Slaximus the Coonfessor
For which reason the Buddha identified desire as the sticking point in existence. Eliminate it, and your troubles are over! Freud too posited the idea that human beings are simply driven to eliminate instinctual tension.
Such ideas can be no more than halfbaked. For example, it isn't just the elimination of tension that is the fun part, but the building up. The actual fulfillment is often a letdown, or maybe your team has never won a world championship.
Think about that: the baseball season lasts from April to October, or even from March if you count spring training. That entire time -- at least until your team is eliminated -- you live in the hope that a bunch of guys wearing your favorite laundry will win the World Series. If they do, that's when you realize -- just in case you didn't already know -- that winning the World Series wasn't the point. Rather, the point was to live in that exciting and/or frustrating tension toward a heavenly eschatological future.
It is clearly the same thing that drives the typical "political junkie." And despite the sobering experience of an Obama, these intoxicated political millenarians never learn. We're about to begin a two year buildup to the next savior, who will inevitably disappoint the people who place their hope in him or her, and the whole thing will start up again.
I was just reminded of that crack by Voegelin above the comment box: The quest, thus, has no external 'object,' but is reality itself becoming luminous for its movement from the ineffable, through the Cosmos, to the ineffable. Sounds abstract, but nothing could be more concrete, because this is concretely what is going on at all times. It can be denied but not refuted, much less avoided. It is the Basic Structure of existence.
That is to say, there is a "gap," and this is the space in which we live. What can we say about this curious gap? Again, animals don't have it. True, some of the higher mammals have an extremely attenuated version of it, but it is essentially void of content and structure.
Conversely, the human space is filled with... with everything culture has produced over the past 40,000 years -- all the art, literature, religion, philosophy, music, ritual, poetry, myth, architecture, constitutions, trinkets, doodads, tchotchkes, blogs, whatever. It's endless.
Why? Before getting to the why, we have to begin with the how, and the most we can say is that it is in the nature of man to engage in a quest, this quest revolving around reality becoming luminous to itself as it moves from the ineffable, through the Cosmos, and back to the ineffable. Thus, we can say that it is a kind of circular motion in which we are uniquely privileged to participate.
This circular movement is "within" the vertical. I put "within" in scare quotes, because it is more accurate to say that it constitutes the vertical. There is ultimate reality: O. O radiates and "communicates" via (↓). So long as we are vertically open (o), we may respond to it and return a transformed version of it via (↑), in a continuous process of surrender and offering. This process is a kind of "icon of God," because it mirrors what goes on in him.
Yeah, it probably sounds like I just made all that stuff up. Which I did. But soon enough I discovered that others had discovered the same thing long before I stumbled into it. For example Maximus the Confessor and his Cosmic Liturgy. We know what Cosmic means: the strict totality of objects and events. What is liturgy? For our purposes it is "a customary repertoire of ideas, phrases, or observances."
I shall now proceed to open that book -- which I haven't cracked in approximately five years -- in the hope that it will back me up and reveal what we are looking for. A high wire act!
Actually, I'm starting to run short on time, so let me see if Professor Wiki can bail us out. In his theological anthropology, "Maximus adopted the Platonic model of exitus-reditus (exit and return), teaching that humanity was made in the image of God, and the purpose of salvation is to restore us to unity with God.
"This emphasis on divinization or theosis helped secure Maximus' place in Eastern theology, as these concepts have always held an important place in Eastern Christianity.... In terms of salvation, humanity is intended to be fully united with God. This is possible for Maximus because God was first fully united with humanity in the incarnation. If Christ did not become fully human (if, for example, he only had a divine and not a human will), then salvation was no longer possible, as humanity could not become fully divine."
I only have time to grab a couple of random passages from the book, such as "In this sense of a complete openness [o], and of the de-rigidifying effect of love, one can indeed speak of an eternal forward movement of the creature into God," even though God "remains always 'the inconceivable conception [O].'"
And this "is nothing less than the adoption of the internal 'activity' of the creature by the divine reality itself," "like a mirror or a writing tablet turned toward God, who writes his own words on it."