Tuesday, July 02, 2013

I Am a Revelation. Up to a Point.

Time only for a short post. Got caught up watching the Zimmerman trial at the excellent legal insurrection.

The entire spectacle is an absolute horror -- a sort of concrete universal, or objective correlative, of the same retaliatory statism that drives the IRS. The final common pathway of endstage leftism is the institutionalization of persecution for thoughtcrime, or the criminalization of politics.

I often think about the problem of how, once contained by the mind, revelation loses its power to shock -- to creatively disassemble, rearrange, and reconstitute. Instead, it just becomes routine, part of the endless horizontal stream of information, when its whole purpose is to verticalize its recipient.

It is as if, although man is surely born with an implacable sense of wonder, he does everything within his power to nullify it and render himself just a blah-blah-blasé commonplace.

Oddly, humans also have a tendency to elevate the commonplace to the wonder-full, e.g., Obama. But this always ends in dis-enchantment. Hence Iowahawk's immortal tweet that The unicorn rots from the horn.

Along these lines, there must be a constant dialectic between fact and experience, and by extension, dogma and gnosis (i.e., between (k) and (n).

Voegelin is of the belief that this balance was upset by what we might call a new irruption of spirit -- of direct mystical experience -- in the 13th century.

Ultimately the Church was unable to contain this irruption, which led directly to the Protestant rebellion, and, by extension, the secular materialism that dominates the contemporary mentality. (We will return to this idea in a later post.)

It is cosmically ironic that the last word in both word and wordlessness appeared in the 13th century, in the form of Thomas and Eckhart, respectively. Thomas's rational-ization of revelation has never been surpassed, nor has Eckhart's revel-ization of the ratio.

If you don't grasp that last formulation, I mean by it an experiential plunge into the very nature of the human subject, which turns out to be a living revelation of God.

To back up a bit, there is more than one form of revelation. In its narrow sense it is scripture. However, in the Judeo-Christian view, history is a revelation, as is the cosmos itself.

But the subject to whom the revelation occurs is also a revelation, which both follows from and leads to the mirroraculous doctrine of man's deiformity. Yes, You -- or I, rather -- are a revelation.

Davie writes that "the eye through which we see is not part of the visual field, but a limit of it." Just so, the I "is not a part of the world, but a limit of it."

What would life be like without this limit? I don't really know, but it seems that LSD could occasionally obliterate all limits, leading to a state of blind terror. Then again, maybe it's like a panic attack, in which case I do know.

I'm sure Schuon never ingested LSD, but then, he didn't need to. In a memorable passage, he suggests that if we weren't contained and restricted by the body -- in particular, within the five senses -- "objective reality would tear through us like a hurricane." The world "would rip us into pieces and at the same time crush us."

Exactly. Like being swallowed by a hippo.

The absence of containment -- of a skin-boundary frontier -- would expose us to a God's-I view of the world, which would be approximately like a visit to the interior of the sun:

"we would become transparent; we would be as if suspended over an abyss or rushed through an incommensurable macrocosm, with its entrails exposed, so to speak, and filled with terror."

I know. I hate when that happens.

So, our embodiment is a mercy, compared to the alternatives. In its absence "we would find ourselves ceaselessly faced with a totality of spaces and abysses and a myriad of creatures and phenomena, such that no individual could endure the experience."

It would be nominalism on stilts: a trillion billion particulars, with no possibility or reduction by containment. A bewildering eternity of catastrophic novelty.

It seems to me that our sense of wonder is like the residue, or a vertical recollection, of this ontological situation. We have just enough wonder to destabilize any pat answer to life's enigmas, but not enough to obliterate our very selves.


Blogger mushroom said...

Exodus 33:17-23

Moses wanted to see the glory of God, but to look straight into the face of God, i.e., pure, unfiltered Reality, is to be shredded. So God said, Stand up here on this rock and when I pass by, I'll put you in a cleft of the rock and put my hand over you until I've passed. Then you can see the glory that lingers.

So God confines and binds us in order to reveal to us what we are ready and able to perceive and understand.

7/02/2013 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"we would become transparent; we would be as if suspended over an abyss or rushed through an incommensurable macrocosm, with its entrails exposed, so to speak, and filled with terror."

That happened to me once when I ate some bad fried rice in the Phillippines. It was a week of hell, I tell you.

7/02/2013 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

The older I get, the more I realize how blessed we are to have God given boundaries...not to restrict us or imprison us, but to protect us and actually liberate us.

Aye. without boundaries we wouldn't...couldn't have liberty.

Not to be confused by manmade boundaries, many pf which do enslave.

7/02/2013 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Pf is the new of.

7/02/2013 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Also, what Mushroom said.
No wonder the left hates boundaries, except their own, which is far more restrictive than sensible boundaries.

Or, rather the left wants to obliterate the boundaroes God has given us and impose their own hellish boundaries which is a prison.

7/02/2013 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Btw, I like the title of todays post, Bob.
Very deep. To a point. :)

7/02/2013 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

"Tell All The Truth"

Tell all the truth but tell it slant,
Success in circuit lies,
Too bright for our infirm delight
The truth's superb surprise;

As lightning to the children eased
With explanation kind,
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.

- Emily Dickinson

7/02/2013 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...


7/02/2013 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Tanis!
It's a pleasure to see ya! :^)

7/02/2013 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent and very apropos poem.

7/02/2013 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Ahh, the secret to raising children...love and boundaries...or is that redundant?

7/02/2013 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

This one struck the other day :

"Honor thy father and mother": may also mean to honor your archetypes or fatherness or motherness as such. Your future self as father or mother (perfected). Your specific meant-of-you parents you should become. In other words, say in my case, the teleological father that God pleas that I become for my child - I must always keep my future me as father (perfected) in mind, it says. There is some type of faith required of it. Or assigned to it.
With this mental icon, you may still honor fatherness and motherness even if your actual parents, say, abused you.

Help me out here, Bob.

7/02/2013 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Honoring your father and mother could mean living and acting in such a way that someone observing you would say, "You must have had wonderful parents." We should be a credit to our parents, even if they were idiots. At least they didn't manage to screw us up.

7/02/2013 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Hey, Mizz E!

Is it safe to ask how the elopement went?

7/02/2013 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

It seems to me that our sense of wonder is like the residue, or a vertical recollection, of this ontological situation. We have just enough wonder to destabilize any pat answer to life's enigmas, but not enough to obliterate our very selves."


7/03/2013 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

-Just a quik footnote to add reminder re 'smashan sadhanas' or the Indo-Tibetan yogic practice of spending nights or living at cremation grounds, where opportunities are embraced rather than shunned for ego boundary-terrifying challenges to one's calm & sanity---ghost & demon encounters encouraged as ideal for emptiness-compassion in extremis training

7/03/2013 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

I was looking up at the many stars in the warrumbungles national park, nsw , australia. Known for its clear skies. At one stage i said "thabkyou god for this beauty." And at that precise moment, a very bright greenish shooting star streaked for a few sevonds like a flare. Magical

7/07/2013 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Jules said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/07/2013 07:35:00 PM  

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