Friday, August 03, 2012

You Can't Handle the Truth. Or Freedom.

In the past we have discussed the "messiah" as understood by W.R. Bion. He used the word as a term of art to denote a general principle that operates across diverse domains, from psychology, to politics, to science, to art, and, of course, to religion.

The messiah is the one who upsets the established order based upon a new insight into, or contact with, the truth of being. As a result, the true messiah always clashes with the establishment, and things usually don't end well for him. Real messiahs have authority but little power. They attract but do not compel.

Conversely, it is as if the prince of this world holds open the door to the corridors of p. for the false messiah. For this knave, the skids are always greased and the action is always affirmative.

For example, the character of R.P. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is an archetypal messiah who injects new life into the tyrannical, suffocating, and soul-crushing environment overseen by the controlling Nurse Rached.

Indeed, even McMurphy's initials -- RPM -- convey the idea of revolution, while "Rached" evokes the rachet, a tool with sharp teeth that permit movement in only one direction.

Thus, McMurphy and Rached exemplify the perennial duality of Slack <---> Conspiracy, or of O <---> Ø. For which reason it has always been in my top five religious films.

Looked at in this world-psychohistorical manner, all can agree that Jesus was a quintessential messiah; even if one doesn't regard him as the Messiah, he is nevertheless the most messianic figure in all of human history, for no one has upset the establishment more than he -- including, ironically, establishments that have attempted to contain and domesticate him.

(On the other side, we would probably nominate Marx for the honor of most destructive messiah, or MVP -- Most Virulent Pneumapath.)

In a very real way, Jesus -- or, let us say the Christ, or Word -- cannot be "organized," even though he must be; this requires a delicate balance, so veering too far in one direction or the other results in Error.

For this reason, it is valid to speak of the eternal complementarity of the Church of Peter and Church of John, even though they are, and must be, the same Church.

Dostoyevsky famously depicted the conflict between messiah and establishment in his parable of the Grand Inquisitor, who arrests Jesus and lets him know that his services are no longer needed. Frankly, he has become a nuisance and just gets in the way:

"[T]he Inquisitor thinks that Jesus has misjudged human nature. He does not believe that the vast majority of humanity can handle the freedom which Jesus has given them." Rather, the grazing multitude must be guided by a vanguard of elevated souls advanced enough "to take on the burden of freedom."

Sound familiar? As I said, it pervades politics. You can't handle the freedom. Let Obama, or Justice Roberts, or Rahm Emanuel, or Mayor Bloomberg, or Harry Reid, or the Chick-Fil-A douche handle it for you. And even without such ratchet-wielding assouls, we also have several protective layers of political correctness to twist people in the necessary direction.

The Inquisitor advances his argument "by explaining why Christ was wrong to reject each temptation by Satan. Christ should have turned stones into bread, as men will always follow those who will feed their bellies."

In the vertical, breaking news from 30AD is still breaking in 2012. Only the names have been changed.

Anyway, Voegelin discusses the messiah principle in his own way, writing that "Every prophet, every philosopher, every enlightened person like a Buddha, a Confucius, a Lao-tse with his doctrine of the Tao, the way, comes as an element of disorder in his society, because he has received an insight into the true order, which is different from the established order.

"Thus, every new insight into order is the beginning of a revolution of more or less considerable dimensions."

As you can see, for the establishment, salutary order will always appear as dangerous and threatening disorder. This is why, for example, the left sees the properly ordered people of the Tea Party as disordered, and the disordered (to put it mildly) children of OWS to be rightly ordered. But only one of these movements can be messianic in nature, because only one of them is organized around a genuine insight into the true order.

We don't see too many political ads here in California, since the state is so deeply disordered that it is considered to be in the bag for Obama. But last night I saw an Obama ad while watching the Olympics. In it he properly notes that we all have a big decision to make in the forthcoming months, one that transcends both candidate and party. Rather, this is a choice between "two very different plans for our country."

Correct, as far as it goes. What he really means is that we have a choice between two different orders, or between order and disorder. In turn, this choice is rooted in the very nature of things.

Our founders had a deep insight into this order, and weaved it into the foundational law of the land.

In other words, it is the purpose of the Constitution to preserve the messianic insight of those who simultaneously declared our independence from tyrants, and our dependence upon the Source without whom our rights are as alienable as the state wants them to be. This is a gift for which we can never hope to repay them, unless it is by preserving it -- in all its explosiveness -- for unborn generations, as they did for us.

