Monday, July 03, 2017

Is There Anyone In Here?

I'm not sure how many people are reading the blog anymore, but it seems like Not Many.  Therefore, if the writing seems more introspective, it is probably because I'm mostly talking to myself, just drilling down to see what I can find.... Of course, you are welcome to listen in.

It is difficult to conceive of something more miraculous than the emergence of consciousness in a theretofore non-conscious cosmos -- unless it's the emergence of life in a theretofore lifeless cosmos (we don't say "dead" because death presupposes life).  Every subsequent miracle -- and prior, come to think of it -- is an iteration or fractal of these two, of... what to call it... "living truth."

Wait -- I saw that.  You just conflated consciousness with truth.  Why?

Because consciousness is proportioned to the truth which is its sufficient reason.  In other words, even if we can never say what consciousness "is," we can know what it is for: to know truth. Therefore it must be a kind of prolongation of truth from the center to the periphery;  you could call it the Spark of Divinity at our core -- our terrestrial pilot light.

On the one hand, we possess "a subjectivity or a consciousness that is made for looking outwards and for perceiving the world, whether this world be earthly or heavenly" (Schuon).  At the very least we have consciousness of ponderable empirical realities and of invisible rational ones (e.g., the worlds of logic and mathematics which transcend the senses).

However, note that we can never have "raw" empirical knowledge. Indeed, that is an oxymoron, for sensation is not knowledge.  Rather, we have sensations that are spontaneously "taken up" into knowledge, usually in a completely non-conscious way.   Our five senses work together harmoniously to present us with a World Sensorium, an image of the totality.

That's weird enough.  Weirder still is that "there is also in man a consciousness that is made for looking inwards, in the direction of the Absolute or the Self."  First of all:  how can this be?  A metaphysical Darwinian, for example, regards consciousness as an adaptation to the exterior world -- a world that is obviously prior to the consciousness that somehow emerges out of it.

But Schuon implies that there is also an interior world that is prior to consciousness, and to which we must adapt.  The main point is that consciousness is not just a kind of "empty space."  It is a space, to be sure, but it is an ordered space.  In some ways this order is explicit -- for example, vis-a-vis gender (male or female) -- while in other ways it is implicit.

Regarding the implicit (or implicate) order of the mind, much of this cannot be grasped outside the temporal dimension.  In other words, there are permanent elements in the psyche that nevertheless require time in order to unfold.   Indeed, Raccoon doctrine insists upon the orthoparadox that the ultimate purpose of Life is to become who you are.   This is simultaneously a discovery and recovery, the former going to a vertical excavation, the latter to a horizontal adventure.

So, life is a kind of archaeological dig.  Except this dig extends up and down, inside and out.  You could say its image looks like this: (†).   Except in time:  it is dynamic, not static;  in four (at least) dimensions, not just two or three.

These two worlds -- the interior and exterior -- are quite incommensurable, in the sense that there is no way -- Darwinism notwithstanding -- to derive the former from the latter.   Darwinism can only presuppose a consciousness it can never explain.  Even so, "there is a region between" the two worlds "in which they overlap and give rise to a single subjectivity, and to an existential equilibrium between the two diverging consciousnesses."

In other words, despite the radically incommensurate nature of these two worlds, we somehow experience a unity, at least much of the time. But there are problems, both personal and collective.

For example, Modern Man can't figure out how these two worlds could be unified, so he bifurcates them, AKA dualism.  But this doesn't solve anything, for reality is nevertheless one, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it.

But that is just an example of a more pernicious tendency on the part of man to superimpose his own fantasies upon reality, AKA ideology, AKA Genesis 3 All Over Again.

Let's see how Schuon gets  us out of this existential corner.  "[T]he spiritually realized man can see God in things, and also the principial prototypes of things in God. The psychic and mental consciousness perceives appearances; intellectual or heart consciousness perceives the Essence."

In other words:  to "see God in things" is to see the interior in the exterior, while to "see things in God" is to see the exterior in the interior.   In ether worlds, there exist archetypes and principles that are as it were "two way" phenomena that simultaneously illuminate the inside and out, upside and down.

I'm probably still not explaining it adequately -- whatever "it" is supposed to mean.  Put it this way:  "the purpose of human subjectivity," writes Schuon, is "to be, in relativity, a mirror of the Absolute, at the same time as being a prolongation of Divine Subjectivity."

