Thursday, December 24, 2009

Immaculate Family Planning: On Conceiving & Giving Birth to the Word

Regarding the Gospel of John, Unknown Friend says that it appeals to the human soul to shift its ground of intelligence from the created to the creative through a union of sun and moon. What does this mean? Let's find out.

The mode of science is entirely lunar, in that it seeks to "reflect" matter, or the lowest level of possible knowledge. Which is fine for science. Just don't confuse science with philosophy or metaphysics, much less theology, which are adequations to higher levels of reality -- intellect, soul, self, spirit, slack, etc.

The lunar mode can only comprehend that which is discontinuous, never that which is continuous. In fact, if I am not mistaken, the word "science" is etymologically related to "cut," which is what science must do in order to understand anything.

However, the cutting is in the mind of the scientist, and cannot be confused with what is ultimately real, and which unites the scientific knower with what he knows. Matter is atomistic, malleable, and infinitely divisible. Using only the tools of science, it is impossible to even approach the problem of intrinsically continuous and holistic properties such as life and mind (which is why the wave-particle complementarity is such a paradox for materialists).

But the Gospel of John confronts us with the creative Word, "which is the light and life of men." Here, intelligence "has the task of understanding the whole world as the organisatory act of the Word and Jesus Christ as the cosmic Word made flesh." Whereas lunar intelligence seeks to understand "that which is," this logocentric mode seeks to participate "in the becoming of that which is to be." It is not just to be "born again," but to give birth -- which is to participate in the intrinsic and eternal creativity of the Word. This is the Voidgin Birth alluded to on page the tenth of the Godspiel of Toots (no, it wasn't just his Brooklyn accent).

Real creativity is clearly a kind of higher life and higher life that is continuous with, or a mirror of, the divine activity. The point is, on the intellectual plane, approaching God doesn't just require a leap of faith, but a leap of creative intelligence -- which is one of its seals of authenticity, for it means that the seed-word has taken root in our own soil. It is again one of the things I intended to convey by the symbol O→(n), as it is a kind of continuous flow, "or river of water of life," not something static or repetitious, which are hollow caricatures of Absolute and Infinite, respectively.

UF writes that this kind of creativity involves the true union of intelligence and the intuition of faith. In the typical believer, it seems that these two modes are "betrothed," but they have to move on to a true marriage and become "one flesh." It is not simply one mode added to the other, but a real harmonious -- and creative -- union which then produces real fruit that neither one alone could have made.

UF singles out several thinkers whom he believes approached or achieved this fusion of faith and intelligence, including Origen, Denys, Aquinas, Jacob Boehme, Berdayev, and Teilhard de Chardin. He also has a lot of praise for Bergson, with whom I have only a general familiarity. But he includes an extended passage from Bergson that well captures what we are discussing here. He makes reference to the circularity of mere lunar logic, and the need to break out of this closed world:

"If we had never seen a man swim, we might say that swimming is an impossible thing, in as much as, to learn to swim, we must begin by holding ourselves up in water and, consequently, already know how to swim. Reasoning, in fact, always nails us down to the solid ground."

You can no doubt appreciate the baleful consequences of our scientistic jester's mundane and earthbound intelligence, which is again in servitude to that which is infinitely beneath its scope and station, i.e., matter. Such a constricted intelligence "looks to the least developed and the most primitive for the cause and the explanation of what is most developed and the most advanced in the process of evolution.... it retreats into matter. It does something with regard to the world which would be absurd with regard to a work of art.... Intelligence which prefers retreating to flying must inevitably arrive at the impasse of absurdity.... And the absurd... is suicide for intelligence" (MOTT).

Bergson continues: "But if, quite simply, I throw myself into the water without fear, I may keep myself up well enough at first by merely struggling, and gradually adapt myself to the new environment: I shall learn to swim.... if the risk be accepted, action will perhaps cut the knot that reasoning has tied and will not unloose."

This reminds me of the anecdote in my book about the yeshiva student who is asked if he knows how to swim: "No, but I understand swimming." The analogy with our scientistic trolls is exact, in that their pride forbids them from leaving the solid shore of matter, but who nevertheless imagine that they understand what it means to dive heartlong into the ʘcean.

