Friday, June 24, 2016

Summa Vocation

Yesterday's post quoted from one of my favorite books by Schuon, Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism. It never ceases to amaze me how someone can write of the Invisible Real with such precision, lucidity, and brevity, with no wasted words, no wooliness, and no sentimentality. Rather, just pure light.

Reading him is accompanied by a very distinct "feeling" or sensation in me -- a paradoxical combination of freshness and recognition achieved by precious few other writers. Thus, for me it is a gymnostic exercise in vertical recollection, i.e., learning what I somehow already know deep down.

I'm looking at the foreword, written by Bruce Hanson, and it pretty much summarizes the Quasi-Venerable Way of the Raccoon. "At the level of being we are, of course, human; which is to say, every child who is born of human parents comes into the world with a human essence."

In this highly qualified sense we are "created equal."

However, "it is quite another matter to achieve our humanity in our existence; that is, to realize to the fullest degree the very promise which is already in our nature" (ibid.). Thus the gap -- or abyss, depending -- between what we are and what we are supposed to be -- between Is and Ought.

This also goes to both the source and end of our freedom: the very reason for the existence of the human station "is to choose, and to make the right choice" (Schuon).

Think of yesterday's Brexit from Big Brother's room: Great Britain chose freedom, or at least freedom for the possibility of freedom; they have reclaimed the title deed to their liberties. Now it all depends upon what they do with it.

"So, to become human is the religious task of humankind. Biological nature develops us only up to a certain point, and then we must individually, with great deliberation and full consciousness, seek the rest" (Burton).

This can sound like new age do-it-yoursophistry, but "Schuon is quick to point out that it is not through our own efforts, ultimately, that we become ourselves." We cannot pull ourselves up by our own buddhistraps.

Rather, he emphasizes our dependence upon grace, i.e., "that energy which embodies the will of Heaven. If we are to individually fulfill and express our nature, we must first recognize our radical dependence upon that Power which constituted us in the first place" (Burton). Certainly Christianity teaches the hidden power of abandonment to Divine Providence: like Father, like Son, like us. A blestavus for the restavus!

"If the human person will unconditionally make himself available to the work of that Power we call grace, grace will do the rest." It seems to me that this involves an undoing of the Fall; or, the insinuating Fall of evening was precisely adamn doing of the opposite of what we ought to be doing. And eating.

Thus, "insofar as we conform ourselves to our original nature, we participate in the divine life. As we conform ourselves to our original nature, God expresses God's self as us." Burton cites the old patristic gag that "The Spirit became flesh that the flesh might become Spirit." In between the two is the Cosmic Adventure.

I love this summary: "Schuon invites us to take seriously that the life of spirit is the fountain from which our scriptures have come to us, and to take seriously that we too can become explorers, trace the scriptures upstream, drink from the same waters and understand their meaning firsthand through the very source that inspired these scriptures" (ibid.).

Through this daily verticalisthenic exercise we may gradually "become the concrete expression of what we understand" (ibid.).

Amen for a child's job.


Blogger julie said...

Certainly Christianity teaches the hidden power of abandonment to Divine Providence: like Father, like Son, like us. A blestavus for the restavus!

And thus we go from being whited - or not-so-whited - sepulchres to being dwelling places for the Living.

Lovely meditation for the weekend; thanks.

6/24/2016 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Kurt said...

I am currently on my fourth time through Survey, and there are still portions of it that are 'too big to eat' if you will. I just make a note - 'I have no idea what this means' and keep moving. Maybe next time I will understand! My first time through I had to take it line-by-line to have any hope of unpacking Schuon's incredibly potent prose. So many sentences just spill out paragraphs of explanation and significance:

“The Transcendent is immanent in the world, otherwise the world would not exist, and the Immanent is transcendent with respect to the individual, whom otherwise it would not surpass.” (4)

“...the real and the good coincide...” (16)

“The Universe is a fabric woven of necessity and freedom, of mathematical rigor and musical play; every phenomenon participates in these two principles.” (18)

“The paradox of the human condition is that nothing is so contrary to us as the requirement to transcend ourselves, and nothing so fundamentally ourselves as the essence of this requirement, or the fruit of this transcending.” (42)

“...once man exists he is ipso facto the author of his actions, which have the same reality or unreality as his existence...” (139)

Sorry, got carried away...too many to choose from!

6/24/2016 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Raccoon Special Forces

6/26/2016 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...


6/27/2016 09:34:00 AM  

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