The Individuation of the Beyond
In other words, it doesn't so much matter what we call it as how it actually functions. As we know from our Aristotle, knowledge of any reality requires the proper mode of investigation. One doesn't study religious objects in the same way one would study physical objects, which is what occurred to me while taking a random walk through this atheist site.
Such sub-metaphysical blah-blah is unavoidably beside the point, since you can't actually transcend transcendence from below, although many people try. On the other hand, such a missgodded approach is a time-honored path to the divine -- a lefthand path -- for just as communism is the longest distance between capitalism and capitalism (or at least it feels that way), atheism -- pursued to its absurd and destructive ends -- can be a circuitous path from a preconscious theism to a mature and fully developed theism. That's how it was for me, anyway. Atheism is the ironyclad link between the two.
Besides, why would anyone want to make transcendence go away? It is without a doubt the most privileged view and interesting property of the universe. It is what makes the immanence tolerable, as we always have our vertical freedom, or inweird mobility and upward nobility. Without it, this really would be a prison.
"Human beings can become Angel or demon or anything in between," writes Cheetham. Again, my preference is to simply situate human potential along a vertical spectrum, one reason being that it is so experience-near. We all know there are saints and sharptons; and minimal acquaintance with oneself leads to the conclusion that the line between saint and sharpton runs straight through the human heart.
If our highest potential is (¶), then our culture- and timebound ego is (•). How then do we psymbolize the lower vertical? In the book I called it (•••). This was for a number of reasons: first, because it is always a state of fragmentation, or partialness, or lack of integration; second, because development -- whether scientific or spiritual -- involves the reduction of multiplicities to unity; and third, because (•••) has the literal meaning of an ellipsis, in that it "goes on forever," as in pi equaling 3.14159265....
In other words, it is the paradigmatic case of a naughty infinite: "A bad infinity contrasts with true infinity, which is closely associated with the finite, for something that is infinite in one perspective can also be finite in another. True infinity is like a circle, finite but unbounded..." Or better, it is an absolute point which is "everywhere," from which radiates infinite potential, or a circumference which is "nowhere."
The world is not infinite, but it does "reflect" infinitude, most conspicuously in the transcendence of the human psyche. However, in the absence of a complementary and dependent relation to the Absolute, it simply redounds to nihilism, or a mayaplicity of false selves all the way down.
Absoluteness is also reflected in the herebelow, and this is precisely the function of (¶), which is both one and unique, but only in light of the Absolute, i.e., it is the "image and likeness" of O. Otherwise, it is just random error, or the intrinsic absurdity of "absolute contingency," or the truth of untruth.
None of this relies solely on logic, even though the logic is ineluctable. Rather, it must be lived, enfleshed, incarnated, sophered, etc.
As Cheetham explains, "The exegesis of the soul is the individuation of the Beyond," in the absence of which life is "a journey into madness, into the unconscious and impersonal realm of the powers of the psyche that can destroy a soul, a society, and indeed, the world itself."
The individuation of the Beyond.
What a perfect way of expressing it, for without this individuation, the Beyond is like an obscure and I-ambiguous nonlocal cloud. It is analogous on the physical plane to the wavelike ocean of energy that "collapses" into individual particles. I generally don't like these analogies from physics, unless it is emphasized that physics is the way it is because God is the way he is, not the other way around. If humans are soph-evidently trinitarian, it is because God is. Likewise, if we are persons and not indistinct blobs, it is because this mirrors the interior of the divine situation-comedy.
I will be the first to acknowledge that many people are indistinct blobs, which goes back to what (•••) is supposed to convey, i.e., a meaningless agglomeration of drives, impulses, desires, habits, masks, personas, and cultural programing, with no personal teloscape. It is the direction toward which the political left always tends, in case you haven't gnosissed.
And to be fair, one might add that an overly rigid or literal religious understanding tends toward the the other extreme of a crystallized, closed, and hardened (•). Cheetham quotes Emerson, who warned of the religious error of "making the symbol too stark and solid."
Rather, in order to function, the symbol "should flow" and not "freeze." Indeed, this is how we grow with the flow while avoiding the embarrassment of existential shrinkage. ("Let the soul fall in with the Ugly and at once it shrinks within itself" [Hillman, in Cheetham]).
Cheetham writes of the "cosmically unique process by means of which a divine figure, an Angel, meets with, struggles for, and transforms with an incarnate human soul" It is this "coupling" which "produces the eternal individual."
Here again, I would simply say that there is a complementary or dialectic relationship between (•) and (¶), which "bears fruit" herebelow; (¶) is in the orbit of O, and already its reflection, but only in potential; it is image, but not yet likeness, the latter resulting from identifying with and assimilating its energies.
This is a "transmutation," or change of form through which "the world becomes more real, more alive, more intense," for "the soul has come Home. This is the hallmark of the Return" which begins in metanoia, i.e., turning around, looking up, and opening within.
Thus, our own free will is a necessary condition but not the sufficient one, as only God can (or could) provide the latter, i.e., grace. Man could no more invent or provide his own grace than he could truth, beauty, virtue, or unity. Each of these comes from above or doesn't really exist: God or nihilism, person or animal, O or Ø.
The cosmic bus is on an adventure; this adventure is "the individuation of the world and the energies of the world. That is why it has its end in freedom -- the release from the compulsions of nature" (ibid.).
You could say that the adventure relies upon a map that we simultaneously navigate while drawing it. But isn't that the nature of all genuine discovery?