Friday, June 12, 2015

Man: The Only Animal Obligated to Adapt to Himself

Whether we like it or not, we live surrounded by mysteries, which logically and existentially draw us toward transcendence. -- Schuon

"Haunted by transcendence," I suppose you could say. For if there is no transcendence there can be no hauntedness. In a pre-living cosmos there are no problems because there are no alternatives. And in a prehuman cosmos there can be no anxiety, no worry, no apprehension. Fear, yes, but it can't be like human fear, which lives in the imagination.

I remember (I think) Alan Watts using the example of a rabbit. To us the rabbit looks a bit ill-at-ease as it listens and looks around for predators. But from the standpoint of the rabbit, it might be analogous to a crosswalk with a flashing red light saying DON'T WALK DON'T WALK DON'T WALK or you'll get run over and killed! Yes, there is potential danger, but no one is freaking out about it.

But humans are always haunted by an Otherness which is built into us. You see it right away in prehistory, from the moment there is evidence of humanness. In the book I spookulated that this must have something to do with adapting to the strange new condition of "mindedness." One reason I say this is because man is still adapting to mindedness, so it must have been all the more baffling 50,000 or 100,000 years ago, when the space was all new -- or we were new to the space, rather.

One thing we have to make clear at the outset is that this space is ontologically real. Or at least that is our hypothesis. After all, if it isn't real -- i.e., just a kind of transient and meaningless blip amidst the flow of entropy -- then everything falls apart and human existence is indeed an absurd space between two infinite slabs of darkness. Could be. We don't want to exclude that possibility a priori. But then this really would be a haunted universe, or rather, man would be both the haunter and the haunted.

My belief -- similar to Ken Wilber -- is that there are different degrees and dimensions of reality. Everyone recognizes this, even if they don't admit it to themselves, for there is the material/empirical world, the rational/linguistic mental world, and the immaterial/contemplative spiritual world. In his book Eye to Eye, Wilber talks about the different "eyes" necessary to perceive these worlds, i.e., the eyes of flesh, reason, and contemplation, respectively. (And Corbin calls our multidimensional psycho-spiritual spatiality the imaginal realm.)

Animals have the eye of flesh, but the best among them have only attenuated versions of the higher two, and even then, mostly because of contact with humans (e.g., dogs). Higher primates have tried to teach sign language to the subprimes, but the latter can only get so far before they hit a ceiling. We might think of this as a literal ceiling, only an immaterial one. For humans there is no ceiling, as our space opens all the way out and up. It is what makes us human.

But since this space is infinite, perhaps you can appreciate how it can provoke a kind of agoraphobia, so to speak. Agoraphobia is fear of open spaces, just as claustrophobia is a fear of jolly fat men with white beards. No, wait, it is a fear of enclosed presences. All punning aside, both are pathological endeavors to manage psychic space, only projected outward. But why must space be managed at all?

Because it's haunted, that's why. There was a time -- a long time, meaning most of history -- when this was much more experience-near. Now we psychologize and medicalize the space. Instead of saying you're haunted by ghosts and goblins, we say you're haunted by global warming, or structural racism, or white privilege, or the patriarchy. These poor souls are just trying to manage their anxieties. But anxiety is just a word, whereas the ghosts are real.

The first book I ever read that discusses this subject was The Phenomenon of Life, by Hans Jonas. The first essay is called Life, Death, and the Body in the Theory of Being, and it goes exactly to this subject of adaptation to our haunted space. (I'm sure I have blogged on this before, somewhere in here.)

From previous posts; and I apologize in advance for the length, but I kept finding interesting stuff. Interesting to me, anyway:

"[I]t is in the dark stirrings of primeval organic substance that a principle of freedom shines forth for the first time within the vast necessity of the physical universe -- a principle foreign to suns, planets, and atoms.... [T]he first appearance of this principle in its bare, elementary object-form signifies the break-through of being to the indefinite range of possibilities which hence stretches to the farthest reaches of subjective life, and as a whole stands under the sign of 'freedom'.... even the transition from inanimate to animate substance, the first feat of matter's organizing itself for life, was actuated by a tendency in the depth of being toward the very modes of freedom to which this transition opened the gate" (Jonas).

"But already the simple observed facts sketch an image of nature which advances by successive explosions in the manner of a rocket... from the hands of its Creator [comes] the spiritual form of man to which nature has been destined and in which she is liberated. In this new order, evolution is pursued always in the very interior of humanity. Moreover, evolution which continues in humanity has taken on a different color.... We find ourselves from now on on a spiritual plane where plasticity is infinitely greater... (Charles DeKoninck).

