Wednesday, November 01, 2017

On the Depth and Direction of the Cosmos

As promised, we're going to drill down a little deeper into Ultimate Reality. In order to accompany us on the journey, you will need an ontological drill (AKA language); some quality timelessness with yourself; access to the source of all being; an ordinary deck of playing cards, jokers included; a 4 oz bottle of Elmer's glue (larger is fine); an X-acto knife or sharp scissors; and a sincere heart purified of all egotism, self-deception, and conspiracy indoctrination.

Let's begin!

Um, where?

In the beginning!

Of what?

Oh, let's just say intelligence, since it is obviously the alpha and omega of this entire enterprise. After all, if we aren't first intelligent, we can't even ask from whence intelligence comes. And if it comes from stupidity... well, at least that explains the left.

"Christianity," says White, "affirms that the human person is created in the 'image' and 'likeness' of God,"; or better, "toward the image and likeness."

In or toward; the choice of prepositions makes all the difference. Obviously, "toward" is the more dynamic, connoting telos and finality, or journey and destination.

However, there is really a complementarity between the two: "First, the human being is made in the image of God in a stable way due to his or her nature, as a rational person, having a spiritual soul with incorporeal powers of intelligence and free will."

Intelligence and free will. Here you must recognize that these are two seeds of the same coon: the purpose of free will is to utilize our intelligence to discover truth. If there is no free will, then we are not free to discover truth; and if there is no truth, then freedom is a kind of sick joke that reduces to nothing, AKA limitless stupidity.

If these are two s. of the same c., then the source of our being is not just intelligence but freedom. Or, as it says in 2 Corinthians, "the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." And where there is liberty, there is truth; flip a few pages back, and we read in John that "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Oh, and Jesus then says something rather provocative to his listeners: "you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you." Even more provocative, "You do the deeds of your father." Who is? "He was a murderer from the beginning... there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it."

That is a somewhat mythopoetic way of expressing a metaphysical truth, but clearly, if you are not open to, and grounded in, the source of being-intelligence, then in what are you grounded? For in the words of the Aphorist, Myth is not a premature science of the universe, but a specific dimension of language.

Please take out your bottle of Elmer's glue, and affix your soul to this proper ground. If you have to detach yourself from the false ground, use the X-acto knife.

You will have noticed that when you are attached to the false ground, you are two things rather than one. You are in an imaginary world of paradoxical dualism instead of the real world of orthoparadoxical complementarity:

"The human animal is not two things: a spiritual substance of soul and an animal body, related to one another." No, "there is one composite person who is both body and soul." From where does this most mysterious oneness arise?

Where else? From the upper vertical. The other direction is a non-starter, because there you will find only fragmentation, dispersion, and surfaces with no depth. The featureless homogeneity of Flatland. This is the shadow of God, just as cold is only the absence of heat.

Because there is depth, there is man. It is not the other way around. If it were, then all the depth we experience would be completely illusory. In a way, intelligence is a measure of depth, isn't it? A smart person sees more deeply into the unity of things, just as a genuine artist conveys greater depth than the mediocre one. Likewise a saint and sanctity. Thus,

[T]he human being remains the summit of the visible creation and can become more profoundly so only if he develops a more dynamic, perfect relationship toward God....

[T]he human being was created "in the beginning" to be relational in its own way. The person is made first and foremost to be in relational communion with God....

Man is a combination of melody and harmony, the former going to our uniqueness, the latter to our sameness. Harmony is vertical, whereas a melody (in western music) is a horizontal adventure through the chordal structure.

For our purposes, this chordal structure is "human nature," or universal essences and archetypes. This structure is quintessentially spatial, whereas the melody necessarily plays out in time. For which reason we say that timelessness takes time.

The melody is your Life. But it is also history, which is equally constrained by certain archetypes, for which reason we say that it "repeats." Of course it doesn't literally repeat itself, but it certainly meanders through the same archetypes. It is "going somewhere," or at least supposed to be going there.

The problem -- and this is plainly specified in the owner's manual in Genesis 3 -- is that man tries to dissolve the divine-human partnership and get there on his own -- as if one can enjoy celestial living in the sublunary world without the aid of Heaven! This always fails, because it fails before it even begins.

In other words, it eliminates the ground and measure of success, which is proximity to the absolute. A progressive in the vulgar sense is someone who has obliterated the very ground of progress. His subjective desires become the measure of success, and it's Genesis 3 All Over Again. Cosmic inversion complete.

