Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Rule of Vertical Law

As discussed in yesterday's post, we begin with the principle of the unity of the world, which is the necessary condition for knowledge of any kind. The cosmos "is not a mosaic," but rather, "an organism -- all of whose parts are governed by the same principle," the principle of unity or wholeness (Tomberg).

Now, this unity means that things can be connected in surprising ways. We know about the obvious ones that apply to the horizontal world, e.g., gravity.

However, there is another principle that links things in this world, the law of analogy. This law "is the first conclusion drawn from the tenet of universal unity" (ibid.), because it is our guarantee that beneath the diversity of phenomena we will always find something that unites it on an interior level.

In fact, we no longer even need metaphysics per se to understand this principle, since physics alone has arrived there, i.e., at nonlocality. Then again, the research that proved the reality of nonlocality has been called "experimental metaphysics," but really, no one needs to prove in a laboratory that nonlocality must be the case around these parts, since the parts make no sense without it.

Science can never actually prove the wholeness of the world (since it can never get outside the world), but it can never doubt it for even an instant. Science is only able to understand the contingent because it is rooted in certain principles that are necessary -- i.e., metaphysical -- which is to say, trans-material, trans-spatial, trans-temporal, and transpersonal.

Not to go all Deepak on you, but if this weren't the case, then we couldn't even be having this conversation, in which particles in my bean are causing particles in your bean to resonate at the same truth-frequency. In other words, human communication is founded upon the nonlocality of the world.

Now, we all know about the four types of causality that rule the material world: material, efficient, formal, and final. Science tries to do without the latter two, which works well enough for practical purposes, even if it is metaphysically incoherent.

But as it pertains to the vertical world, we cannot do without formal and final causation, since they operate from the top down, and enlist material and efficient causation to achieve their ends. This is seen in a self-evident way in the most simple execution of free will.

For example, I can conceive the idea of taking a sip of coffee, and actualize it by reaching over with my left hand and grabbing the cup.

Science (or scientism) has no idea how this is possible -- and never will qua science -- for science literally "doesn't go there." In order to explain the same action, it has recourse only to material and efficient causation -- as if sipping the coffee causes the idea of doing so.

Peter Kreeft touches on some of these issues in his Summa Philosophica. Of the four causes, he notes that two are intrinsic, two extrinsic.

Formal and material causes are intrinsic, having to do with what something essentially is and what it is made of, respectively. But final and efficient causes seem to come from "outside," and are therefore extrinsic.

Thus, as it pertains to human beings, we could say that our soul -- which is the form of the body -- is a formal cause that is actualized through free will.

However, in the overall scheme of things, the soul is oriented to its final cause, i.e., the Great Attractor beam of O. I suppose one could say that God, or O, is explicitly extrinsic but intrinsically implicit, i.e., transcendent and immanent. Nevertheless, his transcendence always takes priority, and he is only immanent because transcendent. In other words, immanence is a necessary consequence of transcendence, as Infinite is to Absolute.

Anyway, it is because of the wholeness of the world that the Law of Analogy operates throughout & in. And it goes a little like this: That which is above is like to that which is below and that which is below is like that to which is above, to accomplish the miracles of (the) one thing.

Our favorite application of this principle is spoken by the Trinity in Genesis 1:26, when they say to himsoph, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness."

Among other things, this is the most profoundly humanistic principle one could possibly imagine, endless in its implications. At the same time, if not for it, we wouldn't even have the word "God," much less know anything about him. But because of this reciprocal principle, the essence of humanness will reveal certain truths of the Absolute, just as the Absolute reveals certain truths about us.

For our purposes, probably the most important fact about God is that he is a person, which is why he can say -- and what it means to say -- I AM. Only a person can say I AM, and anyone who can say I AM is a person.

So there is the prototype or archetype above, and the maninfestation below. How to express and develop this correspondance? You see, the problem here -- THE human problem, as it were -- is that we are in time, while God is not. This means that the analogy fails here, in the sense that parts of us exist in potential, but not so for God, who is "pure act," as they say.

