Monday, April 27, 2015

From Foolish Knowledge to Learned Ignorance

Here's an orthoparadoxical thought to start your week with a headache: "The more the persons differentiate themselves in God, the greater is their unity" (Adrienne von Speyr, in Schindler). In etherworlds, "Unity and difference within the Trinity... are not inversely but directly related," such that it is a kind of eternally inspiraling -- and fortunately for us, outspiraling -- "evermore."

That is soooo different from any static and unchanging conception of God. This goes to the difference between orthoparadox and plain old paradox. An example of the latter is to define God as unchanging, and then go on to say that he cares about us, or suffers with us, or hates evil, or even "creates," creation being inconceivable in the absence of change.

We've circled this goround before, but why not just say that God is always All and yet allwise Evermore? This doesn't imply any deficit or "lack"; to the contrary, it implies an excess of love, of light, of creativity.

This is pretty much what Raccoon emeritus professor of orthoparadoxical studies, Meister Eckhart, says. Around here we give great deference to Professor Eckhart, because that guy was nuts! In fact, he was nuts enough to believe that "philosophy and theology did not contradict each other" -- however, not in such a way that theology is dragged down to the level of profane philosophy, but rather, that theology goes positively nuts:

"[E]verything that is true, whether in being or in knowing, in scripture or in nature, proceeds from one source and one root of truth." Or again, "All knowers know God implicitly in all they know" (Jean Leclercq). You can't know without re-membering a bit of God, no matter how hard you try to forget.

However, at the same time, Eckhart could affirm his amazement "that scripture is so rich that no one has ever penetrated to the ground of the least word of it."

Hear again, understanding cannot be reduced on the one hand to any kind of bonehead positivism or scientism, or on the other, to any kind of theological literalism. As if infinite truth can be so easily contained by finite man! Rather, both Bible and World -- each being a creative revelation -- contain "an inexhaustible fecundity of truths."

This is why the Raccoon is the most modest of all self-aggrandizing gnosis-alls, in that he is simply a lover of wisdom and seeker after truth. He is in love with Love -- the love of truth -- whereas far more laughty souls than ours are in love with eternal tenure.

Thus the eternally self-surpassing orthoparadox that "the only way to gain God is by constant unfulfilled pursuit" (McGinn). Looked at this way, the Raccoon is a much bigger atheist than any so-called atheist! For "it is of the very nature of the Divine Word to be hidden in its revelation and revealed in its hiddenness" (ibid.).

It's like any other game, wherein the point of the game is... the game. If you should "win," then it just means the game is over and then so too is the fun.

This, I think, explains the essential grimness of the left. They not only possess the truth, but it is a very unpleasant truth. They can try to make it funny, but they just come off as tasteless or clueless or mean-spirited, like the Jew-bashing humor of the Muslim world.

The systematic unKnowing of God, although it is "an uncomprehending, it still has more within it than in all knowing and comprehending outside it, for this unknowing lures and draws you from all that is known, and also from yourself" (Eckhart, in McGinn).

Think about it: any animal can and does merely know. But only a man can unKnow. There is of course an "ignorance" beneath knowledge, but there is also transknowing above, or we would be too stupid to know nothing.

I was actually looking for a passage that goes to what was said above about the "evermore" of the Trinity, and how this must be reflected in man. The following comes close, that "The eternal birth occurs in the soul precisely as it does in eternity... for it is one birth, and this birth occurs in the essence of and ground of the soul." Thus, like the Son, we are born again... and again, and again, and again...

For "The Father's speaking is his giving birth; the Son's hearing is his being born."

So, glory to the nowborn king.


swiftone said...

The hymn that sat as an earworm on reading today's post: (skip to the end if you don't care to hum along.)
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,

And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.
So what was Moses doing, arguing? Abraham bargained. Why pray to a immutable rock of a God? Been bothering, ahha! Knew something didn't sound right there. For now, I'll go with perichorisus for $20, Alex.

julie said...

"The more the persons differentiate themselves in God, the greater is their unity"

Reminds again of how "to be long multiple is to be deeply one."

And now to continue reading...

julie said...

...not in such a way that theology is dragged down to the level of profane philosophy, but rather, that theology goes positively nuts:

Much like how both quantum and Newtonian physics describe properties of the world, but the farther down the quantinuum you go, the nuttier it gets.

mushroom said...

If you should "win," then it just means the game is over and then so too is the fun.

Even a lot of Christians seem to be tired of the game and want it to be over. I know I have lost sight of the enjoyment that comes from playing at times.

Another good word I needed.

julie said...

Yeah, I know that feeling. Every now and then, the game seems completely, utterly, suffocatingly stupid, to the point where a fast finish would seem welcome, but that's just the nihil talking.

It is indeed a good word to remember for those times it's needed most, when the Word seems farthest away.