Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Bucket's Got a Hole in It

I think I understand why the Theo-Logic is so challenging. It's like one long, ecstatic ode to truth that cannot be reduced to anything other than itself. You know, like a poem: if you try to reduce a poem down to its essence and put it in a memo, you've destroyed the poem, precisely.

So that's the difficulty we're having here: I've finally met my match. I can't wrap my mind around this, because it's too close to the source. Imagine if you have a little bucket, and you're trying to collect water from a fire hose. If you're far enough away, it's not a problem. But if you get right up next to the nozzle, it will send your bucket flying, if not tear it apart. Then u has no bucket.

Obviously, we're gonna need a bigger bucket. Yes, I'm going to have to pull out the Big Crock, which only Bob's Unconscious has access to (and when I say "unconscious," I really mean our total verticality, extending from the lowdown downdest to the tip-toppermost of the poppermost). The unconscious is much bigger, much more capacious and hyperdimensional than the conscious mind that floats on its surface. So, trying to wrap the conscious mind around Balthasar (heretofore HvB for short) is truly like trying to capture the sphere with the circle. It can't be done.

Nope. We're going to have to fight firehose with firehose.

I don't think the conscious mind -- or, let's say left brain -- really has access to being per se anyway. Rather, it is the right brain that gives direct access to the background of being, and the left brain that "thinks" about it in a more linear way. In fact, for those of you who have read my paper on quantum physics and psychoanalysis, it reminds me of how the ponderable explicate world is a function of the ceaselessly flowing implicate world.

It seems to me that HvB operates right on the border where those two worlds touch, and where the one is transformed and translated into the other. And it is my opinion that this is the very reason why we have a left and right brain (or conscious and unconscious, which operate along such different logical principles), because otherwise we could not possibly be proportioned to the totality of the cosmos in both its implicate and explicate poles. (By the way, one could think of, say, Joyce's Finnegans Wake as operating on the other side of that line altogether, in the total implicate darkness of dream logic; in that case, we have to do all of the explicating.)

But of course, there are not really two worlds. Again, we can draw distinctions, but never separate the two poles, for the one is a function of the other. It is really one flowing process, like O-->(n). Or, put it this way: the more alienated one is from the totality of this flow, the more the world will appear to be either, on the one hand, an irreducible chaos, or, on the other, a kind of dead rationalism (the latter being the specialty of the atheistic nerds and other substitious neo-barbarians).

I might also add that this is actually a circular process, something I couldn't really get into in the book (the more symbols a book has, the more likely it is that the potential reader will place it back on the shelf). But in the mode of O-->(n), (n) "returns" to O -- to the ground -- and "refertilizes" it, so to speak, in the manner, say, that leaves fall from the tree and fertilize the ground from which the tree draws its nourishment to produce more leaves. Here again, this is why it is a tree of life for those whose wood beleaf.

You will also note that what I am describing is not "abstract," but quite concrete and empirical. It is simply a description of "what happens" in spiritual growth. All of my regular readers will have noticed that as they shun the junk food and take in only the whole foods, it puts in place a positive feedback loop -- which, not to get self-referential again, was one of the points of the circularity of my book. Only by the end of the book are you fit to restart at the beginning and know the place for the first time. Which is also why it is posssible, in the words of Rabbi Zimmerman, to be "younger than yesterday." Or, as in Cosmobliteration, the attractor suction of the book, And you shall never grow so old again, or dopple, your monkey back.

Let's let the great sax-man Hank Mobley illustrate it for us. Hank? You out there Hank? Alright! Let's give a Big Round of applause to the middleweight king of the tenor! (And remember, to repent is to "turn around.") (This is Hank's greatest record, which is highly raccoomended even if you think you don't like jazz. Musically speaking, it just "flows" from the origin, illustrating our point aurally.)

Now, HvB, talks about the "double-sidedness" of truth, which again can be compared to the cosmic marriage of ♀and ♂ (or container and contained, respectively). In short, truth is neither container nor contained, but the eternal dynamic play between the two. Please bear in mind that this is not at all analogous to the polarity of rational <--> irrational, as a benighted secularist might imagine. Rather, the higher Reason deploys itself in the form of this perpetually living process -- for truth is very much alive, to say the least.

Here is how he describes it: "on the one hand, the object is captured and enclosed within the subject, while, on the other hand, the subject is initiated into the all-embracing world of the objective disclosure of being." So, in this formulation, being is ♂ while the containing subject is ♀. "Thus, knowing the truth happens when knowledge, by virtue of an 'adequation' (♀) to the thing as it really is, lets itself be measured and determined by the thing (♂)."

