended to have a punchline, except that it must be a guffah-ha! experience. There is a fine line between skillful exegesis and simply spoiling the joke of scripture, like a bad straight man who steps on your fine line.