But if the founders were to somehow turn up at his door, Obama would undoubtedly school them on the error of their ways -- after all, he is, unlike them, a Constitutional Scholar -- and let them know that the vast majority of Americans cannot handle the freedom they bequeathed to them, and that these feckless incompetents require a vanguard of elevated souls who are wise enough to take on the terrible burden of freedom.

Don't worry. It's covered under Obamacare:

The Nurse will see you now:

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Your Passport to the Promised Land

Yesterday we introduced the idea of the vertical interior exodus, or "esodus," for lack of a better term. I already don't like it. Let's just call it (↑).

For Voegelin, Augustine formulated the problem in a way that has never been surpassed, probably because it cannot be.

This makes sense, for just as God -- O -- is by definition the ultimate category, movement toward O -- (↑) -- would have to be considered the "ultimate activity," so to speak, of existence, since neither can it be surpassed (although one may proceed faster or slower, and passing is allowed on the right).

Augustine writes that within the soul there are two "organizing centers," which he calls "love of self" and "love of God." And "between these two centers there is continual tension: man is always inclined to fall into the love of self and away from the love of God."

Thus, "Exodus is defined by St. Augustine as the tendency to abandon one's entanglements with the world, to abandon the love of self, and turn toward the love of God" (Voegelin). This is "a movement of the heart," a "departure from Babylon" (Augustine).

In terms of chaos theory, we might think of these as as a kind of bivalent phase space of subjectivity in the familiar "crazy-cOOneye," drunken TOOts, or infinity pattern, like so:

It could also be symmbolized O <---> Ø.

Again, for human beings, it is the in-between that counts. We must tolerate this tension, for it is where "new insights into order occur." In turn, these insights give direction and pattern to the vertical exodus.

Outside this tension, "progress" of any kind would be literally inconceivable, for one would either be plunged into the nescience of Ø or into the omni-science of O. Not for nothing does Moses "see" the promised land but never arrive there. If he had, then world history would have ended right then and there.

So "the tension between the established order and the new insight yields a new order of higher validity"; and it is "higher" because closer to O. However, we can never "see" the closeness per se; rather, we can only harvest the fruits of the insight, so to speak.

Analogously, imagine a pre-scientific people that stumbles upon a superior method of agriculture. They have no idea how it works. All they know is that if they keep doing it, they have a more abundant yield. I think this accounts for a certain tendency in religion for ritual to devolve to what amounts to obsessive-compulsiveness.

We'll discuss this in more detail later, but elsewhere Voegelin speaks of how religious symbols -- which are intended to memorialize and engender experiences in O -- may gradually become metaphysically "opaque," and fail to do the job. In a sense, we might say that the tension between O and Ø is lost, and O becomes "contained" by the latter.

This is the well-known problem of the spirit being vanquished by the letter, Word by words, pnuema by pnuemababble. It is also what permits one to deepak one's chopra before the spiritually naive. Walk on hot coals and Unleash the Power Within!, and all that. Such charlatans always promise some magical way to collapse the tension between O and Ø.

Think I'm exaggerating? In his latest assault on grammar, the windi hindi attempts to explain why we aren't immortal, and how we might become so via Good Thoughts:

"The human body consists of hundreds of billions of cells that function perfectly, and if we were single-celled creatures, immortality would be normal." As you can see, he has no idea whatsoever what the word "immortality" means. He also inverts the cosmos, placing algae above human beings. He is half right, of course, since some human beings do fall beneath the level of innocent amoebas.

Back to the †ension and its alternatives. Voegelin points out that for most people, since they don't consciously think about it, it is "objectified by various imageries" or "depicted in very definite colors and incidents."

This is especially problematic for the two-dimensional atheist who has no intuitive feel for scripture, and approaches it more literally than the most abject literalist, i.e., "the world is not 6,000 years old, so God does not exist. QED."

Here is where a great deal of mischief arises, because man has been known to try to eliminate the Tension in ways that are extremely destructive.

There are really two principle ways to accomplish this. The first is much less harmful, as it posits a kind of nonlocal existence beyond this world (e.g., moksha, nirvana) through which one may inscape via egobliteration. There are a number of problems with this approach, one being that you can spend your whole life sitting on a pillow meditating, and achieve nothing. Conversely, if you are successful, you also achieve nothing.

The second type is far more dangerous to the collective. It encompasses "the modern apocalyptic visions of the perfect realm of reason, the perfect realm of positivist science in the Comtian sense, or the perfect realm of Marxist Communism" (Voegelin).