Jonas writes that "When man first began to interpret the nature of things -- and this he did when he began to be man -- life was to him everywhere, and being the same as being alive" (emphasis mine).

Thus, "Animism was the widespread expression of this stage.... Soul flooded the whole of existence and encountered itself in all things. Bare matter -- that is, truly inanimate, 'dead' matter, was yet to be discovered -- as indeed its concept, so familiar to us, is anything but obvious" (Jonas).

As Jonas argues in The Phenomenon of Life, the "discovery" of a non-living cosmos is a very late one. Rather, for primordial man, life was the general rule, death the exception, the very thing that Lucy and her astoneaged friends needed to 'splain.

It is only with modernity that this perspective is reversed, so that death becomes "the natural thing, life the problem." Now that the universe is regarded as a kind of lifeless machine, life becomes a huge conceptual problem, because it must somehow be explained in terms of the lifeless. Could this attitude be one of the metaphysical tributaries to the death culture of the radical secular left? Jonas implies as much: "Our thinking today is under the ontological dominance of death."

One doesn't have to read too many existentialist writers -- e.g., Sartre, Camus, Kafka -- before one realizes that they really do regard life in this deeply pessimystic way -- as a plague or prison with no exit, into which human insects are thrown upon birth, and from which we are then nauseatingly alienated once we realize this is indeed our fate. Just the other day, some profoundly sick feminists celebrated "abortion pride" day. Why not? If our life is just an absurd and meaningless prison house, then surely abortion is a mercy. Why not nip life in the bud?

Jonas was surely converging upon the same Raccoon attractor when he wrote, "Perhaps, rightly understood, man is after all the measure of all things -- not indeed through the legislation of his reason but through the exemplar of his psychophysiological totality which represents the maximum of concrete ontological completeness known to us: a completeness from which, reductively, the species of being may have to be determined by way of progressive subtraction down to the minimum of bare elementary matter."

That last crack comports perfectly with Schuon, who writes that "Man is made for what he is able to conceive; the very ideas of absoluteness and transcendence prove both his spiritual nature and the supra-terrestrial character of his destiny.... The paradox of the human condition is that nothing could be more contrary to us than the requirement to transcend ourselves, and yet nothing could be more essentially ourselves than the core of this requirement or the fruit of this self-overcoming."

And transcending oneself "is to remove the layer of ice or darkness that imprisons the true nature of man.... [O]nly the 'divine dimension' can satisfy the thirst for plenitude in our willing or our love" (in Echoes of Perennial Wisdom, his most aphoristically bite-sized work).

Indeed, you could even say that the cosmos overcomes itself in the form of man:

Man is upright and he is bipedal; upright because he spans all of the vertical degrees of being; bipedal because he has a foot in both realms, the worldly and the celestial, heaven and earth, slack and conspiracy. He is not a dead man walking to his own godless wake, but a live wire waking to his own walk with Wakan Tanka.

Imagine alien explorers discovering earth:

"Our explorers enter a cave, and on the walls they discern lines or other configurations that must have been produced artificially, that have no structural function, and that suggest a likeness to one or another of the living forms encountered outside." Even "the crudest and most childish drawing would be just as conclusive as the frescoes of Michelangelo."

Conclusive of what, exactly? Of a relation to ideas that have no direct bearing upon purely biological ends. Here is evidence of an exit from the world of mere life, and entrance to the world of mind.

Thus, "just as a footprint is a sign of the foot that made it," a picture is not a sign of the hand that made it but of the mind that conceived it -- and that abstracted some essence from the object before representing it. In order to depict the essence one must first perceive the essence. This implies the ability to distinguish form from substance or mind from matter.

Painting involves a transformation and preservation of essence from one plane to another. Obviously, no animal can do this. Rather, they confront only a world of objects. To the extent that they perceive interiors, it is only through invariant signs, not symbols -- and a sign is really closer to an exterior (like a stop sign, which doesn't reveal anything about the person who made it).

Now, to know the distinction between form and substance is to be capable of distinguishing between appearance and reality, or surface and depth. And as mentioned the other day, to know that appearances are deceptive is to know that truth exists, for truth is simply the splendor of the Real (just as beauty is the splendor of the true).

