Friday, April 08, 2016

I Am the True Wine

Picking up right where we left off yesterday -- with Eckhart -- the Meistero claims that "Nowhere does God dwell more properly than in his temple, the intellect..." (in McGinn). By which of course he doesn't mean the mind, or ego, or consciousness, or any of that.

Rather, he means what Schuon means by the term, which is to say, a "mirror of the supra-sensible and itself a supernatural ray of light."

The intellect is both the mirror and the light it reflects, and simply cannot be a purely natural phenomenon. It is not God, but then again it isn't not-God, since it is a Divine Spark -- similar to how daylight on earth isn't the sun, and yet, it isn't not the sun. Rather, it's nothing other than the sun, only radiated and dispersed to the cosmic periphery.

Let's face it, without the intellect, we couldn't even know about the existence of God, so it all has to start there in some form or fashion, no matter how watered down or distorted. It is what reduces the mayaplicity of the world to unity, whether scientific or religious:

"The Intellect ‘is divine,’ first because it is a knower -- or because it is not a non-knower -- and secondly because it reduces all phenomena to their Principle; because it sees the Cause in every effect, and thus surmounts, at a certain level, the vertiginous and devouring multiplicity of the phenomenal world" (ibid.).

The intellect is the key to metaphysical understanding and certitude: our reason "perceives the general and proceeds by logical operations, whilst Intellect perceives the principial -- the metaphysical -- and proceeds by intuition. Intellection is concrete in relation to rational abstractions, and abstract in relation to the divine Concreteness" (ibid.).

When we talk about the Incarnation of the Word, I think this is more the Word we're talking about, i.e., Intellect vs. mere reason, the latter being a small subset of the former. Thus, Christ is the "cosmic intellect," not just some bubbleheaded Einstein writ large.

McGinn: "the essence of all Eckhart's preaching can be reduced to understanding that the intellect" is "something that has no existence apart from its inherence in the Word..."

Only like can know like; which is why "I say to you in everlasting truth that if you are unlike this Truth of which we want to speak, you cannot understand me" (Eckart). Again: the intellect can only know God because it is already of God, knowing following in the tracks of being.

The intellect, you could say, is timeless. The will, however, is intrinsically temporal, in that it "takes time" to do anything, whereas understanding occurs in a flash. Intellect and will are truth and way, respectively, and "there is no Truth that does not have its prolongation in the Way," just as "there is no intelligence that does not have its prolongation in the will..." (Schuon).

Jesus being the perfect concordance of the two -- Truth and Way, intelligence and will -- his Truth is his Way, and vice versa. Indeed, he even says so: "I am the way, the truth, and the life," not to mention, "I am the light of the world." And while we're at it, we might as well throw in the true vine, i.e., the one with its roots aloft and wine down below.

About the Way to this realization, "every human being must, out of love of God, strive to 'be what he is'" and "to disengage himself from the artificial superstructures that disfigure him..." (Schuon). As they say, no one is obligated to participate in the infrahuman pathologies of the world, at least if your wood beleaf.

Rather, our task is "to become once again a tree whose root is made of liberating certitude and whose crown is made of beatific serenity" (ibid.).

It could also be said: we face the supra-personal Divinity as pure Intellect; the personal God we face as a human being; and the God-man... we face as a child. Now while on the one hand these three relationships are separate, on the other hand they cannot be exclusively distinct. --Schuon


Blogger mushroom said...

Again: the intellect can only know God because it is already of God, knowing following in the tracks of being.

Learning to respect the intellect and its relationship to the Divine is something I have struggled with. The popular, exoteric religion I was always around doesn't pay much attention to such things.

4/08/2016 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I believe that is because Protestantism veered into sola fide & scripture, so intellect became an unnecessary interloper, if not vain usurper. But this has come back to bite us in the west, because it left Christianity vulnerable to facile intellectual -- or "intellectualist" -- attacks. These days more than ever I think we have to appeal to the intellect, or at least not scare it away.

4/08/2016 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

We need intellect and imagination, or meditative imagination.

4/08/2016 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes. Thinking back to the Journey Home episode you linked here a few weeks back (the former goth girl episode), that was the key issue for her (and I'm sure many others): "smart people don't believe in the Bible."

Atheism flatters the intellect. Without the opportunity for serious study, many who consider themselves intelligent have no way to resist that flattery and see it for what it is.

4/08/2016 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

I agree with you Bob, but I wonder if it needs to be intellect along with mysticism. I know many Protestants that have an emotional connection with their church, but it doesn't go beyond those psychological structures. So I often find them lacking in a particular depth on both the intellectual and experiential front. Moreover, mysticism gives the grounding and juice to counter dry intellectualism, that in turn can be in service to something greater.

4/08/2016 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Absolutely -- the mystico-intellectual complementarity is the right approach. It's just a shame that people think they need to go to other cultures to find it.

4/08/2016 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Hi Bob,

I was wondering if you are aware of anything in the Schuonian corpus that discusses those Vedantin traditions that reject the nirguna/saguna distinction and the doctrine of maya in Divinis?

Kind Regards

4/08/2016 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, but only in passing, not in any depth.

4/08/2016 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

It's just a shame that people think they need to go to other cultures to find it.

I partly blame the church for this. Although Catholicism/Orthodoxy has a strong mystico tradition, there is little emphasis placed on it. I didn't know anything about until I studied Buddhism.

