Whittle While I Work
The Religion the Almighty & Me Works out Betwixt us
multi-undisciplinary circumnavelgazing around the whole existentialada!
with • Neotraditional Retrofuturism • Mental Gymgnostics • Verticalesthenics • Dilettantric Yoga • Leftwing Ridiculism • Freevangelical Pundamentalism • Advanced Leisure Studies • Comparative Nonsense • Flaming Homilies • Jehovial Witticisms
The Cosmos is our school, The Intellect our Faculty, Truth the first Principal
In other words, he has freedom and he has intelligence, but these two would be literally meaningless in the absence of an object or end. Without an end, knowledge redounds to mere opinion, while freedom reduces to drifting, loitering, or tenure. Instead of a Rational Animal, man devolves to an Opinionated Ape.
Thus Sheed's reminder that, "just as loving what is good is sanctity, or the health of the will, so seeing what is there is sanity, or the health of the intellect."
My father wasn't a churchgoing man, but he would have agreed with the foregoing principles, although he might have formulated them as:
"Do you really expect me to believe that? And don't tell me you didn't know it was wrong." In other words, he put a premium on man's innate capacity to distinguish right from wrong, with no lame excuses.
But as we have discussed in the past, it is man's very capacity for truth that renders him capable of issuing lame excuses. Look at Obama. He, of all people, knows exactly what went down in Benghazi -- just as I, as a six year-old, knew exactly what had gone down with the paint brush and motor oil. The ridiculous lies are a reflection of that simple fact.
Of course, if he were candid, Obama would tell you that he couldn't disclose the truth about Benghazi because it would have threatened his candidacy and therefore placed his entire agenda in jeopardy. The problem there is that his agenda is an even bigger Lie. The biggest, even.
To paraphrase Churchill, truth is sometimes so precious that it requires a bodyguard of lies. More frequently, the Lie is so precious to the liar that it requires a bodyguard of more trivial lies. These are like the flying monkeys that protect the witch.
I just read a book, Stalin's Secret Agents, that documents the shocking extent of Soviet penetration into the Roosevelt government. His administration was full of liars who were able to affect policy in a way favorable to the Soviet Union, most conspicuously at Yalta.
Perhaps even more sinister is when the Lie is accompanied by a bodyguard of trivial truths. This kind of misdirection is another of the left's specialties, and they rely upon it to distract us from what they're actually doing to us behind the curtain.
Speaking of massive lies, I've been receiving a lot of vertical memos lately about the need to confront these in a systematic way. Religion is supposed to do this, but often fails for precisely the reasons articulated by Sheed: it doesn't adequately address climate change -- i.e., the disastrous spiritual cooling of modern man.
But if you have a spiritually infused intellect, you shouldn't see the world the way the flatlanders do -- and not just because you superimpose some byte of dogma over it. In the end, that's hardly better than superimposing any other ideology over reality, as does the left.
Sheed writes that it is not sufficient to simply see "what other people see, plus certain features taught us by our religion." We can't just see the same meaningless world with a few religious patches here and there. This approach is very easy to lampoon. I used to do it myself.
Sheed uses the example of a person with beautiful eyes. Remove one of them and serve it on a plate, and it's no longer beautiful. It's the same eye. What gives?
"The eye needs to be seen in the face; its beauty, its meaning, its usefulness all come from its position in the face; and one who had seen eyes only on plates would never really have known them at all, however minutely he might have examined the eye thus unhappily removed from its living context."
Now, religion is here to provide the ultimate context within which everything is situated. That context is, in a word, God. Science, of course, rips things out of their context in order to analyze and study them. Which is generally fine, so long as one doesn't forget the ripping part.
The lower something is on the scale of being, the less we care about the ripping. For example, no harm is done by studying bacteria in a petrie dish.
But imagine a study in which we ripped children from their mothers in order to investigate the effects of broken attachment. What repels us about Soviet or Nazi science is precisely this ripping of humans from their human context. One could say the same of abortion.