BUT, it is hardly man's lot to be nothing more than "a kind of machine for recording objective states of affairs," like some hindbrain atheist medullard. Rather, looked at vertically, in the total cosmic context, objects actually come to their full fruition in the human subject that knows their truth (and beauty). That is, "objects exist for the sake of subjects," not vice versa, as that would be an intrinsic absurdity, a his & heresy.

Thus, "the disclosure of being is meaningful only if it is directed to a knowing subject." The subject brings into being the truth of the object; as such, you might say that the human being -- in potential anyway -- is the being that brings being itself to its cosmic conclusion, which is none other than gnosis, properly understood (not "gnosticism," it should go without saying). Rather, it is just that "the human subject enjoys here a special participation in the power of the divine intelligence to positively bring truth into being."

Again, think of that half-luminous penumbra between O and (n): "It is in this shifting middle, in a kind of balancing act between reason's two functions -- receptive, consenting self-abandonment, on the one hand, and judgment, on the other -- that truth itself moves." But the main point is that there is an "indissoluble polarity between subject and object," which quite mysteriously "comprehend each other reciprocally," to the very ends of the total cʘʘvision of, say, a Meister Eckhart.

Given what we have just outlined above, we understand that truth is intrinsic to being, for it is "being unveiled," and it is only unveiled in human subjects -- hence our overall importance to the divine-cosmic economy. For without humans, being cannot become transparent to itself and know its own truth. Other animals can know the exterior of being -- the appearance -- but only human beings can know the interior -- the essence.

Here again, essence and appearance can be distinguished but never separated, for essence only shows itself in terms of its manifold appearances, while appearance is incomprehensible without seeing it as the instantiation of essence.

It can be no other way. Think of the relationship between your own true self -- or, as we call it, your unique coonstellation -- and your outward life. The more you operate from your nonlocal coonstellation, the more your thoughts and actions come into alignment with it. But it is not as if you can ever circumnavigate or know your true self as an object. Rather, it is an inexhaustible plenitude. My posts, for example, are definitely "all me." Cut this blog, and it bleeds Bob's blood. But I am not the sum total of the posts. Rather, they can never be more than just a tiny sample of O.

THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING! Time to get ready for work.


julie said...

It's probably a good thing you have to break for work today. I'm gonna need to read this at least three times before the hologram in this magic eye starts to come into focus and proper innerstanding is achieved. Which is funny, because at a cursory glance it's not new, just deeper. Way richer and denser than cheesecake; I can't imagine how solid the original material must be.

Anonymous said...

Why is the left so hateful and crazy? This is a start. The meaninglessness of radical secularism is surely a key factor.

julie said...

Heh - I only had to read it twice. It's amazing what taking a break to try and silence the brain can do for one's ability to take it all in. Even if you can't shut the lights off, you can make room for a couple of near and bright objects to shine through.

"on the one hand, the object is captured and enclosed within the subject, while, on the other hand, the subject is initiated into the all-embracing world of the objective disclosure of being."

Yes, that explains so much. I have a few different ways of "seeing" this in my mind, but one of them bears a resemblance to kneading dough or clay, which of course calls to mind a parable or two...

Anonymous said...

Way richer and denser than cheesecake

Hmmmm, perhaps more in the Chocolate Torte region, those made with almond, chestnut or hazelnut flour instead of wheat. Chocolate, eggs, butter, nut-flour & a pinch of sugar, fruit puree ribbons to taste.
Very simple, very basic; it's the quality of the ingredients & how they're arranged together that makes those tortes so gloriously memorable.

Anonymous said...

How do emotions come into play? Or, what is the relationship of emotions to the spiritual endeavor?

This is the area where I get all jammed up; the killer is usually some kind of fear or desire and its sequelae. This seems to have a bihemispherical effect; it is the proverbial vale of tears.

Anonymous said...

The emotions must be transformed into higher and more subtle versions of themselves.

robinstarfish said...

straight from the oothsac
h20 from hvb
weightless gravity

There's BU up there.

mushroom said...

What Petey said -- one of my favorite passages from C.S. Lewis is in The Great Divorce. Lust clutches a man's shoulder in the form of a nasty little lizard. When the lizard is cast down and broken, it rises as a great white horse to carry the man to the Mountains of God.

Van Harvey said...

"THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING! Time to get ready for work."

I hear ya. It's like deiscribeing One's hand's clapping.

Gagdad Bob said...

Transcendent recording alert: Marcin Wasilewski Trio.

Van Harvey said...

