Circumnavelgazing Heaven and Hell
But the same within may manifest in different withouts. As alluded to yesterday, there is no reason why the soul cannot persist "in some other embodiment appropriate to the environment in which it is placed." Thus, "The spiritual body is not... some sort of ghostly double," but rather, "the whole Spirit-enlivened man in that other environment we call 'heaven.'"
We might say that heaven is the sensorium of God. A sensorium is essentially the totality of one's interior, everything one may perceive, know, feel, and imagine. When one performs a mental status exam on a patient, one occasionally sees what is called a clouded sensorium, which is an essential feature of delirium.
But in reality, our sensorium is always more or less clouded, isn't it? Perhaps not in the upper atmasphere, but herebelow there are winds of passion, fogs of war, icy glances, glacial progress, and many, many shitstorms.
The air is boiling -- sun on my back / Inside I'm frozen girl -- I'm about to crack / They may fix the weather in the world / Just like Mr. Gore said / But tell me what's to be done / Lord, 'bout the weather in my head --Donald Fagen, Weather in My Head
So, we are "enabled by grace" to actualize the divine intention, which is a willing on earth what must be accomplished "instantaneously" in heaven. In so doing, "we become instrumental causes in the matter of our own salvation, which is none other than the extension of his Kingdom," or a "'making outer' of what is 'inner.'"
I suppose it could work both ways. We can have the experience of heaven without -- say, in the beauty of the world -- and assimilate it to the within. Even so, to witness the beauty of the world in all its metaphysical transparency is already to be within the divine presence. Davie writes that the inward -- or vertical -- is not "somewhere else," but rather,
"a space that is cointensive with the outward spread" of the world of things. Thus, "corresponding to every point on the horizontal plane" is "a vital INNER axis."
These are those little wellsprings dotting the landscape, which call out and invite us to the other side. I was just reading yesterday in Voegelin's Israel and Revelation that these were among mankind's first spiritual discoveries. It is probably accurate to say that no culture has been unaware of them, and that we all -- even the most mushheaded atheist -- orient ourselves around them.
These two-way terrestrial power points have a funny Greek name that is just too obvious to merit a gag (for even I have standards): omphalos.
The omphalos is "the navel of the world, at which transcendent forces of being flow into social order." Everybody's got one! It is the "gate of the gods," where "the stream of divine being... flows from the divine source," the "civilizational center from which the substance of order radiates, with diminishing strength, toward the periphery." You might say that this navel is simultaneously an "innie" and an "outie" (okay, so I have no standards).
Really, it is the source of civilizational mojo, and to lose contact with it is to begin the slide into exhaustion, decadence, and auto-destruction. Although a *mythological* construct, like all true myths it illuminates a great deal about our contemporary crisis, because the left attempts to systematically bury, deny, denigrate, and destroy all our civilizational omphaloi and replace them with their own sacred cowpies, e.g., the right to marry one's double, or the right to a dead baby, or the right to beat a neighborhood watchman to death.
To be "in love" is, in a sense, to "share the same interior space" (Davie). Thus, perhaps heaven is "a community of love," characterized by "the mutual internality of those who love one another in God, and God in one another." Intersubjective, only transposed to the highest key.
But if there is heaven, there is hell. Which is what? Schuon has a plausible answer:
"Hell crystalizes a vertical fall.... Those who enter hell are not those who have sinned accidentally, 'on the surface,' so to speak, but those who have sinned substantially or with their 'kernel,'" e.g., "the proud, the wicked, the hypocrites -- hence all those who are the opposite of the saints and the sanctified."
The possibility of a vertical fall implies that the omphaloi run in two directions; or, that there are holes in the horizontal landscape that lead both up and down. I've been in both, so I'm pretty sure about this.
Come to think of it, there is no question that people can mistake the one for the other. Each features a kind of transcendence, except that the downward path engenders the kind of reverse transcendence we see in ideology.
To take the most obvious examples, Marxism and National Socialism drew people into a kind of transcendence, resulting in the hypnotized mob as opposed to the community of love alluded to above. Call it hell on earth.
In this context, an Al Sharpton is indeed "reverend," but in an inverted manner. And his bloodthirsty community of hate is darkness visible.
Likewise, Obama is a transcendent genius.