Friday, October 23, 2009

Here and Now: Local Branches of the Infinite & Eternal

Just as eternity seen from within time becomes everlastingness (all of time), placelessness or infinity seen from a perspective within space becomes ubiquity or omnipresence (all of space). Just as the very old suggests the everlasting, so the very large suggests the infinite. Just as the very new is timeless (for it has almost no duration), so the infinitesimal too suggests infinity (for it has almost no extension). This relates to the sense of wonder often felt by one from looking through a microscope at the infinitesimal -- or through a telescope at the near infinite distances of space. --The Symmetry of God

I'm still slowly working my way through the implications of some of Bomford's ideas. Now it's time to contemplate placelessness, which is another one of the modalities of the unconscious mind. It is also said to be one of the characteristics of the Divine, Who Am simultaneously everywhere (immanent) because nowhere (transcendent).

In other words, as Schuon has written, the first principle of metaphysics is that the Supreme Reality is Absolute; that being the case, it is necessarily Infinite as a kind of first consequence: "The Infinite is, so to speak, the intrinsic dimension of plenitude proper to the Absolute; to say Absolute is to say Infinite, the one being inconceivable without the other." Therefore, with regard to space, "the absolute is the point, and the infinite is extension," i.e., little and big mon.

Just last night, while walking the dog, it occurred to me that perhaps we're asking the wrong questions about the wrong problems. That is, if you turn the cosmos back right side up, the difficulty isn't explaining eternity; rather, the problem is how to explain time, and most especially, the now. The existence of the now was something that also puzzled Einstein, who didn't see how any of the laws of physics could account for it. But it makes much more sense if we think of the now as just a dimple on the aseity of eternity. It's like the last vestige of eternity, and yet, the only way "in" to it.

Likewise, how is it possible for there to be a "here" instead of just "everywhere"? In fact, it's the identical problem, only looked at from the standpoint of the Absolute instead of the Eternal. Before the appearance of Life, there was no "here" here, nor any there there. But once the cosmos has a here! in the form of life, it has a pathway back into the Absolute, just as the now is the gateway back to eternity. This is just one more reflection of the idea that man is the image and likeness of the Creator, for we surely partake of his Infinity and Absoluteness. Even the staunchest atheist must acknowledge this on pain of forsaking his very humanness.

Anyway, with our briefs aside, the Absolute is masculine, or "essentiality," while the Infinite is feminine, or "potentiality"; and their baby is the phenomenal world of middling relativities. I don't mean to give away the whole game to those who prefer Petey's dreamy mystagoguery to my wideawackery, but if I am not mistaken, this is what we were trying to convey on p. 16 of the Coonifesto:

A little metyaphysical diddling
between a cabbala opposites, and
baby makes Trinity,
so all the world's an allusion.
Viveka la revelation!

Or, in more mythematical terms:

The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to all things.
(Tao te Ching, Lao Tzu)

A Christian whistling the same Laosy tzune would sound something like this:

♬ The One enters into movement because of his fullness. The Two is transcended because the godhead [i.e., Absolute] is beyond all opposition. Perfection is achieved in the Three, who is the first to overcome the compositeness of the Two. Thus the godhead does not remain confined, nor does it spread out indefinitely. ♬ Therefore, in themthree therebe undivided division and differentiated unity (Gregory Nanziazen).

Olivier elaborates, which I'll bet you can't say fast three times at Beer O'Clock: "Thus the Trinity constitutes the inexhaustible fruitfulness of the Unity. From the Trinity comes all unification and all differentiation.... The Father is God beyond all, the origin of all that is. The incarnate Son is God with us.... The Spirit is God in us, the Breath, the Pneuma, who gives life to all...."

