Non-doodling in the Margin between Man and God
I remember Roger Kimball discussing another aphorist, G.C. Lichtenberg, in his Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse. Which is not to say I remember anything about what he said. That's what highlighting is for. Or my annotations to Kimball's explicit text. While I'm warming up here, let's learn a little something about the whole genre of aphorisms.
Before getting to Kimball, think about that title: annotations on an implicit text. What is this text? You could say it is the Transcendent Real, or the nonlocal object to which the intellect is strangely proportioned. There's a lot of weird stuff going on down here, but that has to be among the weirdest.
Because it is nonlocal, the text cannot be seen or touched, and yet, it can easily be sensed, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation (for the past ten years), nor would religion converge upon anything. Rather, as the atheist believes, it would be just nonsense about nothing instead of non-sensuous intellection of the implicate metacosmic order.
Forgive this brief bit of gnostalgia, but one of the first books that opened my eyes to the wider world was Wholeness and the Implicate Order, by physicist and FOE (Friend of Einstein) David Bohm. You see, at the time, science was the only vertical gate available to me, so thank God for rebellious scientists who think outside the tenured box of settled science.
Lng stry shrt, I went on to write my dissertation on the freakish commonality between Bohm's vision of the cosmos and psychoanalyst W.R. Bion's vision of the psyche, and here we are, pretty much engaged in the same oldenpneumagain verticalisthenic gymgnostics every morning. The annotations change but the text remains the same. You could say that both macrocosm and microcosm are implicit, and that it is our task to explicate the fractal links between.
No, seriously. That's what it is. I can't help how I talk.
Now that I think about it, life would scarcely be worth living without links to the Nonlocal Text, for truly, it is these links and nothing else that separate us from the beasts, both human and nonhuman. Are modern and postmodern barbarians losing the ability to intuit and forge the links?
Therefore, man is only forgoing his reason for being. Instead of a being of reason, he is rendering himself an unreasonable being of nonbeing, which is simply what sub-Marxist existentialism does. It is how marriage or gender or even truth itself become just anything instead of specific things.
Note that the word "religion" literally means to "bind," and the binding in question goes precisely to the links between local and nonlocal, macro- and microcosm, heaven and earth, man and God, (¶) and O.
I'll give you a very brief but concrete example. A friend of ours and her 10 or 11 year-old daughter spent last week volunteering at a Haitian orphanage. The mother sent a photo of Julianna holding an adorable baby. But the first thing that occurred to me is that Julianna did not resemble the girl she had been just a week ago. She looked decidedly different -- older, more fully formed, more maternal (but those adjectives are poor substitutes for What I Saw). It wasn't just her expression, mind you; rather, something about her whole being, only transmitted through the photo.
Lng stry shrt, we were babysitting the other children yesterday. When the dad came by to pick them up, he revealed independently that he had seen the identical thing in the photo, to such an extent that he was moved to tears. That is what you call independent convergent testimony of a nonlocal reality. If it were my daughter I would surely have shed a tear as well. The point is that we were both godsmacked by a reality that can only be seen with eyes not made by Darwin.
Or as Dávila himself says, To be stupid is to believe that it is possible to take a photograph of the place about which the poet sang.
Which is also why it is impossible, try as you might, to photograph a "gay wedding," because such a thing does not exist. Rather, that would be the annotation of a nonexistent or fantasized text, now enforced by the state. In shrt, the state is compelling its subjects to bow down before a completely unreal world which, at the very least, violates the separation between crotch and state.
"Coincdentally," this book by Lings says pretty much the same thing, minus the gratuitous vulgarity. When Churchill discovered that someone before him had stolen his ideas, he called it "anticipatory plagiarism." So somehow, Lings hacked into the future of my blog. Either that or he is annotating the same nonlocal text.
Remember, for Lings, an authentic symbol is a link between worlds, man as such being the quintessential symbol this side of heaven, or perhaps the symbolizing symbol. The Fall means that the link has been severed -- or damaged rather -- with the result that we have been grounded. However, there are heavenly answers to our "wingless predicament," such that we may fly on wings of symbolic slack, so to speak.
"They could be defined as symbolic acts or enacted symbols, providentially endowed with wings for return to their Source..." You might say they are like vertical OMing pigeons, so perhaps the dove in Matthew 3:16 is just an infelicitous translation. In any event, doesn't everybody know -- from the trashman on up -- that this bird is the Word? Or better, the Holy Third, b'atman!
In any event, it is "a life-line thrown down from Heaven; it is for the worshipper to cling to the life-line," but much (or all, depending on how you look at it) "is in the hands of the Thrower," the "Supreme Archetype."
Look, if I can't even surpass myself, that's not saying much, is it? Well, the same applies to you and everyone else. Failure to do this makes you an ambient human, a blob of refried ectoplasm subsisting at cultural room temperature, like the Rainbow People who imagine that all you need is human love.
Which is of course necessary but not sufficient to leave the ground or decipher the text.
Rather, we cannot do it without a Divine Intervention. I mean seriously, who would even attempt to do so without the aid of heaven?
Our nonlocal lifelines "amount to an other-worldly intrusion" manifesting "a real presence of the Infinite in the finite, or the Transformal in the formal."
These come to us fresh every morning, straight from the source, although you might say they are providentially a little half-baked so that man may learn to do a little baking on his own. If they were fully baked, this would, among other things, deprive us of our freedom to eat or not eat the manna. You know what they say: teach a man to bake, and he eats forever...
Returning to the Kimball from whom this post has badly deviated, he cites one of Lichtenberg's more famous aphorisms about certain works -- the type we have been discussing -- being mirrors; when an ape looks into them, no apostle looks out.
Boom! Likewise for the troll, the tenured, the tyrant in robes, who see only the dreary architecture of their own beshriveled souls.