Clearly, in order to distinguish between appearance and reality, there must be a kind of "space" in between. This is the middle earthspace inhobbited by human consciousness. Just as animals live in a world of appearances, God is the being who lives in truth and reality -- or is not different from them. And the human station is in between these two, God and nature, the One and the many.

Note that in Genesis man is given the power to name the animals. As Jonas explains, "the giving of names to objects is here regarded as the first feat of the newly created man and as the first distinctively human act." It is a "step beyond creation," or liberation from being plunged solely into the world of matter. In order to name something, we must be above it, and be capable of perceiving the unity beneath the multiplicity (which is another way of saying the reality behind appearances).

As usual, quoting old posts takes as much time as building new ones.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I Live in a Haunted House!

It seems that the Great Nothing at the heart of things is related to their being created and not self-existent and self-explanatory. Everything is "open," but not in the usual sense of being a process-structure or dissipative system -- like a whirlpool or organism. Rather, this openness and dependency goes deeper; it is an "ontological openness," as it were. It is not empirical but metaphysical. It can surely be "seen," but not with the eyes of the flesh.

It can be seen because it's Pretty Damn Obvious. Clearly, the biosphere below us is completely entangled, such that nothing is merely what it is. For example, flowers cannot be exhaustively explained without recourse to bees, and vice versa. Who are we to say a bee isn't just an "external organ" of the flower? Nature is filled with such symbiotic arrangements. When you pet your dog, your blood pressure goes down. Chickens and cows would likely be extinct if they weren't so tasty.

Surprisingly -- especially to materialists -- it's the same with physics, which has proven beyond doubt that everything is likewise entangled at the quantum level. There are no unambiguous objects over there or right now. Rather, everything blends into everything else because mass is energy, and energy is whatnow?

A word. As they say, physics can tell us everything about energy except what it is. Likewise biology and life, psychology and mind, theology and spirit. Just because we have a word for something doesn't mean we know what it is. Analogously, Europeans had a name for Africa before any of them set foot inside.

"Each creature wakes up and is stunned at the news of its own existence. It's the kind of news you never really get over" (O'Herron, in Schmitz). That's a bit of an exaggeration, for this is true only of conscious creatures, AKA, man. And even then, it seems that many people quickly get over the shock and pretend everything is normal. BUT IT'S NOT! I don't mean to shout, but THIS IS REALLY WEIRD, OKAY?

I guess there are two types of humans: those who appreciate the weirdness, and those who sleep right through it, AKA the Normals (and now the plague of Subnormals).

Here is a rock-bottom truth: "consciousness becomes self-consciousness when one looks into the eyes of another who looks back" (ibid.). Absent this intersubjectivity, man would not be man, regardless of how "intelligent."

Indeed, human intelligence -- as discussed in yesterday's post -- is always intersubjective and object-related. Objects "give" their intelligibility, just as we "receive" it with our intelligence. Intelligence is to intelligibility as... bee is to flower. It completes the cosmic circuit, at least in potential.

Any difference implies difference as such. To recognize difference is to be alive, for the very first itsy bitsy that teenies its little weenie has a boundary -- a semi-permeable membrane -- between inside and out, self and other. Life, you might say, is the recognition of otherness. Absent life, it's All The Same, just an undifferentiated blob. True, life can at times be a bit too exciting. But without it the cosmos is a complete snooze.

To paraphrase Professor Ibid, does a painting or song give us any more enjoyment if we give it a name? Does Will explain Why if we shake his beard? No! The supposedly solid morphyl man is inunderated and disselves unto the swimminpull of divine otherness.


Recall that life starts with boundary and difference. Transposed to the key of persons, it is the Face that serves this purpose: "only human beings have faces. This is because the face is a structure that shows forth meaning" (Schmitz).

Note also that every non-liberal person is different, so one of the intrinsic meanings conveyed by facehood is uniqueness and individuality, from which it isn't a great leap to dignity and intimacy (for our deepest selfhood can only be given, never stolen or taken forcibly).

"A person's face is meant to be the signature of the character within; one cannot disengage the face from a certain interiority. A face has depth; it is not all surface" (ibid.). And yet, "depth is not a thing at all," just a vector, so to speak. It is a "direction" which travels both in and out. Thus, the face doesn't just convey individuality as such, but interiority as well. "In philosophical terms, the face displays a spiritual reality" (ibid.).

For the baby, the mother's face is the first map of the world, except this is not a geographical map but a pneumagraphical one. We call a person who cannot read the interior map autistic.

