Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Aggravated Cosmic Humanism

Cosmic humanism. I guess you could say that this is one of the enduring concerns of this blog. And this life. Of mine. How and why I came by it, I don't really know, but it's getting worse all the time.

I can say this, however. It is definitely a Mighty Strange Attractor (a well known mathematical concept that apparently no one else has ever thought of applying to the spiritual dimensions), in that people have been falling into its slipstream for as long as people have been people.

After all, one of the primary purposes of religion is to align the soul with the trans-cosmic Absolute, which is why all men, as men, are in need of it in one way or another.

Indeed, the opening of the "cosmic perspective" would have to be one of the attributes that defines the emergence of man as such. For even when he is just marveling at the starry heavens or dwelling in the beauty of our terrestrial home, man is cogitating the cosmic context and meditating on the metamatrix.

As mentioned before, Purcell's From Big Bang to Big Mystery is clearly caught up in the dynamic morphopneumatic field of this same cosmic attractor. Of necessity, he will see and describe a somewhat different landscape than do I, for the same reason that two people on different white water river-rafting expeditions to the sea will be exposed to different sights and sounds.

The fact of diversity hardly invalidates the descriptions, because this diversity is a necessary condition -- and consequence -- of individuality. If we were genetic robots, we would all have the same experience, but since we are oriented to a transcendental telos, we all come toward it in different ways. Hence the diversity of religions and revelations despite the single ocean. To reduce God to having just one way to make the same point is to make him less than a person.

This doesn't mean there aren't better and worse descriptions, because here again, just as in science, there must be more and less comprehensive and complete models of the natural world. Evolution and progress are only possible because there is a goal, an end.

And vertically speaking, there can be no hierarchy without a top, which, by the way, is another way of presenting one of Aquinas' classic proofs of God. It doesn't matter whether the horizontal universe has been here forever, or came into being with a dramatic big bang. The more important point is that it cannot exist without a vertical cause. The First Cause is not in- but outside time. Or in other words, no amount of horizontality can account for verticality.

Purcell quotes a couple of well-known paleoanthropologists, who come close to the wider cosmoanthropological perspective in writing that, "unlike even our closest relations, Homo sapiens is not simply an extrapolation or improvement of what went before it... our species is an entirely unprecedented entity in the living world, however we may have come by our unusual attributes." So you're not alone in feeling very unlike your closest relations. All Raccoons feel this way.

Again, what makes man different is that he is astonishingly fit for the cosmos -- not just the earth, and certainly not just some highly restricted Darwinian niche.

Since this or that man can be anything from a novice to an extreme seeker, he is always free to confine himself to the green diamond trails of science, or venture onto the blue diamond trails of philosophy and theology, or take a chance on the black diamond trails of metaphysics -- not to mention the ungroomed slopes of mysticism and infused contemplation. Whoosh!

Man's existential "nothingness" -- which is a correct intuition, as far as it goes -- is a consequence of being pre-adapted -- at least in potential -- to everything. For to even say that it all began with a Big Bang that can be reduced to a mathematical formula is to insist that man's mind is a priori in conformity to the everything and the all.

Just as there are and must be genetic birth defects, there are pneumatic second birth... well, not exactly defects, for they are usually more willful and self-unslackted. Call them birth defenses, similar to what we were saying the other day about pneumatic defense mechanisms. Some people prefer a womb of rationalism or positivism or scientism or Marxism to the great wide open.

Our miroculous ʘpenness to the great wide Open goes by the name of faith, and faith cannot be transcended. Rather, in the words of de Lubac, it can only "grow deeper, that is to say, find itself more completely, to realize itself more thoroughly, as faith ." Yes, it yields a harvest, but no amount of food can replace the need to eat. And no amount of the wrong type of food is conducive to growth. Nor, for that matter, can one live on vitamins, i.e., abstractions from the total I-AMbodhiment of divine (corpo)reality.