So our intelligence must take the plunge in order to leave the prison of materialism: "[L]eap it must, that is, leave its own environment. Reason, reasoning on its powers, will never succeed in extending them, though the extension would not appear at all unreasonable once it were accomplished."

For example, one could publish thousands of studies on the nature of walking on solid ground, but they "will never yield a rule for swimming: come, enter the water, and when you know how to swim, you will understand how the mechanism of swimming is connected with that of walking. Swimming is an extension of walking, but walking would never have pushed you on to swimming."

This is a critical point, for from the perspective of walking, the leap to swimming looks "discontinuous." But from the perspective of swimming, one can appreciate the continuity, which is none other than "the God of the gaplessness" of reality. Science sees "gaps" that it imagines the religious believer fills in with "God." But it's actually the other way around. Once one leaps into the Word, one sees how there are no radically discontinuous gaps at all, and why it is so easy for science to fill the apparent ones with their own autistic god of the insane coincidence, AKA the scientistic god of the saps.

This, in case you didn't know, is the reason why I arranged the Coonifesto so that the chapters are both continuous and discontinuous, so that there are distinct "chapters," even though the sentences that link them run together. Only from the perspective of the lower is the world radically discontinuous. But from the higher point of view, one doesn't just "see," but one unproblematically lives the continuity. One swims in the cosmic waters.

After all, doesn't your body easily unify matter and life without you having to think about it? And doesn't your mind easily unify intelligence, life, and matter? And doesn't the Raccoon naturally live the unity of matter, life, mind and Spirit, or O? Of course. And there is no "technique" for doing so, accept for aspiring (↑) to the nonlocal Grace (↓) that meets us more than halfway, and then contemplatively breathing in its eternal rhythm. We could never do it ourselves, not in 13.7 billion years.

The unity comes from the top, not the bottom, of the cosmic hierarchy. Which is why it is indeed One Cosmos Under God, and why all genuine conceptions are immaculate matings of sun and moon, celestial and terrestrial, word and ground, seed and water.

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
--Leonard Cohen


jwm said...

Thank you again, Bob for providing us with such rich fare. Your writing changed my life, and for that change I am grateful. I have been in 'the lurk' for some time now, but that may soon change. Stuff is stirring, and I'll be writing it down on the wfb.
But for this day- A merry and joyous Christmas to the Gagdad household. May Santa bring future leader everything on the list.

John M

Anonymous said...

An interesting exercise is to interview separately ones inner workings:

Take statements from your intellect, your common sense (a different element altogether), your emotions, your libido, your subconscious, your body (yes, your body has a distinct and separate voice), your intuition, and your psychic being. (Interview the psychic being last).

Write a transcript. Its amusing.

For example:

Intellect: "I lead this life; I am the one who makes decisions around here."

Common Sense: "Yeah, sure you do Einstein. BTW you need to go to the grocery store."

Emotions: "I'm afraid of my neighbor. She talks mean. I'm shaky and small. Can we move away?"

Libido: "I would like to tap the next door neighbor. What's the plan? Can we get some action around here, like tonight?"

Subconscious: "Your neighbor reminds us of mother. She used to scold and slap-no wonder Mr. emotions is all afraid."

Body: "More sleep please. Then I'd like it if you'd take a nice walk in the sun. For lunch, something not too heavy."

Intuition: "I see some kind of trip or travel; possibly to a warm climate."

Psychic Being: "All of my flock making up this life, mind, and body; brave you are to front the daily grind! All I ask of you is forbearance at this point. You shall surmount your difficulties and fear regarding the neighbor, and this shall be one of the jewels you shall count from this life as a true gain. Press on, I am always with you and truly there is nothing we cannot do."

Er, and merry christmas.

@@ron said...

Merry Christmas, Bob, you strange and magnificent bastard! Much joy and peace to you and your family. And a Merry Christmas to all OC readers!

Van said...

"Immaculate Family Planning: On Conceiving & Giving Birth to the Word"

The title says it all!
(Wouldn't be much fun if we didn't have an entire post to continue playing around with though!)