This also goes to why for most of western history, actors -- because of the ability to deceive with the face -- were considered suspect, whereas now we are more tolerant and just think of them as crazy.

So, Person means a great deal. When you say it, you've said a mythfull, for example, Narcissus, who fell in love with his own face, meaning that he was confined in a closed system of self-regard. Likewise the dunce abane acrime president who was sunk in an offal orifice of hypertrophed self-regard, where no one else could enter but his talking jarrot.

But personhood really means "the manifestation of meaningful depth, the distinctiveness of the individual, the intimacy of direct personal encounter, and the dignity associated with the divine and with the specifically human." We are "haunted by uniqueness, intimacy, and dignity" (ibid.).

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Betwixt & Bewildered between God & Nothing

There is the blind nothingness of nihilism and the Higher Nothingness of man in relation to God, and I think we can agree it is important not to conflate these "two." I say ""two"" because nothing -- in the absence of the prior One -- cannot be a unit of addition. To even give it a word is to tame and contain it under a form of unity it couldn't possibly have.

You could say that in relation to animals -- or to Gaia, or biology, or physics -- man is Everything, since the whole exercise of existence is absolutely pointless without us. But the same applies to our relation to God. In its absence, we are as absurd and superfluous as testicles on a liberal.

How to eliminate the lesser nothing and illuminate the greater? The lesser bupkis is explicitly articulated in all forms of existentialism, which is the conscious philosophy of the null-de-slack; and implicitly unarticulated in scientism, leftism (which is just warmed over marxist materialism), and any other ideology.

Thus, Cheetham begins with a friendly reminder from the Orthodox theologian Panayiotis Nellas: Fear a system, say the Fathers, as you would fear a lion (in After Prophecy).

How is a system different from a dogma? We'll get to that in a minute, but while every system is a dogma, not every dogma is a system. For example, the dogma of Christianity is ultimately a person and a relation, neither being antecedent to the other, because each implies the other. A system, on the other hand, pretends it can exist without the person entertaining it, which is to put the parasite before the host or the ass before the horse.

Put it this way: almost 3,000 posts now, and do you see a system? I sure don't. Sometimes I wish I did, and each post is in its little way an attempt to nail one down, but in the end the system is just... me. Well, not just me, but me-in-relation. As promised at the very top, this is The Religion the Almighty & Me Works Out Betwixt Us. So, I do have a... method.

The Good For Nothing is the "metaphysical state of mystical poverty," such that "all things derive not from themselves, but from a source that is the grantor of Being to everything" (Cheetham). Thus, "each and every thing has nothing in itself, [and] is nothing in itself."

Any thing exists in a state of irreducible dependence on this prior Being, so it is appropriate that all human beings start out in a state of absolutely helpless dependence upon the kindness of strangers. Many people spend their lives trying to forget or deny this state, but it can't be done except at the cost of one's personhood.

And even then, man is always relating, even if only to his own internalized objects. This is why modern psychoanalysis, which is rooted in attachment theory, is called object relations. Even thinking itself is an object relation, because thoughts are prior to the thinker who must think them. And we can't think at all without the mother-object who first helps us think our thoughts in that state of total dependence.

Bion called this alpha function. Where I differ with Bion -- or at least extend his horizon -- is in explicitly applying this concept to the upper vertical, not just to the Freudian unconscious. In his defense, if he had done this, he would have been excommunicated and exiled from the Church of Psychoanalysis. He would have been outside the System (and some colleagues thought he was outside the System anyway, AKA, insane).

Not sure if this will be helpful but here is an extended passage from the above-linked article:

Bion took for granted that the infant requires a mind to help it tolerate and organize experience. For Bion, thoughts exist prior to the development of an apparatus for thinking. The apparatus for thinking, the capacity to have thoughts "has to be called into existence to cope with thoughts." Thoughts exist prior to their realization. Thinking, the capacity to think the thoughts which already exist, develops through another mind providing alpha-function -- through the "container" role of maternal reverie.

To learn from experience alpha-function must operate on the awareness of the emotional experience; alpha–elements are produced from the impressions of the experience; these are thus made storable and available for dream thoughts and for unconscious waking thinking... If there are only beta-elements, which cannot be made unconscious, there can be no repression, suppression, or learning.

Alpha-function works upon undigested facts, impressions, and sensations, that cannot be mentalized -- beta-elements. Alpha-function digests beta-elements, making them available for thought.