Which is what Petey no doubt meant by

And his name & number shall be Immanulent,
which, trancelighted, means "Godwithinus."
(see Matt: 1:23)

One more relevant quote from Olivier: "A solitary God would not be 'Love without limits.' A God who made himself twofold... would make himself the root of an evil multiplicity to which he could only put a stop by re-absorbing it into himself. The Three-in-One denotes the perfection of Unity -- of 'Super-unity,' according to Dionysius the Areopagite.... It suggests the perpetual surmounting of contradiction, and of solitude as well, in the bosom of an infinite Unity."

Now, one of the reasons I rejected religion for much of my life was because it was presented to me as if it made unambigious sense to the conscious mind, i.e., the rationalinear ego. For example, if you simply say that "God is omnipresent," there's really no way for the ego to get its little mind around the word "omnipresent," which is both bigger than big and smaller than small -- you know, ♬ It's far, beyond the stars / it's near, beyond the moon ♬ (Professor Darin). It doesn't compute, because there's nothing in our rational or sensory experience to match it. It's just an empty concept, like "infinity" or "nothingness" or "Cubs win the Series."

Again, the trick is to use language in such a way as to provoke and suggest -- as a sort of probe to reach into the supraconscious mind, where eternity and omnipresence are not at all problematic, but the norm. As I mentioned in the Vandalized title of a previous post, this is The Secret Sign of Artists Who Have Known True Gods of Sound and Time, or where Poetic Champions Compose.

But it is also where noetic champions compose, i.e., prophets, seers, visionaries, extreme seekers, pneumagraphers, encentrics, and various adopted sons & daughters of the Creator. They are able to speak in this way because of the simple fact that our souls are proportioned to the Divine Nature. You two can become a three-time noetic champion by embracing the idea that "the life of spirit is the fountain from which our scriptures have come to us, and to take seriously that we too can become explorers, trace the scriptures upstream, drink from the same waters and understand their meaning firsthand through the very source that inspired" them (Hanson [forward]). Woo hoo!

I'm pretty sure this is what Petey was driving at in a careening vehicle such as

Here, prior to thought,
by the headwaters of the eternal,
the fountain of innocence,
the mind shoreless vast and still,
absolved & absorbed in what is always the case,
face to face in a sacred space.

Into the blisstic mystic,
no you or I, nor reason wise,
a boundless sea of flaming light,
bright blazing fire and ecstatic cinder,
Shiva, me tinders,
count the stars in your eyes!

So, what have we learned today? I guess that God, Eternity, and Spacelessness account for Man, the Now, and the Here, but that the converse could never be true.


jp said...

Although "Cubs Win the Series" is not an empty concept if you are trying to get Back To the Future.

I watched all of those movies far too many times. Particularly the first one.

xlbrl said...

Sounds like going to a lot of trouble only to learn so little. This leaves you not enough time to understand why the Dodgers suck and will continue to do so.

Van said...

"Or, in more mythematical terms:

The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to all things. (Tao te Ching, Lao Tzu) "

Three... Two... One... blast off!

Anonymous said...

The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to Ryan Howard.

Gagdad Bob said...

I think he was responsible for as many runs as the whole Dodger team. Too bad the Dodgers peaked in May and June. They were pretty mediocre after the all-star break...

Northern Bandit said...

The normally cheerful (if a bit barmy) Foresight Institute warns of a looming American collapse not unlike that of the British Empire after WWII. Britain went from the wealthiest nation on earth in 1910 to essentially third-world status in the 1950s.

The problem with the people who subscribe to these futurist fantasies is that they place all faith for human salvation in technology alone. If only I could download my brain into my iPhone, we'd be saved!

This stuff is as loopy as leftism, and it attracts a fairly significant number of people (mostly under 40) who self-identify as conservative or libertarian.

Northern Bandit said...

Among the well-known adherents to this sort of techno-salvation "singularity" pseudo-religion is the otherwise excellent Glenn Reynolds.

Don't get me wrong: technology is wonderful and it may very well be that we will see wonders in this century which will make the 20th look benighted (I'm starting to doubt that however). Technology just can't ever redeem us, much less "improve" upon our essence.

debass said...

