I can say this, however. It is definitely a Mighty Strange Attractor (a well known mathematical concept that apparently no one else has ever thought of applying to the spiritual dimensions), in that people have been falling into its slipstream for as long as people have been people.
After all, one of the primary purposes of religion is to align the soul with the trans-cosmic Absolute, which is why all men, as men, are in need of it in one way or another.
Indeed, the opening of the "cosmic perspective" would have to be one of the attributes that defines the emergence of man as such. For even when he is just marveling at the starry heavens or dwelling in the beauty of our terrestrial home, man is cogitating the cosmic context and meditating on the metamatrix.
As mentioned before, Purcell's From Big Bang to Big Mystery is clearly caught up in the dynamic morphopneumatic field of this same cosmic attractor. Of necessity, he will see and describe a somewhat different landscape than do I, for the same reason that two people on different white water river-rafting expeditions to the sea will be exposed to different sights and sounds.
The fact of diversity hardly invalidates the descriptions, because this diversity is a necessary condition -- and consequence -- of individuality. If we were genetic robots, we would all have the same experience, but since we are oriented to a transcendental telos, we all come toward it in different ways. Hence the diversity of religions and revelations despite the single ocean. To reduce God to having just one way to make the same point is to make him less than a person.
This doesn't mean there aren't better and worse descriptions, because here again, just as in science, there must be more and less comprehensive and complete models of the natural world. Evolution and progress are only possible because there is a goal, an end.
And vertically speaking, there can be no hierarchy without a top, which, by the way, is another way of presenting one of Aquinas' classic proofs of God. It doesn't matter whether the horizontal universe has been here forever, or came into being with a dramatic big bang. The more important point is that it cannot exist without a vertical cause. The First Cause is not in- but outside time. Or in other words, no amount of horizontality can account for verticality.
Purcell quotes a couple of well-known paleoanthropologists, who come close to the wider cosmoanthropological perspective in writing that, "unlike even our closest relations, Homo sapiens is not simply an extrapolation or improvement of what went before it... our species is an entirely unprecedented entity in the living world, however we may have come by our unusual attributes." So you're not alone in feeling very unlike your closest relations. All Raccoons feel this way.
Again, what makes man different is that he is astonishingly fit for the cosmos -- not just the earth, and certainly not just some highly restricted Darwinian niche.
Since this or that man can be anything from a novice to an extreme seeker, he is always free to confine himself to the green diamond trails of science, or venture onto the blue diamond trails of philosophy and theology, or take a chance on the black diamond trails of metaphysics -- not to mention the ungroomed slopes of mysticism and infused contemplation. Whoosh!
Man's existential "nothingness" -- which is a correct intuition, as far as it goes -- is a consequence of being pre-adapted -- at least in potential -- to everything. For to even say that it all began with a Big Bang that can be reduced to a mathematical formula is to insist that man's mind is a priori in conformity to the everything and the all.
Just as there are and must be genetic birth defects, there are pneumatic second birth... well, not exactly defects, for they are usually more willful and self-unslackted. Call them birth defenses, similar to what we were saying the other day about pneumatic defense mechanisms. Some people prefer a womb of rationalism or positivism or scientism or Marxism to the great wide open.
Our miroculous ʘpenness to the great wide Open goes by the name of faith, and faith cannot be transcended. Rather, in the words of de Lubac, it can only "grow deeper, that is to say, find itself more completely, to realize itself more thoroughly, as faith ." Yes, it yields a harvest, but no amount of food can replace the need to eat. And no amount of the wrong type of food is conducive to growth. Nor, for that matter, can one live on vitamins, i.e., abstractions from the total I-AMbodhiment of divine (corpo)reality.
De Lubac describes a middle-zone of "superficial clarity" which exists between "two infinities." This is also the "non-religious zone," and it isn't difficult to understand why some people would prefer to huddle on its shores than to take the plunge into the Infinite, especially without a kenosis. But these two Infinities are not identical, although they are often conflated, by both religious and irreligious -- trolls and hyperliteralists -- alike. De Lubac writes that
"There is the sacredness of myth which, like a vapor rising from the earth, emanates from infrahuman regions; and there is the sacredness of mystery, which is like peace descending from the heavens. The one links us with Nature and attunes us to her rhythm but also enslaves us to her fatal powers; the other is a gift of spirit that makes us free."
The latter presence would be the Cosmic Zone, and man's true happitat.
To be continued...