Friday, December 06, 2013

On Lighting a Match to Illuminate the Sun

All knowledge is conformity to an object. What is the object to which philosophy conforms? For Berdyaev, it "must commune with the primal source of life, and from this draw its perceptual experience." Er, that's a little evasive -- poetic even. Could you say more? "Knowledge is initiation into the mysteries of being, into the miracle-plays of life." C'mon. You can do better than that.

"It is light which blazes out from being and within being as well." That's better. Bi-directional primordial Light: philosophy sheds light on Light, making it an exercise -- or verticalisthenic -- in Light².

This would explain how we may "touch" God -- or rather, vice versa. I was just talking with the Gagboy the other evening about how it takes some nine minutes for the sun to touch us. Likewise, when you gaze at a star, you are being touched by an event that occurred before you were born.

Elsewhere Berdyaev writes that "Knowledge is the sunlight which causes being to develop. Knowledge is creative development, the growth of being in the sun." And since Berdyaev died in 1948, I'm benefitting from his light, which has been traveling since before I was born.

The primordial (upper case) Light alluded to above is God's "energy," so to perceive it is to perceive God, regardless of whether one is consciously aware of the fact. The ancients imagined it was the other way around -- that a beam of light streamed from the eye to its object. But this error didn't prevent them from seeing.

Or at least for that reason. As described in the prologue to John, there are times the light shines in the darkness, but the dorks can't see it. Can't or won't?

He goes on to tell of a man who "was not that Light," but rather, came "to bear witness of that Light." This is the very same Light "which gives light to every man who comes into the world." I don't know about your translation, but my copy respects the Light/light distinction made above, implying that light comes from Light.

So, was Jesus a philosopher? Yes, in the sense that he threw light on Light. But more than that, John appears to be saying he is philosophy as such -- the Word -- which would make him more like Light². If this is the case, then perhaps it might be said that the God/man distinction in him is (or manifests as) the Light/light distinction. Every man has immanent or horizontal light. But what he really needs is transcendent and vertical Light.

Berdyaev puts forth the controversial idea that freedom is prior to being. In fact, this is what makes him a "Christian existentialist," because this radical freedom is the same as the primordial nothingness of a Sartre. For Sartre, man is free, and freedom is nothing, in that it is completely unspecified. Thus, the same condition that makes us free condemns us to nothingness. Freedom is the gift that keeps taking.

Sartre, of course, was a halfwit. But more to the point, he was only half-lit, in that he eliminated -- or deluminated -- the Light. If one does that, one is left with only a tiny fleshlight to try to illuminate the upper vertical, which cannot be done.

In the same hot tub conversation with my son, I talked about how, if one points a flashlight into the dark, it illuminates everything within the beam, but also creates a boundary, beyond which is a black nothing. Not only that, but it can bleach out the subtle light from distant stars.

Doesn't this describe atheism? That is, it is an attempt to illuminate reality with light only. Furthermore, like old Prometheus, atheists are playing with stolen fire.

In any event, to adhere to the immanent light only is to be Prometheus Bound. Which is why scientism is "incapable of proving the very fact of science, the very possibility of man's knowing, for the very posing of the question takes us beyond the limits of science" -- or beyond the immanent boundaries of their little fleshlights.

But in real knowledge -- or knowledge of reality -- "freedom is conjoined with the Logos." And "the Logos is from God, while freedom is from the abyss.... In knowledge, freedom is enlightened by the Logos," the latter of which is also connected to Love.

Thus, "Knowledge completely separate from love is transformed into the will to power, and in this is a demonic element," "just as everything becomes demonic without freedom" (Berdyaev). As such, the Knowledge of which Berdyaev speaks shines in the dark, but the dimlits of the left don't see it.

I met myself in a dream / And I just wanna tell you, everything was alright / Hey now, baby, I'm beginning to see the light....

Here comes two of you / Which one will you chose?

There are problems in these times / But, ooh, none of them are mine / Oh, baby, I'm beginning to see the light...

11 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

The flashlight reminds me of Nadab and Abihu's "strange fire" in Leviticus 10:1.

12/06/2013 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Hot tub coonversation...Hot tub coonversation...Hot tub coonversation...
Where have I heard this before?
Oh, riiiight...

12/06/2013 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I have to be careful because Jacuzzi is very close to J'accuse. Paradise by definition abuts paradise lost.

12/06/2013 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Just finished Up Tight The Velvet Underground Story [Bockris-Malanga] a pretty good read altho' fact-challenged occasionally---they got both Nico's & Cale's Bdays wrong!--- One guy who I didn't see any tribute from re Lou's death, who may be one of the most effected-devastated [fans they had], is
Jonathan Richman

12/06/2013 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This new release of a recently unearthed Tower of Power concert by the classic lineup is GREAT. Just the soul vaccination you need it you have the honky pox.

12/06/2013 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Jonathan Richman -- that brings back some memories. I think I first read about him in Crawdaddy.

12/06/2013 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or maybe Creem...

Actually, I think my world changed when I got ahold of a Mad Magazine when I was eight or something. "Oh, I get it." Been a cynic ever since. Or, to paraphrase Don Colacho, between my cynicism and faith, there's not much room for anything else. Irony, I suppose.

12/06/2013 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

I had this article published in ol' Crawdaddy, 1977

12/06/2013 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

[T of P] Bob sounds like you can singalong
w/ Lou

12/06/2013 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Happed onto a couple Cheever things [remember THE SWIMMER?]

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/3667/the-art-of-fiction-no-62-john-cheever

http://theamericanreader.com/5-december-1961-john-cheever-to-john-weaver-2/

12/07/2013 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I undoubtedly read that article. Used to read cover-to-cover then head down to the record shop to look for new albums.

Yes, kids, there was life before the internet.

12/09/2013 06:30:00 AM  

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