Er, what? It's really not that complicated, and is actually quite experience-near. Applied to religion, for example, God is by definition prior to our thoughts about him. Furthermore, religion is here to help us organize religious experience, which is also prior to our actually thinking it.

We do not, nor could we, consciously will spontaneous experiences of the sacred, the holy, the numinous, the preternatural, the mysterious, the venerable. Rather, these things just "happen." They are, as it were, unmetabolized spiritual "beta elements," the raw material of theological alpha-function. To "learn about God" is literally to metabolize experiences of him.

Yeah, you can ignore the beta elements of primordial spiritual experience. Who hasn't? But as Cheetham says, "To cover over this terrible wonderment is to block access to an Absence that is not the empty Nothing of nihilism, but the unknown and unknowable source of everything; the necessarily Hidden God beyond all being." Of course, Christians believe that this HGBAB God did and does come out from hiding, partly in order to show us that there is no System, only a Person and a Relation.

The Principle of the world cannot be in the world; the world is not self-explanatory. This Principle is "at once 'all' and 'nothing,'" but a "nothing from which all things are derived. This is the Nothing of the Absolute Divine, superior to being and thought" (Corbin, ibid.). Again, it is prior to our thinking about it.

I can't improve on this, so I'll just steal it: "The Giver of being can never be an object, a thing. In its infinite fecundity and mystery, its forever-receding depth and absolute Unity, it is unifier, the guarantor of the individuality of every being. As such, it is the archetype of the Person, and the interiority that infuses all beings..." (Cheetham).

You might say that, to the extent that we are one -- we call this one a person, an individual -- then we cannot be a nothing. Or, in the absence of the One, then our individual personhood is just a big nothing, a meaningless bit of undigested potato. And if this were so, then the left would be correct that identity follows class as essence follows existence, which we know is impossibly stupid, i.e., both stupid and impossible.

Bottom lines for today:

It is the mystery of this primordial Darkness that it establishes the substantial reality of the human person and yet simultaneously renders us transparent.... The presence of this pregnant darkness is immanent, shimmering through the face of the beauty of the world.... A degree of poverty is a prerequisite for the experience of the fullness of the world. --Cheetham

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Liberalism: Come for the Hope, Stay for the Destruction

We left off yesterday with Cheetham's description of artistic creation, which is the precipitate of a two-way movement of ascent and descent:

"In creating a work of art, the psyche or soul of the artist ascends from the earthly realm into the heavenly," such that the result is like a "materialized dream" or perhaps dreamland-localized.

But the main point is that it is clearly in between. Michelangelo's Pietà, for example, is not mere matter, a chunk of marble. But nor is it pure spirit, since spirit is by definition immaterial. Therefore, it occupies a mysterious third area between the two.

However, everything human occupies this third area. It is just that, in the case of art, it is as it were hyper-focused, like a lens that gathers the rays of the sun into an intense point of light and heat. Thus, some zones and sectors in this third area can be more intense and meaningful, others bland, diffuse, and oppressive.

To some extent, it is as if any artist in any medium uses the common "substance" of this third area -- which is why activities as disparate as poetry, painting, and music all share the word "art." As Corbin puts it, true art thus "attains a super-reality"; it is "a crystal of time in imaginal space" (Cheetham).

Of course, much so-called art falls short of this standard, which can be discerned by its default to mere reality, so to speak. (Or, it is perhaps subrealism as opposed to surrealism.) The term "pornography" could be a more general concept that encompasses everything from Miley Cyrus to scientism to MSM news to liberal academia.

Note that in each case the third area is collapsed into a simplistic and vulgar literalism devoid of any ascending or descending energies. When people speak of the "mainstreaming of pornography," this is but a symptom of a far more widespread cultural decay -- more of an end-stage of the illness, or final common pathway.

The "culture war" is not between two equal and opposite forces, but rather, between the human and sub-human. It is the source of that suffocating feeling you've been experiencing over the past six years, now too intense and pervasive to ignore.

First and foremost, the progressive left is and always has been at war with the higher human realms. It is what they do. If you want to know why Bruce Jenner is a hero while American soldiers are baby-killers, this is why. The left follows its own insane logic in a completely consistent and predictable way.

Culture as such takes place in the third area, as does science, politics, and interpersonal relations -- in other words, everything from the macro- down to the micro-human. Polanyi might be the first philosopher of science to have appreciated this on a deep level. And ultimately this space is a function of trinitarian metaphysics, which posits a dynamic space of love, truth, and beauty.

