Friday, April 10, 2015

You Complete Me!

The next chapter in Heart of the World is called Saving the Achievements of Liberalism. Funny how the left talks about the fatal contradictions of capitalism, but there is a genuinely fatal contradiction at the heart of left-liberalism.

We are seeing this inevitable auto-negation play out in real time, what with our authoritarian president and his lawless and/or clueless administration eroding our fundamental freedoms. But to attack a fundamental freedom is to equally attack a fundamental truth, the one being a necessary correlate of the other. And freedom + truth = responsibility.

Thus, we have reached the bizarre stage at which our federal government -- whose sufficient reason is to preserve and defend our God-given rights -- is presuming the right to force its citizens to pretend that a homosexual union is no different from a heterosexual twodom. As such, the state is reaching down to the very ground of being in order to pull our theomorphic nature out by the root.

I am reminded of people who complain that the Church won't "allow" female priests, when in reality, the Church has no right and no authority to do so. In short, unlike the left, it is not permitted to just make sh*t up. It certainly cannot be like Obama, one day having no authority to redefine marriage, the next day persecuting people who fail to do so.

You know the old crack, I don't believe in miracles, I only depend on them. Similarly, the left doesn't believe man is fallen, but rather, only relies on his being so. You could say that the fall is both a cause and consequence of leftism. This is what you call a bad infinite, in that it is at once a downward spiral and a mocking caricature of the Divine Spiral of Ascent.

Now, God is both the source and the vector of our freedom. You may have noticed that science cannot account for free will, for which reason it attempts to make it go away through various rationalizations, in such a way that it would make Gödel sick (or sicker). That is, if man is a closed system, then no truth of any kind can be known about man -- rather, it will all be self-referential and tautologous yada yada, AKA tenure.

As the philosopher of science Stanley Jaki wrote, "All arguments against free will are so many proofs of it," because "no determinist argues deterministically."

In a sense, free will "is subjectivity itself," that is, this mysterious subjective space we are privileged to inhabit. In the end, the reality of the human subject brings one "face to face with that realm of metaphysical reality which hangs in mid-air unless suspended from that Ultimate Reality, best called God, the Creator."

That is, what we call freedom "dangles," as it were, from the celestial to the terrestrial. True, it's Frank's world, but each of us holds a world by the string.

Interestingly, Jaki goes on to say that "the reality of free will" is "the only safe foundation of democracy. Political freedom without attention to free will invites rank irresponsibility, couched, of course, in convenient slogans about human fulfillment and economic prosperity." This is what I mean about the left being absolutely committed to man's fallenness.

The idea of freedom is a Christian one. Freedom is precious, but not for its own sake, since the latter redounds only to nihilism and absurdity.

Rather, "the conviction that man is born free" is an outgrowth "of the perspective that man was given freedom not in order to do anything he wants to but that he should be able to do what he is supposed to do" (ibid.).

It can hardly be overemphasized that our authoritarian state is forcing us to do what no one is supposed to do, under the guise of "liberation." If we are free to do everything, this is functionally equivalent to being free to believe anything. But we are only really free to believe truth. Believing lies hardly makes us more free, but rather, enslaves us. It's how Beelzebub rolls.

Note that freedom "cannot be reduced to anything else," and certainly to nothing merely quantitative. In this regard it reminds me of Planck's constant, which apparently defines how small something can be. In other words, there are irreducible units of tininess, tinier than which things cannot get. Likewise, man is "composed" of certain irreducible constants. These constants can be reduced, but only at the cost of eliminating man.

Not to change the focus -- or lack thereof -- of this post, but what are the constants that define man? One of the purposes of Jesus' mission is to show us these constants. Ultimately they revolve around the related concepts (or realities) of person and Trinity, and everything these imply.

Ratzinger has a profound essay on this in a book I just read, called Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology. It has too many explosions to assimilate in the time remaining, but he writes of how person is relation, and of how this relation is grounded in love.

But love is always a relation, so man is a relation of receiving and giving. Receiving and giving what? Oh, various gifts: Love. Truth. Beauty. Freedom. We do not generate these, but rather, as the Son is generated by the Father, we receive them -- not to hold onto or horde them, but rather, to pass the gifts along.

Thus, the very form of Jesus' existence is in "being from someone toward someone," in an "absolute openness of existence without any reservation of what is merely and properly one's own."

