Don't Just Stand There, Do Nothing!
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."
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: