Monday, March 16, 2015

The Purposeless-Driven Life

Those who wish to make a point of their lives don't remember the exhilaration of not having one, AKA holy infanity, in which life is its own point.

Or rather, life surely has a point. It's just that we don't concoct it, on pain of -- if you are intellectually honest -- immediately reducing it to pure cosmic pointlessness, since we and our dull point are necessarily finite, relative, and contingent. If there is an absolutely necessary point, then it must come from God, nor are we sharp enough to know it unless God lets us in on the secret.

The cosmos is a hierarchy, and there can be no hierarchy without a point. In fact, a hierarchy is defined by its point, toward which all its parts and levels are oriented. It is only because there is an absolute point that there can be relativity at all.

In other words, to say relative is to implicitly acknowledge the Point. The only metaphysical alternative is a kind of pure horizontality that equates to intellectual chaos, AKA unalloyed tenure.

Aren't you glad you aren't in charge of the Point? Here is precisely where we depart from the left, because they not only invent their own point -- which they are free to do -- but then exert all their efforts to impose this point on the rest of us. But what if -- I know, crazy idea -- my point is not Barack Obama's, or Hillary Clinton's, or Harry Reid's, point? I don't want to force my point on them. Beside, my point cannot be forced, rather, only freely accepted, since before I was, I AM.

If you're following me, I think you can see why liberalism is intrinsically hostile to God, since it is in competition with God for the Point of it all.

Eco (in Taylor) writes that "Aquinas was always conscious of the possibility of a pleasure which was pure and disinterested."

We could say the same of having a pure and disinterested point. Indeed, the less interested, the more pure. Think of math. The more interest we have in a certain numerical outcome, the less pure the math, as in government accounting. Math and science only advance if we are "passionately disinterested," so to speak, not invested in any particular outcome. Notice the passion of the global warmists, and how it perverts their findings!

Eco writes of how "Disinterested pleasure means pleasure which is its own end, which is not connected with the satisfaction of animal needs or with utility."

Hmm, what might that be? "An embryonic form of such pleasure already exists in play," which is "an activity whose end is its own fulfillment."

So, play has an end: itself. However, we need to distinguish this from simple objects that have their own end, say, a rock. If a rock is analogous to an atemporal, geometrical point, play is more of a rhythm and a spiral: a rhythmic spiral. It is of time, or better, time is of play. That's how the Hindoos think of it: lila, or the Divine Play. (Every lila son of adwaita is born of a voidgin. -- Petey)

Let's remember too Letter I of MoTT, the point of which is to learn concentration without effort and transform work into play so as to lighten those burdens & yokes.

Now, what is the opposite of play? That would be, er, work. Play should be spontaneous. When it is too planned, it becomes work -- like an office party, or Valentine's day. "Aristotle's principle of 'leisure preceding action' is reversed," so we are unable to approach things in a proper spirit of disinterest.

There is will and there is free will; it seems to me that the former is always interested and thus unfree. For example, an animal has will: the cat is interested in that mouse over there, and is willed to chase it.

But the cat cannot have a disinterested curiosity about the mouse. That requires freedom, slack, leisure, free will, which are precisely what the cat lacks.

But it is not as if play is free of passion. However, this passion is more in the mode of love: "The basic activity of the [free] will is love. Love is the passion of the intellect" (Conrad Baars, in Taylor). And "How different this 'loving will' is from the popular image of the will in general as the realm of high energy, exertion, and the powerhouse of 'getting things done'" (Taylor). Rather, it "rests in being rather than doing," such that -- fine quote here --

The loving will follows the wondering intellect which is open to the mystery of being (Baars).

This is what it means to wonder in the bewilderness, which we are all called upon to do in this semi-permanent state of in-betweenness, i.e., exodus. However, our bewonderment is always oriented to the Point that precedes us, without which we could never be lifted out of Groundhog Day.

Some people seem to have no sense of the day being a potential space. For the melancholic it is an unpunctuated temporality, one day no different from the next. [In contrast], The overly anxious person, perhaps feeling safe while in bed, views the day with trepidation: a hurdle to be leapt over before the next bedtime. --Christopher Bollas

Only playful orientation to the North Point keeps life from becoming a grim hurdle between two deathtimes

13 Comments:

Blogger Van Harvey said...

"If you're following me, I think you can see why liberalism is intrinsically hostile to God, since it is in competition with God for the Point of it all."

Putting Descartes before the same horse, 'I think, therefore I am' the point.

3/16/2015 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's the horse of a Democrat collar.

3/16/2015 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

I don't doubt it.

3/16/2015 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Now, what is the opposite of play? That would be, er, work. Play should be spontaneous. When it is too planned, it becomes work -- like an office party, or Valentine's day. "Aristotle's principle of 'leisure preceding action' is reversed," so we are unable to approach things in a proper spirit of disinterest.

Here again is one of those things that most people, in the course of their everyday lives, seem to completely miss. That is, they get caught up in all the things of the will - that which must be done, or at least which they have convinced themselves must be done - and forget entirely about the free will aspects.

And so they organize their days, and their children's days, as indeed a series of hurdles to be jumped before returning, all too briefly, to bed. And if the day doesn't have a long list of hurdles, often they will purposely add more. Now granted, everybody has to live this way sometimes (the conspiracy demands its due), but almost nobody who isn't a slave has to live this way all the time.

I know very few people who don't live this way.

3/16/2015 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's like life is deferred and then you die.

3/16/2015 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

"And so they organize their days, and their children's days, as indeed a series of hurdles to be jumped before returning, all too briefly, to bed. And if the day doesn't have a long list of hurdles, often they will purposely add more. Now granted, everybody has to live this way sometimes (the conspiracy demands its due), but almost nobody who isn't a slave has to live this way all the time."

One of my problems is that I don't live this way enough.

I'm a specialist in aimless wandering.

3/16/2015 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Complementarity and moderation.

3/16/2015 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Griffin said...

Re: Bollas' last comment about different approaches to the day, I think the real trap is our ready submission to the lie that the present condition, especially a bad one, is the permanent one. We have all had days that felt like what he is describing, but too many of us internalize that particular groundhog day and make it our permanent narrative.

3/16/2015 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A depressed patient once told me that "it takes me all day just to get through the day."

Whereas with anxiety it's more like it takes all day just to get through the moment.

3/16/2015 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Aren't you glad you aren't in charge of the Point?

I am. Yet it seems so many of the intelligensia are too obtuse to see their angle is more of a flat line with a little prick on it now and then.

3/16/2015 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

LOL at mushroom!

3/16/2015 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Aren't you glad you aren't in charge of the Point?"

"I am. Yet it seems so many of the intelligensia are too obtuse to see their angle is more of a flat line with a little prick on it now and then."

Bravo zulu, Mush! :)

3/16/2015 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"There is will and there is free will; it seems to me that the former is always interested and thus unfree."

And let's face it, will is boring.
While free will is interesting.

3/16/2015 10:35:00 PM  

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