Thursday, June 01, 2017

Inward Mobility in the Cosmos

You know the old Zen gag about how, before satori, mountains are just mountains. But upon awakening to one's true nature, wu! Mountains are no longer mountains! However, soon enough, mountains are just mountains again. Wha' happened?

Watts explains that before enlightenment, "one is fully immersed in the finite world of form"; but with enlightenment, there is a kind of switch from finite to infinite: "one feels a deep connection with the infinite but alienated from the world of form which now has lost all its attraction."

In a way, this is a movement from twoness to oneness. But you can't live in oneness forever. I mean, someone has to pay the mortgage and take out the trash. However, the world is different: "there is once again a sense of connection with, and interest in, the finite world of everyday life whilst remaining perfectly in touch with the formless realm of infinity" (ibid.).

This new reality represents a kind of psychic third: recall that with enlightenment we went from two to one. But this new world is a blend or complementarity of the two: everything is completely the same but totally different.

The same pattern is recognized in Christianity, e.g., being "born again from above." Being born of the water or in the flesh surely entails being tossed into finitude, if I recall correctly. D'oh!

In contrast, to be born of the Spirit clearly implies contact with infinitude. Or, it is initiation into the vertical, one's "true home": the immaterial Kingdom of Heaven vs. the material thingdom of heathens.

Prof Wiki cites a passage that sounds like Schuon could have written it:

With the voluntaristic type, rebirth is expressed in a new alignment of the will, in the liberation of new capabilities and powers that were hitherto undeveloped in the person concerned.

With the intellectual type, it leads to an activation of the capabilities for understanding, to the breakthrough of a "vision."

With others it leads to the discovery of an unexpected beauty in the order of nature or to the discovery of the mysterious meaning of history.

With still others it leads to a new vision of the moral life and its orders, to a selfless realization of love of neighbor.... each person affected perceives his life in Christ at any given time as “newness of life."

In short, new strength, new ideas, new patterns, new love or virtue. There's something for everyone!

Furthermore, all these are connected: a rising tide lifts all buddhis. As such, becoming more intelligent should covary with becoming more virtuous, and vice versa. It ought to result in becoming a better and more integrated person.

That little internet dialog I published a few days ago is a good example. The fellow I was debating is obviously intelligent. But he is a hopelessly -- and willfully -- infertile egghead, bound and determined to situate himself in finitude. There is no budging him from that stance unless or until he has a Spirit visitation that shatters all that nonsense. Then he will see finitude from the standpoint of infinitude, and his personal mountain will vanish.

You return to your world, but it's regenerated. All things made new. It's not a one-time-only event -- for that would make it finite -- but ongrowing; or up- and ingrowing: simultaneous ascent and interiorization. Very much in the world, but no longer of it.

Of what then? Of the Spirit, of which we ask God to give us this day (our spiritual sustenance). Detachment (from the world). Attachment (to God). Reattachment (life in the Trialectic, AKA Love).

Is Love higher than Truth? Can't be, for nothing can be more privileged than Truth. Rather, they are two names for the same reality.

The idea is that man is the conscious bridge or link between two worlds (finite and infinite, visible and invisible, local and nonlocal), such that to be born again is to activate the latent energies that flow between them. Our enigmatic old friend Boris describes it thus: "entry into the Kingdom of God is closed to those who have not been born anew." Exterior Man is an infertile egghead who produces no fruit. But with Interior Man, it's always harvest time.

In this context, "freedom" is not merely doing what one wants. Rather, the highest freedom is that of detachment, without which there is no objectivity, and therefore no truth. Schuon says something to the effect that to assimilate an eternal truth is to die a little; recall too Socrates' crack about how philosophy is rehearsal for death. But that only applies to the ego, which feeds on finitude. One might say that the Medicine of Immortality (for the spiritual self or soul) is toxic to the material ego.

Note as well that the Lie is like holy communion for the ego. Which goes to the function of the liberal media, AKA fake news: feeding the Beast. Literally.

Is it even possible to be a self without access to eternal truths? In other words, if we are not grounded in truth, then what are we? Either "whatever we want to be," which is nothing; or, whatever we are compelled to be, which is also nothing.

In reality, freedom and truth are two sides of the same reality, for we must be free to discern and assimilate truth or it's no truth at all. Truth is not dependent upon us, as postmodern relativists maintain; rather, we are dependent upon the truth that pre-exists us.

The cosmos is two things: the world, and our consciousness of it. Neither is reducible to the other, but each is reducible to the Word that is in the beginning. That Word bifurcates into intelligence and intelligibility -- or time and eternity, finite and infinite, absolute and relative, etc. -- but it seems that Job One for us is to assimilate the Word that is prior to the bifurcation, which is how we move on up in the world: inward mobility.


Gagdad Bob said...

Heh: "The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits."

doug saxum said...

"The highest freedom is that of detachment"

I feel that way a lot of the time, but I need to guard against an uncaring attitude. Or what my wife would describe as such.

It's not that I don't care, I'm just not overwhelmed by the smaller problems and annoyances of the day.

Gagdad Bob said...

Still in, just not of. A delicate balance.

ted said...

From God's vantage point...

Truth = "Without me you can do nothing"
Freedom = "Without you I will do nothing"

Gagdad Bob said...

I like it. Necessary and sufficient conditions, respectively.

julie said...

Good one, Ted.

Schuon says something to the effect that to assimilate an eternal truth is to die a little;

Or a lot, depending on how far one was from said eternal truth...

ge said...

Nicholas Cage's dad added Suzuki's comment on that zenadox=