Who is I AM and What Does He Want From Me?
No? Let me try.
I am first reminded of Schuon's compact formulation, that "The worth of man lies in his consciousness of the Absolute." We might say that the child, or first fruit, of the Absolute, is the Infinite, analogous to the sun and its radiation. Indeed, God radiates light, which is another way of saying that his goodness is infinite.
But we cannot think of this in horizontal terms, because the two co-arise, like Father and Son, or Mother and Child: "to say Absolute is to say Infinite, the one being inconceivable without the other" (ibid).
So there is a kind of linear implication in this verbal description, even though it is an atemporal reality, very much like the orthoparadoxical "timeless activity" within the Trinity.
Absolute entails Infinite but implies relative; for the same reason, Man, who is relative and dependent, implies God, who is neither.
Man, who is contingent, knows the necessary, but if there were only the necessary, then error could not exist, and we'd really be screwed. Thanks to the possibility of error, we are free to know the truth. O felix culpa, and all that.
"Like the Universe," writes Schuon, man "is a fabric of determination and indetermination; the latter stemming from the Infinite, and the former from the Absolute."
Note that there are numberless "rigid errors" which are none other than relativism irrationally (or merely rationally) partaking of, and masquerading as, absoluteness, e.g., Darwinism, Marxism, multiculturalism, and leftism more generally.
So when Purcell speaks of man's limitless horizons, he is speaking of our participation in the Infinite, which, of course, no other animal can do. In all animals, however, there is a relationship between what they are and what they may know.
In the case of man, our mind is not conformed merely to the physical environment, but to realities that far surpass it. To put it another way, a man who is only adapted to the natural world is not a man but an animal, precisely.
"Man is made for what he is able to conceive; the very ideas of absoluteness and transcendence prove both his spiritual nature and the supra-terrestrial character of his destiny" (Schuon).
But only if you are open to proof, i.e., if your infinitude has room for some absoluteness, your contingency for a little necessity. You know what they say: spare the Absolute, spoil the Infinite!
Reminds us of an aphorism: "Only God and the central point of my consciousness are not accidental to me" (Don Colacho).
Or just say O and ʘ. You might say that the Adventure of Consciousness -- of human life -- is the journey from (•) to ʘ. For the non-believer this adventure is just an inconvenience at best, plus it never happened anyway.
Back to what Purcell was saying about our infinite horizons. Note that the infinite "is not determined by any limiting factor and therefore does not end at any boundary; it is in the first place Potentiality or Possibility as such, and ipso facto the Possibility of things..." (Schuon).
Thus, this is where man himself manifests his deiformity, his creative plenitude, to which there can be "no end," although, orthoparadoxically, there must always be a standard. Art, for example, without a standard, is like math with no answers.
And contrary to the toxic relativism that pervades our culture, man cannot furnish this standard, or it is no standard at all:
"To say that man is the measure of all things is meaningless unless one starts from the idea that God is the measure of man, or that the absolute is the measure of the relative....
"Once man makes of himself a measure, while refusing to be measured in turn, or once he makes definitions while refusing to be defined by what transcends him and gives him all his meaning, all human reference points disappear; cut off from the Divine, the human collapses" (Schuon).
So man has a "limitless orientation to horizons of beauty, meaning, truth and goodness," so long as we bear in mind that this limitlessness is not without limits.
If we are literally without limits, then we end with, say, the art of Robert Mapplethorpe, the ethics of Peter Singer, and the politics of Obama. Or: ugliness, brutality, and the various forms of tyranny, from the soft and seductive to the hard and merciless (or the infantilizing and animalizing, the smothering mother and the brutal father, respectively).
But man, if he is to be one, must know the True, will the Good, and love the Beautiful. Thus, anything that denies or interferes with this vocation is the essence of subhumanism, de-personalization, and re-barbarization.
There is a horizontal Big Bang and a vertical Big Mystery, both of which are happening now. And the biggest mystery of all is the human person, who is the two-way door into the Infinite.
Each person is the fresh re-conception of being, and each child is a new opportunity to both confer (by proxy) and receive what infinitely surpasses us. We must all open this divine presence, but it is worthless unless we regift it.
Always a catch!