Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Where Did We Surf From and Where Are We Surfing To?

As mentioned at the bottom of yesterday's post, it makes more sense to me to regard our so-called celestial twin as a kind of vertical extension of the person.

In fact, by way of horizontal analogy, we could say the same of our embryonic self and our infant/child/adolescent/adult selves. It not only confuses the issue to see them as separate, but renders our existence absurd -- like Zeno's paradox applied to human development. (It is precisely this metaphysic that grounds the illogical belief that the fetus is somehow separate from his own personhood and telos.)

Also, as we have discussed in the past, although I believe we "have" an "unconscious," it is more accurate to say that personhood of its nature is necessarily constituted of conscious/unconscious, such that there is unconsciousness in every conscious thought or act, and vice versa.

We could never be "fully conscious" because there's simply not enough space in the ego or in the moment to contain it. As someone said, the purpose of time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.

Analogously, you might say that the purpose of the unconscious is so that everything isn't thought at once. In every moment there is a complementary dialectic between conscious and unconscious; the latter not only in-forms the former, but will lend it more or less "weight" or presence. It is one reason why no computer will ever simulate the person.

Now, hold that thought and apply it to the upper vertical: if there is an unconscious, there must be a supra-conscious, for it would be absurd to maintain that the human ego constitutes the very apex of the cosmic hierarchy. To appreciate how absurd this is, just ask yourself what was at the top before human beings arrived on the scene. Pigs? Al Sharpton?

In other words, to say there is a top is to have a frame of reference, whether explicit or implicit. As it so happens, human beings are at the top of the cosmic heap, but this is only meaningful in reference to God. Outside God, it is bad nonsense, for there can be no top, bottom, or in-between, just endless iterations of vacuity.

We have always liked the Rabbi's way of putting it: imagine "a vast arc, curving from the divine source to oneself, which corresponds to the question, Where do I come from? while at the same time a line curving from oneself to Him corresponds to the question, Where am I going?"

And within this great circle, which includes all the levels of man, each person can discover the special lines of his own direction -- which again, are not simply random points in reality but are the expressions of his individual personality, the shape of his soul (emphasis mine).

I couldn't have put it better mysoph, which is no doubt why it is the penultimate footgnote in the bʘʘk (p.266). After that is just... nothing. Nothing expressible, anyway.

Elsewhere the Rabbi speaks for me in suggesting that the soul is "not to be conceived as a certain defined essence, caged in a body, or even as a point or immaterial substance, but rather as a continuous line of spiritual being, stretching from the general source of all the souls to beyond the body of a specific person." This explains how it is that we can rise above ourselves and sink even beneath our inner Sharpton.

We each have a divine spark -- or spark of divinity -- and you might say that the higher regions have more spiritual oxygen to fuel the spark. Conversely, the further down we sink, the dimmer our light. That nasty smell in hell is probably a result of the smoke from all those lights being extinguished in the muck, like a cigarette in stale beer.

Remember, properly situated, the arc of the soul stretches all the way up to the divine source. But "the sinner is perished by the closing of the circle, by being brought into contact with the domain of evil he creates."

One thinks of Michelle Obama, who, no matter how much worldly privilege, is still confined within the circle of her own wretched hatred, and then blames people of pallor for putting her there. In reality, all she has to do to escape her self-imposed nightmare is to click her heels three times and say "there's no place like reality."

Our esteemed Wizard of Jews makes another important point that goes to what was said above about man either being at the top of the (manifest) hierarchy or a complete bupkis:

"To call a world higher signifies that it is more primary, more basic in terms of being close to a primal source of influence..." Thus, the human being is higher than other animals because closer to God, while animals are lower because closer to matter. This is why, for the materialist, man must be the most distant thing from reality.

Which he actually can be, but only because there is a higher reality from which he may fallllllll. Strictly speaking, there can be no "reality" for the materialist, only appearances, all the way downnnnnn.

