Friday, June 05, 2015

Reality: Accept No Substitutes

If transcendence is built into the nature of things, then we can only journey "toward" it while never arriving, for to arrive there would be to "collapse" and negate it. And in a world without transcendence, our journey would be reduced to a random walk in a featureless swamp, just the agitated Brownian motion of an imaginary soul.

This is one of the ways a trinitarian Godhead makes sense, because it seems that God too is in a kind of perpetual motion, eternally going out of and into himselves and falling in love with Love.

For Corbin, our true self is up above and out ahead, like an existential scout at the edge of the frontier. It is what gives our individuated transcendence a direction and vector; or rather, it is the source of our individuation.

We could say that there are no individuals per se, but persons in the process of individuating -- a process which never ends, on pain of putting an end to the adventure: individuation is freedom lived, and freedom is individuation actualizing.

It is as if our higher or deeper or truer selves "go out ahead" and "eternally open new horizons, new distances within Eternity" (Cheetham). And although I wouldn't express it exactly this way, Cheetham suggests that even God "is not a fixed Unmoved Mover, but is eternally drawn upward into an eternal 'future.'"

First, I wouldn't say even God, but especially God. Nor would I use the word "future" per se. Rather, there must be something "in" God that is distantly analogous to our own sense of a future. Our future is somehow a timebound echo or shadow of what happens eternally in God.

Which would be what? What does the "future" really come down to? Shorn of its abstract temporal aspect, future-ness essentially means openness, novelty, surprise, and creative possibility.

This is very much in contrast to the purely temporal future of mere physics, which ends in maximum entropy, equilibrium, and heat death. In that sense, the future is absolutely known: in the long run we're all dead, including the cosmos itself.

But that assumes a purely immanent cosmos without transcendence or direction. In that sort of cosmos, man could never have appeared to begin with: life comes from Life, truth from Truth, intelligence from Intelligence, beauty from Beauty.

Which is why, as Cheetham says, man is never content where he is, but only on the way there: "The longing for home is satisfied not by eternal rest but rather by eternal motion," except it is a vertical motion. "[W]e are always on our way home, in an endless series of renewals, seeking home again and again at higher and higher levels."

He tosses in an excellent and most coonworthy quote by Oliver Clement, that "I am on a destined path as if entering a land of childhood, knowing very well that, in the words of Saint Gregory, it will take me all eternity to go 'from beginning to beginning, by way of beginnings without end'" (emphasis mine, for reasons that should be bobvious to longtome lessoneers).

Which is why "Eternity is a first time, continually renewed" (ibid.). It is the opposite of the Nietzschean hell of "eternal recurrence," which is to say, eternal renewal.

Eros is the fuel. Thanks to it, we always yearn "for transcendence, for a figure who is always beyond" and "illuminates the essentially double [I would say triple] structure of consciousness." It is how the Light gets in -- how the Light sees itself in the subjects it illuminates, and how we exit the darkness of scientism, tenure, and other cheap substitutes for reality.

This reminds us that spirit and soul are always constellated together. Where spirit rises, soul descends. --Thomas Cheetham

***

Update: which is why the left does "no service to a child by preparing him for the lower life -- the life of the state-produced animal” (Roger Scruton, via Happy Acres).

23 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Which is why, as Cheetham says, man is never content where he is, but only on the way there: "The longing for home is satisfied not by eternal rest but rather by eternal motion," except it is a vertical motion. "[W]e are always on our way home, in an endless series of renewals, seeking home again and again at higher and higher levels."

What is rest anyway, but a time to recharge so that one may continue on the journey? And even in rest, as often as not, we are awfully busy dreaming.

6/05/2015 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Transcending Mick said...

'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can't get no, I can't get no

6/05/2015 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Fake Petey said...

But I'm a substitute for another guy
I look pretty tall but my heels are high
The simple things you see are all complicated
I look pretty young, but I'm just backdated, yeah

6/05/2015 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Walt?

6/05/2015 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Ambitious Chris said...

Every night I tell myself,
"I am the cosmos,
I am the wind"
But that don't get you back again

6/05/2015 01:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Inquisitive Ray said...

Yes, Walter was my mate,
But Walter, my old friend, where are you now?

6/05/2015 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Soaring Paul said...

Endless travels
Can't remember where I've been
Lying in this hammock, feeling tragic
Like the ones you hear so much about
Can't wait to tell you what I've seen

6/05/2015 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the ones that try to figure out complex molecular interactions are using interpenetrating many worlds equations.
I would tell them to shop for several sizes of shoes before moving those mountains.
Some things change, some do not.

