Monday, November 26, 2012

Man in the Presence of Absolute Mystery, or Seeing ʘ to O

We've spent the last several posts discussing the mystery that is man. Not the mystery "of" man, mind you, but the mystery that man is.

For the intrinsic relation between man and mystery is not "prepositional" but essential. This relation is deeper than language, as language too is predicated upon it. If there were no mystery, then there would be absolutely nothing to talk about and no one to hear it. You know the type.

Today we want to get into man's experience of the ultimate Mystery customarily called God, but referred to here as O in order to preserve the Mystery.

As Rahner points out, the experience of this Mystery "is more primary than reflection and cannot be captured by reflection."

Indeed, man himself is the mirrorculous reflection of this prior Mystery, and the mysterious experience of oneself is also obviously deeper than reflection. It is the unfathomable Ocean upon which we float, AKA the Great Sea of the UnThought Known.

Man is always Oriented to the Absolute Mystery. Here again you may need to respectfully forget about your seenill grammar and gravidad, because this is like no other familiar relation. "For we do not have an experience of God as we have of a tree, another person and other external realities," all of which "appear within the realm of our experience at a definite point in time and space" (Rahner).

Rahner makes the provocative point that it is impossible to imagine a future in which the human race could exist without the word "God."

In order for this to occur, man would have to lose all contact with the experience that gives rise to the word; and to deprive ourselves of this experience is to annul our manhood and cash in our chimps, precisely.

Man's consciousness comes into being in the space between Mystery and mystery, O and ʘ, so the elimination of God would necessitate paving the space over with contingency and turning it a big barking lot.

Among other things, it would imply a complete eradication of our inborn bullshit detector. The whole world would be reduced to those 59 precincts of Philadelphia, where 100% (at least) of the people voted for Obama. All zzzombies all the time.

As such, our atheist friends, by incessantly using the word for what they haven't experienced, halfwittingly keep the experience alive.

The only alternative for the genuine øtheist is to not just feebly hope the word will someday disappear from the human vocabulary, but "to contribute to its disappearance by keeping dead silence about it himself and not declaring himself an atheist." You know, don't just stand there doing something, but sit down and shutup.

In order to achieve this, the atheists will need to be more like their fellow liberals, who are always trying to ban words in order to pretend that the unpleasant realities to which the words attach do not exist.

But in an evolutionary cosmos, words -- to say nothing of Word -- will always find a way. As they say, supernature abhors a vacuum. Banishing the word "retard" doesn't mean you aren't one, only that you're the last to know.

So "The mere fact that this word exists is worth thinking about," to put it mildly. For starters, as alluded to above, it's not like any other word, and yet, we still understand it, if "understand" isn't too misleading a term.

Which it no doubt is, because to understand God would be to be God. In other words, if God doesn't exist, only he knows it. And if he does exist, only a retard could not know it.

Even if we deicide that God is dead, we still need to reserve the name for what has died. But as soon as we do that, some mischievous rascal is going to start nosing around and redeuscover the empty tomb where the body is supposed to be buried. Game over. Or resumed, rather.

Nevertheless, if man were to effectively banish the word God from his vOcabulary, he would obviously still be immersed in mystery, except the mystery would "rot," so to speak, being deprived of all light and oxygen, i.e., its proper gnourishment.

What I think I mean by this is that man would have to regress to a time when he was plunged into the body and immersed in the senses, with no hope of an inscape or help of a teloscope. He would have to forget all vertical memories of higher things, and then forget he had forgotten, i.e., double I-AMnesia.

"The absolute death of the word 'God,'" writes Rahner, "would be the signal, no longer heard, by anyone, that man himself had died." Call it a signul.

Last night I was listening to the prophet Bob on my walk -- yes, in mOnʘ, as God intended -- and he reminded me of a number of plain facts that only the cosmically lost can never know, for example, that there are no truths outside the Gates of Eden -- whether Eden is understood in its proper sense or as some kind of statist utopia that denies all truth outside it.

But we won't press the point, for we know too much to argue or to judge.

With a time-rusted compass blade / Aladdin and his lamp / Sits with Utopian hermit monks / Sidesaddle on the Golden Calf / And on their promises of paradise / You will not hear a laugh / All except inside the Gates of Eden

The kingdoms of Experience / In the precious wind they rot / While paupers change possessions / Each one wishing for what the other has got / And the princess and the prince / Discuss what’s real and what is not / It doesn’t matter inside the Gates of Eden

The foreign sun, it squints upon / A bed that is never mine / As friends and other strangers / From their fates try to resign / Leaving men wholly, totally free / To do anything they wish to do but die / And there are no trials inside the Gates of Eden --Bob Dylan, Gates of Eden

24 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Rahner makes the provocative point that it is impossible to imagine a future in which the human race could exist without the word "God."