Yesterday a reader emailed me to let me know I sounded "needy and unappreciated" in my comment the other day about having so few comments the day before -- you know, like it's a bad thing. In my ingenuous and unsuspecting mind, that wasn't my point at all. Rather, I just wish more people wanted to receive what I have to give, in order to complete that cycle. True, so long as it reaches one person, that is sufficient. But still.

"For again, the point is that a word is essentially from someone else and toward someone else.... Your 'I' is on the one hand what is most your own and at the same time what you have least of yourself; it is most of all not your own, because it is only from the 'you' that it can exist as an 'I' in the first place" (Ratzinger).

Not to sound all needy and stuff, but what I mean is you guys complete me, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Bombs Away!

I'm still struggling, if that's the right word, to assimilate all the truth bombs tucked away inside Heart of the World, Center of the Church. Every time I clean up one implosion, another goes off.

What's especially weird is how a bomb in this book sets off one in another book, in a kind of nonlocal chain reaction. Then a bomb goes off in my dreamworld, followed by another on a TV program I was watching (The Journey Home on EWTN). Is someone trying to tell me something? And how do I put all of these explosions together? It's hard enough to deal with one.

The image comes to mind of young Helen Keller. By way of analogy, imagine we are to the divine world as she was to the human world in her sound-, sight-, and speechless (non)existence. Then she has that one "little" explosion, in which she realizes that all her disparate experiences of wetness may be organized under one abstract and transcendent heading: water!

That is the ultimate WTF -- AKA (?!) -- and it never stops. Compared to it, the Big Bang and biogenesis are just distant echoes or foreshadows of greater detonations to come.

Irrespective of whether the story is apocryphal, it nevertheless conveys a profound truth, maybe even the Greatest Truth Ever Told, since it is the very ground and basis of the possibility of truth: that this is that, and vice versa.

Or in other words, that our cosmos is a web of symbolic exchange, such that transcendent meaning everywhere courses through its nonlocal veins, arteries, and capillaries. It is only for us to tap into this interior process and participate in the flow of truth-love-beauty.

Yesterday someone mentioned Polanyi in a comment. In another cosmic coincidence, he is mentioned in a footnote of the very page I am now looking at. As it so happens, his last book -- and the final summation of his thought -- is called Meaning. I haven't looked at it in a number of years, but I don't really have to, since I long ago absorbed anything worth plagiarizing.

Speaking of explosions, the book looks like something exploded inside of it. There are notes scrawled everywhere, which is the pneuma-archeological evidence of so many Helen Keller moments, as Polanyi's ideas collided with my brain. Toots Mondello referred to these as cooncussions.

Examples: "The act of understanding is more important than what is understood." "Only the wise ones see beyond the limitations." "Wisdom has always been non-literal, i.e., 'not meaning what we said.'" "Whatever is undetermined on a lower level is conditioned by the next." "Fusion of incompatibles in the time before time. God as integrative AND limiting factor."

This makes me want to go back in time and buy some pot from this guy.

In the preface, Polanyi's collaborator, Harry Prosch, describes how "the modern mind has destroyed meaning," but how Polanyi's "work on the reformation of epistemology and the philosophy of science has prepared the way for a possible restoration of meaning through the development of the notion of personal knowledge" -- the latter a term of art for how the mind always "sees through" the data to the meaning toward which it points. (Speaking of Helen Keller, one of Polanyi's favorite examples was how the blind man, by unconsciously attending to the sensory input from stick to hand, is able to construct and "perceive" a three-dimensional space.)

Today we are deep into the wayback machine, because when I first read this book I was more or less an atheist and certainly anti-Christian. If I was ever going to come back from the outskirts of the cosmos, the only way would have been through someone like Polanyi, who follows a purely logical line of thought, only to arrive at the threshold of mystery and Mister O.

In the Journey Home episode mentioned above -- here it is, right on youtube -- the guest, a former atheist, has great praise for real atheists who genuinely Don't Know and won't rest until they find out, as opposed to the fashionable strident atheists who presume to know and won't shut up until they have forced the rest of us to accept their narrow, flat, and shallow reality.

The guest's experience exactly parallels mine, because his impersonal pursuit of truth lead him right back to the Person -- which must happen, given sufficient time and honesty. Either it happens or you just die stupid.

Back to Polanyi. Writing in the 1950s, he described precisely the state of contemporary liberalism: "freedom of thought destroyed itself when thought pursued to its ultimate conclusions a self-contradictory conception of its own freedom." This is why the more liberalism, the less freedom of thought, the quintessential case being acadummia.

