Friday, June 22, 2012

Taking Existence Personally

We are seriously toying -- or child laboring -- with this equation of A + C = M² (i.e., Son of Man). As things stand -- which is to say, divided -- anthropology and cosmology have no necessary relationship, and the immanent-transcendence of these via the metacosmic spiral of Incarnation-Resurrection is a non-starter.

I can appreciate the latter sentiment -- after all, while science operates with certain assumptions borrowed from revelation, once in place they needn't be explicitly thought about again in order for workaday science to proceed. Bees can make honey without knowing how they do it.

Paradigmatic leaps, however, are a different matter, for reasons both cosmological and anthropological. But we'll leave that to the side for now. If you are one of those scientistic worker bees, don't worry, no need to look up. Carry on.

The first point to emphasize is that anthropology and cosmology are entangled in surprising ways. Recall that the nasty reign of dualism supposedly got underway with Descartes' division of mind and matter. Everyone forgets that even he saw the absurdity of this, for which reason the whole system falls apart without God. The reasoning goes something like this:

"I think, therefore I am."

"Yes, but how do you know that's really true?"

"Er... because God wouldn't deceive us."

So Descartes sneaks in a -- or The -- first principle at the end, which is pre-posterous (which literally means putting the post- before the pre-). For there is no doubt that the cosmos is intelligible and that man may know it; and these are only true because the universe is created.

In short, the createdness of things and knowers is their only seal of intelligibility and intelligence, respectively. In turn, this reveals the intimate relationship between cosmology and anthropology, which are unified in knowledge, or Truth.

I'm afraid I'm really running short on time, so I'll have to make this brief. So brief that I'll turn the wheel of the cosmic bus over to Ratzinger. Please treat him as you would your regular driver (or not, depending on the case):

"[O]ur history is advancing to an 'omega' point, at which it will become finally and unmistakably clear that the element of stability that seems to us to be the supporting ground of reality, so to speak, is not mere unconscious matter; that, on the contrary, the real, firm ground is mind.

"Mind holds being together, gives it reality, indeed is reality; it is not from below but from above that being receives its capacity to subsist."

There exists a "process of 'complexification' of material being through spirit," through which emerges "a new kind of unity." (I would say "unities," for that is what time -- and evolution -- do: create new and higher -- which is to say, more "dense" and "deep" -- unities.)

Note that this evolution, or complexification, cannot be a result of mind being drawn down into matter; rather, the opposite: mind eventually baptizes and sanctifies everything in its wake. Can it also baptize and redeem Death? That is the question, isn't it?

Ratzinger: "We said before that nature and mind form one single history, which advances in such a way that mind emerges more clearly as the all-embracing element and, thus, anthropology and cosmology finally in actual fact coalesce."


"this assertion of the increasing 'complexification' of the world through mind necessarily implies its unification around a personal center, for the mind is not just an undefined something or other; where it exists in its own specific nature, it subsists individually, as a person."

I am beyond out of time. To be continued....


Tony said...

A friend of mine had a heart attack in her garden on Saturday, under the sun and clouds, and died in the hospital shortly after. She was 71.

The funerary Mass is this afternoon. I will always remember her kindness, hard work, and devotion. At occasional receptions, over a glass of red wine, she would inquire after things and take such an interest in them with such a gleam that made you think something inside her old body was very much alive, unchanged from her youth. And now, she is alive indeed in a way we can but little image. But she was gone from us in a blink -- a sudden collapse, totally unexpected, taking her logical mind completely by surprise -- and it is painful to know that I will never see her here again.

It's times like these in which resurrection seems both cosmically mandatory and personally small. The Lord says we will be raised, which means my friend will be raised, that specific person, with her specific body. The world is busy all around us. There are children hoping for their futures, parents everywhere, deliveries all the time, tasks ad infinitum, and workmanlike funerals, because we know what to do, and must do it. We are like grass, aren't we. So few people notice us when we leave.

Except for God.

julie said...

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, Magister. She sounds like a wonderful person; all those who loved her will be in my prayers today.

Yes, we are like grass; and yet unlike, too, for we have the opportunity in our lives to notice God back.

julie said...

