Out of this World: Ideology Eclipses I-AMology
Now, what could this possibly mean? For we disagree with the man who said that poems are just "gay sentences." Maybe it has to do with this obscure footnote on p. 96 of Splendor of the True, on the nature of "inverse analogy":
"When a tree is mirrored in a lake, its top is at the bottom, but the image is always that of a tree; the analogy is inverse in the first relationship and parallel in the second. Analogies between the divine order and the cosmic order always contain one or the other of these relationships."
I know. Don't bother asking how he knows. He just does. He's a little like Petey in that way, who is all-knowing but quickly becomes either all-bristling or all-evasive when you try to find out how that's possible. Can't tell you how many times I've heard the word IMPUDENCE!
Davie suggests -- and Schuon would agree -- that there can be "only one sovereign subjectivity," a single I AM at the heart of things, and in which our own subjectivity must be grounded.
This parallels the idea that there is but one material world with diverse manifestations -- a view that is much easier to accept thanks to quantum physics, which reveals the field-like nature of material existence.
Looked at this way, we must, as it were, reverse figure and ground, and regard objects as analogous to, say, clouds, which are just local manifestations of a global order of weather.
So, let's posit the idea of a global climate of subjectivity, shall we? Just as in the film Avatar, when we are conceived, we plug into this matrix, not with our hair, but with filaments of desire, love, curiosity, and probably some other things I'm underlooking at the moment.
Bearing in mind Dickinson's poem and Schuon's footnote, Davie says that our subjectivity is actually the reverse of the sovereign subjectivity. That being the case, there will be parallels with God, but also "inverse parallels," so to speak; or just say "image and likeness," both operative simultaneously in vertical space and horizontal time.
For us it takes time to ascend in timeless vertical space, and the drama of our lives has to do with the choices that confront us on the way up -- or down.
Davie: because "it is man's power of self-determination that constitutes both his likeness to God and his unlikeness," the local self "must be capable of orienting itself... either towards self in forgetfulness of God, or towards God in forgetfulness of self..."
This sets up an interesting dynamic, i.e., self-love (or narcissism) = forgotten by God, versus self-abandonment (or -forgetfulness) = remembered by God.
Only one of these can be "real," even though the self-lover is always utterly convinced that he is following the only realistic path, and that the other path is for the credulous and weak.
I used to "think" that. But in hindsight it is clear to me that I only thought this because of a hypertrophied precritical pridefulness aggravated by years of more intense indoctrination in graduate school. Ideology eclipses IAMology.
By extension, I think we could say that the people who are most convinced that they are merely "of" the world are completely out of this world, in a kind of "inverse transcendence."
It is obviously not genuine transcendence (↑), but it also ceases to be mere immanence when it makes such a sweeping characterization of the nature of reality. Mere immanence could make no such statement, because it cannot take an objective stance toward anything.
But in a way -- and Schuon has spoken of this -- the miracle of objectivity is even more miraculous than the miracle of subjectivity. After all, all other animals -- and it can be argued objects -- contain an element of subjectivity. But man alone is capable of objectivity, of standing "outside" or "above" his subjectivity in a disinterested way.
As a matter of fact, Splendor of the True includes a (typically) profound essay called Consequences Flowing from the Mystery of Subjectivity. Reviewing this essay, I see that it flows right along with what we have thus far said about the subject.
The following is both lucidly and beautifully expressed, without a wasted word:
"The first thing that should strike us when we reflect on the nature of the Universe is the primacy of the miracle called intelligence -- or consciousness or subjectivity -- and hence its incommensurability with every material object..., or any creature whatever as an object of the senses."
He then speaks of "the absolute Consciousness, of which our thought is a distant reflection" -- which ought to be sufficient proof "that in the beginning was the Spirit."
And "an evolutionary leap from matter to intelligence is from every point of view the most inconceivable thing that could be." You need to take that quite literally, because it is strictly impossible for intelligence to conceive of its absolute negation (for to imagine it is to exercise intelligence).
This should be axiomatic even to the tenured. Which leads us to ask: just what kind of blindness afflicts them? For it isn't just sightlessness, but a substitution of illusion for vision -- which means a substitution of will or passion for intelligence. Which is again none other than the pride at the heart of man's Primordial Calamity (c.f. Obama).
Which in turn helps us understand the nature of this fall, and exonerates our intelligence as the culpable party (which some fideist approaches come close to blaming, or actually do blame). Yes, intelligence may choose -- hence our freedom -- and therefore choose wrongly. But there are usually identifiable reasons for this, which lie outside intelligence -- which is and must be a reflection of the truth it apprehends.
Schuon concedes that "intelligence can in fact fall into error," but that "for this to happen a volitional factor must intervene -- or more precisely a passional factor, namely, prejudice, sentimental bias, individualism in all its forms."
In short, instead of a humble adequation to reality, the will enlists the intelligence to produce and substitute its own version.
But if we examine these specious specimens, we will notice that they always "proceed from 'hardenings,'" from "forms of dryness," and from "intoxications." Thus, modern man is alternatively dense, desiccated, and/or drunk. He is either a buzzkilling, purse-lipped teetotalitarian know-it-all or just wasted on pride. A dry drunk or a wet drunk. You know them well: let's call them scientistic and pseudo-rational man and political-ideological man, respectively.