Imagine a place set aside and devoted to the unfettered pursuit of truth, becoming the one place where this is forbidden. What comes after irony? But this is the power of the Adversary: to transform something into its opposite with no effort at all.

To be sure, Polanyi was confused about some things. After all, he wasn't really a "philosopher" per se, rather, just a very curious scientist who refused to mind his own business and stay within the confines of his own department. But we forgive him his blind spots for the light he shed on so much tenured darkness. Like everything else, he must be "raised up" into a higher, total truth.

About this "total truth." In order to reach it, one must follow the circuitous and soph-bewildering Raccoon path, and be a rank multi-undisciplinarian. In order to know a lot about the One Thing, you need to know a little about every thing, and vice versa.

This goes directly against the Conspiracy, which, as Schindler describes it, "presupposes an extrinsic or external relation among the contents of the disciplines." Thus, physics, for example, has nothing to do with anthropology, which has even less to do with theology.

Tertullian famously asked "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" Quite a lot, actually, so long as we put things in their proper order and don't try to trump God with our manmode philosophy.

Schindler points out that this division of disciplines "is already the expression of a mechanistic worldview, whose hallmark is [an] 'atomism' which assumes unrelated (or primitively externally related) parts." Therefore, no unifying worldview is possible, because you have uncritically denied it at the outset. Once again the Adversary doesn't even have to get up off the couch to accomplish this.

But guess what? Not even atoms behave like this, let alone minds! In other words, a metaphysic of logical atomism may in fact be ruled out from the get go.

I'm out of time, so I'll just conclude with a comment by Schindler that goes to how our task is to take the inverted cosmos bequeathed to us by liberal vulgarians and put it back on its feet: "physics and biology therefore, to be pursued intelligently ('critically'), must... remain intrinsically open to explanation on levels above them, indeed, to explanation all the way to the level of ultimacy (metaphysics, theology)."

Amen for a child's job. Because someone's gotta do it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

We Don't Need Your Stinking Creativity!

Every once in awhile I do find myself saying to myself: why only eight comments? That was solid metaphysical entertainment! Two nights ago I had a dream that goes to this question of what I'm doing here. Perhaps we'll be able to weave it into today's sophering.

Back to the topic at hand, which is the convertibility of love and logos. In a footnote that could have been clearer, Schindler adverts to this "convertibility of order and love in Jesus Christ," which is in turn "revelatory of the circumincession of order and love in the Trinity..."

Now, circumincession is synonymous with perichoresis, which you might say is the interior dance of the three Persons; but the whole thing is fractal, in that the same threeness is present in each one, so it must look like... I don't know, like a dancing trinitarian fractal:

If I understand him correctly, Schindler is saying that this circumincession of love and order in the Trinity is the "primary analogue" for what we experience as beauty herebelow. To reduce it to a mathematical equation, we might say that personal order (i.e., the ordered subject) + divine love = beauty.

But that's all Schindler says about it, so we're left wanting a little more.

Help us out, Schuon!

"Art is the quest for -- and the revelation of -- the center, within us as well as around us."

We might say that it is an exteriorization of an order that transcends us, thus a kind of immanent ordering of spirit-love. In this way we imitate the creativity of the Creator -- in whom, I might add, the two cannot be separated. In other words, even more than "doing" creation, the Creator is creation. Or, he is what he does, and vice versa.

Schuon even says so in that peculiar way of his: "The essential function of sacred art is to transfer Substance, which is both one and inexhaustible, into the world of accident and to bring the accidental consciousness back to Substance.

"One could say also that sacred art transposes Being to the world of existence, of action or of becoming, or that it transposes in a certain way the Infinite to the world of the finite, or Essence to the world of forms; it thereby suggests a continuity proceeding from the one to the other, a way starting from appearance or accident and opening onto Substance or its celestial reverberations."

What this suggests is that "the man" Jesus is a kind of divine art, such that he is -- or in him is -- a continuous "transfer" of the divine beauty into our terrestrial order (and "personal order," quintessentially), for the purpose of raising that order into the divine beauty.

Yesterday we spoke of the divine attraction, of how "God is not force but attraction (to beauty and truth), persuasion, surrender-in-freedom. Or one might say that love is his force."

