Thursday, June 08, 2017

Fantasies of Finitude & Dreams of Reality

Every morning, upon washing ashore on this side of consciousness, the first thing I do is review the dreams that occurred on the dark side of the cʘʘn. One thing I've noticed over the past decade or more is that my dreams have become increasingly... pleasant. Wondrous. Definitely surreal, but in an enchanting and not alienating way.

This is very much in contrast to before, when my dreams were generally more persecutory in nature. There was always a problem of some kind, with an undercurrent of tension, danger, and an irritating lack of resolution. I don't mean nightmares. Rather, just being hassled by something or someone. I still occasionally get one of those, but not often.

An idea popped into my head. A theory. To the extent that religion is "true," it is true in a way that is much deeper, wider, and more expansive than, say, scientific or mathematic truth. As we know, it speaks to a "deeper" and "higher" part of ourselves. In terms of attachment theory, science is the Wire Mother, while religion is the Cloth Mother, the latter providing another kind of nourishment that is just as vital to survival.

At the same time, dreams obviously speak from a deeper part of ourselves. I wonder if there is some relationship between the speaking-to of religion and the speaking-from of dreams?

Yesterday we spoke of hacking God; perhaps hacking the upper vertical would be a more felicitous way of expressing it. I wonder if religion hacks into the unconscious -- or better, the non-conscious, which extends vertically up and down -- in such a way that the unconscious then hacks into the upper vertical? If so, this would explain the transformation in my dream life.

We've all heard variations of the expression "feeding the soul." It refers to a common experience, and goes to the reality of both the food and the soul: if the soul didn't exist then we wouldn't hunger for (nor be nourished by) the food, and if the food didn't exist we wouldn't be aware of having a soul.

Put it this way. I think we've used this example in the past, but compare it to the sex drive. How do we know we have one? Because we are attracted to certain objects exterior to us. Likewise, how do we know we have a soul? Among other reasons, because of its spontaneous attractions: the attractor and attractee are mutually illuminating.

Yesterday we spoke of Dante's Divine Comedy. What is it but a kind of vivid waking dream of heaven, hell, and purgatory? Countless souls have been nourished by its imagery -- for example, Bob Dylan:

She lit a burner on the stove / And offered me a pipe

I thought you'd never say hello, she said / You look like the silent type

Then she opened up a book of poems / And handed it to me

Written by an Italian poet / From the thirteenth century

And every one of them words rang true / And glowed like burnin' coal

Pourin' off of every page / Like it was written in my soul

From me to you / Tangled up in blue

Then there is this: He [Jacob] lay down to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

Like me, Jacob wakes up, reviews his dream, and says, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.

And How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!

Wait. What place are we talking about? Is it outside, in some object? Or inside, in the soul? Obviously it is both, the one illuminating the other. At once Jacob perceives God and is awakened to a deeper experience of selfhood.

In The Symmetry of God, Bomford suggests that "the mystics' God be called 'The Unconscious of God' and that any other aspect of God be attributed to 'The Consciousness of God.'" This is a helpful way of looking at it: dogma, for example, goes to the Consciousness of God. You could say that it is addressed to the left brain.

Even so, it inevitably spills over into the right, due to its archetypal symbolism. It has a more "mechanical" effect on the left, a more "organic" one on the right; in the latter it is as if seeds are planted, which grow in unexpected ways.

Bomford quotes the Jesuit William Johnston, who writes that "the consciousness gradually expands and integrates data from the so-called unconscious while the whole personality is absorbed into the great mystery of God."

That sounds about right: left and right spur a mutual growth in one another, which in turn spurs an expansive growth in God. Or you could leave God out of it and just say O: we metabolize O via a kind of psychic metabolism between the conscious and supraconscious realms of the soul.

Two Big Errors: "The first is to infinitize the finite, the second to finitize the infinite. In religious terms both are idolatrous" (ibid.).

With certain qualifications. I would say that it is always an Intrinsic Cosmic Heresy to infinitize the finite, which is Genesis 3 all over again. It is Marxism, materialism, relativism, deconstruction, and any number of other pneumopathologies. It is the Left.

However, we must in some sense finitize the infinite, or we can't think about it at all. It's just that it must not remain static but be deployed as... as what, exactly?

Somewhere Schuon expresses it perfectly. Let me see if I can find it...

"We are here at the limit of the expressible; it is the fault of no one if within every enunciation of this kind there remain unanswerable questions.... [I]t is all too evident that wisdom cannot start from the intention of expressing the ineffable; but it intends to furnish points of reference which permit us to open ourselves to the ineffable to the extent possible, and according to what is foreseen by the Will of God" (emphasis mine).

The Points of Reference represent conscious knowledge of God, but we don't leave it at that. Rather, they are God-given grist for metacosmic dreaming.

