Thursday, June 27, 2013

Out of this World: Ideology Eclipses I-AMology

Davie quotes an obscure line by Emily Dickinson: Eternity obtains in time Reversed divinity.

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.

14 Comments:

Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Aye. The Pride and the Prejudice. T'ain't jest a book as you demonstrate so effectively here.

6/27/2013 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Jokes: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/06/whats-the-most-intellectual-joke-you-know.html#comments

6/27/2013 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Schuon concedes that "intelligence can in fact fall into error," but that "for this to happen a volitional factor must intervene...

I am more and more convinced of that the longer I live. Even when we have inadequate information, it is often the result of something in our will or that of another. We are willfully blinded.

6/27/2013 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I believe that is orthodox teaching: that it's the will that does us in, not the uncontaminated intellect.

6/27/2013 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Don't they say sin is located in the will, or something like that?

6/27/2013 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

While it is true, OT, that the spiritual man would not create the technology and the system we have today, I think it is incorrect to assume he would not be creative in the material realm.

We find ourselves in opposition to a world order that is corrupted and intentionally out of sync with the Divine order. Paul talks about grafting into an olive tree in Romans 11. The world system took a good root stock and grafted in a whole bunch of stuff that was worthless and unproductive. We still appreciate the root, but some of the branches need to go.

6/27/2013 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

We're close to be being orthodox at least. It is the will that is in bondage to sin.

6/27/2013 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Open Trench said...

Hi Mushroom:

Your point is well taken. I have assumed spiritual awake people wouldn't be as materially productive as the sleeping ones; I don't have evidence to back that statement up.

Guidance on sin given to me is that it is useful to feel a sense of sin in the early phases of awakening and then it must be dropped off as the tendency to do wrong is naturally effaced by an increase in consciousness and becomes less of an issue.

6/27/2013 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I think that's right. When a person first becomes a Christian, I think it is good to spend some time in the "desert", cut off from pop culture and all, to develop and sharpen discernment. After that, yes, you have to go back into it.

6/27/2013 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

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)."

Yep. The substitution of the "I wish it was" for the "It is". A duh-your-fault glitch in the wetware, transformed into an admirable quality by modernists.

6/27/2013 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

'poems are just "gay sentences."'

That's a nice one! Mewonders: wherefrom cameth?---[among TV i don't watch] -Simpsons? Beavis?
the Ellen Show? Maya Angelou??----where?!

6/28/2013 04:16:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

ps:
Funny related sentence from article just happ'd onto:

'In the spring, graffiti all over Paris read: “We want jobs, not gay marriage” (in French it rhymes).

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/06/the-death-of-a-paris-student-and-the-rise-of-the-fringe.html#entry-more

6/28/2013 04:51:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

[shite sorry for the irresistible pps:]
how would we translate that slogan?:
"We want real jobs not blow-jobs!"...
"More ca-reers! not more 'in the rear's!'"

6/28/2013 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Open Trench, I will have to go back and read some of your previous comments to see if you explain how you came up with your assertion that, "it is useful to feel a sense of sin in the early phases of awakening and then it must be dropped off as the tendency to do wrong is naturally effaced by an increase in consciousness and becomes less of an issue."

Dennis Prager proves this point wrong on his radio show every weekday between 9 and noon PT. I don't often post comments, but happened to be listening to a podcast of a recent DP show this evening that described how flimsy the conscience is against the flesh's desires, for example. And how the struggle against our nature is a lifelong one in all of us. Maybe you are a buddhist or New Ager of some kind, but you might tune in to Prager's "Ultimate Issues" hour (Tuesdays, 11 to noon, PT) if you are interested in an intellectually honest challenge to your point of view on this important issue.

I can't think of anything that is more important re. raising our son than helping him understand that he has (we all have) to fight against his (our) nature. I'm pretty sure that even most saints still struggled against their nature and temptations throughout their lives, from what I've read.

6/29/2013 10:39:00 PM  

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