Technology progresses geometrically, not linearly, ie; we have only been able to fly for about 100 years, home computers about 15 yrs. I'm waiting for room temp. super conductivity and cold fusion. Holographic movies would be fun too. If you watch old sci-fi tv shows like Star Trek, so can see that they never imagined what the future would be like even a few years ahead.
Unfortunately, the left realized around the middle of the last century, that we were already too smart for them, so they have done everything they could to make our future generations as stupid as possible. It didn't work on many of us. It is difficult to imagine how advanced we would be without our education system since it panders to the lowest common denominator.
But, as many here have probably realized, the left can only imprison our corporal bodies. We are able to explore the cosmos no matter what they do.
As Vieth explained in his book about Facism, one reason the Nazis were going after the Jews was because of their transcendent religion and the inability to control their minds. Hitler was going after the Christians next for the same reason. Fortunately, this Christian nation put a stop to that. I hope we don't have to relive 1930s Germany, although I see many similarities today.

Ricky Raccoon said...

"Just last night, while walking the dog, it occurred to me that perhaps we're asking the wrong questions about the wrong problems. That is, if you turn the cosmos back right side up, the difficulty isn't explaining eternity; rather, the problem is how to explain time, and most especially, the now. The existence of the now was something that also puzzled Einstein, who didn't see how any of the laws of physics could account for it."

Alright, Mister. You just bought yourself a world of dog walkin coupons.

Ricky Raccoon said...

"Now, one of the reasons I rejected religion for much of my life was because it was presented to me as if it made unambigious sense to the conscious mind, i.e., the rationalinear ego. For example, if you simply say that "God is omnipresent," there's really no way for the ego to get its little mind around the word..."

I can't tell you how little things like this bother me anymore. In fact, bother is not right. More like, I can't not know it. Omnipresent makes all the sense.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Now that I understand "eternity" better, I have a harder time (now) with the concept of "ever expanding universe". With the implications of the quantum and non-locality, I don't get how ever expanding is possible. I'm probably conflating cosmos and universe, but I don't think so.

Northern Bandit said...

The deeper cosmological topics seem to thin out the crowd a tad -- no surprise I suppose. Also results in a complete absence of trolls. What to make of that? Is the sound of language straining against the limits of what cam be expressed simply incomprehensible to the leftist? Hmm. Let me consult my own wayback machine and try to reputrify my intellect as it was in its unpristine leftist antiglory around 1989... [TV memory fade with harp music]... Man, what is this guy even talking about! There doesn't seem to be any rational content at all! Hell, I've got a Tao poster on the well to impress chicks, but who actually takes that shit seriously? And he's quoting the freakin' Bible! That's sure to reveal plenty of coherent narrative and relevent facts! If I had the time I'd write a book fer sure: "1001 Contradictions in the Bible". Well enough of this rubbish. Back to something modern and sane. Think I'll finish up E. O. Wilson's "Sociobiology". [reverse TV fade & harp music]

Yup. Pearls before swine.

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, there's very little interest in the apolitical posts. People only come for the politics, and occasionally stay for the rest.

Gagdad Bob said...

I think I'll grant a blogging vacation. The audience seems to be burned out, and needs a little time away from me.

Ricky Raccoon said...

This is wonderful news!
(unless it’s for health reasons..)

Van said...

Well... while it's true the politics grabs more attention, it's also true that politics gives an easier purchase to apply the deeper issues to... whereas the deeper issues by themselves certainly cause the big bells to go a gonging... it is harder to put into words, or find relevant issues to affix those words to... especially for those of us who are pithily impaired.

For instance, "Just last night, while walking the dog, it occurred to me that perhaps we're asking the wrong questions about the wrong problems. That is, if you turn the cosmos back right side up, the difficulty isn't explaining eternity; rather, the problem is how to explain time, and most especially, the now. ", had my ears nearly deafened due to all the bells a ringing, but aside from noting how it was often the point of many a Zen koan... how to put all the ideas it sprung into a wee little comment box?