Therefore, we are (at least) equally attracted to the beauty as to the truth of Christ, and both paths are equally valid. Apparently this has become a controversial idea as a result of the iconoclastic tendencies of the protestant movement, but truth without beauty is... letter without spirit, light without warmth, absolute without infinite, particle without wave, etc.

So, "Art has a function that is both magical and spiritual: magical, it renders present principles, powers and also things that it attracts by virtue of a 'sympathetic magic'; spiritual, it exteriorizes truths and beauties in view of our interiorization, of our return to the 'kingdom of God that is within you'" (Schuon).

Right? In the book, I symbolize this sympathetic magic with the squiggly equal sign (≈). It can only take place between persons -- which doesn't mean that it cannot take place between you and an "inanimate" object.

What it means is that certain so-called inanimate objects -- works of genuine art -- have this effect on us because they communicate person, specifically, the Divine Person. We could say the same of the supernatural beauties of nature. Otherwise, how did they get here? These beauties are interior-to-interior communication, and ultimately person(s)-to-person(s).

Schuon kind of agrees that art is "a means of expression" of our personality, "a movement from ourselves to ourselves, or from the immanent Self to transcendent Being" and back again. The exteriorized work of art is like the contrail, or tracks left behind and below from this encounter(ing).

Which goes to why modern art is generally so deficient, because it fails to begin in reception, but rather, is mired in a promethean creativity that presumes to cut itself off from the very source of beauty. How stupid is that? Thus, it is a repetition of the Fall, only transposed to the key of art.

Again, Schuon kind of agrees, even though I'm thinking this through independently: "The modern conception of art is false insofar as it puts creative imagination – or even simply the impulse to create -- in the place of... an objective and spiritual" encounter.

In other words, we don't need your stinking creativity if it merely emerges from the abyss of your own festering sinkhole of inappropriate self-regard. For "profane art," as Schuon observes, "exists only for man and by that very fact betrays him." "Art for art's sake" is cosmic treason.

In reality, "beauty stems from the Divine Love, this Love being the will to deploy itself and to give itself, to realize itself in 'another'; thus it is that 'God created the world by love'" (Schuon).

And yes, cartesian dualism undermines all of the above, and leads directly to the grotesquely ugly world of contemporary liberalism. Schindler explains how:

"Liberalism's intended priority of method over content and its purely formal procedures entail a mechanizing of order and a 'subjectivizing' of love, thus involving us in the end in nothing less than an obstruction to holiness" and exclusion from the eternal perichoresis of order and love.

But -- and this is the good news -- nothing obligates us to participate in this cosmic inversion. At least so long as we can evade the Cake Nazis.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

I Think Therefore I Am, or Maybe I'm Just a Little Oxygen Deprived

Now, when we say that the ultimate order of the cosmos is Love, the irony is that the modern materialist is the one who is anthropomorphizing things, not us. Rather, we are... theomorphizing in an utterly impersonal way. It just turns out that doing so results in a personalization of reality.

In other words, just because we say the world is personal, it doesn't necessarily mean that we have a personal interest in it being so, any more than we have a personal stake in two plus two equaling four. It's just the way it is, and we assume that it's good to conform ourselves to the way things are, i.e., for mind and reality to be attuned.

Was that clear?


Okay, let's try to explain. As we know, all of western civilization went off the rails one cold night in Bavaria, when Descartes shut himself inside with the oven turned up to 11, and had several hypoxia-induced visions as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning -- similar to the first time Paul McCartney took LSD and concluded that THERE ARE SEVEN LEVELS!

In Descartes' case, he concluded that THERE ARE TWO LEVELS! Or rather, that there is one level divided by two: I and AM, matter and mind, object and subject.

This resulted in the infamous "mind-matter problem," in that people immediately forgot that the problem was only a chronic residual of the original carbon monoxide poisoning. It is very much like the man who keeps smashing his head against the wall while complaining of a headache. In other words, the dualists are suffering from a problem of their own making: they are laboring under a persistent metaphysical or ontological neurosis.

Oddly enough, I am not the only one who thinks this way. For example, Schindler alludes to "the anthropocentric Cartesian horizon that has largely prevailed since the seventeenth century, which makes subjectivity coextensive with human subjectivity" (emphasis mine).

Well, who says? That's right: some giddy mathematical genius with too much time and too little oxygen. If that's our standard, then let's filter carbon monoxide into every math department and see what they come up with, instead of just filtering it into humanities departments.

Let's go back to step one, before the bifurcation of reality. "What I have in mind," writes Schindler, is "a subjectivity that takes its first meaning in terms of a properly metaphysical interiority."