Notice that the political religions of the left always appeal to the "pain," so to speak, of the Tension, and offer a promise of release from it. They have a special insight into the cause and cure of this fruitful tension.

The cure is simultaneously prosaic and sterile -- like Deepak's words above, or Obama's words whenever -- but pernicious in the extreme, for the same reason that it would be dangerous for a physician to pretend to vaccinate people with a fake vaccine. The physician looks for all the world like a genuine healer, and yet, is covertly assuring the spread of disease and disorder.

I need to wrap this up. Let's just say that there is no horizontal cure for existence, because human existence is an orientation in being and not a disease to be overcome.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Exodus and Esodus

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that it would probably take six months for me to explicate everything that has been provoked by my encounter -- and it is an encounter -- with this single book of essays by Voegelin. Some of my recent posts are based on only a sentence or two, so it's been slow-going. And even then, I'm only hitting the personal highlights.

I'm tempted to dilate on the meaning of such evocative "richness," since the vast majority of prose is safely dead before it even soils the page. But I think I'll just move on to the next chapter, which is called Configurations in History -- of which one might well ask: "are there any? Or do we simply conjure and superimpose a bunch of likely stories over the riot of the past, and try to squeeze timepast into a teapot?"

Whatever history is, human beings are without a doubt in it, if not fully of it. Which is why, for example, political campaigns spend millions of dollars in the effort to convince us to accept one historical narrative over another.

Obama's stenographers in the MSM, for example, desperately wish for us to believe that Romney's recent journey to Europe and the Middle East was a gaffe-ridden disaster instead of a righteous pimp-slap to Dear Leader. Once one bows before the narrative, the facts take care of themselves. Some appear out of nowhere, like a ghostly electron in a quantum field, while others vanish in the same way.

Come to think of it, Bohr's complementarity principle might be fruitfully applied to historiography, in that the past essentially consists of a kind of infinite field that has no pattern until we consciously observe it.

But clearly, no person could ever access "the" total pattern of history, any more than he could understand the total economy -- or even the totality of his own mind. The only exception to this would be revelation, i.e., a vertical memo from "outside" or "above" the system.

Among other barriers, history is obviously still happening, and it is impossible in principle to understand the meaning of a process until it is completed.

Indeed, Voegelin cautions us that "if any present solution to problems is taken in a doctrinaire manner, as giving the ultimate truth about history, this is one of the gravest misunderstandings possible" (emphasis mine). Why so grave? For starters, there are about 100 million graves from the 20th century that stand as mute testimony to the gravity of such doctrinaire "solutions." It takes a lot of human eggs to make a leftist omelette.

Socrates' famous wise crack about "knowing thyself" is of course sound and timeless advice. But like all other kinds of knowledge (as discussed in yesterday's post), we can only know ourselves at all because we cannot know ourselves completely. But someone must know us, or self-knowledge would be inconceivable.

Could history have the same structure? Yes, but only for the believer, who is indeed vouchsafed an intuition of the total meaning of history, for as Christ is "Word made flesh," he is also, and quintessentially, "future made present." This doesn't mean that history stops per se -- a common misunderstanding of the first generation of believers -- but that the end is "present," so to speak, and accessible within time.

So history is obviously "incomplete," since it "extends into an unknown future." And yet, via such modalities discussed in yesterday's post -- e.g., faith, hope, and love -- we hail the future from afar with a kind of ontological confidence that the unbeliever can only match with either hypocrisy or a comforting fairy tale.

Speaking of escapes -- and inscapes -- from reality, Voegelin focuses on one particular category of history that has dominated the West, exodus. Generally speaking, "When a society gains a new insight into the true order of personal and social existence, and when it [abandons] the larger society of which it is a part when it gains this insight, this constitutes an exodus."

This pattern may be traced back to father Abraham, who embarked upon "the first formal exodus of which we have any knowledge."

Is that true? Yes, in a mythopoetic or "deep historical" way. But there were also a number of purely anthropological or even "Darwinian" exoduses prior to that, for example, the exodus from the trees to the open savannah, or the exodus out of Africa 100,000 years ago, give or take.

More recently there was the American exodus from Europe, which was indeed based upon "a new insight into the true order of personal and social existence," i.e., that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

This wasn't a new insight per se, but the first time a human group broke off from the larger society of which it was a part, and explicitly defined itself in this manner. For this very reason, Jefferson suggested a design for the Seal of the United States depicting the children of Israel being led out of the larger society of Egypt based upon their own "new insight" into the nature of reality and a fabulous recipe for cheesecake.