In order to engage in the ripping without guilt, the contextual support of a bigger Lie is necessary, e.g., Marxism or anti-Semitism or scientism. It was the same with American slavery, which wasn't originally racist in character. Rather, like all slavery everywhere, it just was, i.e., a sad fact of life.
Only when slavery came under attack in the 19th century did the slaveholders need to come up with a bodyguard of racist lies in order to protect the institution. It reminds me of how no one ever heard of the "war on women" until it became necessary for Obama to protect an even bigger Lie. Likewise, the doctrine of "diversity" wasn't invented until leftists needed a smokescreen for state-mandated racial discrimination.
Is the person who falls for the Lie culpable? Of course, unless he is literally mentally incapacitated. Intelligence has responsibilities, obviously. More on this later.
So: "Nothing is rightly seen save in the totality to which it belongs; no part of the Universe is rightly seen save in relation to the whole" (ibid).
Which is why it must be One Cosmos Under O, because "the Universe cannot be seen as whole unless one sees God as the Source of the existence of every part of it and the center by relation to which every other part is related to every other."
In other words, only verticality accounts for a coherent, spatially and temporally articulated horizontality; or hierarchy and purpose.
The alternative to this is the pneumapathological condition of spiritual autism, in which nothing is seen in its proper relation to anything else: God to man, man to woman, individual to collective, human to animal, adult to child, etc., etc., etc.
Here is a perfect description of spiritual autism: "The man who does not see God may have vast knowledge of this or that section of being, but he is like a man who should know all about the eye, having never seen a face.... He sees nothing quite right because he sees nothing in its context" (ibid).
This is literally the case in psychological autism, in which the face is not "seen," only its unrelated parts. And since it is not seen, the autistic person is barred from the interior life of the person behind the face.
In an analogous way, the spiritual autistic is exiled from the interior reality of things, the "inscapes" of being. He can know nothing of the phase before he was bearthed and begaialed.
Having said that, it is actually quite rare to find an individual so spiritually impaired that he cannot experience the withinness of things.
It's just that in the absence of proper education and refinement, he descends into various idolatries such as radical environmentalism, "art for art's sake," or some other sentimentalized faux religion. He gets a bit of the warmth (without which life would be unlivable) but none of the Light.
Therefore, he has access to the within, but doesn't get anywhere with it. Without a map -- not to mention the winds of grace -- he just randomly floats around the ocean bewilderness.
When you spend your time just floating, you shouldn't be surprised that your nonlocal muscles atrophy and you fall victim to vertical gravity.
But just like its terrestrial analogue, the gravity is there to help you. It provides the resistance needed in order to engage in your daily gymgnostics and verticalisthenic exorcise of mind parasites, with the longterm fitness goal of increasing your cosmic levity.
But right now I gotta float off to work. To be continued....
It's a little like that distant-but-close boundary of death -- and why we can't find out something only dead men know, or buy back the beat of a heart grown cold (referring again to the Prophet Bob -- no, not me, the one with all the honors).
The infinite "presents itself to us in the mode of withdrawal, of silence, of distance, of being always inexpressible, so that speaking of it, if it is to make sense, always requires listening to its silence" (Rahner).
It is what the rabbis mean when they refer to the Torah as words of black fire written on pages of white fire, i.e., finitude on infinitude -- or perhaps relatively-absolute on absolutely-absolute.
Also, note that as we expand, the wild frontier of the godhead recedes but doesn't shrink or contract. Which is why the cosmic bus has a "way" but no end. The map is straight but the roads are crooked.
In euclidean space the expansion of one sector comes at the expense of the one adjacent.
But in this higher-dimensional non-euclidean space, as we expand, so too does God. This is why atheists have such a tiny godling, and why it is so easy for them to understand and reject their imaginary fiend.
This whole approach ensures that God is always our measure, not vice versa. If we are God's measure, then God is not God. We are.