One thing I've noticed in recent years, and one of the reasons so much sci-fi falls flat to my eyes these days, is that the future as imagined by the average sci-fi author is almost universally godless. Which isn't to say, of course, that they don't have their gods; they just call them something else, if they call them at all, or ascribe the idea to some mysterious ancestral beings who nevertheless are far too small to serve as containers for O.

Somehow, though, for a great many people the idea of a Judeo-Christian future is simply unimaginable.

11/26/2012 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

What I think I mean by this is that man would have to regress to a time when he was plunged into the body and immersed in the senses, with no hope of an inscape or help of a teloscope. He would have to forget all vertical memories of higher things, and then forget he had forgotten, i.e., double I-AMnesia.

It seems that would be, in essence a return to the Dreamtime, where Man waits yet again to be born from the form of a very smart monkey...

11/26/2012 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Leave Obama alone!

11/26/2012 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

While looking for something on Steve Winwood, I stumbled on this about Eric Clapton. Kind of gives you chills.

11/26/2012 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Rahner's "Anonymous Christianity" seems to be a Christian twist on the more general Perennial Philosophy. Whereas Perennial Philosophy teaches that God's Grace provides different paths to Himself, Rahner's Anonymouns Christianity keeps Christ as the central saving agent of salvation, but teaches that through Christ's acts God's Grace is made available to all humanity that seek Him.

Bob, would you agree with my understanding of Rahner's position, and if yes, then it brings a question to mind: how is relativistic "seeking" distinguished from truth?

11/26/2012 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That requires a lengthy explanation, but it would make no sense if Jesus were only effective for people who had heard about him. That puts an intolerable finite limit on the infinite.

11/26/2012 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Also, Rahner would say that "relativistic seeking" can only take place in light of the absolute/Christ.

11/26/2012 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Only 'God!' [always a rapid eye movement away from 'Dog'] is valid response to this ie:

EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — A couple died and their 16-year-old son went missing after being swept into sea in Northern California while trying to save their dog, authorities said Sunday.

The family was at Big Lagoon, a beach north of Eureka, Saturday afternoon when the dog chased after a thrown stick and got pulled into the ocean by eight to ten foot waves, said Dana Jones, a state Parks and Recreation district superintendent.

Jones said the boy went after the dog, prompting his father to go after them. She said the teenager was able to get out, but when he didn't see his father, he and his mother went into the water looking for him.

"Both were dragged into the ocean," Jones said.

The Times-Standard reports (http://bit.ly/UmSP2P) the couple's daughter called police.

Jones said a park ranger had to run a half mile to get to the beach because his car wasn't made to handle the terrain. When he arrived, he wasn't able to get to them because of the high surf, she said.

Rescuers eventually retrieved the mother's body and the father's body washed up.

The Coast Guard deployed a helicopter and two motor life boats to search for the teenager, but the aerial search was suspended Saturday evening by thick coastal fog.

A call seeking the status of the Coast Guard's search on Sunday wasn't immediately returned.

The dog got out of the water on its own, Jones said.
...now there's a concept by which to measure pain

11/26/2012 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Nevertheless, if man were to effectively banish the word God from his vOcabulary, he would obviously still be immersed in mystery, except the mystery would "rot," so to speak, being deprived of all light and oxygen, i.e., its proper gnourishment.

It might not be prophetic, but it is descriptive.

11/26/2012 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Julie said: Which isn't to say, of course, that they don't have their gods...

I saw where Jamie Foxx "jokingly" called Obama his lord and savior. Which would be fine by me if the followers of the Poophet weren't so intent on converting the rest of us to their religion.

11/26/2012 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Regarding "Anonymous Christianity", I am in tune with that view. Christ and the Cross is the fulcrum of history for everyone who ever lived or ever will. And we know Who is on either end of the teeter-totter.

11/26/2012 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

"Also, Rahner would say that "relativistic seeking" can only take place in light of the absolute/Christ"

Well that seems to be in keeping with Rahner's "A person is always a Christian in order to be one.", but I wonder if he would have added "even if they don't know it".

The more the Mystery is revealed, the more mysterious it becomes.

11/26/2012 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Now I like Clapton even more.

Speaking of Steve Winwood, I stumbled across this little gem a couple of months ago looking for a tutorial for John Barleycorn must die. Can't do much better than this.

11/26/2012 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Fair-to-middlin' on-topicness:
just posted this Claptonnish tribute to Dylan's classic

11/26/2012 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

"That requires a lengthy explanation, but it would make no sense if Jesus were only effective for people who had heard about him. That puts an intolerable finite limit on the infinite."