Not so easy.

Don't be so quick to dismiss lack of comments as lack of interest. Some of the best and deepest posts, imho, and experience, draw the fewest comments from me, but they ring longer and louder within.

Ricky Raccoon said...

What Van said.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Maybe, Bob's already on the plane..

But, if not, and if the vaca isn’t for health reasons, a couple questions:
1. Would it be alright to discuss things here while on vaca? (keeping things related to the general subject of the blog of course – which pretty means, except what doesn’t fit in the cosmos)
2. Will you reply to questions? (if they don’t get out of hand)

Gagdad Bob said...

And since I write both for a living and a hobby, I'm not too keen on any additional writing on top of that, unless it's very brief.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Good to know then.

Van said...

Hmmm... is the length of this vacation open ended or... determined?

Sounds like a fertility issue

Northern Bandit said...

Well vacations are great, and when they're needed they're needed. I know all too well what happens to me if I work 14 hour days for 6 straight months.

As far as I'm concerned there can really never be "too much" One Cosmos, nor can this blog ever arrive at a point where we've "exhausted our topic". As I said the other day, much of the deeper stuff for me begins to take on some of the modes of music. Honestly, the first time I read the Coonifesto the playful parts were somewhat off-putting -- I wasn't really ready.

Aside from musical modes, there are also aspects of learning a new language. Anyone who has done this as an adult knows the effort involved in becoming fluent.

Retriever said...

Speaking as a fairly regular reader and new commenter, I am far more interested in such posts than anything political. Too many political blogs, anyway.

Your blog is great, but the posts contain so many references to long time commenters and collaborators that some (like myself) who like it and are intrigued by the ideas wonder if anything one might say hasn't already been discussed. I'm still trying to figure out the cast of characters and what all the in-jokes mean. Also, I'd never heard of the authors you cite. You have piqued my interest and I'll check some of them out now, thanks to your posts. So much for why I hesitated to comment...not wanting to seem an ignorant jackass.

As far as content goes, "the sense of wonder often felt by one from looking through a microscope....or through a telescope, etc." is what has made me believe in God, my whole life. Blake on "to see a world in a grain of sand". Also, it's hard to follow scientific discoveries without having one's faith increased. Take fractals, for example. What is the distance around the United Kingdom? X miles. But the closer in you get, the nearer to infinity. Or look at the new pictures from the refurbished Hubbell.

I never gave a damn about rational explanations for God or justifications or attempts to argue people into faith. ALways loved the story about Karl Barth, late in life being asked if he could summarize his (monstrously thick) works on theology. He replied "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so" that he said he had learned in Sunday School. Why I teach Sunday School now...

But I would certainly not have believed in God if anyone had tried to tell me that "it made unambigious sense to the conscious mind, i.e., the rationalinear ego". People don't argue themselves into loving a person, why should they do so with God? Can't imagine a very exciting relationship to ensue, at any rate...

We are such limited animals, and it is such hubris to posit that something not amenable to reason does not exist. After all, think of having children: they exhaust us physically, financially, emotionally, and yet we love them dearly. Why? We can't all be masochists. WE aren't all smugly contemplating our selfish genes' survival. We love the mystery in the space between animal instinct, curiousity, duty, that is love.

Liked the reflection on placelessness, but your observation walking the dog was the most interesting bit.

Van said...

Well, if we’re going on a break, I’ll go out with some customary non-pithiness. Part of what's been rolling around the noggin, prompted in part by Gagdad's walking the dog across now and forever, that eternal all that is contained in the infinitesimally brief now. And in part from what I'm reading reading, C. S. Lewis's sci-fi trilogy, and in Perelandra, he had a very intriguing thought, given no more than a couple glancing sentences, but they open up remarkable depths of possibilities and explanations to me.