In other words, rather than splitting the world into interior and exterior, why don't we begin with the way things actually are, and recognize that interior and exterior are entangled in an irreducible way?

As alluded to in yesterday's post, this was one of Whitehead's central conclusions (although realization is probably a better word). As Harthsorne describes, Whitehead recognizes not only that "the general potentiality of the universe must be somewhere" (emphasis mine), but that this somewhere "can only be in a primordial mind."

Whitehead's "doctrine is that experience is the principle of all being" and "ground of order." This is why everything doesn't happen at once, or why there isn't pure chaos or entropy: his point is that "a multitude of agents could not select a common world and must indeed simply nullify one another's efforts, unless some common limitation or bias pervades their acts."

Thus, among other conveniences, God is what you might call limitation-on-probablility; or in other words, he provides the boundary conditions through which he exerts a top-down influence on creation. So we got that going for us.

All splitting aside, "only a being with universal influence" could exert such order, even while maintaining freedom -- the freedom of potential (which are two sides of the same reality).

Therefore, God must be a person. After all, he's certainly personal. And "personality, as any psychologist knows, is a sort of cluster of habits and purposes and ideas," with the caveat that analogies to God must be balanced by the lack thereof. Or in other words, you might say that we are like God, but God is not like us. So to speak, yada yada.

But in any event, "God's influence is supreme because he is the supreme actuality, supremely beautiful and attractive." And "there is no 'power' anywhere, on earth or in heaven, except the direct and indirect workings of [divine] attractiveness."

In other words, God is not force, but attraction (to beauty and truth), persuasion, surrender-in-freedom. Or one might say that love is his force. May it be with you. And take your head out of that damn oven.

Monday, April 06, 2015

You Are Ordered to Love!

This is the sort of idea that I would have once considered hopelessly sappy -- maybe not even sappy -- but now believe to be not only truth, but the Truth of truth. "Thus my fundamental claim" -- hey, mine too! -- "is that, in our understanding of the basic structure of the cosmos, logos and love are convertible" (Schindler).

Thus, way before it is a human emotion or attitude, it is "the meaning or order basic to the universe, even as the meaning or order basic to the universe is now understood always to include love." Or as God said to creation, "I order you to love!"

First, of all, no, I can't sell you any pot. Second, what does this even mean?

It means that the universe cannot be subjected to that naughty cartesian dualism without doing it great harm. You could even say that Descartes ushers in a metaphysics of hate. Or at least a lot of hateful ideologies eventually spring forth from that initial bifurcation of reality -- for example, Marxism, scientism, reductionistic Darwinism, etc. I don't mean this in a polemical way, but rather, quite literally. I'm just sayin'.


Okay, assuming the convertibility of Love and Logos, "it follows that the basic order of the universe -- hence the primitive meaning of object(-ivity) and subject(-ivity) -- is not mechanistic; and that love -- hence subject(-ivity) -- in its primitive meaning is not arbitrary" (ibid.).

There are so many new age books on how cartesian dualism is all wrong blah blah blah that it has become an empty cliché. And you hear so much from those divine salesmen about how God-is-luv-yada-yada-now-give-me-money that it too can become a platitude.

But put the cliché and the platitude together, and now you've got something: "In short, the Christian understanding of creatures as made in the image of Jesus Christ entails a convertibility of 'logic' (logos) and love," and therefore -- and this is the key to God's whole thingdom -- "a convertibility of object(-ivity) and subject(-ivity)."

In other words, no-thing is merely a thing, if by thing you mean something radically separate from the primordial love of the Divine Subject.

I came to this coonclusion long ago, at least insofar as the Subject is concerned. Six years ago I wrote a post about it, called Getting Intimate with Sophia. Let's see if it contains any memoirs or premumblings of this future post we're working on right now.

Not surprisingly, the old post is discussing Balthasar, who seems to be Schindler's main influence too. There is a quote from von B. to the effect that "The intimate character of being, which reaches its completed end in the conscious spirit, has its preliminary stages in unconscious nature. There is no being that does not enjoy an interiority, however liminal and rudimentary it may be."

Realizing this latter was a major (?!) WTF moment for me. It even says so: "I was idly contemplating something Whitehead had said along similar lines, when the Gagdad coconut 'snapped' in such a way that the inside was now out, and the outside in. I suppose you could say that it was like the sudden solution to a koan, which is not an intellectual affair, but more of a breakthrough into the ground of being."