In reality, we exist by way of analogy to God, not the converse. But for this very reason, you can learn a lot about God by studying his highest and most complete creature.
Speaking of which, the Bible is much more interested in vertical than horizontal creation, an area of confusion for both believers and infidels.
When it comes to horizontal creation, we're happy to accept whatever tentative conclusions science comes up with -- so long as they don't take the word "creation" literally, since nothing can't actually create anything but more nothing. Obviously, only someOne can make something of nothing.
But vertical creation takes place not once upon a time, but always upin a timeless. It doesn't "point back to an earlier moment in time at which the creation of the creature in question took place" (Rahner).
Rather, it is "an ongoing and always actual process which for every existent is taking place now just as much as at an earlier point of time," although "extended in time" (ibid.).
If you need a visual, imagine a sort of (↳) movement. A universe of pure (→) is a metaphysical absurdity. Understand this, and you have sufficient proof of the Creator.
When we say we have a "relationship" to God, we need to look a little closer at this word, relationship. For it is easy enough to understand how we have relations with our equals (other humans) and lesser beings (animals, liberals, and material objects). But how do we relate to that which infinitely transcends us?
By way of analogy, how does a circle relate to a sphere? The circle can think to himself, "I understand the sphere. It's a humongous circle, the biggest one we can imagine!" Or, "it's like the giant circle that surrounds us!" Or, "it's like a circle, only with no outer boundary."
This is an example of how imagination can betray us when try to use it to think of higher things. Just like the subphysical world, the supraphysical world is intelligible but not imaginable.
Intellect and the imagination are very different faculties. Imagination can of course aid intellect, but for most people in the modern world -- especially the educated -- imagination has displaced intellect (for example, via ideology, idiolatry, and plain idiocy).
I recently read a book by an author who is so clear, he could be the anti-Rahner. He's a bit like Josef Pieper, who wrote with such clarity but without sacrificing depth or subtlety or giving me a headache.
I'm referring to Theology and Sanity, by F.J. Sheed.
The author shares the laughty goal of this blog, which you might call Sanity with a capital S. In other words, not the contingent and ultimately meaningless sanity of anthropologists, psychologists, and historians, but the true sanity of the coonical pslackologist, which connotes radical adjustment to WHAT IS. Cosmic sanity, baby.
Funny that sanity and sanctity are only one letter apart. Or that insane and in sin are so close.
"Just as loving what is good is sanctity, or the health of the will, so seeing what is there is sanity, or the health of the intellect" (Sheed).
In the introduction, Sheed is almost apologetic for focusing on the intellect instead of the will, but he has actually hit on the main stumbling block for most people in the modern west (and this was some 65 years ago): that they genuinely cannot wrap their minds around religion but can only submit to what they don't really understand.
In a way, it's like the difference between children and adults. In the formation of a child's soul, you first have to work on the will, because they don't understand enough to reach them through the intellect. But as they grow, it becomes increasingly possible to speak to them of principles and abstract truths.
Milk and meat.
Not much time this morning. To be continued.
I don't have time to track them down, but I've read any number of comments of prominent atheists to the effect that this would be an unalloyed Good Thing, both for individuals and for mankind at large.
For example, Richard Dawkins has said that exposing children to religion is a form of child abuse. And if you accept his premises, you can see his point. It is indeed abusive to inculcate a massive lie in a developing soul. And I will stipulate that one of us is indeed a child abuser.
Back to our gedankenexperiment. We have removed the word God from the human vocabulary. Now what?
"Then man would no longer be brought face to face with the single whole of reality, nor with the single whole of his own existence" (Rahner).
That much goes without saying. Man would be condemned to absurdity and to fruitless searching for an understanding of himself and his existence. Sisyphus would displace Jesus as our archetypal man.
For if we no longer have access to that to which God refers, then we are also exiled from "the single whole of reality as such and the single whole of human existence in the mutual penetration of both aspects" (Rahner).
