Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Don't Just Stand There, Do Nothing!

I couldn't find the exact image I was looking for, but it would be somewhat like a cloverleaf freeway interchange, only closed in on itself:

Plus, there would have to be a multitude of roads, I suppose one for each person. Kushner says that we are all

"on the same clover-leaf," except all the exits "lead to another ramp. Which is itself a circle. It appears as though you are getting off, but you are only getting on. And this getting on is itself another exit."

All together now: can I buy some pot from you?

This is again the Ultimate Cosmic Circle described by Maximus the Slaximus. It takes place in "religious time," or what we call the vertical. Thus, "religious ritual intends to sustain the circle of return," while "religious myth means to remember it. To keep it ever in our awareness."

You know, exodus. And, just as importantly... what would be the complementary antonym? Influx, ingress, inflow, inpouring. But every exscape is an inscape, in a spiral of exitus-reditus.

This isn't really abstract, but rather, a concrete description of the vertical roadmap. Or, as Kushner implies, the purpose of religion is to put flesh on its bones, or cars on the road. In short,

"There are two ways of experiencing the flow of time. In contemporary secular time" -- the horizontal -- "time is infinitely and irreversibly linear. It is without beginning or end." Most importantly, this is quantitative time. We can assign each moment with a distinct number, e.g., 12/09/2014 @ 8:09. It's here and then it's gone forever.

But humans wouldn't be human without awareness of qualitative time. For example, we are in the "Christmas season." What is more humanly real, the experience of this season -- with all its sights, smells, sounds, and evocations -- or "12"?

In the vertical, "the flow of time began with God's word and will likewise end with His word. And within these two termini there are identical circles of time. Some are larger, some smaller" (ibid,).

This implies that vertical time is fractal: circles within circles within one ultimate Circle. It does not consist of objects per se, but processes in motion. Perhaps what are thought of as objects are more like the visible whirlpools in a river, or the jet stream, or tornados.

Now, about that word that begins and ends in God. It must really be a flow of language, or in other words, speech. What is the word? Or, of what does the speech consist? I would suggest that a good candidate is Nothing.

Which can easily be taken in the wrong way (like an off-ramp into the barren desert of tenure). In order to understand it, we need to shift gears -- or books -- and dip a toe into the River of Light. For this is not the Nothing of the nihilist crybabies. No, Donny. Those men are just cowards.

Rather, this is "the nothingness that lies just beyond every something as its ultimate expression and transformation into another something: the beginning of being. And the end of being." It is not something less, but rather, the eternal something more. It is not a deficit but excess of light.

This is also "the Nothingness that, of necessity, joins every something" -- like the white spaces between the black letters that pull the rug of scripture together. "When the children of Israel left Egypt they passed through this Nothingness and were transformed by it. They had to quit being who they were, slaves," and become something else.

Which reminds us of how liberalism reverses this process, and restores the state of slavery to free men -- who then complain that we are enslaving them! However, this regression is understandable, since the concrete something of victimhood is, for many people, preferable to the nothingness of freedom.

This nothingness is the divine bewilderness. Thus, "In every generation, each Jew" -- I would say each person -- "must experience himself as though he personally were freed from Egypt."

The paradigm expression of this in Judaism is Shabbat. For one-seventh of our weekly universe we are bidden not to rest, but to do Nothing. --Lawrence Kushner

The great mystical cloverleaf area rug:

17 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Another image that might work well here would be something in Celtic knotwork.

12/09/2014 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"But humans wouldn't be human without awareness of qualitative time. For example, we are in the "Christmas season." What is more humanly real, the experience of this season -- with all its sights, smells, sounds, and evocations..."

This recalls something at least all too real: when depressed, the next minute is excruciatingly long. Jammed packed, takes all day to do nothing, and so forth..
Which is to say, if time is qualitatively and humanly real, it is most certainly personal. Eisenstein may back me up on that.

12/09/2014 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

An Escher cloverleaf.

12/09/2014 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...the concrete something of victimhood is, for many people, preferable to the nothingness of freedom

If it weren't for bad luck, they'd have no luck at all.


It's like people who want to talk about how sick they are. Without oppression, I'd have no excuse to be sitting around the house beating my girlfriend and doing drugs.

12/09/2014 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

For example, we are in the "Christmas season." What is more humanly real, the experience of this season -- with all its sights, smells, sounds, and evocations -- or "12"?

Which reminds me, once again having kids seems to be a good key for keeping the "spirit" of the holidays alive. For me, anyway. I didn't feel much anticipation - positive or negative - about Christmas, pretty much since reaching adulthood. When you know there's going to be no churchgoing and you don't have kids, it's mostly just an excuse to visit with family, assuming that's happening. It's not all that special, anyway. Once the kids are old enough to get interested, though, the spirit gets a renewal, too.

YMMV, of course.

12/09/2014 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Modern liberalism leads to Egypt (slavery) and Classic Liberalism leads to the Promised Land (liberty).

I believe you are right, Bob that every generation must make a choice between the two.

12/09/2014 02:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

All this talk about clover leafs have given me a hankerin' for some Lucky Charms.

12/09/2014 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous The Leprechaun said...

No one better touch me lucky charms!

12/09/2014 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Now, about that word that begins and ends in God. It must really be a flow of language, or in other words, speech. What is the word? Or, of what does the speech consist? I would suggest that a good candidate is Nothing."

Yep. Not just nothing, but that nothing which makes anything worth being something, possible. That gap mentioned the other day, the space between our gaps which makes choice possible, which while not there, when or choices comport with it, is Truth resonates through us and its nothing and fills us.

That's a big nothing.

Um... can I but some More pot from you?

12/09/2014 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Talk about making your head hurt:

The parade committee selected “Keep Christ in Christmas” as the theme of Thursday night’s parade.

Because, hey, it's a CHRISTmas parade, but somebody's offended that the CHRISTmas parade might about CHRIST:

The theme “alienates non-Christians and others in Piedmont who do not in fact have a ‘strong belief in prayers’ by turning them into political outsiders in their own community,” FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel wrote. “The sentiment of ‘Keeping Christ in Christmas’ does not qualify as a secular celebration.”


Who would even have suspected that the CHRISTmas parade might have any religious connections?

12/09/2014 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Griffin said...

...the concrete something of victimhood is, for many people, preferable to the nothingness of freedom

Well, that's the problem with freedom, and not just the political variety. It requires something of you. It is work. We are constantly hounded by the temptation to just go along, to give up on all this work, to take the easy route, to let someone (or something) else decide what we're going to do today.

Of course, as my momma likes to say, any dead fish can swim downstream...

12/09/2014 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Mushroom, so, they can only have a Mas parade?
Merry Mas doesn't have the same ring.

And yet those on the left deny there is any war on Christmas.

12/09/2014 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ha - that would actually be funny, Ben, given that the "mas" part of Christmas refers to Mass...

12/09/2014 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Julie, shhh...we don't want a Merry Ass Parade like they have in San Francisco.

12/09/2014 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Good point - I'm pretty sure if the atheists had their way, that's exactly how it would play out, too.

12/09/2014 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I recently read Josef Peiper's Leisure. The Basis of Culture. I don't think I've ever been more challenged by The Slack than from that book, mostly because the culture it cultivates is one of worship. The first half of that book is highly recommended.

The 2nd half is just a further hammering of the nail. Still good, but all the revelation is in the first half. No grocer in his right mind would put all the really "basic" supplies right up front, but the editor of this assembly is a fine human being who knows we want our Slack and we want it now.

12/09/2014 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Peyton said...

Round like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel ...

12/10/2014 07:32:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home