This pattern has a more general continuity with natural selection, out of which new species are supposed to emerge based upon geographical, behavioral, and/or temporal separation and isolation from the main group.

I can only speak for my own species, but this is certainly how Raccoons emerged, via intellectual and spiritual separation -- what we call exodeus -- from the larger group. Which would also explain my tiny select readership.

Because of our evolutionary divergence, Coon food is inedible for most humans (it causes severe gas, from what I've been told), whereas we couldn't last two weeks on a strict diet of typical human food offered by the MSM or grown by tenured subsistence farmers in the parched groves of academia.

Supposing one has a new insight into the true order of reality, what is one to do? First of all, "there is always the question whether to emigrate from the present order into a situation in which the new order can become socially dominant..." The South, for example, decided to found a new confederacy based upon the insight that it is good for one man to own another. But was it true? No, that would be impossible, for if all men are created equal, it is not possible that some men are born in chains.

Meanwhile, what was once an exodus -- an exterior phenomenon -- has now become an... what would be word? Esodus, I suppose. This is convenient, because in certain ways it parallels the important distinction (but not separation) between exoteric and esoteric religiosity, or outer and inner, respectively.

At any rate, "The completion of this idea occurs in Christianity, in which this conception of the exodus has become a fundamental catagory..." (Voegelin).

Way out of time. To be continued...

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...







Monday, July 30, 2012

Dim and Dimmer

To review: we've been discussing man's 40,000 year search for order, an order which has personal, social, political, and spiritual dimensions. That being the case, it wouldn't surprise us to discover that these various orders are -- or should be -- a reflection, instantiation, or declension of the One Tall Order.

We laft off with a description of the leftist (or any other ideologue, left or right, up or down) who refuses or suspends the Search in favor of a special gnostic formula -- what Voegelin calls a second reality -- which he then attempts to impose upon the world. Which looks something like this:

Voegelin describes such an ontic eclipse -- in which the celestial light is blotted out by human darkness -- as follows: "the time in which the ideologue places his construction is not the time of existence in tension toward eternity, but a symbol by which he tries to pull the timeless into identity with the time of existence." This is a key principle, and one you will need to bear in mind as we proceed over the subsequent terra firma and infirma.

For us, the most adequate way to express this point is via unsaturated symbols, otherwise, ironically, we will end up making the same mistake as the ideologue, and reduce reality to some simplistic and precogitated formula.

Thus, we say that man lives -- and must live -- in the space between Ø and O. Indeed, this is what it means to be a man. A pessimist would say we are condemned to this space. The optimystic calls it a gift, or an open presence (more on which below).

O is the realm of the eternal, of perpetual creation, of vertical forms and energies, of God. We can all agree -- both theist and infidel alike -- that no man can be identical to it, even while no man can be radically apart from it.

In other words, whether or not God exists, we can all stipulate that you and I are not That. Where we differ with the infidel is over the status of Ø. For him, Ø is all there is, and O is none of our isness.

But for us, human existence specifically takes place in this luminous space between time and eternity, between O and Ø. O provides direction to, and confers meaning upon, life (i.e., the Search), even if (or because!) we can never reach it -- any more than we could reach "music" as such, as opposed to simply creating and/or enjoying more of it.

Thus, one could say that we know God exists because we can never reach him. Only the atheist believes otherwise, although he obviously wouldn't formulate it in this manner; nevertheless, it is axiomatic that if God doesn't exist, only He knows it.

We're not just being cute here. Rather, this is essentially identical to Aquinas' point about the possibility of knowledge. Only because things are created are they intelligible; and only because things are created are they not ultimately intelligible (by us). We can always know more and more, without ever reaching the limit. In the absence of our divine sponsor there would be nothing to know and no one to know it.

In other words, the human station gives unique access to truth, even while placing constraints around it. Conversely, the person who rejects the principle of (vertical) creation simultaneously rejects intelligence and/or intelligibility, which, in our world, amount to the same thing (i.e., are two inevitable sides of the same fact of Creation).

Or, put simply: if everything is Ø, there is no reason to believe that anything is true, because there is either no truth to be had or no possibility that human beings could ever know it (or know if and when they know it).

