This doesn't yet amount to an explanation, but it creates a useful schematic or dialectic to understand human action and its real consequences. And, being that it is true, it should be true across all domains, not just vis-a-vis God. Thus, a normal person -- or a person raised by normal parents -- is taught from the youngest age to be caring, compassionate, generous, each of these being an example of "self-giving."
And "taught" isn't quite the right word, since these are things no one could teach if they weren't already in us, so to speak, just waiting to be actualized. One cannot teach a reptile to be compassionate. (Insert Al Sharpton or Harry Reid joke here __________ ).
Thus, if we should choose "the way of self-love," then we pursue "an illusion, since the assertion of 'my solitary subjectivity' involves me in the contradictions of solipsism, 'my subjectivity' having meaning only in relation to centers of consciousness other than my own" (Davie).
As such, we have a useful way to understand various orthoparadoxical remarks by Jesus to the effect that "Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it."
Or in his sermon on nature of the spiritual mount, he suggests that “You are the light of the world" and that "A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Now, what is light but the first and last word in "self-giving"? In other words, light cannot not radiate, because radiation is not what it "does" but what it is.
Which is why light is the most adequate analogy to spiritual energies, which, by their nature, radiate. Likewise, consider the sun, which gives and gives and gives, to the just and unjust alike. But who receives it, and who just takes it?
As alluded to above, an individual subjectivity makes no sense whatsoever, as it always implies an other. I've mentioned before that this "discovery" was a major breakthrough in psychoanalysis, when it transitioned from a one-person psychology to a two-person psychology.
This is captured in Winnicott's remark that there is "no such thing as an infant." Rather, there is the infant-mother dyad -- or even prior to that, the mouth-breast relation. That last one might sound a little odd, but it conceals a profound truth, that even human instinct is related to another subject (which is what makes us human).
In a more sophisticated culture this would go to the intrinsic absurdity of homosexual "marriage," since man's sexual instinct is related to its complementary opposite. This also explains why such a union could never be sacramental, because it is deprived of spiritual efficacy at the very root.
A homosexual relationship can be many things -- including things a heterosexual relationship cannot be -- but it obviously cannot be a marriage. Unless you are just oblivious to anything more psychically subtle than a flying mallet. Or just say leftist.
Speaking of which, too bad it's so expensive, but this massive book of Voegelin's letters is la bamba. Lucky for me, I was able to defray the expense by using the modest monthly amazon gift certificate that accrues from you folks clicking through and making purchases. But consistent with the above, helping me is about to help you, because now I'm going to talk about the book the coonosphere gave me, and for which few if any of you would shell out 64 bucks. Even Steven! What goes around comes around, yada yada.
I'm going to need to occasionally take a little time to blog about the book, because there's no way I'll be able to tackle it from the other end of its 941 pages. But through the medium of Coon Magic, whatever I'm reading in one book is always relevant to the other. And if not, we can always use Coon Muscle to force the issue.
I'm trying to read one year of letters per day, which means it will take about a month to get through. Although some letters are relatively banal, others are quite insultaining. Recalling what was said above about spiritually insensate leftists, Voegelin says of the tenured that
"once they have gone through the process of college and graduate school, they are sufficiently brainwashed and morally debased to hold their positions with sincerity, and for the rest of their lives never have a critical doubt."
You all know the type, because the problem is so much worse today than it was in 1954. Indeed, it has become institutionalized, and not just in academia, but anywhere the left has extended its tentacles.
He adds that such individuals "will never achieve the full unfolding of their talents, because too much of their energy is lost overcoming the handicap of their environment." This very much reminds me of Obama, who is an oblivious and completely un-self-critical creature of this dysfunctional environment.
Thus, the crisis is infinitely worse today than it was in the early 1950s, because now the disease doesn't just affect academia, but has spread to the very height of state power. The "leader of the free world" is now the leader of the project to roll back freedom. It would be chilling if it weren't so mortifying.
As we speak, there is a shamful show trial going on because someone had the effrontery to defend himself from one of Obama's depraved spawn -- his self-described image and likeness -- and you can indeed draw a straight line from Obama to Trayvon, from sociopathy in the highest of places to sociopathy in lowest of lives. Not the fruit of his loins, but worse, the rotten fruit of his ideology. (And in any event, only the race-obsessed left believes blood trumps values.)
Voegelin even suggests that it is short-sighted for people to focus only on communist infiltration, because communism is not the only ideology that can be deployed for the destruction of the West. Rather, "Our home-grown varieties of progressivism, pragmatism, instrumentalism, positivism, operationalism, behaviorism, and so forth, do the job quite well."
Indeed. That was in 1954, so we can see how prescient he was.
We've spoken before about the time it takes to undo the spiritual and intellectual damage of an extensive public edu-doctrination. Of this struggle, Voegelin writes that "I would not complain too much about the time lost. We all lose time, for we have to disengage ourselves from the creeds of a dying world."
He adds that he "lost more years than I care to remember with Neo-Kantianism and Phenomenology, before I dropped the nonsense." But we should be consoled by the fact that struggling in this way to shed illusion and find truth makes the path more certain than "if somebody had placed you on it right from the beginning."
So true. The one thing I can always say to any liberal at any time on any subject is, Yeah, I used to believe that. But
"life begins with the Exodus from the civilizational realm of the dead, and the beginning begins with the discovery of the world as the Desert" (ibid.).
Yup. You're precisely nowhere until you're wondering in the desert bewilderness, in an open relationship with the O-asis that transcends you, both above and ahead.