28 comments:

Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of surreal, that is the overwhelming impression of these bizarre album covers. Compellingly strange. I'm up to page 84 and can't stop.

doug saxum said...

http://www.catholic.org/news/international/middle_east/story.php?id=72675

Muslims dream of Jesus.
Interesting stuff.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

The sufis say, god created the humans to enjoy their knowledge of him, that is to enjoy the second knowledge of the different humans of him since his self knowledge is not available to any other but to himself. This is to say that god ineffability is not available but he has created the humans with all these diversified consciousness to compete in the way of understanding and expressing their different discernment of that ineffability in light of their devotional zeal in climbing the ladder of faithful knowledge without letting themselves to fall in the fatal errors you referred to. It is knowing the limit of each entity without any encroachment. Religious experience is universal despite the different expressions of the different mystics which after examining you can find the common thread among them all. In the koran there are verses that call upon the moselm to heed the good example of the people in the Torah and the Gospel. Religious experience is both faithful knowledge and good cooperative work as it is well expressed in the preface to leaves of grass by Whitman.Faith is the seed of knowledge that gives birth to the tree of knowledge. Thank you for a good work in the way up.

doug saxum said...

"In the koran there are verses that call upon the moselm to heed the good example of the people in the Torah and the Gospel."

Could you possibly post what is written?
And is it abrogated elsewhere in the koran?

julie said...

Good questions, Doug.

I would say that it is always an Intrinsic Cosmic Heresy to infinitize the finite, which is Genesis 3 all over again.

Like a small child convinced that something that can't be had now must therefore never be had.

Anonymous said...

Abdulmomen:

Interesting what the sufis say about why God created humans, i.e, for His enjoyment. That makes perfect sense.

Exactly what we do that He most enjoys is worthy to contemplate. Probably if we love Him and try for union, that is enjoyable. Maybe other things as well? Perhaps God employs us to get access to the negative pole of things, too. It cannot be easy to suffer in Heaven, as presumably the inhabitants of that happy realm are too awake to rile up. So perhaps creating a place and people to get that done is also a motive; think classic tragedies and other stories of great anguish and despair, which are popularly enjoyed for reasons which critics have struggled to explain. Nevertheless, they are enjoyed. Perhaps God likes that sort of thing too? Oedipus anyone?

At the root of all may be the most pernicious problem of all, ennui, aka boredom. For God, soaking in eternal bliss which nothing can presumably perturb, getting some entertainment might just be thing he needs to make a good existence even better.

I've asked God himself on this matter, and His answer seemed to consist of mirthful laughter if I received it straight. But it was not elaborated on. Anyone else want to take a crack at it?










doug saxum said...
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Abdulmonem Othman said...

I like to start by saying that Mohammad has sought the support of the revelation of Moses and Jesus in his claim of, there is a divine truth that must be agnised and revered,that is why we find Moses is mentioned 136 times in the Koran and Jesus 25 time, highlighting the mains point in both religions, while Mohammad has been mentioned only four time. He also mentioned other prophets to support his claim,as very important precedent in the path of the authentic religious experience, he is advocating. This claim has become in the later years the aspiration of all spiritual seekers, in the east and the west, after realizing the fallacy of the mechanical philosophy and its unwise denial to the liveliness of the universe and what is behind. It seems that the noticeable expansion in human consciousness points clearly to the professed transition of humanity toward realizing the truthfulness of the prophets path that demonstrated that true knowledge is received only from the divine primordial source.The path of drawing down the divine knowledge, the path that has become open to the humans without intermediary throw the honest pursuance of any path of the prophets. Ibn Arabi said, no matter in whose prophetic abode you may end you will be accepted due to the open limitless mercy of the only One, provided the honesty of the seeker in both the attention and the intention. As for citing examples to verify the statement I made in my previous comment and the request of our friend to post the written text, the following are few example,Chapter 48 verse 29, chap, 9 verse 111 and chap,13 verse 43, chap 10, verse 94, chap,20 verse 133 and chap 61 verse 14. God is one and his word is one but the messengers are different and through time words are changed and different interpretations are added. The purpose of different religions is to provide humanity with platforms for competing for the best impersonification of the divine truth benefiting from the different religious expression of the truth. Differences never stops and god is the only place where differences are sorted out. The only common human dominators that crosses over all differences are truth and justice and the true settlement will be there. There is no abrogation in the divine realm, nothing evades his registration.Thank you for a useful dialogue.

Brivilonius said...
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Gagdad Bob said...

Can we buy some pot from you?

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Gagdad Bob said...

In that case, can we buy some psilocybin from you?

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Van Harvey said...
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Van Harvey said...

'Marty, that was very interesting...'

julie said...

Yep.

Brivilonius said...

You know, I bagged one troll for julie once, I read every last word of Gaghdad bob it seems like a thousand times; - I must just be delirious from all the loneliness, to think you guys were my friends.