Ratzinger: "We said before that nature and mind form one single history, which advances in such a way that mind emerges more clearly as the all-embracing element and, thus, anthropology and cosmology finally in actual fact coalesce."

Each individual, to the extent that they think or don't think about it at all, engages in this process to greater or lesser effect. I'm reminded of all those who turn their personal lenses on history to give it a meaning that, in all likelihood, the people who lived it never imagined existed. Sometimes, the meaning is even likely to be accurate, though of course much depends on the lens.

I have my doubts about claims made by those who place their personal agenda before the truth of what happened - i.e., anyone presenting a "feminist's history of..." or a "gay history of..." is probably not overly interested in "coalescing anthropology and cosmology."

mushroom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony said...

Thanks, Julie. There are many more people going to the funeral who need comfort. I suppose we're all taking existence personally today.

You are so right about "ABC history of XYZ." What grates is not that the histories are selective -- all histories are that -- but that they're so extremely narrow and prejudiced. I understand where it's coming from, but it does make tediously predictable reading. For all their talk of authenticity, there's scarcely an idiosyncratic soul among them.

Idiosyncracy is, ahem, not a Leninist virtue.

mushroom said...

You and your friends are in our prayers today, Magister.

Edited to add that my daughter-in-law called last Sunday morning to tell me that her great-nephew, ten months old, had died suddenly. They had the funeral Mass for the baby yesterday. Our son -- like me, a softie with little kids -- is really shaken up by it. Seventy-one doesn't seem that old to me, but ten months seems completely unfair. Ultimately the only thing that makes this life tolerable is the Resurrection.

mushroom said...

Ratzinger hits for power as well as average.

Can mud become Messiah? Only if Messiah is the reality and mud is being shaped to fit.

John Lien said...

M & M, Prayers of comfort to you and to your loved ones just sent out. One county north of us we have the "Cheese making nuns of Crozet" situated on a lovely bit of earth up against the Blue Ridge. Apparently their life is 1/2 cheese and 1/2 prayer, just praying for the world, if I recall correctly. I used to think, "Well, their lives are only half wasted." Now that I'm learning that it IS mind over matter, I'm learning to value those prayers and those who devote their lives to such activities.

Magnus Itland said...

"Mind holds being together, gives it reality, indeed is reality" (Ratzinger)

"Mind precedes all phenomena, mind guides them, mind creates them" (Shakyamuni Buddha)

I'd like to think at least one of these two was aware of the other. Not that there is anything wrong with that, quite possibly the contrary.

ge said...

the pinnacle of Tibetan Buddhist Mind teaching is Dzogchen, highly recommended adjunct to Eso-Xtian thoughtfood

EbonyRaptor said...

More Credo for Today:

"... in our knowledge of God there occurs also - and, indeed, first - something from God's side. God is not a resting object but the ground of our being, who establishes his own credentials, who makes his presence known at the very center of our being, and who can, precisely for that reason, be ignored because we are so easily inclined to live far from the center of our being, far from ourselves."

I like the cut of this guy's jib.

ge said...

Existence either has or doesn't have a

An animated story of an unusual kingdom in which everything and everybody is pointed - except for a young boy named Oblio(provided by Mike Lookinland, an actor best known as young Bobby Brady on the television series The Brady Bunch). Despite his round head, Oblio has many friends. But an evil count, jealous that Oblio is more popular than his own son, says that without a pointed head, Oblio is an outlaw. Along with his faithful dog Arrow, Oblio is exiled to the Pointless Forest. There, he has many fantastic experiences (including encounters with a 3-headed man, giant bees, a tree in the leaf-selling business, and a good-humored old rock). From his adventures, Oblio learns that it is not at all necessary to be pointed to have a point in life. Music composed and performed by Harry Nilsson ("Me and My Arrow"), who also wrote the story. Ringo Starr narrates.

ge said...

what dey tryin to do? make UF turn over in his grave?

Ephrem Antony Gray said...

ge: Gross. Shows what people know about hierophants, anyway.

Van Harvey said...

" For there is no doubt that the cosmos is intelligible and that man may know it;"


(Sorry, I just love a good snicker at Descartes' expense.)