Monday, December 29, 2014

Proof of God Discovered in the Last Place Man Searched

We have a bit of a cold, which always increases the brain congestion, or at least dampens those unfolding enveloping missiles of glistening shadowy flow above the head. After all, it's hard enough to answer future's riddle when one's melon is seeming so far behind, let alone sew up the wounds of evolution and climb up to reality's goal. But we'll try, dammit. At least we'll try.

I have read in a number of places that Augustine's Confessions is the first true autobiography, the first example of an unstinting exploration of the human interior -- not in a generic or self-serving sense, but in an intimate, critical, and confessional sense.

Note also that the dialogue is between Augustine and God; it takes place in the vertical space illuminated by the divine presence. It is not about exterior reality except insofar as it reveals the interior.

Siedentop quotes the historian Peter Brown, who observes that "The Confessions are a manifesto of the inner world: 'Men go to gape at mountain peaks, at the boundless tides of the sea, the broad sweep of rivers, the encircling ocean and the motions of stars: and yet they leave themselves unnoticed; they do not marvel at themselves.'"

Yeah, well, what about Obama? Does he ever stop marveling at himself? You see, children, that is the problem: he has the marveling down, but he is both marveler and marvelee. In other words, he excludes the Creator from the loop, which reduces to simple narcissism.

Brown continues: "A man cannot hope to find God unless he first finds himself: for this God is 'deeper than my inmost being,' [so] experience of Him becomes 'better' the more 'inward.' Above all, it is man's tragedy that he should be driven to flee 'outwards,' to lose touch with himself, to 'wander far' from his 'own heart': 'You were right before me: but I had moved away from myself. I could not find myself: how much less, then could I find You'" (he's obviously quoting Augustine in there).

Ironically, Obama made his name by [allegedly] writing his own Confessions. But although both go by the name "autobiography," it would be difficult to find two more antithetical texts. After all, Mein Kampf is an autobiography. Taking that as an extreme case, does it really tell us about Hitler, or about his pathological projections into the world?

In other words, any actual insight into Hitler himself is accidental. Being that he lacked all insight, the only way to understand him is via his external actions. What he says about himself is of no consequence, since he would be the last to understand his own real motives, which were as concrete and unexamined as rock.

Here is the orthoparadoxical deal: is it possible for man to discover and know God? Yes and no. Even prior to that, is it possible for man to discover and know anything? Yes, so long as he has the sensory equipment for the job, and his mind is able to conform to the object or reality in question.

In other words, we must make ourselves adequate to the object of knowledge. So in one sense "the world" is prior, and we must adapt to it. But in another sense, world and mind co-arise; as our knowledge increases, it is as if the mind extends deeper into reality, as, say, quantum physics goes further than classical physics.

I would say that it is no different with regard to God. Analogously, the quantum world was always "there" even before man ever discovered it. Likewise, God was always there prior to the appearance of man, of life, or even of existence itself. But in order to know this God, there must be a subject capable of knowing him. Therefore, one could say that God and man "co-arise" and "co-evolve," so to speak -- even though, like the world, God is obviously prior to our discovery and elaboration of him.

When did man discover God? In one sense this is impossible to say, since it occurred long prior to any form of written documentation. But in another sense it can only have occurred in one way, since man and God not only co-arise, but are two sides of the same coin. To say that man is the image and likeness of God is to posit this axiom. As man learns more about himself, he learns more of God; and as he learns more about God, he learns more about himself, in an ever-deepening spiral of interiority.

Siedentop: "The Confessions provide us with a story, not primarily about the development of Augustine's mind, but rather about the development of his 'heart' or 'feelings.' The search for God proves to be a search for the only 'delight' that is not precarious or illusory."

This search involves "a mysterious merger of intellect and feeling," and is very much counter to the then-prevailing idea that reason alone is sufficient to understand the world. Reason is ultimately a circular exercise, since it cannot furnish its own premises, nor does it have the power to motivate man.

Rather, motivation -- the will -- must involve the heart. Thus, "Opening oneself to the action of grace" is "the only way out of such a vicious circle." This opening is not only intersubjective, but the very foundation and possibility of intersubjectivity itself. It is an icon of the primordial Relationship that is God.

"Reconstructing the self -- by opening the self to the work of grace -- led Augustine to focus on the human will and on the conditions of its exercise." There is "almost incredible self-consciousness in his writing," which is precisely why so many have attributed "the birth of the individual to Augustine."

For just as history, in the absence of God, can be nothing more than the meaningless sound and fury of tenured tautologues, the absurcular babble of the godless rabble is just the mental masturbation of so many infertile eggheads -- heads which must be fertilized from above in order to bear good fruit...

19 Comments:

Blogger ted said...

I wish I could write like that in good health. Another thing to marvel.

12/29/2014 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

But in order to know this God, there must be a subject capable of knowing him. Therefore, one could say that God and man "co-arise" and "co-evolve," so to speak -- even though, like the world, God is obviously prior to our discovery and elaboration of him.

And on the flip side of that coin, I was thinking this morning about how if atheists have the truth of it, then every time someone dies the universe would be unmade.

