Barry & Bibi, Cain & Abel, Shem & Shuan
Let's continue with poetic knowledge -- which is also noetic and poietic, as in poïesis -- which is the handy Greek word from which poetry is derived, and means "to make":
"This word, the root of our modern 'poetry', was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world. Neither technical production nor creation in the romantic sense, poïetic work reconciles thought with matter and time, and person with the world."
Like I said, handy word. After all, if God is the divine logotect, then theopoiesis is surely one of his tools. I first ran across the term when I was writing my dissertation on psychoanalysis and chaos theory, the latter describing open systems that are autopoietic, or "self-creating."
Actually, such systems -- including human beings -- are more self-sustaining than self-creating, but then again, the sustaining can be accomplished in creative and uncreative, predictable and unpredictable ways, and I would say that to the extent that we cooperate with God, then the poiesis will be creative. That is, it will feature novelty, surprise, beauty, and renewal.
And when I say "renewal," I mean that it will be characterized by life. No, not necessarily biological life, but rather, the greater Life from which biology is derived, or of which it is a material echo. Life, among other things, involves continuous self-renewal. When the renewal ceases, that lets you know you are dead. But obviously, death can long precede the cessation of biological renewal. The whole point of a religious practice is to renew ourselves in order to prevent the death-in-life. L'chaim!
It must work in a way analogous to biology. I don't have time to look it up, but they say that it takes something like seven years for every molecule in our body to be replaced. Now, how long does it take to -- as Paul puts it in Colossians -- put off the old man and put on the new? This is actually a question that divides orthodox from Protestant, the latter insisting that it is a case of "once saved always saved." For too many reasons to list -- scriptural, experiential, metaphysical, etc. -- I cannot agree with that.
Hmm. Well, first of all, this post is heading off into completely unanticipated areas, but that's theo-pneumapoiesis for you. The whole point of verticalisthenics is to maintain a vertically open system by aligning ourselves with God. Then we just get out of the way and see what happens: let go and let Bob. Not Bob alone, of course, but a kind of Godbob hybrid.
Excuse me, but I thought that was the whole point. Grandiose my ass. I'm not taking credit, I'm giving it. Unless I am completely in error, in which case I do take all the credit. All truth -- even the possibility thereof -- comes from God. Error is what human beings toss into the mix.
Anyway, in the wiki article on autopoiesis, there is an excerpt from the book in which the word first appeared in 1973, called Autopoiesis and Cognition: the Realization of the Living:
"It was in these circumstances... in which he analyzed Don Quixote's dilemma of whether to follow the path of arms (praxis, action) or the path of letters (poiesis, creation, production), I understood for the first time the power of the word 'poiesis' and invented the word that we needed: autopoiesis. This was a word without a history, a word that could directly mean what takes place in the dynamics of the autonomy proper to living systems."
But this question of action vs. creation is not really dichotomous. That is to say, there are obviously creative actions, just as there is uncreative production. What occurs to me is that this is one of the fundamental complementarities laid out in Finnegans Wake, the sibling rivalry between Shem the penman and Shaun the postman, the intellectual man of letters, and the worldly man of action.
I think that today we can see this rivalry playing out: Obama, the dickless "man of letters" (I didn't say they were good letters) and the man of action. Who is the more creative? Who is more open to and engaged with reality, both horizontal and vertical?
In FW, Joyce often makes fun of himself (the archetypal man of letters) for being so ineffectual and impotent. The writer envies his courageous brother, just as his hands-on brother would like to fancy himself a weighty thinker (either that or devalue the whole world of thought).
Let us consult the Key, and see if there is anything else worth considering, or whether this whole post is just a dry inkwell.
Ha! Page 21: "Shaun, now called Juan (Don Juan)," is "about to depart on a great mission."
P. 27: "The double note of love and war is to become the pervasive theme of FW.... continually outcropping in the struggles between Shem and Shaun" under various guises. "Love and war are the constant life expressions of that polarized energy which propels the universal round."
Does Shem teach us anything about Obama more generally? "The answer is not far to seek: of the two sons, Shem [the penman] is the mother's pet and Shaun the father's."
Here is Campbell's translation of Joyce. You decide: "There are a few who still maintain that Shem was of respectable stock; but every honest man today knows that his past will not bear description." Joyce: "Putting truth and untruth together a shot may be made at what this hybrid actually was like to look at."
However, Bibi is about to walk up to the plate and wake Barry to the plot, so finny for now...