The passage comes near the end of the book, the second in the trilogy, where characters, on Venus who are a sort of Adam & Eve who didn't fall, are trying to explain things to an earthling who has just saved them from the fall. The the Adam, King Tor, is trying to thumbnail sketch all of creation for Mr. Ransom, and uses a word the Eve, Queen Tinidril, hasn't heard yet,

"... and there our sons will make images."
"What are images?" said Tinidril.
"Splendor of Deep Heaven!" cried the King with a great laugh. "It seems there are too many new words in the air. I had thought these things were coming out of your mind into mine, and lo! you have not thought them at all. Yet I think Maleldil passed them to me through you, none the less. I will show you images, I will show you houses. It may be that in this matter our natures are reversed and it is you who beget and I who bear. But let us speak of plainer matters

That poetic root, the image of Madonna with child, that image which women so imparts to mans mind is the seed of so much that would become thought if the man attends it, and draws out of its fertile ground great oaks of reasoned thought.

But without the image transmitted into him from women, poets, story... if he fabricates it out of his own machinations only... nothing much of worth grows from such a barren mind but weeds.

What Man (not male, Man) is made, without the woman, even A Woman, in mind? Who would strive to better himself, without the goal of the woman, her approval, her being impressed by him, his desire to become Worthy of Her... she does not develop the idea in his mind, but it seems as with the reversal Lewis alludes to, she impregnates him with the seed of a better image of himself, and he develops it, births it, and bestows it's fruit and shade upon her...all of which doubles down on the terrible effects of our modern loss of a sense of what is "Lady like" in the West. When I see women behaving like men... swilling, cursing, bedding... we men are focused upon what is lowest and most animal in our nature.

That is an urging we need no urging towards, but away from.

Van said...

Nothing good can, will, or has, come of it. What does come of it, along with a loss of ideals of any sort of chivalry, is a single word, prissily distasteful to the secular mind - Sin.

To look at a religious idea through another lens, Sin is power devoid of Reason - Reason in it's fullest sense, not mere 'intelligent' calculation, but imaginative ruminations which unite the material with the moral, to an end consonant and harmonious with both - to achieve Truth. Sin, lawlessness, evil, is that power of intellect, minus the moral, truthful, direction - power without higher guiding purpose, which ultimately means destruction.

Imagine a building devoid of respect for symmetry and form, let alone gravity, it might begin constructing an extension half way up a skyscraper, building outwards a massive porch, deck, rooms jutting straight outwards glorying in its ability to sun itself in an independent manner, without paying attention to the stresses such a construction adds to the building proper, even to the point of causing it to rupture and collapse.

But then... we don't really need to stretch our imaginations too far, do we? Seen the 'latest' ideas in architecture? Art? Literature? What symmetry and respect for higher powers and purposes do we find in them? What Image of a Whole... a One Cosmos?

Not much.

Beauty neither, nor that beauty in conduct - manners. Coincidence? Not freakin' likely. The Many without the One, Quantity over Quality, Thought without guiding Image... nothing.


But still, to everyone of us... we have that opening available, even when out walking the dog... we can reach vertically and blend the Many into the One in an eternal moment, and even if the politics are lost, the Truth will remain, and to those who try so hard to ignore it... it always burns, and I think they come to experience in those moments, an eternal state awaiting them, from One moment to the next.

NoMo said...

Timothy Keller in "The Reason for God" quotes John Stott, "The essense of sin is we human beings substituting ourselves for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for us. We...put ourselves where only God deserves to be; God...puts himself where we deserve to be."

Keller concludes powerfully,
"...when I realized I was actually inside Jesus's story (and he inside mine) it changed me. The fear and pride that captured my heart was finally dislodged. The fact that Jesus HAD to die for me humbled me out of my pride. The fact that Jesus was GLAD to die for me assured me out of my fear."

Where I want to stay.

Van said...

And saying the same thing (which I believe it is) in that way Nomo, would be looking at a religious idea through a Religious lens... and far be it from me to say that that is not the Higher and Truer One to see through.

