Thursday, December 04, 2014

Slaximus the Coonfessor

So, it seems that it's all about that gap between desire and its fulfillment, or what we have and what we want. This polarity is apparently what makes things happen: it is again analogous to the charge of a battery. If no one wanted anything, then nothing would happen. We would be more like dogs, who basically fall asleep when food or play are not in the offing.

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."

34 Comments:

Blogger ted said...

My takeaways:
(1) It's all about that quest thing.
(2) We should inhabit the tensions.
(3) I am not close to being God, but I got a shot.
(4) Screw the Red Sox.

12/04/2014 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

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 looks like it is going to be good.

12/04/2014 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Indeed, ted, baseball does explain everything.

12/04/2014 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

At least over in the NL, where we don't have the DH.

12/04/2014 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

""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.""

So as Christ put on the mind of man we must put on the mind of Christ.
An oversimplification no doubt, but hey, I'm a simple guy.

Actually, "put on" probably isn't as accurate as saying "Open to and integrating through revelations and experience the mind of Christ."

12/04/2014 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Slaximus The Coonfessor would be a really cool name for a band.

12/04/2014 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

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.

Notably, this dynamic ought to apply not only to our interactions with the vertical, but to our interactions with our fellow man. For instance, it seems people often get confused about the nature of relationships: "marriage" is treated in the same way as "winning the World Series." Months are spent planning the big day, and maybe the honeymoon, while almost no time or effort at all is given to the fact that there's a whole life that happens after that. So of course, everything that follows is a letdown. Life is seen as a list of goals to achieve, while the actual living part, where all the different types of circular motion take place in varying degrees of horizontal and vertical, are counted as worse than nothing; just the time that happens between vacations or big achievements.

(Apologies if that makes no sense; feel like I have a bad case of the stupids today...)

12/04/2014 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Slaximus O-verdrive would also be nifty.

12/04/2014 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Makes sense to me, Julie.
Too often, people get too caught up in the planning instead of the questing and miss the things that matter, such as Life, and that more abundantly.

IOW's, planning is no substitute for actually living the quest. Especially if we deviate from God's plans.

12/04/2014 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I would also venture to say that planning is no substitute for prudence.
We oughtta develop our virtues while we are questing or we ain't really goin' anywhere.
Leave the navigating to God, jest set sail already.

12/04/2014 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Make sure you stock up on coonvisions too. Don't wanna run out of living water (or beer) between port O' calls.

12/04/2014 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

OT -- In today's Parody Is No Longer Possible story: Darius Rucker is criticized for singing "White Christmas".

12/04/2014 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - speaking of people stealing your ideas before you have them:

“Over the years I've examined and found a trait of sociopath in most liberals. They have this sadistic gratification in creating or fomenting social chaos and conflicts, then, presenting themselves as ‘above it all,’ they arrive to fix the problem they themselves caused or perpetuated. Think of it as mental illness. A Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome, but on a very large scale.”

12/04/2014 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Mushroom, along those lines there's an article at The Federalist about the rapey-ness of Baby it's Cold Outside.

12/04/2014 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

The iconic image for me of "as above/so below" is the Psalmist's image of the "pure wine." I wonder whether Maximus has anything to say about that.

Easterns tend to be mystical inebriates, which I like.

12/04/2014 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

As I look around the mediaspace at what remains of our culture, all I can say is that it seems that all the "cultural studies" people aged themselves into professional positions from which they're now turning their learned stupidities into various kinds of coercion and psychological warfare. Wonderful. It's like grad school in the Humanities, only with power and money. This won't end well. Most of them are totally neurotic to begin with.

12/04/2014 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

I've been called a mystical inebriate for drinking large quantities of grog.

12/04/2014 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Good post. I see this as tying in with Fr. Stephen's most recent post

The passions, though dominant in the lives of every human being, are only disordered desires – and those desires may be healed. It is possible to live without the passions in ascendance. The goal of the Orthodox fathers was never to be passionless... They meant only that our passions no longer rule.

The human life was created to be centered in the heart, the spiritual seat of our existence. The heart is not subject to the passions, not driven by desire and necessity.


Passions being horizontal pursuits and heart-centered pursuits being vertical.

12/04/2014 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

RE: Munchhausen, eventually every good idea shows up on One Cosmos.

I see their "Baby, It's Cold Outside" rape-yness and raise 'em the gold-digger-yness of "Santa Baby" (1953 Eartha Kitt original, naturally).

12/04/2014 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Nah, that'll get a pass because Screw the Patriarchy. Also, I have the impression that feminists are hot for Eartha Kitt.

12/04/2014 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Magister - along those lines, at Vanderleun's. Note the huge poster hanging on the classroom wall.

I would consider that acceptable, provided it was properly labeled with a list of his actual accomplishments, death toll, etc., in big red type right next to his picture. But it won't be, and the fact that it's hanging in an American classroom should give any parent cause for concern.

12/04/2014 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

julie

I'm glad my kid isn't in that classroom. I'd get loud.

12/04/2014 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Is this real?.

The self-beclowning is so strong, my head might just implode.

12/04/2014 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I have to admit that I would not care to explain all the reasons I enjoy Eartha's rendition of that song.


It is Climate Che-ange.

12/04/2014 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Egads, Julie, that's obscene!

Notice they show the young killary and not the worn out, drunken, brain damaged killary.
Well, to be fair she has always been brain damaged.

12/04/2014 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@julie: Re the murdered $PLC puke whose story you linked at 10:21am: the SF Bay Area is absolutely crawling with guys who look like that, and sport nearly-identical CVs. Knowing the type, I'm sure he got plugged because along with his wallet, he gave a patronizing little lecture to the thugs about how he was On Their Side and Felt Their Pain. Nothing enrages 'hood-rats like the kind of ivory-tower condescension that's as natural to this type of gray-bearded wimpy SWPL as breathing.

12/04/2014 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

IRT Julie's link at American Thinker, it's refreshing to see other psychologists like Bob, who are grounded in reality.
Marlin Newburn even had the same job Bob has.

It's hard to imagine that anyone who has that job could possibly not see the reality of black crimes, let alone be enablers like so many leftists psychologists are.

"The enablers are just as guilty as the predators. More Newborn:"

“They perpetuate misery by defending the indefensible such as widespread black predation and other crimes. It causes too much cognitive dissonance and confusion, and it doesn't comport with their imagined status as a great liberator and defender of their chosen imagined, downtrodden group."

12/04/2014 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Anonymous at 03:13:00:

I concur. That SPLC idiot certainly felt pain for all his efforts to condenscend to the gangsta crowd. He wasn't just mugged by reality, he was murdered by his rejection of it.

12/04/2014 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Condescend, I mean. Not sure how that extra n got in there.

12/04/2014 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

In other news, finally, five years after the Ft. Hood terrorist attack (enabled by PC assholes), the victims will receive the Purple Heart medal.



12/04/2014 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Liberalism exists in the gap they create between what reality is and what they wish it was.

12/05/2014 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Norton shot back, “My interest is not in what happened, my interest is in what should happen!”"

Words that leftists live by. That's a spectacularly gobsmacked display of concrete idiocy.

12/05/2014 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I don't know what happened so the only way to fix this is to know what I think should happen...based on what I don't know.

The leftist war on reality continues.

12/05/2014 08:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

I'm shocked that Obama didn't nominate Norton for A.G.

12/05/2014 08:40:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home