Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Immortality, While You Wait!

About that dimmer switch described in yesterday's post: what the dimmer actually attenuates is the process of immortalization. This is the word Voegelin uses "to characterize noetic life [¶] as a habit of action by which man can, and ought to, increase his potential immortality to its full stature."

Thus, instead of the simple dichotomy of mortal/immortal, we see an immortalizing process that takes place in the irreducible "in-between" that is human existence.

Voegelin reminds us of the orthoparadox that the Nous -- which we symbolize (¶) -- "is both the god beyond man and the divine entity within man." Thus, as described yesterpost, there is always a temptation to collapse this tension if the two aren't "held firmly apart." Indeed, it is the temptation, if we may be so bold. Or if Genesis I is correct.

For what was the source of Adam's fall? Really, it was a result of presuming to ascend too high, thus collapsing the existential tension between O and Ø. In pretending to become more than what he is, he becomes less than that: "you shall be as gods" = "you are cursed more than all cattle." In other words: for trying to steal all the slack, I give you none! For dust you are, and to dust you shall return, (•) to Ø.

If this seems overly harsh, you probably haven't understood what has occurred. And is occurring, since Class I revelation such as that found in Genesis I-IV is as close as we can come to describing not what happened once upon a time, but what happens every time (i.e., "one's upin a timeless").

For the Creator isn't really doing anything to you; rather, he's just giving you the courtesy of letting you know what happens when you do it to yourself. If it has never happened to you, you haven't assimilated the memO, so it will keep happening until you do.

Do what? Stop collapsing O and Ø, ya' knucklehead!

The hyper-promethean Hegel might have made the most audacious -- or at least unreadable -- attempt at this, and not for nothing may the modern left trace its genealogy back to him, since Marx merely stole Hegel's dimmer switch and adjusted it to Ø instead of O.

I'm afraid I'm going to gradually lose all my readers with this symbolic jargon, but that is literally -- or symbolically, to be literal -- what happened. For Hegel, "the two Nous entities... blend into the one Geist." Instead of a permanent tension between O and Ø, Hegel converts them to two poles in the dialectic, which are synthesized in -- how convenient! -- Hegel himself.

Marx then tossed Hegel out of the equation and replaced him with "history," which ends in socialist man -- i.e., of "God damn America!," of "I just want to spread it around," and "you didn't build that!" The descent to pure Ø is complete, and Genesis has been fulfilled yet again.

Voegelin: from this "state of confusion [con=fusion], there rather emerges the new type of system which transforms experienced participation in the divine into speculative possession of the divine. The system has had prodigious success, and still has, because it furnishes the intellectual apparatus for the various ideological and theological attempts at bringing God and the world, society and history, under the control of man" (emphasis mine).

Even so, there is no failure like success, since it is axiomatic that Ø can never contain or eliminate O. Voegelin points out that man has developed "a wealth of symbols" to describe the "nuances of existential tension" between O and Ø, such as love, faith, and hope.

Each of these describes "a search from the side of man and attraction from the side of God." In the absence of the latter, it would be absurd and unintelligible to even conceive of the search. In short, the search must already be a reflection of the love, faith, and hope, which "grow" as a consequence.

Via the O <---> Ø dimmer switch, we might say that God is gradually "humanized" while man is slowly "divinized" (Incarnation and Theosis, respectively). Note that at one end of the spectrum lies mortality, at the other, immortality, i.e., Death and Life. Thus man, because he lives in the in-between, is aware of Death and of Immortality like nobody's isness.

Therefore, the immortalizing process described above in paragraph one must involve some kind of metabolism of Life, or of Immortality. Could this be possible? If so, it would certainly shed light on Holy Communion, among many other things.

Perhaps an analogy from the world of psychology may be helpful. When a patient comes in for treatment, he is almost always having a problem with what is called "mentalization." In fact, a "symptom" might be thought of as a failure to mentalize; or a "failure to communicate" between one part of the psyche and another.

When we mentalize something, we convert experience to symbol, allowing us to "think" about it. In the absence of the symbolic transformation, the thinking, such as it is, takes place, to a greater or lesser degree, in the body only.

Let me provide a brief example. A couple of decades ago, I saw a patient who, about five years prior to that, had been robbed at gunpoint and shot in the belly. Traumatic, to say the least.