So: "the human being is precariously located between the visible [horizontal, local] and invisible [vertical, nonlocal] worlds." The whole innerprize falls apart "without a right orientation toward [our] true homeland and a genuine knowledge of God."

Now, remove your deck of cards. Pick a card, any card. The deck is you, the card your particular action. Was the action free, or was it determined? Yes and no, for in the words of the Aphorist, sin shuffles the deck.

15 comments:

Gagdad Bob said...

So, the wife is lectoring today for the All Saint's Day thingy. I asked what she was reading, and it was this: "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known."

In and toward

julie said...

That is lovely. The Mass I went to had the school kids participating today, and they skipped that reading.

Man is a combination of melody and harmony, the former going to our uniqueness, the latter to our sameness. Harmony is vertical, whereas a melody (in western music) is a horizontal adventure through the chordal structure.

Re. melodies, it's amazing how, in an arrangement with a multitude of notes being played all at once, the melody still somehow stands out from the rest. All other things being equal, we still somehow know the shape of the tune we are hearing.

Gagdad Bob said...

Just lately -- gasp! -- I've been listening to some early Peter, Paul, and Mary. If you put the politics aside, it is amazing how their voices complement and wind around each other in service of the melody.

As for the politics, when they sing, for example, about "freedom," I just pretend they're singing about the real thing and not liberal tyranny.

mushroom said...

The in and toward. Position and process; absolute and relative. If there is no absolute (position), no goal, what exactly are we to suppose the progressives are progressing toward? Our goal is stated in Ephesian 4:13, "...the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."

Anonymous said...

Rather than voyaging into an indeterminate future, perhaps existence is like an audio cassette tape (anyone remember those?). These are tapes wound onto spools.

It is pre-recorded with some awesome music. Let's say the Bee-Gees. There are play, pause, fast-forward, and rewind buttons.

So, to apply the model to our existence, we are in "play" mode. The pause, rewind, and fast-forward modes are not available, at least to us. Free will is a real thing, however all of these free decisions were made by us during the original recording session (about 13-14 billion years ago).

This model allows for pre-cognition, which is a real thing that happens. The person getting a future impression has somehow checked out the section of "tape" which is wound over our current section on the "spool." This section later "plays" and the pre-cognitive experience is verified.

We can conjecture God enjoys playing the tape, which includes all lives and happenings, and He derives great gratification from it. He even likes the part before people were here. He enjoys the antics of matter in general. He can hit rewind, or fast-forward, whenever He wants. Just as we would rock out to "Just Emotions, Taking Me Over."

This somewhat deflates the urgency of free-will, however it also assigns to each person great antiquity and longevity, counted in the billions of years.

I offer this theory for the rumination of the panel.

mushroom said...

You're a better man than I am to be able to get past their politics. On the other hand, I love "Vigilante Man", written by Woody Guthrie, but it's because I identify with the vigilante striking terror into the hearts of freeloaders and parasites.

Gagdad Bob said...

Woody Guthrie's guitar famously had "this machine kills fascists" written on the side. Well, good! Let's start with Antifa.

mushroom said...

They always call you what they are.

Gagdad Bob said...

Also, as it so happens, Paul inserted tension in the group by becoming a committed and rather conservative Christian in 1967. As such, he saw the problem as being in the individual, AKA sin, whereas Peter in particular -- like all leftists -- located sin in the collective. I suppose that was a convenient alibi when he was later busted for statutory rape.

Gagdad Bob said...

Or in other words, "It's just this war and that lying son of a bitch Johnson!"

mushroom said...

I wouldn't offer an argument about Johnson. He's down there with Woodrow Wilson and FDR as 20th Century presidents. He might have been the most personally evil of that unholy trinity.

julie said...

At least back then peter and Mary were still willing to sing with him. These days, after pointing and shrieking they would probably have started a Twitter campaign impugning his character and spreading false rumors claiming he had done whatever they themselves were guilty of.

Gagdad Bob said...

Interesting story I read the other day about Paul's most famous composition, There is Love, which has only been played at about a billion weddings. Peter was getting married, and Paul didn't know what to get for a gift, so he decided to write a song. Being that Peter is (secular) Jewish, Paul didn't want to lay it on too thick with the Jesus business, so he prayed about it and the song just came to him. And since he considered the song a gift from God, he didn't want to profit from it, so he gave the publishing to a charitable group. Although it has meant millions in income, he doesn't regret the decision.

Cousin Dupree said...

Yeah, whatever.

Anonymous said...

Mushroom refers to "free-loaders and parasites." I'm not sure who or what you mean here. Can you explain further?