You could say that the "purpose" of the Son is to be a mirror and prolongation of the Father.  Therefore, the purpose of the Incarnation is to allow us to participate in this circular prolongation-and-mirroring. Which is to say, "To manifest the Absolute in contingency, the Infinite in the finite, Perfection in imperfection" (ibid.).

Not to mention Eternity in time, objectivity in subjectivity, Spirit in matter, Light in darkness...

19 comments:

ted said...

In other words, there are permanent elements in the psyche that nevertheless require time in order to unfold. Indeed, Raccoon doctrine insists upon the orthoparadox that the ultimate purpose of Life is to become who you are. This is simultaneously a discovery and recovery, the former going to a vertical excavation, the latter to a horizontal adventure.

Introspective, but still juicy!

julie said...

Re. traffic, apparently it dwindles for pretty much everyone in the summer; everybody's off on horizontal adventures. Also, I've noticed on Facebook that at least a couple of people will share a blog post and comment on it without saying anything here. Just so's you know.

Re. consciousness in truth, truth can only be recognized truth in the presence (or rather, in the possibility) of a consciousness that can know it. Otherwise, it may be but may as well not be.

julie said...

In otherwords, if a lifeless cosmos were to exist, it could never be known. Only imagined.

Gagdad Bob said...

I wonder if it can even be imagined, since a cosmos implies an order and an order an intelligence and an intelligence a life...

julie said...

Hm - not so much imagined as posited, maybe.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

The sufis say humans are the disciples of divine knowledge, some say that they do not see things without seeing god in them,some say they do not see things without seeing god a head of them and some say they can not see things without seeing god in their company. The truth of one god, one humanity and one unified spiritual experience is asserting itself in light of the messages of all disciples of divine knowledge,outstanding among them in our mechanical time is our Schuon.

Hale Adams said...

Bob,

I have no clue what your site-meter says, or if you even have one. But I think you have a larger readership than your roll of regular commenters would indicate. "One Cosmos" is a daily stop for me, and I miss it when you don't post.

As for me not making regular comments, a good bit of your writing goes over my head, and only occasionally does it come back and smack me. By that time, though, the caravan has moved on, so I don't post a comment.

My two cents' worth.

Hale Adams
Pikesville, People's still-mostly-Democratic Republic of Maryland

Rob Springer said...

I do hope you aren't going strictly on the number of commenters. I enjoy the deep thought wrapped in word play and have for years.

Rob Springer

Anonymous said...

The Illuminati and Freemasons always follow your blog, Mr. Godwin. You're probably not surprised. FYI: Only opera and baroque music are heard at the secret meetings...never jazz. I shouldn't imagine you would be well entertained by these stuffed shirts.

mushroom said...

Hope everyone has a happy Independence Day. I read but not as often as I would like. Work has gotten more intense, which is good in some ways, though retirement is starting to sound good. A couple more years.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob:

I have been reading and relishing and recommending your blog for years, have never posted a comment and probably never will again. I purchased and read your book within a week after stumbling across this blog. Please keep sharing your thoughts. I'm quite sure there are many out there just like me, stealth readers who come here every day seeking wisdom and your unique insights and humor. Love it.
- Cathy

Gagdad Bob said...

Thank you! I didn't mean to alarm anyone with the title of the post. It was more intended to allude to the interior of the cosmos than to a dearth of readers... Still, it's nice for people to check in once in awhile.

Steve Chandler said...

I am reading the blog....and enjoy every word.

Van Harvey said...

Still here, still reading, though often in catch-up mode, and still appreciating the orientation to Up mOde.

Van Harvey said...

"In other words: to "see God in things" is to see the interior in the exterior, while to "see things in God" is to see the exterior in the interior. In ether worlds, there exist archetypes and principles that are as it were "two way" phenomena that simultaneously illuminate the inside and out, upside and down."

Like asking whether the skin of a sphere is meant to be concave or convex? And what legitimacy could either answer have? It's One, or none... and of course at the same time, both.

doug saxum said...

I'm still around. Sometimes days behind.

Anonymous said...

This blog is on my short list of must read.

doug saxum said...

I'm still around. Sometimes days behind.

Portraits Plus Art said...

I'm also a stealth reader who checks in every day seeking wisdom and your unique insights and humor. I Love it and if I were a tadge more intelligent I would chime in.