So, here we are, stuck in the middle: Ø <---> O

As most of you know, there is also a "center of gravity" at either end -- an Attractor. Thus, the spiritual life involves first and foremost applying oneself to --> O, which is really (↑). This is repentance, or metanoia, or being vertically "born again" (or the cosmic reorientation of a formal rebirth into the vertical).

The ideologue essentially squeezes Ø and O together, in what might be schematized Ø --> • <-- O. Instead of a harmonious relationship of love in the space between O and Ø, one might say that O is "raped" by Ø -- literally taken by force (instead of loved and revered).

For the ideologue, this tightly fused • becomes "everything" (recall the Oclipse pictured above). In other words, even though O is denied at the outset, it unconsciously informs • (notice how the Light still emanates at the edges) and gives it a religious character that comes out in the form of the all-too-familiar self-righteousness, sanctimony, fanaticism, demonology, conformity, heresy, pressure to convert, etc. It is what happens when Ø is elevated to O or O is reduced to Ø.

Continuing with the above passage by Voegelin in paragraph three: although "the reality of tension between the timeless and time is lost," "the form of the tension is preserved by the dream act of forcing the two poles into oneness. We can characterize the ideologue's 'post-Christian age,' therefore, as a symbol engendered by his libidinous dream of self-salvation." (The dream is libidinous, or grasping, so to speak, because it doesn't preserve the love that guides -- and is the fruit of -- the passionate search for O.)

Sometimes -- or maybe even always -- these insights are better expressed via poetry, since one might say that poetry is the language par excellence of the Luminous Space that profane language alone has difficulty reaching. Thus, Voegelin quotes Eliot, who wrote of how History is a pattern of timeless moments, and the point of intersection of the timeless with time.

The latter is precisely how I would express it. Only man has a history -- and knows it -- because only man has access to this point of intersection between time and eternity. Only man "partakes of both time and eternity," and therefore "does not wholly belong to one or the other."

Let's try to bring this down a couple of notches, and give it a more phamiliar phenomenological phlavor. In this luminous space we inhabit -- which we symbolize (o) -- "There appears to be a flow of existence that is not existence in time." Voegelin uses the term presence "to denote the point of intersection in man's existence; and the term flow of presence to denote the dimension of existence that is, and is not, time."

Therefore, so long as we are human, we exist in this "flow of presence" we call time and history. It is obviously where "evolution" and "development," i.e., meaningful and progressive change, take place. But what exactly is "developing"?

If we consider this space vertically, I would compare it to an adjustable lamp switch -- a dimmer, if you will. Or a brighter, if you will in the other direction.

Let's look at this familiar model, which has a dimmer switch above a standard on/off switch. To live in an ideology is to turn the bottom switch off and be done with it. The Search is over. Now it's just a matter of converting everyone else.

The believer, however, lives with his invisible hand on the dimmer switch. Right now, for example, as I write, my dimmer switch is turned way up. But pretty soon I'll have to go to work and turn it down. Not all the way, mind you, unless it turns out to be an unusually bad day.

But the image of that particular dimmer switch is misleading because it is too linear. In point of fact it is circular, like so:

And that reminds me of something Voegelin said on p. 65: God alone knows who is nearer to that end that is the beginning. Since we are not O, we cannot stand outside O and objectively see how close or distant we are. How do we get around this? Two ways, mainly: "know them by their fruits" and the "plentiful harvest." The former give a kind of orientation, the latter a forward momentum.

Regarding the proximity of end and beginning -- or alpha and omega -- Voegelin notes that this is why "Christ is both the 'historical Christ' with a 'pre-' and 'post-' in time, and the divine timelessness, omnipresent in the flow of history, with neither a 'pre-' nor a 'post-.'" You know, before Abraham was, I AM.

Indeed, Matthew 1 presents a kind of standard horizontal genealogy, in which so-and-so begets what's-his-name, whereas John 1 presents the perpetual vertical (or circular) logoalogy that occurs outside time, at the brightest end of the dimmer switch ("the Word was with God, and the Word was God").

One might depict this circular activity as the ceaseless flow of (↑↓).

And if you're still with me, this would explain why the Fathers attempted to "express the two-in-one reality of God's participation in man, without either compromising the separateness of the two or splitting the one," and because "the reality of the Mediator and the intermediate reality of consciousness have the same structure."

You might say that the Platonist (or Vedantin) attempts to leave the dark cave for the bright light, whereas Christ installs a dimmer switch in each mancave -- i.e., the so-called cave of the heart.