In other words, liberal fascists can't just get rid of that one offensive word without it dragging down a lot of other things with it. To us this looks bad, but to the leftist it is a good thing. They know better than we do that if you can destroy the keystone, then the rest of the building will topple on its own.
This is why the left also goes after private property with such disgusto. For if you can delegitimize that, then everything else -- life, speech, religion, the rule of law, self-defense, the pursuit of happiness -- comes crashing down as well.
The great liberal fascists -- the cursed FDR, LBJ, and BHO -- all begin with the premise that what's yours is mine; or that the wealth you have created belongs to the state. Nothing about Democrats has changed since Lincoln summarized their philosophy as: you work, I eat.
Actually, that's not quite fair to 19th century Democrats. Now it's you work, I get food stamps.
It all goes together, of course, because the very keystone of our Constitution is the Creator who gives us the rights which the Constitution exists to protect. Remove the keystone, and the document loses all defenses against the predatory state. It loses its very reason for being.
So it is no surprise that the left is always on offense against God and against private property. These are the Twin Towers of the cultural terrorists of the left.
Let's get back to the point of our post, which is the effect upon man's soul when he loses the principle of God. Let's just try to describe the effect like a dispassionate scientists, without getting into whether it is good or bad.
Man "would not notice anymore," observes Rahner, "that he is only an individual existent, and not being as such." He couldn't notice this, for God is the name we customarily give to being as such. Or, as soon as man rediscovers being as such, God will sneak its way back into the human vocabulary.
Since man would be reduced to a mere object in an objective world, "he would remain mired in the world and in himself, and no longer go through the mysterious process which he is" (ibid).
In other words, it would no longer make any sense for man to engage in the business of isness, because our isness would no longer be related to the isness of the whole.
And my isness would be none of your business, so this would also be a loveless world. Oh sure, we'd still have friction between bodies and all that, but to call it "love" would be an abuse of the term.
A godless universe is a loveless universe, for the same reason it is a truthless and amoral universe. Frankly, it's not even a cosmos anymore, i.e., an order, because we'd know that any order we encounter is just a human projection, no more meaningful than the projection of a "Big Dipper" on a bunch of random stars.
We can summarize man's existential situation by saying that he will have lost all notions of his Center, his Origin, and his Destiny (which, in a created universe, are all necessary reflections of one another).
In Rahner's formulation, "man would have forgotten the totality and the ground," which amounts to the same thing, for there is no spatial or temporal wholeness and no privileged cosmic position from which to access and experience them anyway.
The irony here is that the Jews of antiquity were way ahead of the curve when they came up with the idea of forbidding the naming of God. Because as soon as you have reduced God to some human category, then you can toss it out. But God is the uncontainable vector and object of our own undefinable transcendence.
There are two alternatives to this strict kosher orthoparadox, both resulting in false gods: "Both atheism and a more naive form of theism labor under the same false notion of God, only the former denies it while the latter believes that it can make sense out of it" (ibid).
Which is why orthoparadox and perfect nonsense always go hand-in-hand, without any hands.
What do I mean by this? What I mean is that when a hyperdimensional object crashes through four-dimensional history, we shouldn't bloody well expect to be able to capture it in our finite categories, should we? The very nature of the event is going to generate paradox, and indeed, paradox is the only proper way of discussing the situation.
What do I mean by this? "The term of transcendence [that would be God] is indefinable because the horizon itself cannot be present within the horizon."
Obviously, transcendence cannot be dragged back down into radical immanence without destroying it. It is always one step beyond, just over the subjective horizon, thank God.
What do I mean by this? Well, for starters, if this weren't the case, then the world would be flat boring. You know the type, right? What can you say? For them the gedankenexperiment is all too real, and they are the guinea pigs that have been sacrificed.
I prefer the real world of God-infused hyperdimensional evolution, because this way it's a nonstop adventure of consciousness. I know there's a bottom and a top, because I can't reach them.
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