"The point is, on the intellectual plane, approaching God doesn't just require a leap of faith, but a leap of creative intelligence -- which is one of its seals of authenticity, for it means that the seed-word has taken root in our own soil."

Approaching Man as well... those who fool themselves into thinking they are reasoning, while deliberately excluding creative intelligence, are just logic chopping.

Merry Christmas all!

walt said...

Bob, a "Merry Christmas" to you and Mrs. G and the boy! May you all have a splendid day tomorrow, and I hope Dupree gets the new broom and the torch attachments he's been wanting.

The gifts you offer us each day are truly appreciated! Thank you!

And Merry Christmas to all the kits who gather here!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, Bob, MrsG, FL and all my sisters and brothers under the pelt.

julie said...

Yes, merry Christmas to all! May your soul's thirst be quenched and hunger be sated as you celebrate that Voidgin Birth, without which the miracle of Communion could not take place.

Susannah said...

Merry Christmas, Bob and family, and all OC friends!

Anonymous said...

Oh great wise one, when you say "Matter is atomistic, malleable, and infinitely divisible" surely you must be trying to awaken us by contradicting yourself within the space of a single short sentence ("atomistic" is the opposite of "infinitely divisible", as a Master like yourself must know).

I think I see your problem -- you carelessly lump anything you think is bad into the same container. Matter is bad, atomism is bad, and I guess being divisible is bad. So they all must be the same thing! Similarly do you treat leftists, scientists, rationalists, and various media personalities you happen to dislike, as if Deepak Chopra is on the same side as Richard Dawkins.

This must be a general problem with the god-happy -- as they try to reify goodness they must necessarily reify badness, and end up quaking in fear that pretty much everything in the world, except their small sliver of approved material, is a Satanic conspiracy against them.

Noah Webster said...

anonyorthogonal, you're making us look stupid again:

atomistic (adj): divided into unconnected or antagonistic fragments

Anonymous said...

A Merry Christmas to you all! A special thanks to Bob with family of course!

God Bless!


Susannah said...

"Matter is bad..." how anybody got that out of Bob's blog is beyond me!

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, if it's good enough for God to incarnate in, it's certainly good enough for me...

Retriever said...

Always loved that bit from the Leonard Cohen song. Merry Christmas to you, Mrs. G. and your darling little boy.

Sean said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family, Bob!

Your blog has been my daily bread for several years with profound structural changes as a result.

God bless you and all the other raccoons and kits!


john said...

Your gifts have blessed me Adventagiously.
After only a week of Bobservations, I gnow make my drive into blogOspace, thanking our Lord for a reason to write.

A country boy, just gnow sixty-five, after Baba Ram Dass, I Ching, The Book of Tea, Fowles "Trees," Frazier´s "Bough," "A Pattern Language," Popper´s "Open Society," and more: this change may be the biggest and happiest since swimming for fun, KNOT to avoid drowning.

- Anon., at 0858 hrs: A. Einstein suggested that ´common sense´is that body of prejudices acquired in youth; when Come-On, Scents sounds, it is mainly static.

And a Joyous Christmas to you all.


robinstarfish said...

A big Merry Christmas to you Bob, Mrs G and FL; may it contain more than it can hold.

As I read in a commentary somewhere, "the joy of those who abide in Christ's love is a continual feast".

Such is the daily table spread here at One Cosmos, a labor for which I cannot thank you enough.

Northern Bandit said...

Merry Christmas Bob, family, and all coons. Anonymous trolls too!

blind to my own extreme prejudice said...

"you carelessly lump anything you think is bad into the same container.
This must be a general problem with the god-happy -- as they try to reify goodness they must necessarily reify badness, and end up quaking in fear that pretty much everything in the world, except their small sliver of approved material, is a Satanic conspiracy against them."

Gecko said...

Merry Christmas to Bob, Leslie , FL and to all racoons on this holy night .

Jack said...

Merry Christmas...may you all have a beautiful Christmas!

wv: virtin

Leslie Godwin said...

Merry and blessed Christmas! Thank you to all the kindred spirits here who give us more than you know.
Love Mrs. G