Playing the Game Existence to the End of the Beginning
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.