Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Original Syntheses and the All of Man

Now that I'm playing the Glass Bead Game between interpersonal neurobiology and Meditations on the Tarot, I see that there are links everywhere. No doubt because I am looking at it from a certain angle, I'm seeing the word "synthesis" all over MoTT.

On p. 20 our unKnown friend mentions Friedrich Schiller, who "advanced a doctrine of the synthesis between intellectual consciousness" (what with its "heavy burdens of duties and rules") and "the instinctive nature of man" and his "urge to play."

This sounds similar to what we've been saying about the synthesis of left and right hemispheres, as well as that between neocortex, midbrain (play) and limbic system (instinct). He was hoping to find that childlike balance in which "duty becomes a delight," concentration becomes effortless, and work is transformed to play.

In short, he was fumbling around for the secret of SLACK. But he was probably just a Freemason, not a Raccoon or Subgenius. Unless the records have been lost.

The idea of play is critical, because one of the things that makes man unique is that he never stops playing. Or at least he is not supposed to stop playing.

This is because, unlike other mammals, man's neoteny is not a temporary condition, but permanent. We never stop learning, growing, creating -- and therefore synthesizing. Play is how a child synthesizes. Synthesis is how an adult plays. Hopefully this will become more clear as we proceed, just in case it isn't obvious. (Hint: the Glass Bead Game never ends. Except in sudden death.)

On the next page, UF outlines what might be called the credo of the magician, or Man of Play: we only truly know "that which is verified by the agreement of all forms of experience in its totality -- experience of the senses, moral experience, psychic experience, the collective experience of other seekers for the truth, and finally the experience of those whose knowing merits the title of wisdom and whose knowing has been crowned by the title of saint."

Do this and you'll be a child, my man! (Apologies to Rudyard Kipling.)

Agreement of all forms of experience in its totality. This includes both vertical and horizontal, subjective and objective, beings and things, ontology and existence. The ONE COSMOS is both the Alpha and Omega of this journey, because again, we begin in relative fusion, move through the bewilderness of diversity and multiplicity, and end in the higher synthesis. Or just say one --> two --> three.

And no, I'm not going all Hegelian on you. This is quite different, in that we must accomplish it, as opposed to it being done through us via some abstract metacosmic geist of pure reason. Nor do I mean it in a pantheistic way when I say that the One Cosmos is alpha and omega, because I mean it in a much more integral way that includes God. I don't just mean the material cosmos.

This is also the principle way to avoid being an infertile egghead. Infertility results from a failure of union and synthesis. It is why the tenured are feckless and not fecund.

In Letter II, UF discusses "the reintegration of the two constituent elements of consciousness as such," i.e., "the active element and the passive element."

Here again we are talking about the fecundity that results from the proper marriage and union of male and female, or sun and moon, or left and right hemispheres. "There is no consciousness without these two elements," just as there is no picking stuff up without an opposable thumb.

Notice how thumb and fingers deploy a kind of force against one another for the higher purpose of grasping. Likewise, we grasp things via the "opposition" of various psychopneumatic complementarities. In turn, every orthoparadoxical complementarity is an important reveilation (in terms of what we were saying yesterday about the veils that reveal).

Another key idea: "Christian yoga does not aspire directly to unity, but rather to the unity of two." Which is what makes it Christian and not yoga (except in the generic sense).

What this means is that the oneness is both anterior and posterior to the twoness. However, this is not a unity of substance, but rather, of essence. And this essence is called Love, baby. Thus, as UF says, it is a non-substantial but essential unity."

Which is precisely what Norris Clarke says in his concise and lucid Person and Being. In it he proposes an "indissoluble complementarity of substantiality, the in-itself dimension of being, and relationality, the toward-others aspect." Ultimately this applies to both God and man because Trinity. Or perhaps better, because Trinity is in-carnated, making possible the journey from unoriginal sin to original synthesis and fruitful union.

UF makes the important point that there is legitimate and illegitimate twoness. I would say that this is because the latter is a vicious (because unresolvable) duality whereas the former is a blessed and fertile complementarity. UF goes so far as to say that evil is a result of illegitimate twofoldness. I'll have to think about that one, but it sounds about right.

