Hazy Cosmic Jive
However -- fool disclosure -- I never pretend the haze is supposed to be helpful to anyone other than its jive author.
Davie draws the critical distinction between a garden variety mangod -- of whom there have been many, both genuine and fake -- and the one possible godman. Recall that this is the same distinction I made with the following two pneumaticons, the first signifying human ascent, the second signifying divine descent:
Note that I said one possible godman. Why only one? I would say because God is one, and because his absolute unicity is sufficiently revealed in this single Incarnation. It must somehow be complete in itself, so there can be nothing that could possibly be added to it: ∞ + ∞ = ∞.
One might say that in Christ, God says everything he wants to say to man -- while knowing that it might take centuries or even millennia for us to unpack the message. After all, we're still trying, aren't we? And has anyone really wrapped his mind around it yet? I don't think so -- which is one of its allures, so to speak. It's a feature, definitely not a bug.
True, there are plenty of explanations, but I have yet to discover one that fully satisfies. Which makes sense, because if we could "contain" this mystery -- or Mister O -- it wouldn't contain Mister I or U. Or in other words, we would be God.
It reminds me of a crack by Schuon to the effect that "the unicity of the divine Object requires the totality of the human subject" -- which is another way of saying "you shall have no other gods before me," and that one oughtta "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" -- i.e., with emotion, will, and intellect, respectively.
Or just say totally. Accomplish this and you will be a certified (↑), but it would be a fundamental error to imagine one is therefore (↓). The former is sanctity -- sainthood -- the latter is the spiritual inflation of a malignant cosmic narcissism. (There is no key for the circle with the arrow, so assume for the purposes of this post that the parentheses above are closed).
Elsewhere Schuon suggests that "knowledge saves only on condition that it engages all that we are."
In other words, at the very minimum, knowledge must partake of being, else it is mere surface chatter, just more words. It must penetrate our every dark corner and infuse the will with its light (for the will itself has no light of its own, or perhaps only the "natural light" of survival and pleasure).
The real Word of God -- ironically -- "is not a word that can be pronounced" (Voegelin) -- at least by us. Rather, it is a Word that only God can speak.
Thus, not surprisingly, this nonlocal Word is going to be more "dimensionally dense" than anything a human can come up with, which is why it is accurate to say that no man could invent a religion, or even a good myth. The real myths are written by both no one and everyone, hence their power, their universality, and their timelessness.
Elsewhere Voegelin makes the gnomic remark that "the fact of revelation is its content."
Wha? This very much reminds me of another comment by someone -- can't recall who -- to the effect that all revelation is exodus -- or that the exodus embodies all revelation. This makes sense to me, because the exodus involves -- depending upon how you want to formulate it -- being lost, or fallen, or enslaved, or confused; and being found, redeemed, freed, or enlightened, respectively.
It happens. Nor can there be an effect without a cause. Therefore the cause of our redemption/salvation/freedom/illumination/sanctity is.... let's just call it O, for now.
Now, it is easy enough to destroy man. In order to do so, you need only remove the possibility of the prior term (O) in the causal equation. If there is no O (in the sense used here), then there is only permanent bewilderness, with no rational hope of exitus.
According to Cutsinger, a genuine religion involves "a salvific descent of the Real into the illusory," which for us redounds to a "discernment between the Real and illusory and a contemplative concentration on the Real." Doing so requires -- or results in -- a kind of "leaping spark," a "direct apprehension of being as object by virtue of being as subject..." (ibid.).
Thus, in the timeless vertical, Revelation = Exodus. Conversely, Ø revelation = Egypt in all its ghastly forms. That is to say, a sophisticated and complex mental slavery is no better than a simple and straightforward one. It's the same pasture. The fences are just spread out a little further. But in our day and age, "an extreme mental dexterity goes hand in hand with a no less excessive intellectual superficiality" (Schuon, ibid.).
The alternative to O is ideology. Not this or that ideology, but ideology per se. All ideology is Death. Voegelin makes the excellent point that ideology is hardly a nontoxic gastime for the tenured, but a disorder, a vice, and a deviance (from human nature). Ideology is an early symptom of what later occurs in death camps and IRS offices. One might say that the 19th century was a prodromal symptom of the 20th.
Why does ideology fail? First, because it is in no way adequate to the Absolute. Second, because it doesn't even try to be, denying it a priori. Which ends as "a psychological game without any relation to the unfolding of our higher states" (Schuon, in Cutsinger).
Nevertheless, (paraphrasing Schuon) to pretend to know the limits of knowledge is to have transcended those limits. Doy!
I'm out of time, so we'll wrap up this hazy cosmic jive with further testimony from today's star witness, Schuon:
"There is in every man an incorruptible star -- a substance called upon to become crystallized in Immortality and eternally prefigured in the luminous proximity of the Self. This star man can set free only in truth, in prayer, and in virtue."
There's a starman waiting in the sky / He's told us not to blow it / Cause he knows it's all worthwhile --David Bowie, Starman