Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Playing the Game Existence to the End of the Beginning

I don't yet know if I have time enough for a post. Maybe just a series of unconnected fragments on the way to a post. I guess we'll find out.

Speaking of sexual differences, Perry writes that "man is identified with the pole of transcendence and woman with that of immanence."

Transposed to the social plane, this complementarity has various iterations. One that comes immediately to mind is man as "hero" and woman as "nurturer." The ultimate hero is "savior," since his heroism applies to our transcendent destiny. But our immanent destiny is in the hands of woman; hence, Jesus as savior is nevertheless "born of woman."

It is also understood -- even by science -- that the female brain tends to be much more geared toward relationships, whereas the male brain leans toward abstraction and law. As Perry says, the former is union or synthesis, the latter discernment and analysis. Who is right?

Certainly not that question. Again, we are dealing with a complementarity that conditions every degree and mode of reality short of God. For example, in quantum physics wave is female, particle male.

Indeed, in a provocative footnote, Perry observes that "Geometrically speaking, if man is the central dot, woman is the whole circle." However, it's not a question of either/or, but rather, both/and. In short, it is ʘ.

Complementarity as such strikes one as "female," does it not? For me it does, anyway. The male psyche wants to find THE ANSWER -- as in reductionistic scientism -- but there is no answer without its alluring female consort, or complement. Or, one might say that for every answer there is going to be a mysterious female context that shades off into the infinite.

Of course, one notices this much more in spirituality than in science. I see that this is a recurring theme of Karl Rahner, who writes, for example, that

"The Christian never simply 'comes across' God... as one specific phenomenon among others within the sphere of human existence, one, therefore, which falls within the limits of his ideas and actions."

Rather, "he is in contact with the living God as the all-encompassing and the unencompassed [i.e., container and never contained], as the ineffable upholder of being such that to call him in question is to call everything in question also, ourselves included..."

Yes, "God is the incomprehensible mystery of our existence which encompasses us and causes us to realize, however painfully, the limitations of that existence, which he himself transcends." And "the distance between him and us is there in order that the unity of love may be achieved." Thus the soul is always female in relation to God.

In a very real sense, you could say that "The person is the question to which there is no answer" (ibid).

Or in other words, the questions to which the person gives rise are infinite, and infinite is another name for God: "Experience gives answers, but no answer which would make what we are questioning -- the human person as a unity and as a whole -- intelligible."

To pretend otherwise gives idolatry a bad name. Unless you realize that our transcendence is by definition unlimited -- and therefore needs an unlimited Object -- you will be very frustrated searching for the limit, i.e., the horizon of subjectivity. Yes, you may find it, but it's just like our geographical horizon -- the limit of vision, not the limit of reality.

Speaking of the existential frustration that ensues when we seek final answers where none are possible, Rahner adds that "Because we reach out beyond each finite object, but directly grasp only finite objects, we will never be content with this life, and so every ending is just a beginning," as indeed in the book of the same game -- i.e., the game existence to the end... of the beginning (John Lennon).

This is why, no matter how much we stuff into our brain, there's always room for more stuff, and why this blog just goes on and on and on: "We are constantly feeding new materials into the warehouse of our consciousness. It constantly disappears into an infinite expanse which, not to put too fine a point on it, is just as empty as before" (Rahner).

D'oh! So that's what happens to it. You can never have a dream that ends the need for dreaming.

What or who then is the proper male complement of complementarity? It seems to me that it must be God, who is again the only thing that transcends complementarity.

But even "within God" we are told that there is the complementarity of Father and Son, the one unthinkable in the absence of the other, even if "Father" must somehow be "prior."

Similar complementarities are God <---> world, or Absolute <---> relative, or One <---> many, even though in each case the former must take priority. Another complementarity is blogging <---> working, and the latter must now rudely shove the former aside.

9 Comments:

Blogger Cond0011 said...

"We are constantly feeding new materials into the warehouse of our consciousness. It constantly disappears into an infinite expanse which, not to put too fine a point on it, is just as empty as before"

...and yet when things occur in your life, there is a most surprising response from within that void.

Surprisingly, even to the conscious self.

...and it was good.

10/30/2012 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Thus the soul is always female in relation to God.

Rosie O'Donnell.


You can never have a dream that ends the need for dreaming.

A mighty fine one line poem.

10/30/2012 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Ah, this gives me some insight as to why when I'm watching some Dr. Who episode and they are going to the end of the Universe or the End of TIME or whatnot and when they get there it's always a big letdown. You just can't do the infinite on your TV screen.

Similarly, in Monty Python's "Meaning of Life" they go to Heaven and it turns out to be a cheesy Vegas Nightclub act. Their intent may have been to tear down religion but they may have inadvertently presented a profound point.

10/30/2012 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Cond0011 said...

"I'm watching some Dr. Who episode and they are going to the end of the Universe or the End of TIME or whatnot and when they get there it's always a big letdown. "

Good point, John.

There are

Some books that do not translate well to movies.

Some concepts that are better conveyed in written form than in a conversation.

Some Jokes that are best experienced in Realspace than in written form.

...and Some things best understood in a cyberspace comment section than explained in a standalone philosophical essay.

Perhaps Douglass Adams was on to something when he said the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything is ... 42, as I don't think there is any one medium of communication that can possibly wholly convey something that would be truly beyond an imagination that is confined to the box of the Space/Time dimension.

10/30/2012 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

This is why, no matter how much we stuff into our brain, there's always room for more stuff, and why this blog just goes on and on and on...

I was just rereading some HvB the other night, and this rings a bell:

"You cannot draw the river onto the dry bank, there to trap its imperative to flow, as if it were a fish. And it is only in the water that you yourself can learn how to swim."

Actually, maybe that's not the best selection, but I can't very well put up the whole chapter (that is, the first chapter of Heart of the World), which seems to me to complement this post quite nicely...

10/30/2012 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Mushroom, is it really fair to count Rosie as female?

10/30/2012 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

You're right. It's not fair.

I can't bring myself to think that even someone like Rosie is soul-less, but what a cold, dark abyss that must be.

10/30/2012 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Soul-less? Nah, it's in there, poor thing. I shudder to think of the abuse it must have suffered through the course of her life, but of course there is hope for everyone, no matter how hard they strive to separate themselves from any hint of a divine template...

10/30/2012 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

succinct sign

10/30/2012 04:27:00 PM  

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