In my Lutheran tradition, one of the differences between the Lutheran Church and other Protestant Churches was that some of the other churches placed an emphasis on the new believer's willful act of "accepting Christ". Call it a nuance, but the Lutheran stance was to attribute 100% of the salvation act to Christ. An analogy a Pastor friend often used was to put a dollar in the shirt pocket of a parishioner and tell him the dollar is a gift - he didn't need to do anything to accept it and it's his to keep unless he takes the dollar out of his shirt pocket and rejects the gift. That's how God's Grace works.

That helped me come to grips with those souls who have never heard of Jesus, including little ones taken before they have a chance to "live".

11/26/2012 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger David J Quackenbush said...

I find it reassuring to reflect that keeping the question of God alive is not something we must do by ourselves, either for ourselves or for our brothers. It is hard to think of a more fundamental element of Revelation than this: God will not let us forget Him, even though this is what we spend most of our time trying to do. Thank God.

11/26/2012 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You don't have to be dyslexic to believe in the Hound of Heaven.

11/26/2012 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Vanderleun has a very apropos quote from Belmont Club up on his sidebar tonight:

"The most interesting aspect of Jerry Will’s talk is that if you substitute the word “God” for “extraterrestrials” in his argument he sounds exactly like an Old Testament prophet. How strange it is that Western civilization, having spent nearly a century overthrowing God should replace him with the buff, albino humanoids of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus or by Gaia or Xenu, almost as if having burned a Rembrandt the curator replaced it with a child’s drawing. I guess that is progress. But one wonders."

Which also reminds me of that painting of Christ an old woman decided to "repair"...

11/26/2012 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"But in an evolutionary cosmos, words -- to say nothing of Word -- will always find a way. As they say, supernature abhors a vacuum. Banishing the word "retard" doesn't mean you aren't one, only that you're the last to know."

Aye. Reminds me of this exchange in the film Jurassic Park:

John Hammond: [as they gather around a baby dinosaur hatching from its egg] I've been present for the birth of every little creature on this island.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Surely not the ones that are bred in the wild?
Henry Wu: Actually they can't breed in the wild. Population control is one of our security precautions. There's no unauthorized breeding in Jurassic Park.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: How do you know they can't breed?
Henry Wu: Well, because all the animals in Jurassic Park are female. We've engineered them that way.
[they take the baby dinosaur out of its egg. A robot arm picks up the shell out of Grant's hand and puts it back down]
Dr. Ian Malcolm: But again, how do you know they're all female? Does somebody go out into the park and pull up the dinosaurs' skirts?
Henry Wu: We control their chromosomes. It's really not that difficult. All vertebrate embryos are inherently female anyway, they just require an extra hormone given at the right developmental stage to make them male. We simply deny them that.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: John, the kind of control you're attempting simply is... it's not possible. If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh... well, there it is.
John Hammond: [sardonically] There it is.
Henry Wu: You're implying that a group composed entirely of female animals will... breed?
Dr. Ian Malcolm: No, I'm, I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way.

Life, words, The Word...always finds a Way.
Even in a world ruled by retards.

11/26/2012 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good point about sci-fi, Julie.

In light of that, it's no coincidence that the average scifi writer is also an uncreative, boring hack.

It's like the difference between Star Trek the original series which was essentially conservative, had good stories and where God was mentioned vs Star Trek The Next Generation, which was a leftist fantasy, full of stupid stories, and where God is mentioned only in a condescending ("enlightened") manner.

The latter was also riddled with hypocrisy and moral equivalence which is not surprising.

11/26/2012 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

" But in an evolutionary cosmos, words -- to say nothing of Word -- will always find a way. As they say, supernature abhors a vacuum. Banishing the word "retard" doesn't mean you aren't one, only that you're the last to know."

O-h, I wish I had words to add to that, butt as it's unnecessary, I'll settle for simply seeing it again.

11/27/2012 04:08:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Is there a God other than the one in your Mind?
Is there a God other than the one of your Mind?
Is Mind God?
Or Word?
[Word and Mind thus trump God...but God fools them by being them, and wins by being all thinkable-beable-speakable, and telling not a soul]

11/27/2012 04:29:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

A truly punsterrifical posting.

11/27/2012 04:57:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

OT Warning:

Much as I hate to give Gawker a hit, this is just scary.

More Science! Really, pedophiles are born that way. It's just like being left-handed. The line the writer keeps using is that it is an "orientation". Where have I heard that before? But we are just going to let in one head of the hydra. Right?

11/27/2012 06:16:00 AM  

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