Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Barry & Bibi, Cain & Abel, Shem & Shuan

Not much time this morning if I'm going to lend an ear to the anti-Obama. Remember the old line, "peace will only come when Palestinians love their children as much as they hate Israel?" Well, Iran will be denuked when Obama loves America more than he hates Israel. Which will be never.

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.

What?

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...

9 Comments:

Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Amazing. LGF has descended into full-on Jew bashing. I still think Charles Johnson must have fallen from his bike and had a head injury. Nothing short of that could explain such a malign personality change. Maybe a brain tumor.

3/03/2015 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

You forgot Shemp & Curly.

But a Top-Ten'r none the less.

3/03/2015 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

""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."

The fact that, from the time of our founding, many, including such luminaries as Dr. Benjamin Rush & Noah Webster, with the very best of intentions, have worked diligently to excise any shade of the poetic from the materials used to Educate ourselves with, in the name of Scientism!, goes a long way towards explaining how the highest office in the land came to be filled by the lowest of 'men'.

3/03/2015 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

...it takes something like seven years for every molecule in our body to be replaced.

I would not be at all surprised if that's the case. Every seventh year is supposed to be a sabbath year, after all.

3/03/2015 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...a question that divides orthodox from Protestant...

Once saved, always saved, or eternal security divides Protestants as well. I grew up in a Calvinist denomination but I was always more Arminian. Most Pentecostal, deriving largely from Wesleyan Methodism, lean Arminian.

I think the real division between Protestant versus Catholic/Orthodox would be on conversion versus confirmation. In general, Protestants think that we are "born again" at a particular moment where as Orthodox would envision perhaps a longer gestation.

3/03/2015 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

I haven't really seen much of the "once saved, always saved" among Lutherans - I associate it with Calvinism too. Lutherans seem to see predestination more like this: If you repent at the end, then you were always saved in God's eyes. If you seemed to be saved but fall from grace in the end, then you were never really saved. (The Father is greater than all, and no one can twist them from His hand.)

3/03/2015 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"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."

Yep, gotta be at least playin' the same song, hopefully harmonizing with God.

3/04/2015 03:28:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Yikes, Bob.
Just a quick glance over there at LGF and what a cesspool that has become.
Looks like he lost at least 90% of his readership as well.
I concur, brain damage would certainly explain it.
He's sure is bitter and venomous. He's become the anti-Breitbart.

3/04/2015 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Happy March Forth, Raccoons!

3/04/2015 06:08:00 AM  

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