Monday, May 18, 2015

Soaring Down and Falling Up

To plagiaphrase someone, every generation faces a barbarian threat in the form of its own children. Therefore, Job One of civilization is to civilize these little barbarians, or it won't be a civilization for long. Rather, it will be the Arab-Muslim world, or Baltimore, or any other Democrat-controlled American city

At the same time, being that the line separating civilization runs through the human heart, each soul is the battleground.

But as we know, the left not only hates this idea, but defines itself in opposition to it: human beings are basically good, except for the evil conservatives who beg to differ -- which proves once again that contemporary leftists are indeed evolved from more primitive Manichees.

"Our western philosophy has been the theatre of what we may call the 'battle for the Soul of the World'" (Corbin, in Cheetham). And the S. of the W. is none other than "the Divine Presence, the Dwelling, Wisdom as Sophia, which has its place only in the world of the soul..."

Or in other words, the Soul of the World resides in the world of the soul. "Outside" the latter, the so-called exterior "world" is reduced to what Corbin calls an "absurd husk": literal, quantitative, flat, with neither depth nor interiority. The world becomes epistemologically clear at the price of its ontological closure.

Which is sad enough, but more problematically, the world (or our idea of the world) becomes an idol instead of an icon; we look at the former but through the latter. The chimpanzee manichees who ridicule the second Commandment are simply bereft of insight into their own primitive idolatry.

Yes -- or so we have heard from the Wise -- the world truly is One Cosmos Under God, but it doesn't amount to much unless someone realizes it. Pope Benedict (in Schindler) says that "God entrusted man, created in his image and likeness, the mission of unifying the cosmos."

But we can't do it on our own; rather, "We must live united to God in order to be united to ourselves and to the cosmos, giving the cosmos itself and humanity their proper forms."

So it's a big responsibility, and there are opposing forces everywhere. These are the forces of dis-integration, dispersal, and atomization, and without these antecedent forces, the left could get nowhere (or rather, couldn't get there). Something in people "retreats" from wholeness, and although it is a derivative and reactionary movement, it is still a kind of pathological power.

In the past we have called it loser power. One loser on his own can become a one-off sociopath or mass murderer or MSM journalist, but provide millions of them with the same object of resentment, envy, and hatred, and then you've got something.

If low-level politics is the organization of hatreds, then a community organizer is a guy who attains power by organizing and polishing the hatred into a fine point of blunt instrumentality.

Thus, no one should be surprised at Obama's dreadful performance as president. In his inverted soul, all of the hateful things he wishes to do to us are obstructed by the objects of his hatred -- which is why he hates us. It's how infantile omnipotence operates.

The "ungraspable Unity of the One God," writes Cheetham, "provides the possibility for" both our unification and our individuation. This is indeed what makes the Christian metaphysic (and apparently Corbin's type of Sufism) unique, in that, instead of being at odds with each other, unity and individuality covary.

In other words, with, say, Buddhism, you get the Unity but at the cost of the real individual self. The good news: you're enlightened! The bad news: you no longer exist. The operation was a success, but the patient died.

In reality, "The openness of the Personal God means that persons, even finite, limited ones, through their likeness to the Divinity are not things at all," but "unending determinations of the Plenitude of Beings" (ibid.).

And it is through the space of this "Unknown and Unknowable" attractor that man "falls upward in an unending series of theophanies" -- which is why, on this journey, the world is simultaneously the Same As It Ever Was and Different From How It's Ever Been.

6 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Re. civilizing the little barbarians, I can only wholeheartedly agree.

Actually, that applies to the whole post, especially the "same as it ever was" part. There is something both deeply frustrating and strangely comforting in that.

5/18/2015 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Or in other words, the Soul of the World resides in the world of the soul."

Aye, without that there is only the loonified soul of soulessness.

5/18/2015 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"At the same time, being that the line separating civilization runs through the human heart, each soul is the battleground."

This cannot be stressed enough. Can't win those battles with a hive mind.

5/18/2015 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

The world becomes epistemologically clear at the price of its ontological closure


A post full of nuggets. They have all the answers but to questions that no one can care about. So they tell us the questions we do care about don't matter. We're anti-science just for asking those questions.

5/18/2015 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

I saw a bumper sticker the other day: "Hatred is learned."

There should be a reply: "Civilization is learned."

5/19/2015 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I like your idea, Magister. Whoever came up with "hatred is learned" obviously never raised kids.

5/19/2015 05:49:00 AM  

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