Friday, March 20, 2015

Time on Steroids

The cosmos itself furnishes little points of reverence everywhere: "Suddenly, in the illumination of poetic light," objects in the external world may "become analogous to our deepest thoughts and emotions" (Taylor).

Which means that the exterior world is not exterior only, but that it radiates a kind of "inwardness." Likewise, our interior is not interior only, but is always prepared to discover itself in the outer world. It's what we do. It is why, for the elect, the world never loses that new car smell.

I am reminded of a fragrant passage by Schuon, in which he reflects upon how "the sacred mountain, seat of the Gods, is not found in space even though it is visible and tangible."

We could say the same of the sacred river, the enchanted forest, the Raccoon National Cemetery in Bismark, North Dakota, or any other holy ground: "it is as if the one who is present there had passed beyond space," and "finds himself virtually reintegrated" into its divine source (ibid.).

Thus, "Certain geographical accidents, such as lofty mountains, are connected through their natural symbolism with the great primordial sanctuaries," such that "For the man of the golden age to climb a mountain was in truth to approach the Principle; to watch a stream was to see universal Possibility at the same time as the flow of forms." But for modern man, "The gates of Heaven, mysteriously present in nature, close before him" (ibid.).

Schuon seems to have believed in a literal Golden Age, which he in turn opposed to the postlapsarian civilizational decay of the present. In other words, historical time for him is entropic and corrosive.

We, however, do not believe this; or rather, we do, except that this temporal catabolism is complemented by a negentropic and renewing flow of grace and other providential goodies. The former is of course compulsory, while the latter is (mostly) voluntary.

In other words, we cannot only swim against the worldly tide, but are assisted in doing so by helpful nonlocal operators. The story in this book would seem to be an example. I've never read it, but my invisible friend at Amazon recommends it to People Like Me.

So, there are still magic mountains and heavenly valleys, except that they have always really been soul-exteriorized or paradise-interiorized. I was about to say that you can always encounter them in fiction and poetry, but I suppose one can only encounter them there, i.e., in what we are calling poetic knowledge.

I might add that while recognizing the world as sacred is entirely valid as far as it goes, it goes farther than that. In other words, natural religion (or supernaturally natural, to be precise) is eventually prolonged (but not negated) by revealed religion.

I just randomly flipped open God and the Ways of Knowing, where it states that revelation proper "replaces the cyclical view of the world" with "a historical view in which time has a meaning" -- just as we said above about negentropic time. You could call it metabolic time, or time on steroids.

In this evolutionary view, time becomes a school, and like all schools, it has a beginning and (thankfully) an end. Only liberalism busses us into a tedious school from which it is impossible for anyone to graduate, forcing us to remain children forever.

The Divine Clueprint is not, in my opinion, any kind of mechanistic or linear program. It's not like a communist Five Year Plan or a liberal Bridge to the Future.

Nevertheless, it is a plan. And "it is fulfilled by progressive stages, the ages of the world, which are a divine course of instruction" (ibid.).

In this adult correspondence course -- in which time corresponds with eternity -- "there is the time of Advent, the preparation, which corresponds to the Old Testament and the choosing of Israel," followed by the Incarnation, the Resurrection, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, etc.

Again, this is quite different from natural religion, in that we find out what this creator of nature is like: "Through these works, the living God reveals His methods of action, His customs. It is through these that we are able to know Him" as he is, rather than just through what he does.

Outta time and outta here...

6 Comments:

Blogger Magister said...

Bob, did you somehow know that I just climbed Mount Snowdon in Wales? Couldn't get to the summit, alas, because I had no crampons. The warden said they were necessary -- and above the snow line at 2,543 ft., I could see why. Ain't no guard rails on a mountain, either.

"In other words, historical time for him is entropic and corrosive. We, however, do not believe this; or rather, we do, except that this temporal catabolism is complemented by a negentropic and renewing flow of grace and other providential goodies."

Yes, and Wordsworth believed this too, though he cast the business in terms that German idealist philosophers would have accepted. Later on, he was more overtly Christian about it. I can tell you one thing, though. In his poem The Prelude, WW says he started to climb from Beddgelert, a little village, working his way west. This puzzles me, because to go up Snowdon, he'd have to climb east, not west. Maybe he misremembered the details.

At any rate, maybe I was in a catabolic state o' mind, but my dominant impression of being up there was something like "geological time." The geology of the place really impresses. And it seems to be frozen. Water was trickling down in little streams, a March kind of thing. Absolute stillness everywhere, save the water and the occasional seagull getting into fights with the local crows. So I had not Metaphysical Moment, probably due to my own preoccupation with getting back to the ferry in Holyhead on time for business the next day.

And let me tell you, I took the Pyg Trail, which in local parlance is "fargin' arduous." Way more than I expected, but gratifying in that it didn't kill me.

I needed to get out. And when out, I needed to get back in. There is a grand congruence in all things. Holding them all in the mind is very much the business of the Bateleur. Cheers.

3/20/2015 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Only liberalism busses us into a tedious school from which it is impossible for anyone to graduate, forcing us to remain children forever.

Heh. Apparently some genius in new York (where else?) has come up with the brilliant idea of kindergarten for adults. I'm guessing this isn't a fad so much as an attention-grabbing tactic for a small group of perpetually immature oddballs. It seems to me that most normal people enjoy all that kind of thing a second time around by simply having kids; however, if you aren't planning to procreate, why not spend your adult years living like a spoiled child?

3/20/2015 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Magister, thanks for sharing that - how apropos!

3/20/2015 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"In this evolutionary view, time becomes a school, and like all schools, it has a beginning and (thankfully) an end. Only liberalism busses us into a tedious school from which it is impossible for anyone to graduate, forcing us to remain children forever."

Hi Bob,
Do you think that when we get to Heaven we still learn but in a much different way, since we are out of time?
I think it would hafta be different, but then again, so will we be very much different than we are now.

3/21/2015 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Something like that. Hence the logical need for purgatory. Which I suppose is like a vertical finishing school.

3/21/2015 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks, that's how I think of purgatory. I'm sure there are some who don't need it, but I'm mostly certain I will need to go.
And that's not a bad thing, it's a good thing. There shouldn't be any affirmative action to get to heaven.

3/21/2015 06:02:00 PM  

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