'Why is the left so hateful and crazy?' This might be a simpler explanation,

The leftist desires above all else, to do good, rather than to be good.

One requires you to discover and conform to what is true and good. The other lets you exercise your critical doubt to select and act on what you've decided is good, without ever having to conform to anything.

One requires you to refine all of your thoughts and actions in order to harmonize within it without contradiction. The other allows you to be and behave as contradictory as you want; and as an added bonus it will make you seem 'complicated' and 'deep'.

One may not bring you any attention or fame at all. The other will put you right in everybody's face, they can't help but pay attention to you.

One doesn't require you to change others at all, only yourself. The other doesn't require you to change yourself at all, but unavoidably will require you to force others to change in order for you to do as much good as you have the energy and desire to do.

One requires you accept what IS Good. The other allows you to say what is good.

One requires successive successes in order to approach goodness. The other requires no success at all, only be seen doing something, and you will be called good.

But the bottom line is, One requires you to acknowledge reality as it is, the other enables you to remake the world as you want it to be.

Gagdad Bob said...

Good points. In a forthcoming post, I will be explaining how and why it is strictly impossible for a leftist to have a consistent philosophy, since... well, I'll let HvB explain it:

"There can be no 'realm' of the lie, for every authentic lie, by destroying unity, completely isolates itself. A number of lies may seem to form a coherent pattern, but only because of a deceptive simulation or borrowing certain aspects of truth. A system of the lie is as impossible as a communion of hate, since communion always presupposes love in some form or another."

julie said...

I thought this was going to be totally off-topic, but of course, thanks to that little snippet from HvB, it isn't.

Anyway, I was just making myself a salad with oil and balsamic vinegar. Vinegar being the aceto given to Jesus on the cross. And it occurred to me that vinegar is basically wine that's gone bad, making the gesture something of an antithesis of the Communion of the Last Supper.

I'm sure there's more there there, but obviously HvB beat me to it, anyway :)

Anonymous said...

"Obviously, we're gonna need a bigger bucket."

Or a giant sea sponge. I like to think outside of the bucket sometimes. Just sayin'.

julie said...

Okay, this really is off-topic, but handy. It may even mean you no longer have to look at those horrible "before & after" weight loss ads.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Given what we have just outlined above, we understand that truth is intrinsic to being, for it is "being unveiled," and it is only unveiled in human subjects -- hence our overall importance to the divine-cosmic economy. For without humans, being cannot become transparent to itself and know its own truth. Other animals can know the exterior of being -- the appearance -- but only human beings can know the interior -- the essence.

Great scott! That's a mighty big firehose you're wielding there, GBU. Excuse me while I pick up the pieces of my blown mind. :^)

Anonymous said...

“like a poem: if you try to reduce a poem down to its essence and put it in a memo, you've destroyed the poem, precisely.”

Ed Hotchner came down last week to see if he could help me cut the Life material to 30 or 40 thousand but the best we could do and have it be any good was around 70. My stuff does not cut well, or even excerpt, as I cut as I write and everything depends on everything else and taking the country and the people out is like taking them out of The Sun Also Rises.
Mister H

Anonymous said...

Dear Horace,
As the contract only mentions excisions it is understood of course that no alterations of words shall be made without my approval. This protects you as much as it does me as the stories are written so tight and so hard that the alteration of a word can throw an entire story out of key.
Mister H

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"One requires you to discover and conform to what is true and good. The other lets you exercise your critical doubt to select and act on what you've decided is good, without ever having to conform to anything."

Good 'un, Van! Whenever people try to re-invent good, it turns out bad.

Rick said...

This just in…
Heard the audio on Mark Levin’s show tonight… …read civilian national security force:

“America must also balance and integrate all elements of our national power. We cannot continue to push the burden on to our military alone, nor leave dormant any aspect of the full arsenal of American capability. And that's why my administration is committed to renewing diplomacy as a tool of American power, and to developing our civilian national security capabilities. This effort takes place within the walls of this university, where civilians sit alongside soldiers in the classroom. And it must continue out in the field, where American civilians can advance opportunity, enhance governance and the rule of law, and attack the causes of war around the world. We have to enlist our civilians in the same way that we enlist those members of the armed services in understanding this broad mission that we have.”

Just as he said last July:

"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

Anonymous said...

I don’t know why…
But I just love telling you what I’m going to do to you,
right before I do it to you.

Anonymous said...

Question to the Coons:
Anybody else sense teh Moonbats escalating in their nuttiness? It's something other than We-Won-Get-Used-To-It in tone, with an undercurrent of desperation, I think.

