The Monkey in the Middle of the Cosmo-Christic Revolution
Balthasar shares the Raccoon principle that "the true image of God lies in the reciprocity of man and woman" (to which I might add the baby; the tripartite family strikes me as the most adequate earthly icon of God).
In order to eliminate God -- or the vertical, if you like -- the left has succeeded in changing the plain meaning of man, woman, child, and marriage. Now, grace is a force multiplier. I frankly don't understand how a marriage can truly thrive in its absence. Seems a rather foolish and shortsighted thing to exclude it before one even embarks upon the project.
Odd that a complete nobody from nowhere would suggest that though the heavens and the earth may pass away, his words will not. This can only mean -- among other things -- that these words are both prior to and beyond existence: before Abraham was, I AM. This would also explain their peculiar power, in that they must be grounded in a different source. Thus his words possess an "incomprehensible, and yet evident, superiority over all things past and present" (ibid.). Which is why they persist.
The closest analogue would be poetry, which is also "powerful speech" -- or speech that draws part of its power from some extra-linguistic source. Note that this is not just a question of true-or-false in the conventional sense. Dávila has an aphorism to the effect that A work of art has, properly speaking, not meaning but power. Likewise the divine Word: there is meaning, yes, but it is a curious kind of meaning that has the power to perpetually deepen and surpass itself. (So much for being opposed to change!)
So words, if they are not rooted in vertical reality, are indeed like the light of dead stars. Balthasar writes that "Man and his language can certainly 'abstract,' but only as the tree draws its sap up from the earth." Thus, "every spreading of the upper leaves requires a deeper taking root below, otherwise the top breaks" and "everything has to start growing again from below."
Or above rather, since this must be that Upanishadic tree we hear so much about, its roots aloft, its convenient local branches down below. But without that nonlocal tree, what are words, really? Just piles of dead and fallen leaves swept into temporary piles by your crazy deconstructionist gardner.
Furthermore, the mad gardner assures us that the piles have no intrinsic meaning, but rather, are just masks for power. Which is a curious thing, because words, in forsaking their real power, partake of a another. But this latter is merely human power, or the fallen power of the tenured, or of the state, or of the slack-denying agents of the department of Fuck You, Pay Me.
Man is the bipedal creature with one foot in the horizontal, the other in the vertical dimension. The latter "reaches without a break from the spirit through the soul and the living body down into matter" (ibid.). Lately we've been discussing the radical discontinuities between matter and life, life and intellect, Petey and troll, etc. Importantly, the discontinuity is only from the horizontal perspective, or from the bottom-up. From the top-down it vanishes, as per the inverted tree discussed above.
If this were not the case, then there would be no accounting for how "matter blooms into spirit" -- which it is capable of doing because "prior" to this, spirit has taken root in matter. We put "prior" in scare quotes because this is obviously something that is outside time.
This is one of the key principles of the Cosmo-Christic revolution, IMHO -- that there is a simultaneous "corporalization of the spirit" and "spiritualization of the body, neither existing without the other" (ibid.).
In practical terms, this means that "If the body strove one-sidedly to become spirit, without allowing the spirit correspondingly to penetrate the body and become one with it, then man would be striving away from himself into a chimerical self-alienation" (ibid.).
Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man pick apart and destroy. Or at least don't elect such a man to high office, or let him near our children, or place him on the Supreme Court.
Within the vertical there are the Two Pneumatic Winds, which we like to symbolize with the up and down arrows (⇅). Yes, you can try to have one without the other, but it will always end badly.
"[I]n this dual movement man is suspended in the middle, since neither the Dionysian drive back to the material origins, nor the Promethean drive to pure spirit brings him nearer to himself, and the two tendencies cannot be made into one.
"As a product of the maternal earth and paternal heaven he has to turn his face toward both, without being able to see both at once. He cannot find his ground or take his rest in either, or both at once, but only in him who has created heaven and earth, spirit, and matter, day and night" (ibid.).
Obvious when you think about it.
By man's keeping himself open in the suspended center to movement toward the depths, his language is constantly enriched from heaven and earth.... [But] when the mystery of the ground of being fades, then the expressive power of words fades also. --Balthasar
See our progressive troll for the fascinating details.