And "once you have secured this realization, then so many other pieces of the puzzle naturally fall into place. In other words, once one understands that interiority is not somehow magically confined to animal brains in such a way that it defies all explanation, then the most intractable problems of philosophy more or less vanish. We see that these 'problems' were just the inevitable residue of our defective mode of knowing" -- you know, the cartesian mode.

You could say that the cartesian split is literally a kind of brainwash, to the point of brain sterilization: like chemotherapy, it kills everything living, both the good and bad, the ugly and the beautiful. It makes sense of one narrow dimension while making nonsense of a much larger one. It is precisely what renders the infertile eggheads infertile and their yolks so laughable.

In the old post there's even a riff on how the end is the beginning and all that, just as we -- or Balthasar -- were riffing on about yesterday. Coincidence? I don't think so.

HvB: "Here every ending becomes a beginning...." Me: "O me ga!" is "the shocking realization of the end (omega), the telos, which tells us all about the beginning [the Bigending referred to yesterday and forever]. Thus, we can 'explain everything,' but only in the eternal now, where there is no longer a radical disjunction between the 'it' and the 'I,' or subject and object (no 'it'). It's the same place, but now we know it in an entirely different, participatory manner."

And this "participatory manner" is none other than Love. "'It is accomplished' by the One who has already rejoined heaven and earth, inside and outside, man and God. And he's always happy to extend a little nonlocal assistance to get it accompliced" (note the same stupid pun with which we ended last Friday's post. The prophecy has been foolfilled!).

"With regard to scientific law, one could never say 'it is accomplished,' since the laws apply only to a finite realm that has already been unnaturally split into rigid categories of subject and object." Or, conversely, one could say that it is too facilely accomplished, as I was telling my friend Victor yesterday. Oddly enough, we were speaking in a place called Paradise Cove, and it was Easter Sunday, and a Victor was present... In any event, we agreed that the world described by science is infinitely smaller than the one described by theology. The more you know about latter, the bigger it gets. Exponentially.

Which is also why "at their margins, both science in general and the scientific method in particular generate metaphysical absurdities that can never be resolved within the realm of science, since they assume up front what they try to eliminate at the back. This is strictly impossible, but don't tell the tenured. It would be cruel to deprive a primitive people of their comforting myths" (Bob).

In other words, you might say that the cartesian split takes out a huge epistemological loan on future discoveries which can never happen. Or, it is like setting off in search of the back of one's head, or trying to kiss one's aseity. It encloses one in an absurcular process from which one can never escape, or his name isn't Gödel.

In fact, Gödel would agree that the realm of nature "must always remain richer than any cognition of it," such that "the truth of the lowest level of being contains a richness that so utterly eludes exhaustive investigation that it can continue to engage inquirers until the end of time..." Ouch, that's a whole umlautta love.

To sum up, it seems possible that John Lennon was right all along, and that these lyrics aren't quite as trite as they sound:

Sunday, April 05, 2015

In the Bigending

"No one is witness to the birth of a world. No one knows how the night of that Saturday's hell was transformed into the light of the Easter dawn. Asleep it was that we were all carried on wings over the abyss, and asleep did we receive the grace of Easter....

"And today is your Last Day (your youngest day), the newest, most childlike of days. No other day will ever be as young for you as this today, when Eternal Life has called you by name....

"This Now when our two names have met is my birthday in eternity, and no time shall ever be this Now. Here is where the starting point has been set. Here is creation and a new beginning....

"Through my death this has been spared you, and no one will ever experience what it really means to die: This was my victory. While I was falling and did nothing but fall, the New World was emerging....

"My descent, my vertiginous collapse, my going under (under myself) into everything that was foreign and contrary to God -- down to the underworld: this was the ascent of this world into me, into God. My victory....

"Here the old man is replaced by the new. Here the world dies and another world rises. Here the two eons intersect. Here every ending becomes a beginning....

"But just as the earth rounds itself off into a ball, so, too, do the veins make a return to the Heart and love goes out and comes back eternally. Slowly you will master the rhythm.... the departure and the return are one and the same. Nothing any longer exists outside of this one and only flowing life....

"And so in the end you remain alone, all in you. You are one with yourself, and without losing yourself you pour yourself out into the many. By remaining in the multiplicity of the members, you bring them all home into the unity of the Body..."

(Hans urs von Balthasar, Heart of the World)