The Monday Morning Idiot's Guide to Cosmic Christianity
I'm just going to jot some of them down in the hope that they might spontaneously tie themselves up or turn themselves into a unified post. If not, then so what? It's only Monday. We should be able to achieve total consciousness by the end of the week, so we have that going for us.
Beginning with the generally not raccommended (because of the turgid tenurespeak) Metaphyics, there is a coonworthy quote by Solovyov to the effect that "All nature strove and gravitated towards humanity, while the whole of history was moving toward Divine humanity."
We've discussed Solovyov in the past, only we spelled it Soloviev. Since I no longer remember exactly what we said -- it's been over five years -- let's remind ourselves.
Ah ha. Speaking of tying up loose ends, Balthasar claims that "Soloviev's skill in the technique of integrating all partial truths in one vision" is such that he is "perhaps second only to Thomas Aquinas as the greatest artist of order and organization in the history of thought."
So it seems that Soloviev is just the man we need to consult if we're feeling at loose ends, looking for that nonlocal area rug to pull the whole cosmos together. Balthasar adds that "There is no system that fails to furnish [Soloviev] with substantial building material, once he has stripped and emptied it of the poison of its negative aspects" -- including Darwin and evolutionism.
To which I say: welcome to the cult! Because isn't that pretty much what we've been doing here the past ten years? And yet, no calls ours
"the most universal intellectual construction of modern times" or "the most profound vindication and the most comprehensive philosophical statement of Christian totality in modern times."
Oh well. In any event,
"The theme and content of Soloviev's aesthetic is nothing less than this: the progressive eschatological embodiment of the Divine Idea in worldly reality."
I'm going to just keep quoting the previous post until it gets stale:
On the one hand, "the Divine Spirit is indeed in and for itself the highest reality, while the material being of the world is in itself no more than indeterminacy, an eternal pressure toward and yearning after the form" (↑).
In turn, "the impress of the limitless fulness and determinacy of God [acts] upon the abyss of cosmic potentiality" (↓). The human state is the conscious meeting place of this metacosmic (↑) and (↓), but only because O has assumed human form and now dwells in human nature.
So we live in a kind of spiritual whirlpool or dynamic process-structure created by the vertical energies of (↑↓), which in turn have a "purifying" effect, somewhat like the rinse cycle in your washing machine, which baptizes the garments in clean water and spins out the entropic impurities.
Soloviev refers to the "conquest" of the nondivine, through which God can "manifest his plenitude and totality and cause it to prevail even in what is opposed to it -- in what is finite, separated, egotistically divided, evil." In other words, the (↑↓) process lifts us out of the closed system of our finite state, while simultaneously "cleansing" us of various personal and cultural parasites.
Conversely, materialism is like trying to wash clothes in the drier. In that case, the impurities are simply baked in, as in the case of tenure.
Soloviev also makes room for the divinization (as opposed to obliteration) of the individual personality, which, of course, is of great interest to a Raccoon, especially me.
Specifically, Soloviev's thought integrates "all partial points of view and forms of actualization into an organic totality that annuls and uplifts all things in a manner that preserves that which is transcended," i.e., you and I. What is specifically preserved -- and this is a very Coonish sentiment -- is
"the eternal, ideal kernel of every person in so far as it has been integrated into the entirety of the cosmic body of God.... There is no ultimate absorption of all things into an absolute spiritual subject."
Again, evolution; it is not as if the Kingdom of God crashes down into history once and for all. Rather, the Kingdom "must necessarily grow into maturity just as much from within," like any other organismic entity.
True, Christ drops into history at a certain point, but it is not as if the human soil didn't have to be prepared for thousands of years, nor does it mean that we don't have to nurture and gradually assimilate this divine explosion as it ramifies through history. Again, timelessness takes time.
As Soloviev explains, this ultimate divine descent becomes a kind of fixed foundation planted within the middle of change, as opposed to being the principle of change. What is therefore sought "is a humanity to answer to this Divinity," that is, "a humanity capable of uniting itself" with this object. Evolution no longer implies an absurd, open-ended nihilism with no ground or goal, but the very basis of hominization and its fulfillment in Homo noeticus.
This then becomes "the active principle of history, the principle of motion and progress," as man evolves toward what he already is in essence, thanks to the grand-me-down of the Son, or our adopted brother. "The outcome must be man divinized, that is, the humanity that has taken the Divine into itself." And vice versa, so that the world becomes "the vessel and the vehicle of absolute being."
Which is nice.
So, is the creation ascending toward the divine, or is the divine coondescending toward the creation? I would suggest that they are ultimately the same movement looked at from different angles. God kenotically pours himself into creation, while we pour ourselves back into God, in a mutual surrender. But only if we are already partially divinized can we surrender at all.
Again, that is just one of the startling innovations of Christianity -- the idea that God "surrenders" to manhood, in the hope of raising us up again. Our task is to surrender to the surrender, so to speak. As Balthasar describes it, "the divine and integral wholeness is answered from the side of created reality by a progressive integration into that integral wholeness," but not before the "glorious descent of Agape," which makes "humanity the object of God's quest." In contrast to the blues musicians of old, we have a heavenhound on our trail.
Nevertheless, it seems that the later Soloviev was considerably more pessimystic than the early, more optimystic Soloviev, which is a good thing. While he never abandoned his Christocentric cosmic evolutionism, as he matured, he developed a much greater appreciation of the Hostile Forces that oppose the evolution, both individually and collectively. Balthasar feels this makes him a much deeper thinker than Teilhard, who had a fair amount of new-age fuzziness and happy talk about him. Teilhard definitely failed to appreciate the Dark Side.
In the case of the left -- and we see this in an astonishingly immature form in the Obama cult -- people really believed that the election of this cunning and transparently mendacious politician would lead to some kind of "transformation of consciousness," or Deepak's "quantum leap in awareness." Please. Leftism can only create a heap of rapacious ants, not any true interior unity.
Here again, this emphasizes the importance of demythologizing the spiritual space, because if you don't, you will simply fill it with your own retrograde fantasies, as does the left.
One would hope that no true conservative is foolish enough to believe that the evil in man can be transformed by electing this or that politician. If anything, a noble man such as Ronald Reagan only makes them hate all the more fervently. The left despises nobility in all its forms, and nobility is one of the first fruits of Spirit. In reducing man to matter, they rob him of his nobility and try to make up for the loss with stolen goodies, thus plunging him further into the abyss.
We have some further application to the News of the Day, being that what was soph-evident in 2009 is now undeniable to all but the permanently insane 30%:
There is "no possibility of reconciliation" between left and right, "because our first principles are completely and irrevocably at odds with theirs, and one doesn't compromise on first principles":
"divisions in the country are as sharp as ever -- as sharp as the difference between the children of earth and the children of Light. Which Soloviev would probably say is the whole point, for "the ways of history do not lead directly upwards to the Kingdom of God," but "pass by way of the final unveiling of the Antichrist, who conceals himself under the last mask to be stripped away, the mask of what is good and what is Christian."
The other day I was thinking of how Obama is not only our first un-Christian president, but our first anti-Christian president. I know we're not supposed to try to read a person's heart, but I don't buy for one moment that he's any kind of normative Christian, which is certainly borne out by his longtime membership in Rev. Wright's inverted church of Christian Marxism.
But Obama is truly the incarnation of impersonal cosmic and cultural forces that vastly transcend him. If you applaud those forces, then you support Obama. But if you see these forces as intrinsically dis-integrating, retrograde, and anti-evolutionary, then you don't. No need to get personal about it.