Is it that they're just taking their cues from Mad Barry as he mouthes inversions of the truth or is there some sort of squeeze being effected on them? Somewhere, under all those layers of delusion, is congitive dissonance acutally getting to them, or am I imagining this?

Van Harvey said...

Ximeze said "is congitive dissonance acutally getting to them, or am I imagining this?"

The more you create your own reality, the less you have to do with the real deal.

Van Harvey said...

FDR had his civilian corps... conservation and otherwise... methinks Barry and Rahm are thinking otherwise. Just needs a little more cry in our crisis... another stimulus package or two ought to drag things down to enough of a fever pitch to do the trick.

I've got a bad feeling about this.

Van Harvey said...

From Ricky's first link, "A historic economic downturn has put at stake the prosperity that underpins our strength, while putting at risk the stability of governments and the survival of people around the world."

Heard a snippet today about directing our armed forces towards Mexico... sure hope we don't start hearing talking points about the economy being a nat'l security issue.

julie said...

DH was just telling me about an exchange between a couple of guys he knows today. Both were Obama voters, but one of them mentioned casually that he's kind of ticked off about the economy. The other one apparently blew his top - started calling him a racist, yelling at him... total irrational rage. Sounds to me like he knows this is beyond a snafu, verging on fubar, but instead of admitting it (and thus acknowledging that perhaps he's wrong) he's got to go on the psycho defensive. The Obamessiah is perfect; it's everyone else who's bad.

julie said...

By the way, I like the new photo, Bob :)

David R. Graham said...

Sorry, the theme here and its development are too delightful and important for me to resist. A brief abjuration of lurking:

Oetinger: the end of the ways of God is corporeality.

Approved by Tillich (Systematics, I forget which volume), disapproved, as it stands, by Barth (Church Dogmatics).

Oetinger is correct, of course, identifying the power that overcomes the subject-object split, aka "original sin," which is a truly amateurish and reprehensible phrase, though meant to point to an actual phenomenon, that should be shunned even by theologians.

This post also implies the Vedantic assertion that object proceeds from subject, which precedes object.

The world proceeds from the mind, which precedes the world (Plato).

Thus a Sage can create an entire alternative universe, right to its full corporeality (Viswamitra).

World-class theology is going on in these recent posts, also world-shaking.

I have not words to express the depth of my gratification seeing the writer of the post grasp what theologians are about and why they employ the technical language they do to converse about it.

Two weeks ago I experienced a comparable epiphany regarding what soldiers are about and why they employ the technical language they do to converse about it.

Long time coming for me but delightful on arrival, especially considering all three offspring are Warriors, two Soldiers, one supporting Civilian.

It is nice to be understood!

It is far, far nicer, and important for this breathing, struggling world, to see the purpose of theology grasped and, what is most important, done!!!

The one who understands theology (and, ipso facto, universe) will with unerring impulse use the words phenomenon, phenomena and phenomenology.

If we do not talk phenomena, we babble in ignorance, of God, the world and our selves.

Phenomena, phenomena, toujours phenomena.

Phenomenology is the only ontology. And ontology is the only theology. Thus, phenomenology is the only access to theology.

What is going on, what is happening, actually?

That is the essential theological question and should be the essential impulse of every endeavor whatsoever.

Who is not talking phenomena is not talking God, aka facts. And who is not in God (and knowing it) is not talking phenomena, aka facts. Therefore, who is not talking phenomena (because they are in God) is talking nonsense, aka fiction.

It is really very simple, as this post discovers and reveals with pellucid eloquence (aka theology).

Theology is a thorough-going technical language for conversing by expression that which (aka He who) is mysterious in inverse proportion to its (His) simplicity.

God, I miss Saint Jerome!

ge said...

"Oh, no, you won't, Doc."

IN OUR TIME [from memory]
Salud, Senor H
{Dick was a big man. He knew how big a man he was. He liked to get into fights)

ge said...

jeezis, mr Z, there's PHENOmena everywhichaway...
Let's hear it re Noumenon!
-seems that'd have more'n a bit to do with Theology, at least Applied Theology

David R. Graham said...

ge, come on, read your Plato, for Christ's sake, or shut up. If it is not phenomenal it is not numinous. God reveals Himself in the matrix of finitude, the phenomenal, "the world," for Christ's sake, not outside it or above it in a reverie of libidinal cloud castles. That is the whole point. Face the facts of Oetinger's statement, if you can. You sound like an habitue of psychotropics, or am I mistaken, for Christ's sake? If you are, you have disqualified yourself from the liberal generosity of civilized conversation. Tell me I am wrong.

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