De Lubac describes a middle-zone of "superficial clarity" which exists between "two infinities." This is also the "non-religious zone," and it isn't difficult to understand why some people would prefer to huddle on its shores than to take the plunge into the Infinite, especially without a kenosis. But these two Infinities are not identical, although they are often conflated, by both religious and irreligious -- trolls and hyperliteralists -- alike. De Lubac writes that

"There is the sacredness of myth which, like a vapor rising from the earth, emanates from infrahuman regions; and there is the sacredness of mystery, which is like peace descending from the heavens. The one links us with Nature and attunes us to her rhythm but also enslaves us to her fatal powers; the other is a gift of spirit that makes us free."

The latter presence would be the Cosmic Zone, and man's true happitat.

To be continued...

10 Comments:

Blogger ted said...

"So you're not alone in feeling very unlike your closest relations. All Raccoons feel this way."

Boy, you said it. The family get-togethers sometimes make me contemplate how the apple can be tossed so far from the tree.

6/05/2012 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

No less is science a revealed religion.
Otherwize, why all the faith in the "yet to be discovered" by the scientists?
Heck, it's almost as if the answers are withheld for the worthy.

6/05/2012 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

This doesn't mean there aren't better and worse descriptions, because here again, just as in science, there must be more and less comprehensive and complete models of the natural world.

I agree. Though it is often misunderstood, the Bible also says as much. As Lewis pointed out, the reflections -- one might even say the refractions -- of Christ in pre-Incarnation myths and legends serve only to make the Revelation clearer when one sees the True Image.

Amen, Rick. Answers are withheld for the worthy and for their seasons.

6/05/2012 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

From Father Stephen -- The True Self and the Story of Me. I sense a convergence in the Force.

6/05/2012 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

great rather unsung Brit singer
a fellow scorpio,GB...

made much music w/ another under-sung US great David Lindley
ie:
Terry's album RIVER makes for great summer listening

6/05/2012 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I like Lindley and associate him with the also great Ry Cooder -- one of my long-time favorites.

6/05/2012 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

"Some people prefer a womb of rationalism or positivism or scientism or Marxism to the great wide open."

A wonderful metaphor that embodies the protected and closed thinking of those spiritless "isms".

6/05/2012 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/05/2012 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger CheyTown said...

I love the way you describe our cosmos. I wish more people understood God to be transcendent and absolute, especially when it comes to matters of time and creation. This is why one of the best prayers is to ank Him to renew our minds, so bogged down by lies and sloth. Thank you.

6/06/2012 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Again, what makes man different is that he is astonishingly fit for the cosmos -- not just the earth, and certainly not just some highly restricted Darwinian niche. "

It's amazing how fit we find ourselves to be, when we first make ourselves aware of where we are & how we should behave there.

Ya know, I heard another holier than thou & oh-so wise guru (you know he's holy, holier & wise, because of the slow, quiet passive aggressive speech and the patronizing smirk on his face), talking about how imperfect and 'gross' our mere bodies are... not to mention the world itself, and how sad it is that our bodies keep us in misery and unable to reach 'nirvana'. And of course that he can help us all leap over those limitations by leaping over experience and mimicing his every move (for a fee).

Most people really seem to like these & nod at these types (which maybe oughta be a clue), but I wonder if any of them have ever thought to consider the possibility that they have things exactly backwards.

Is it possible that maybe it isn't so much a problem of the body holding us back from the TROOTH, as maybe the body affords each of us just the right amount of protection from the Truth that each of us requires, in order to be able to funciton?

When you are confronted by a psychic/spiritual pain, say being betrayed by someone, or worse, your actions which amounted to betraying another, your body affords you the ability to express that pain by doing something like punching a wall, etc, transforming that searing internal pain into a manageable physical pain that can be dealt with and/or put off until YOU have developed to the point of being able to properly learn from, confront & face such situations more effectively in the future.

Calling the physical body 'crude', a barrier to perfection... sounds a bit like a newbie student declaring that the basic information and principles the professor is trying to teach them, are 'stupid! Just tell us what we need to get things done!'.

Like the real master says when the student finally stops him from overfilling his tea cup, "Likewise, you must empty yourself of so much that you know, which just isn't so, before you can be filled with what is True."

Anytime you think you know the answers before you've even considered the questions, you really ought to at least question those who tell you that you are right.

6/07/2012 11:00:00 AM  

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