On WTF?! is Wrong with Man: Hx, Sx, Dx, Rx, Tx
We begin with the perennial question asked by every person of soundmind, just WTF is wrong with man?!!!
The Bible -- i.e., Genesis -- has its answer, and it's a serviceable one as far as it goes. However, rabbis are still arguing over exactly what man did to incur his existential guilt. In fact, this is one of the pervasive themes of Finnegans Wake, popping up every few pages without ever specifying exactly what HCE is guilty of. He's guilty -- or at least guilt-ridden -- to be sure, but of what?
The whole book is an absurcular "dreamlike saga of guilt-stained... humanity," freely conflating "Lucifer's fall, Adam's fall, the setting sun that will rise again, the fall of Rome, a Wall Street crash. It is Humpty Dumpty's fall, and the fall of Newton's apple.... And it is every man's daily recurring fall from grace" (Campbell).
In these diverse examples, the one common term is fall, which is a simile borrowed from the world of three-dimensional space. In the natural world there exists gravity, which pulls objects downward. Just so, there is something clearly analogous at work in vertical space -- a kind of psychopneumatic gravity which fuels our fall. Or at least that is our preluminary hypotheosis.
Then again, modern physics has revealed that gravity is actually an effect of the curvature of space. I wonder if there is an analogous curvature in vertical space?
I know of at least one enigmatic pneumanaut who says there is, Boris Mouravieff. Can't track down the exact reference, since my books are scattered hither and yon due to the remodel. But he says something to the effect that there is a kind of entropy at work in human affairs, and that in the absence of regular jolts from the booster rocket of grace, we will find ourselves right back where we started -- as if vertical space is indeed curved.
We'll come back to this idea as soon as we get there, but pay attention to the fact that human spiritual growth can only occur in an open system -- in a system open to transcendence, precisely.
So, I wonder if it is helpful to think of the Fall as an effect of the curvature of pneumatic space? This would account for the obscure source of our guilt. In the case of HCE (a symbol of mankind, i.e., Here Comes Everybody),
"he committed an indecorous impropriety which now dogs him to the end of his life-nightmare." At times "he is said to suffer from an obscure disease, suspiciously venereal, a physiological counterpart to his pyschological taint" (bearing in mind that "venereal" is related to venus, or love; HCE seems to be guilty of loving the wrong thing[s]; could it be that his love is oriented in the wrong direction vertically?).
"Unquestionably his predicament is of the nature of Original Sin: he shares the shadowy guilt that Adam experienced after eating the apple. It is akin also to the bewilderment and confusion that paralyze Hamlet, and it is cognate with the neurotic misease of modern times" (ibid).
Ah, now we're getting somewhere, i.e., how this vertical fall manifests in contemporary dis- and misease. Campbell says that HCE "is torn between shame and aggressive self-satisfaction, conscious of himself both as bug and as man.... He is a living, aching arena of cosmic dissonance, tortured by all the cuts and thrusts of guilt and conscience." But enough about Anthony Weiner.
A recurring tribunal accuses HCE of something, but "in the last analysis, the universal judgment against HCE is but a reflection of his own obsessive guilt; and conversely, the sin which others condemn in him is but a conspicuous public example of the general, universally human, original sin, privately effective within themselves."
One is reminded of Chris Matthews' recent magninnymous apology for racism on behalf of All White People. I mean, what's this guy hiding (and not very effectively)?
But let's not lose sight of our target, the maninfestation of spiritual pathology. I mean, we're all on a spiritual path, aren't we? It's just that in some cases the path leads down into a brimrose primstone lane of pathology. Apparently this latter path is wide and broad, while the other is small and narrow.
I think Voegelin was, above all else, a kind of historical, cultural, political, and anthropological pathologist. He recognized that "it is a matter of life and death for all of us to understand the phenomenon" of this pathology, "and to find remedies against it before it destroys us" (Voegelin).
In our day, the pneumopathology -- the vertical fall away from the transcendent order -- primarily appears in the from of ideology:
"Ideology is existence in rebellion against God and man." Conversely, philosophy -- or mental and spiritual health -- "is the love of being through the love of divine Being as the source of its order. The Logos of being is the object proper of philosophical inquiry; and the search for truth concerning the order of being cannot be conducted without diagnosing the modes of existence in untruth" (emphasis mine).
Why the emphasis, Bob? Because "the movement toward truth starts from man's awareness of his existence in untruth" -- one might say awareness of his fallen existence. But in any event, "the diagnostic [Dx] and therapeutic [Tx] functions are inseparable..."
To put it another way, just about any comprehensive history book on most any subject will inform the would-be pathologist that the patient, man, is sick. And the sickness always involves untruth, say, the systematic untruths of Marxism, or fascism, or National Socialism, or scientism, or positivism, or leftism, or Islamism (the latter with some modifications due to its foe-religious trappings).
The symptoms of this illness include distrust, envy, alienation, ingratitude, rage, entitlement, oppression, auto-victimization, and denial of nature, man, and God (these latter three forming a naturally supernatural trinity -- i.e., man is a kind of middle term who is always dialectically related to nature and God).
And the treatment for each of these involves turning around and facing up and out (toward the transcendent order) instead of down and in (to a world of pure -- and therefore meaningless -- immanence).
To be continued...