Some stuff leaks, whether on purpose that is choice, or not. The Law. Pricked. Just limping around here, Boss.

I mean, all that not staying dead has to interact. Nature, and such. Probably just leaks.

6/05/2015 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Why is it against the law for a psychologist to help a person with unwanted homosexual impulses, but fine for a medical doctor to help someone with an unwanted penis?

6/05/2015 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Because Reasons.

6/05/2015 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

What a weird and backward world they live in, where sex is mutable but sexual preference isn't.

6/05/2015 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Except of course when it is. If you're hetero, you should be willing to "try new things," but if you're gay you're born that way™ and it is criminal to encourage a gay person to "try new things." And if you're convinced that you should have an innie where you have an outie, don't hesitate, medicate until you can have that surgically corrected. What could go wrong?

Still waiting for the first dolphinoplasty, complete with magazine covers worshipping the god-like qualities of the first transhuman*.

*who can't actually swim thanks to the surgery, nor breathe through the improvised hole the surgeon drilled in the back of his neck.

6/05/2015 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...no individuals per se, but persons in the process of individuating ...

Those of us who are in Christ are "being saved". This makes sense.

So, too, that we are only happy in motion. As much as I love the KJV Bible, we've missed a lot by our understanding of "mansion" in John 14:2. "In my Father's house are many rooms" -- even better "There are many resting-places in the Father's house".

We are travelers. When we come to the end of a stage in the journey and need rest and refreshment, we can always find a welcome and a place to stay in the Father's house.

6/05/2015 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

For some reason, I'm suddenly reminded of dragonflies. I've noticed over the years that they will claim a spot - a blade of grass or the stalk of some high plant - where they perch periodically as if to pause and regroup. After flying around for a bit, seeking whatever it is they are looking for at the moment, they return to the same spot, and each to its own.

6/05/2015 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

You had me at "Reality: Accept No Substitutes".

6/05/2015 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

And really, why would anyone want the Adventure of Good, Beautiful and True to end?
Yet many have convinced themselves that the cycle of madness or just being a selfish animal is better.

6/06/2015 01:37:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"He tosses in an excellent and most coonworthy quote by Oliver Clement, that "I am on a destined path as if entering a land of childhood, knowing very well that, in the words of Saint Gregory, it will take me all eternity to go 'from beginning to beginning, by way of beginnings without end'" (emphasis mine, for reasons that should be bobvious to longtome lessoneers)."

Bobvious to me. Renewal begets regnewal. Leaves me Godsmacked.

6/06/2015 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Reading through Ace's Sunday book thread, a point is made about the popularity of bodice ripper romance books among women. It occurred to me to wonder just how many men-who-think-they're-really-women spend a significant portion of their fantasy life daydreaming about being seduced, ravished, and blissfully married to the seductive ravisher?

Also, the observation about the mysterious nature of male-female relations and the wrongness of legislating said relations at every step of the way is right on. Just one more step in making human relations stilted and passionless.

6/07/2015 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

About those men-who-think-they're-really-women spending a significant portion of their fantasy life daydreaming about being seduced & ravished. I am sure there is a parallel in male homosexual literature, although I'll leave it to someone else to do the research.

6/07/2015 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Lol - yes, I wouldn't be surprised about that part. It's the rest of it that makes the difference. The part where they get married, settle down, and start having babies, and essentially she "tames" her man, and he never ever even thinks about another woman, even (or especially) if he was promiscuous before.

6/07/2015 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

"Why is it against the law for a psychologist to help a person with unwanted homosexual impulses, but fine for a medical doctor to help someone with an unwanted penis?

Good news: Not all doctors are helping. Very informative essay:

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2004/11/surgical-sex

BY the by and by...the linky thing at Happy Acres' post is to my Twitter acct. Just a placeholder for things that strike my fancy.

6/07/2015 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bob, going back through your archives and a regular reader but not participator, not good with words, but trying to illustrate to my brother healthy thinking as it were. You have talked about male-male or female-female thinking in the past vs the healthy male-female thinking that all Coons share. My brother emailed me a post about micro-aggressions, and while he is conservative, would there by any chance for you to elaborate just a little bit about the male/female dynamics when it comes to thought? It makes sense in the abstract, and I instinctively understand it to a certain level, and so does he, but putting it into words is very difficult, at least for me. Not expecting an entire post or anything, and not to derail you or anything like that, but I feel like I am failing at explaining things. My name is Mike, I commented a long time ago, but just looking for a little wisdom if you are able to oblige. Thanks!

6/07/2015 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Your question is a bit diffuse. Could you maybe express it more concretely?

6/08/2015 07:28:00 AM  

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