12/29/2014 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Has anybody actually read Dreams? Or did we all just figure BS-in/BS-out and decide we had better things to do? It's like rap music. I read somewhere that Kanye West is a "visionary". I hate to say he isn't because I'm not going to waste my time and probably make myself sick listening to him.

12/29/2014 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

"Proof of God discovered in the last place man searched"

Isn't the object of one's search always in the last place one looks? ... sorry, couldn't resist being a wiseguy :)

12/29/2014 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

The search for God proves to be a search for the only 'delight' that is not precarious or illusory.

The older I get -- 'cause I'm slow -- the more I realize what that means.

A lot of religion -- Christianity included -- seeks God in order to get something. I'm not talking about bad things or material wealth. Our lives are messed up, and Jesus will straighten them out. That's good, but it's still an effect. Whether I realize it or not, it's God alone that I am after.

12/29/2014 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...every time someone dies the universe would be unmade.

The idealists, too.

Hey, maybe British automotive electrical systems were designed by Idealists. That would explain a lot.

12/29/2014 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Rogelio Bueno said...

Hey Mushroom, ya know why Brits drink warm beer? . . . . . Because they all have Lucas refrigerators.

12/29/2014 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

One of the reasons I loved my old Yamaha SR500 so much was that it looked like a BSA, but it had been wired by the Japanese.

12/29/2014 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Rogelio Bueno said...

Got ya, Mushroom. My first car was an
Austin Healey. Years later I fell in love with Miatas for the same reason.

12/29/2014 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Here is the orthoparadoxical deal: is it possible for man to discover and know God? Yes and no. Even prior to that, is it possible for man to discover and know anything? Yes, so long as he has the sensory equipment for the job, and his mind is able to conform to the object or reality in question.

In other words, we must make ourselves adequate to the object of knowledge. So in one sense "the world" is prior, and we must adapt to it. But in another sense, world and mind co-arise; as our knowledge increases, it is as if the mind extends deeper into reality, as, say, quantum physics goes further than classical physics."

Making ourselves adequate is so easy it's impossible without the grace of God.
However, it does require our openess to His grace, hence the co-arisen of our inner horizen.

12/29/2014 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Remember when I volunteered to see if the Patheos website was worth bothering with?
Well, IMO it's not. There is, for the most part a liberal slant if not far leftist slant in most of what I read.

There's also plenty of pagans and even a radical muslim writing there.

Now, that's not to say there isn't anything worth reading there at all (there are a plethora of various religious writers there), but it would take a lot of effort and time to find it.

It is flabbergasting though, how many Christians really do believe that Christ was a leftist, and would, in their minds support slavery to the state, abortion, forcing others to do their will, pacifism (except to force others to do their will), and every other anti-liberty, anti-individual leftist ideals.

Again, not saying there isn't anything worthwhile there but I spent as much time as I can tolerate trying to find it.
What I did find that was okay was too shallow for my tastes, but YMMV.

12/29/2014 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Essentially, Patheos is like Puffington Host except with religious overtones for the tone deaf.

12/29/2014 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

The Anchoress blogs at Patheos, and is often worth reading, though she doesn't post as much these days. She sometimes links to some decent authors, too, but I'm not a big fan of Patheos as a whole.

Skully has pretty much nailed it, I think.

12/29/2014 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I didn't know that, Julie. Thanks, it's good to know that site has at least one writer worth reading.
Always wondered where she went to. Her posts used to be linked to a lot at many conservative sites.

12/29/2014 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"... is it possible for man to discover and know God? Yes and no. Even prior to that, is it possible for man to discover and know anything? Yes, so long as he has the sensory equipment for the job, and his mind is able to conform to the object or reality in question.

In other words, we must make ourselves adequate to the object of knowledge...."

Is it possible to discover anything deeper than the flat surface, without at least imagining something deeper than a flat surface?

That's been coming up a lot, what with the Myth Flustered 10 Commandments. It's as if their own lack of imagination and denied expectations of anything beyond the obvious, is more than sufficient proof of their being no need to think beyond the obvious.

Obviously.

Asspounding.

12/29/2014 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"...and his mind is able to conform to the object or reality in question..."

Can you even conform to reality, without imagining that there is more to reality than meets your I?

I don't think so.

12/29/2014 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van, that atheists feel a need to have ten commandments reminds me of the vegans who like meat-flavored vegetable products.


12/29/2014 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ha - I'd never thought of how odd that is. If eating nothing but vegetables is really so great, why have so many meals that refer to meat?

Re. the atheist commandments, I was actually disappointed in what they came up with. They're all so softly-phrased, and as other people have noted, numbers 2 and 9 pretty much cancel out all the rest. These aren't "commandments;" they carry no weight or authority. They're more like suggestions or platitudes. Soft phrasing, finger-wagging tone... it's like they've taken to heart all the nagging they received in grade school. Apparently the only authority they respect was their kindergarten teachers.

12/30/2014 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

They essentially rephrase the Golden Rule. NTTAWWT, just not so avant-garde.

12/30/2014 07:55:00 AM  

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