Fast forward five years. He is at work in a factory of some kind, and a couple of coworkers decide to play a little joke on him. One of them raises a metal bar and holds it like a rifle, aiming it directly at the patient. The other coworker claps a couple 2 x 4s together, which produces a loud cracking noise which sounds more than a little like gunfire.

The patient instantly falls to the floor and believes himself to be bleeding from the gut. Physical reactions take over -- he is crying and shaking uncontrollably in a kind of agitated trance. He is taken to the ER and given a sedative, which brings him back to reality. Nevertheless he required additional psychotherapy in order to make sense of -- to mentalize and metabolize -- what had happened to him.

The first thing you will notice is that Freud was correct about the timelessness of the unconscious mind. In historical time the two events were widely separated. But in psychological time, they were not only close but "identical," so to speak.

Likewise, this is what it means to say that Genesis speaks of things that "happen every time." Looked at one way, Adam lived 40,000 or 100,000, or 200,000 years ago. Looked at another way, he is right here next to us. Correction: he is us, for Adam means man "collectively (mankind), individually (a 'man'), [and] gender nonspecific ('man and woman')."

So our vertical fall is "mortalization," while our endless re-ascent is indeed "immortalization."

Good news, bad news. Mankind is free...

F-

--A

---L

----L

-----I

------N'!

13 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

For the Creator isn't really doing anything to you; rather, he's just giving you the courtesy of letting you know what happens when you do it to yourself.

Indeed. You are preaching better than we are amening. It's the heat.

7/31/2012 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

One of the worst things that can happen to a person is to lose hope. I know because I have done that. But the reason I lost hope was because I somehow managed to convince myself that I was responsible for everything. It is a dangerous position for humanity.

When you start thinking you are causing droughts and heat waves and hurricanes or that you can control national economies when the majority of academic elites have to have accountants balance their checkbooks and the Treasury Secretary can't figure how to run Turbo Tax, you risk finding yourself in that outer darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, e.g., the Democrat Convention.

Seriously, I have pretty well ceased to worry everything except people who worry too much.

Psalm 37:7-9

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!


Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

7/31/2012 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Thus, as described yesterpost, there is always a temptation to collapse this tension if the two aren't "held firmly apart."

For some reason, this makes me think of what happens when someone's lungs collapse. The opposing sides are never supposed to touch, and once they do the act of breathing becomes pretty much impossible. It is the dynamic space within that allows life to flourish.

Mushroom - timely observation; thanks.

7/31/2012 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or, all men are created equal. So long as man doesn't force them to be.

7/31/2012 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

That reminds me of a Neatorama post from a couple of days ago. To a great many people, it is a mystery why we tolerate inequality. I can only think these must be the same people who have never grown past their feelings of envy...

7/31/2012 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

"Stop collapsing O and Ø, ya' knucklehead!"

I sense a great truth here. Just gonna take awhile to metabolize it.

Mush, the Psalm you mentioned reminds me of the works of A. E. Newman. He was influential in forming my world view when I was a ute.

7/31/2012 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

worth a gander if not a goose: New Yorker article on
James Joyce

7/31/2012 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good piece and good summary: "A son has been born.... It is the most important thing there is.”

7/31/2012 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Thus man, because he lives in the in-between, is aware of Death and of Immortality like nobody's isness."

Nothin' personal, just isness.

8/01/2012 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"For what was the source of Adam's fall? Really, it was a result of presuming to ascend too high, thus collapsing the existential tension between O and Ø. In pretending to become more than what he is, he becomes less than that: "you shall be as gods" = "you are cursed more than all cattle." In other words: for trying to steal all the slack, I give you none! For dust you are, and to dust you shall return, (•) to Ø."

Cause and effect.

8/01/2012 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"For the Creator isn't really doing anything to you; rather, he's just giving you the courtesy of letting you know what happens when you do it to yourself. If it has never happened to you, you haven't assimilated the memO, so it will keep happening until you do.

Do what? Stop collapsing O and Ø, ya' knucklehead!"


Not there's a Life lessOn!

8/01/2012 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Marx then tossed Hegel out of the equation and replaced him with "history," which ends in socialist man -- i.e., of "God damn America!," of "I just want to spread it around," and "you didn't build that!" The descent to pure Ø is complete, and Genesis has been fulfilled yet again."

Now there's a lesson in History that should not only be taught, but learned.

8/01/2012 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Mushroom @ 7/31/2012 09:51:00 AM, Bingo! Or as Ben says, 'Nothin' personal, just isness.'

8/01/2012 11:51:00 AM  

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