Consider, for example, how Job One for the left is to sow illegitimate divisions. I think this is why they are always more comfortable hating than loving. Obama-love could only satisfy them for so long. It is much more natural for them to hate Bush, and now a Scott Walker. They are much more animated by Walker's failure to graduate college (we would say success in avoiding it) than they are by the Islamic State decapitating Christians.

We're out of time. To be continued...

8 Comments:

Blogger Van Harvey said...

"This is also the principle way to avoid being an infertile egghead. Infertility results from a failure of union and synthesis. It is why the tenured are feckless and not fecund."

And the principle means of avoiding that, the Sin Thesis, is seaking to subvert synthesis, by dismissing either Concept or Concrete, so as to impose a false (pride) fusion - via a liberal application of Gorilla Glue no doubt - transforming Integration into Disintegration, and your world soon crumbles all the way down.

2/17/2015 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"F goes so far as to say that evil is a result of illegitimate twofoldness. I'll have to think about that one, but it sounds about right."

I'd assume that means disintegrating, putting asunder, what God had joined, Integrated.

Sounds about right to me.

2/17/2015 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

In my experience, if I'm doing it right, integrity is something I see only in retrospect. When I become too conscious of it, or doubt it, or reject it, or even try to do it too slavishly, it becomes "cognized" in a way that frustrates its execution. Perhaps "hyperconscious" is no way to go through life. It's easy to overthink things.

2/17/2015 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Likewise, we grasp things via the "opposition" of various psychopneumatic complementarities.

Interesting, River has a poem about that.

Play and synthesis, it makes your brain feel good.

2/17/2015 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

This is quite different, in that we must accomplish it, as opposed to it being done through us via some abstract metacosmic geist of pure reason.

And herein lies the play. Or rather, interplay.

We've been experimenting with bubbles lately, and one of the things that I find interesting is how much of the play is dependent upon the whims of passing breezes. It becomes a kind of dance, as the wind changes direction almost like respiration, and you have to turn to both catch it and avoid being in the direct line of streaming bubbles (thus bursting them before they've had a chance to form). Come to think of it, kite flying is similar. And presumably sailing a boat, too. Anyway, it quickly becomes apparent that, while the wind isn'y "alive," it is certainly lively and even temperamental.

2/17/2015 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Griffin said...

UF goes so far as to say that evil is a result of illegitimate twofoldness.

Certainly some evil is. I don't know that I would say that all evil is. Like you say, have to think on that one some more.

There are definitely those among us who are determined to turn every dance into a fight. As soon as you start worrying about who is "winning" the dance, everyone loses.

2/17/2015 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

The latest post from Fr. Stephen titled "Sex and the Moral Imagination" goes deeper than "just" sexual relations and if I may, I'd like to clip a couple of his passages here.

"But sexual relationships (and all relationships) lose the possibility of well-being in a world where whatever we want is, in fact, the case. For relationship is inherently about the Other, and if the Other is simply what I want, then the Other serves only as an extension of the ego.

When Christ speaks about marriage, He pointedly moves past the arrangements of the Mosaic Law and reverts to Genesis: “From the beginning it was not so…” (Matt. 19:8). He elevates the creation story to the controlling position. It is there that we most clearly see the role of the Other. They are male and female, specifically like and unlike one another. And the man without the woman is “not good.” Rather, he is “alone.”

But this also becomes the ground of union, that state of being that best describes salvation. “She is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” The complementarity is not simply opposition, ego on ego, but a unique ontological relationship admitting of union without the loss of otherness. It is, in its complete expression, the model of personhood."

2/17/2015 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"UF makes the important point that there is legitimate and illegitimate twoness. I would say that this is because the latter is a vicious (because unresolvable) duality whereas the former is a blessed and fertile complementarity. UF goes so far as to say that evil is a result of illegitimate twofoldness. I'll have to think about that one, but it sounds about right."

Thus legitimate twoness is fusion and illegitimate twoness is fisson, which explains why those on the left tend to go nuclear all the time.
Ilegitimate twoness is actually a splitting, or disintegration of oneness, resulting in two incomplete ones.

2/18/2015 04:42:00 AM  

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