4/09/2016 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/09/2016 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

"there is little emphasis placed on it." That's true. But what's even worse is that those that those who actually are disposed to Western esoterism are more focused on squeezing Christianity into a nondual box (worse yet, within the superstructure of secular humanism.) These days, it would seem that mysticism and Leftism go together like cookies and milk.

4/09/2016 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Concur. Leftism is pantheism in deusguise.

4/09/2016 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

More valid points! It gets back to Bob's point, that we do need the mystico along with intellectual rigor. Most are in one camp or neither camps.

4/09/2016 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

"Deusguise"- good one!

What's interesting is that those civilizations that stress Divine immanence are culturally at the antipodes of Leftism. I think nondual metaphysics are appealing to the average "modern" because it appears to reject the need and/or truth of Revelation. The notion of the "One True Religion" that sources in a personal God is anathema to so many people in the modern world

4/09/2016 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't think they're at the antipodes of Leftism. Aren't they mostly authoritarian centralized governments that don't cherish individuality?

4/09/2016 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Hi Bob,

Ah, I see your point. But, I was thinking more in terms of natural-law and the Tao-Logos traditions. Also, Leftism's utopianism and cult of progress along with its worship of man is quite alien to the spiritual patrimonies of the East. The "spiritual but not religious" crowd appropriated non-duality just as conveniently as the hippie culture appropriated Tolkien- without any of its rigorous elements.

4/09/2016 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Leftism a pneumagraphic negative of Christianity; it is the immanentization of Christian hope, therefore utopia; and a perversion of the deiformity of man, therefore cosmic narcissism -- the end result is a world as pointless as possible filled with people as worthless as possible.

4/09/2016 12:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leftism is the blind faith that government can always solve the big problems. With age I came to understand that the culture any government grows from is by far the most important thing. That’s why it can take generations for suddenly freed Islamic nations to become sane and civil places. And also why I rail against conservatives who automatically believe anybody who dislikes things like corporations, or global warming... are wrong, or even evil, somehow. The truth is, any good conservative can bitch about anything they want. They just don’t have the naïve blind faith that government can automatically solve the big problems. The best can provide inspiration for other ways, more effective ways, to handle the tough stuff.

4/10/2016 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As Breitbart said, politics is downstream from culture. Being that the left dominates the culture, this explains why the water downstream is so toxic.

4/10/2016 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I blame McDonalds. People want everything fast, cheap and don’t care what it ultimately does to them. The good stuff usually takes a bit more work, thought and... effort.

4/10/2016 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I just picked up David Mamet's The Secret Knowledge for a buck at a library book sale. Great stuff so far. He really digs down to the roots of the perversion. For example, in leftism there must always be slaves (for example, when one claims a "right" to healthcare, it really means that someone else has the obligation to provide it).

4/10/2016 01:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure Mamet has ideas, but from what I've seen, the problem is a lot worse than which team their leaders play for or which team one roots for. I chose that metaphor for a reason. 'Thoughtful action integrity' is being supplanted by simply wearing that teams cap and pretending such. Nobody is from Missouri anymore.

4/10/2016 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

What about Van?

4/10/2016 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Allena said...

Hi my raccoon sisters n' brother. I am on a road trip to Disneyland. A good friend of mine surprised me by offering to pay my way,.
I will be gone, sort of, until April 18.
Anyways I am very grateful! I haven't had a real vacation so this will be fun!
We will be in Anaheim in about two more hours.

4/10/2016 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Allena said...

I meant I haven't been on a real vacay for about....I can't remember, lol.

4/10/2016 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

"Familiarity breeds contempt." This applies to consciousness as well. We are so used to it, we don't realize how strange it is -- and we certainly don't look on it as any sort of icon through which we see God. "I feel closest to God in Nature" is the common parlance, not "I feel closest to God when I meditate on the mind."

The mind nowadays is just a piece of meat that performs computations.

4/11/2016 07:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew as a kid that silicon based AI was impossible, beyond the programmed and predetermined (sorry Matrix fans). You must have that attached sack of electrochemicals to make those electrons ‘want’ to go between synapses. But I never got how a brain which is continuously regenerating cells, can maintain its sense of self. Which cell is “the watcher”?

4/11/2016 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"I just picked up David Mamet's The Secret Knowledge for a buck at a library book sale."

Talk about getting the most Bang for your buck! Those like Mamet, who've dwelled in the darker depths, are especially suited to bringing a thoughtful illumination up and out from them, for the rest of us to see better by. And it don't hurt if you were already a good writer to begin with.

4/12/2016 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

He truly understands that the left isn't rotten to the core, but from the core.

4/12/2016 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

(Technically a transplant. Them again, having grown up with the Rams... I've got an especially 'Show Me' attitude, that my neighbors are only now beginning to catch on to.)

4/12/2016 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Say hello to the Pirates for me Ben (don't let Skully swipe their rum though... what w'their being pirates 'n all. Bad things....)!

4/12/2016 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

I'd say that programming based AI, will remain Artificial, a dead aping of those actions which conscious intelligence is naturally capable of performing.

Which cell is the watcher? While there may well be some cells, without which 'the watcher' can no longer watch, I doubt that IT is contained by one, or even many, of those cells.

4/12/2016 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Allena said...

Ha ha! That's funny, I haven't seen Skully since we saw the pirates. Where could he have gone?

4/16/2016 08:05:00 AM  

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