Therefore, we have to actualize our essence -- or "become the Likeness" -- in time and in history. In other words, we are subject to change, but because of the Law of Analogy, we are not only subject to the "bad change" of entropy, but to the "good change" of growing toward our archetype.

Which just means that the orthoparadoxical point of Raccoon Life is to "become oneself," even while knowing that this is an endless process in the herebelow. Indeed, this is precisely what it means to be a "progressive" in the real world, in contrast to pretending to be one in the ideological spaces of various second realities of the left. For Marx's house contains only a few mansions for the vanguard of the proletariat, but many dilapidated shacks and hovels for the rest of us.

Tomberg provides a helpful little map of our cosmic situation. It consists of a horizontal line between past and future, bisected by a vertical line that runs from the prototype above to the space below. In between are myths, which are recurring motifs that recycle both individually and collectively. Sometimes these are rooted in the above, while other times they can be little more than reified collective mind parasites, and therefore "pseudo-archetypes," so to speak.

For example, forcing women to live in black bags has nothing to do with any real archetype. Rather, this is the transparent expression of a deep hatred and fear of women, leant a patina of pseudo-sanctity by an appeal to some twisted religious darketype.

Real myth has a timeless validity, even if it doesn't partake of the principial order per se. Rather, it applies to human individuals and groups as we find them here on the ground, in time and in history. Presumably they no longer apply in the celestial sphere, in "heaven."

Tomberg cites the example of brother-on-brother hatred, as exemplified in the myth of Cain and Abel. There can be no such hate "above," even though it seems inevitable herebelow.

Likewise, the Fall of A & E cannot be an analogue of something within the godhead, but is something that human beings did (and do) to themselves wheneveateapple. Rather, the Fall is a contingent, even if nastily persistent, pattern, and therefore doesn't negate the divine archetype. Which is why we are wounded, but not mortally.

What this means is that we have to be cautious in applying the "as below, so above," because we don't want to attribute human flaws and failings to the Creator.

Indeed, probably the only way to finally prevent this is to come down and show us how it's supposed to work. I believe Schuon said something to the effect that Jesus is the icon of God, just as God is the icon of Jesus -- in other words, we are dealing with the full implications of the reciprocity between image and likeness. Presumably this should inoculate us from using anything short of the real deal to "compare" God and man, or to confuse the two.

Speaking of which, Jesus overwhelmingly relies upon the Law of Analogy in order to disclose higher truths through the use of parables. Everything in the parable is an item or concept taken from below -- shepherd, vine, door, marriage, harvest, fruit, soil, etc. -- deiployed in order to illuminate the above.


mushroom said...

Likewise, the Fall of A & E cannot be an analogue of something within the godhead, ... the Fall is a contingent, even if nastily persistent, pattern, and therefore doesn't negate the divine archetype.

There is a sort of abandonment by the Creator in creation. The Fall is, perhaps, that movement or intention perverted.

julie said...

For example, forcing women to live in black bags has nothing to do with any real archetype. Rather, this is the transparent expression of a deep hatred and fear of women, leant a patina of pseudo-sanctity by an appeal to some twisted religious darketype.

Just as with any good lie, there is a hint of truth there inasmuch as a society which values feminine modesty in a positive sense - teaching girls how to be ladylike, dressing appropriately, etc. - is going to be healthier than one in which women dress themselves in labia or idealize sluttiness. But of course, healthy modesty is a far different thing than imprisoning women in hefty bags to protect them from male predation (which I have to believe is less than successful, anyway).

ted said...

So the Kreeft book is worth a browse?

Saw him speak once locally (since he's a Boston College prof). Brilliant guy, and has no problems with dueling naysayers.

Gagdad Bob said...

I really liked it. Very concise -- hardly a wasted word, and yet, he covers virtually the whole of reality, from metaphysics to cosmology to natural theology to anthropology to ethics, aesthetics, and political philosophy (with cogent and intellectually honest arguments both for and against each position). It's just a shame that kids can't be exposed to this stuff in high school, but if they were, that would spell the end of the left, so it will never happen so long as they're in charge of indoctrination.

ted said...

Definitely sounds like my sort of thing. Wish they had a kindle version though.