Steinsaltz would say that what distinguishes man from the angels is that the latter are "fixed" in the hierarchy, whereas man alone has the freedom to ascend or descend higher or lower. Only man can actually ride the waves of the divine plenitude, for we are at "the focal point at which the plenty rising from the lower worlds and the plenty descending from the higher worlds meet and enter into some sort of relation with each other." Surf's up. Or down, depending.

Back to Corbin, who says something similar, and then I gotta get outta here:

"If the possibility of encountering the Angel, the Lord, is eliminated, the human individual has no longer any celestial pole, no orientation, and thus no direction for its moral compass and nothing to guarantee its unique being -- 'there will no longer be persons,' only units in a totalitarian or totalizing regime of one form or another....

"We are powerless, lost in anonymity, rolled along like the foam in a torrent, and completely at the mercy of the social, biological, and political environments. This is the Abyss, the final loss of the soul in bitterness and helplessness, knowing ourselves to be only objects in a world where, in Charles Darwin's famous phrase, 'there is no higher or lower.'"

The Age of Obama is like surfing in a pool of mud.

8 Comments:

Blogger Magister said...

"a continuous line of spiritual being, stretching from the general source of all the souls to beyond the body of a specific person"

so death is just the separation of the physical body from this arc

and so it isn't as if, when we die, God could somehow forget us, because we still exist, bodiless, in an arc He still perceives

the resurrection is just God's re-membering of our spiritual and physical being

our ancestors used to be buried with locks of their lovers' hair, so that, when the re-membering occurs, the lovers will have to be present, together

5/13/2015 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Pigs? Al Sharpton?

I would say that is a redundancy, but I kind'a like pigs.

5/13/2015 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

That nasty smell in hell is probably from the smoke from all those lights being extinguished in the muck, like a cigarette in stale beer.

I figured it was decaf -- smells about the same, but you're probably right.

Paul does warn not to quench the Spirit.

...the special lines of his own direction -- which again, are not simply random points in reality but are the expressions of his individual personality, the shape of his soul

I fit somewhere. Good to know.

5/13/2015 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Analogously, you might say that the purpose of the unconscious is so that everything isn't thought at once. In every moment there is a complementary dialectic between conscious and unconscious; the latter not only in-forms the former, but will lend it more or less "weight" or presence.

I seem to recall, in some one or other of the articles that have come out in the past couple of years about how we don't really have free will, one of the arguments being that brain activity registers before a conscious decision is made. As if the unconscious is some kind of genetic puppet master pulling the strings of our conscious mind with some sort of devious plot of its own, which we are powerless to thwart. More generally, though, I think people often portray the unconscious in terms of an unknowable adversary, instead of simply part of the continuum of the self.

It's helpful to see it described the way you do.

5/13/2015 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adam gave a rib. Abel, Cain. Jacob, hip displacement.
Moses, the Kingdom. Bits and pieces, not just in the head.

What else could be traded in this kind of parlay?

Otherwise, that would not be real.

Of course, when that is mostly everything this is, and was, and is not, then trying to be fair seems pretty messy.

5/13/2015 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger swiftone said...

Wish I could fish out the connection, but the blogpost came to mind from Daniel Greenfield. http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-fire-burns.html

Some communities have their angels, their God given self and just as individuals, allow themselves to be cut off from what they are intended to be. DC, anyone?

5/13/2015 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Now that's a cooncept I hadn't coonsidered:
A trinity of conscious, unconscious and supraconscious.
Not in those terms, anyway, which adds more soul to what it signifies.

And what a gift, to have the ability to transcend our mere coonscious.

OTOH, to settle for a ball of hate n' bitterness...ugh. That's ugly, all the way downnn.

5/14/2015 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"a continuous line of spiritual being, stretching from the general source of all the souls to beyond the body of a specific person"

so death is just the separation of the physical body from this arc

and so it isn't as if, when we die, God could somehow forget us, because we still exist, bodiless, in an arc He still perceives



the resurrection is just God's re-membering of our spiritual and physical being"

Well said, Magister. This is comforting to re-member as we grieve for our departed loved ones. For one day, we shall join them. :)

5/14/2015 08:48:00 AM  

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