Van said...

Btw, I think that the story of Cain and Abel, and the rejection of Cain's offering,
"Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

, Poetically makes the same point; that which springs primarily from men's machinations, as agriculture is the poetic image of, as opposed to Abel whose tending a flock is the image of man reasonably directing the living truth towards proper ends. A modern telling might include Cain as president of MIT churning out graduates with MBA's - able to earn money to support aimless lives, as opposed to Abel being president of (Founders era) Harvard, educating students in a proper Liberal education, able to live a full life in pursuit of happiness.

The first is cool and all, but, in and of itself, of no True value or worth.

But it's late, and I don't have to work in the morning, so I'll leave it there.

Northern Bandit said...

OC post withdrawl symptoms setting in...

Sean said...

Bob and crew,

I rarely miss a day at OC and it's been a few years running.My pithymeter rating is such that i refrain from commenting to often.

Enjoy your break and i'll be here when you return.

P.S. It's hard to describe my gratitude for what you've given me thru the book, blog and the collection of regular commenters.

Dougman said...

"And since I write both for a living and a hobby, I'm not too keen on any additional writing on top of that, unless it's very brief."

Like commenting :-)

Anna said...

GD Bob said...

"People only come for the politics, and occasionally stay for the rest."

And for some it's 'the rest' they (we) come for and get through the politics as those topics come up. Interesting and needed but not the heart of things around here. At least I've never thought so.

I was behind all last week, so I don't mind a bit of time to finish catching up.

jwm said...

No post?

Taking a break?

I just hope all is well with you and Mrs. G, and Future Leader.
Breaks are good.

John M

julie said...

Bob said
As I said, the vacation is not for me. It's for the sake of blogosphere.

I just hope he knows the blogosphere really will be just fine whether he keeps posting or not. Which is to say, he shouldn't have to stop doing something like this for the sake of anyone else.

But then, I shouldn't talk; I'd already decided last week that it's about time I followed a modified version of Ben & Walt's lead; still blogging, but little else. I have a cave to attend to, after all, and it needs some work before it becomes a fitting domicile. Apropos of which, I was reading Honey from the Rock today (available in the store). Pgs. 94 & 95 seem fitting, somehow.

Adios, Amigos. See you 'round the 'sphere. Even if I don't have much to say.

Susannah said...

Oh no! Come back, Bob!

I don't comment often when homeschooling's in full swing, but I do like to pop in on occasion and see what you're saying. I love the troll-free comment threads. Can't afford to add all the recommended reading to my library (all extra resources seem to go toward educating the kits at this time of life), so Bob's synthesis is the best I can get.

"...especially for those of us who are pithily impaired."

Van, I'm laughing. That's me all over! I never felt quite in the same league with the crew here, but love watching the back & forth and it doesn't seem to stop me from chiming in from time to time. Great comments, by the way. I was in a debate (half-heartedly) over Pauline theology versus evangelical feminism recently, and, aside from the relevant scriptures, my mind went straight to those passages in Perelandra. I re-read that one frequently.

Have fun feathering your nest, Julie! :) I'm so happy for you.

Jim said...

Oh man, no OC - no OC I guess I can make it, after I get over the sweats, nausea and body pain. I'll be ok, just have to find a score somewhere else. I know ,I'll re-read the older posts that my flush through mind has forgotten. Bob, please don't de-link the old ones, have a heart man, some of us need this stuff, real bad.

Van said...

Perhaps a bit late to worry about, but something we often forget until the last minute, getting a friend to feed the dog, or taking him to a kennal... anyone taking care of feeding the trolls?

There's a few bits and scraps at my place they could nibble on, but to really stimulate their festering ulcers... how on earth are they going to maintain their die-it without fresh OC in the morning?

But then... of course... they are trolls... who cares? Anyway, just wondering.

Van said...
This comment has been removed by the author.