I Am a Revelation. Up to a Point.
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.