The problem is, man cannot actually exile himself from the human space -- the third area -- for we are "condemned to transcendence," in Schuon's ironic formulation. Therefore, the left actually insists on transcendence, but only their own insane version of it. This is exhaustively described from various angles in David Horowitz's Left Illusions.

In short, not everything in the third area is sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. Rather, some stuff there is "deceptive and dangerous," e.g., "earthly allurements clothed in spiritual garb." I mean, right? Who could not know this? And yet...

With the wrong approach -- of which there are many, cf. various deadly sins -- "we will be ensnared by lies and delusions and the inflation of spiritual intoxication." Is there anyone as spiritually intoxicated as a professional leftist?

In contrast, the correct approach involves little things like, oh, humility, prudence, sobriety, purity, etc. In the absence of prudence, for example, we may not know that "some of the forests are simply better off not exploring. There be monsters" -- for example, like the literally monstrous Caitlyn Jenner, "monstrosity" being something at odds with all nature, both horizontal and vertical. No offense, but such crankensteins are to be pitied, not celebrated. They are entitled to our compassion, not our reverence.

But in the upside-down world of the left, this is precisely what happens: instead of crystalizing the higher energies, they distill the lower ones. Ultimately, opposition to statist sub-humanism can only occur one person at a time, which is why they always have the upper hand, at least from a terrestrial standpoint.

The left relies on forced unconsciousness before all else, which has become the function of their media, their school system, their art forms, and their universities. Through this unyielding and pervasive cultural hammering, "our inner depths become opaque and we are barred from the Kingdom," for we are "cut off from the celestial pole" (Cheetham).

The left is always about destruction (change) and utopia (hope); the latter is a pretext for the former, the only thing the left is really good at, i.e., the relentless pursuit of perdition:

"There are always (and inevitably) two sides to the revolutionary coin. The first is negative and destructive, since it is necessary first to undermine the beliefs, values, and institutions of the old order which must be destroyed before a new one can be established. The second is positive and utopian, a vision of the future that condemns the present" (Horowitz).

Obama's credo might well be Come for the hope, stay for the destruction, for "Using good intentions to justify evil deeds is the first requirement of a utopian bad faith." But unfortunately, it would appear that "a lie grounded in human desire is too powerful for reason to kill" (Horowitz). The left will always be with us, for the impossibility of utopia will always justify its destructive impulses.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Little Big World

I only have about 30 minutes, surely not enough time for a proper post. I'd like to move on from Corbin, so let's dash through the rest of this book and mine any remaining nuggets. Only the big ones. We'll throw back the little ones.

This I like: "the Creator is one with the imagining Creature because each Creative Imagination is a theophany, a recurrence of the Creation."

As such, "Psychology is indistinguishable from cosmology," which appeals to me because it means that I, as a psychologist, am not just a glorified bag boy with too little ambition and too much curiosity, but the very gatekeeper of reality!

I always go back to page one of the Bible, to the third and fifth words, beginning and creates (there are no tenses in Hebrew, right?).

In traditional writing, it is often the case that primacy in importance is characterized by priority in presentation, so this would be doubly Important, being that Genesis is first, and these are the first things in Genesis: the beginning is always now, and God ceaselessly creates in it.

Furthermore, it would appear that, above all else -- or at least coincident with it -- God is a trinity of creator, creativity, and creation.

I would also venture to say that we can read it as Creation Beginning God, or Beginning God Creation, since each of these is bound up with the others. God Creates. Now.

Likewise, if we get right down to it, what characterizes man above all else? Clearly his creativity, which is what distinguishes us from all other animals. It is what puts us in history instead of mere biology or physics.

Creativity is tied in with freedom, since it is not linear or deterministic; likewise beauty, since this is the point -- the telos -- of creativity. I think it would be safe to toss love into the mix as well, because it is implicit in the idea of a beautiful creator who creates such unsurpassable beauty. It's all so gratuitous.

You might say that man's creative imagination mediates between Reality and what a leftist or other materialist would call "reality." Nothing happens if we default to one side or the other -- i.e., head or matter. Rather, it all goes down -- and up -- in the space in between, the creative imagination, the transitional space, the mysterious psychic Third.

An additional benefit of this perspective is that "it heals the split between psychology and physics, between mind and matter, and between the subjective and objective" -- which, coincidentally enough, was precisely the subject of my doctoral dissertation back in a prior but apparently identical now.

For clearly, I am still exploring the same phase space, and being pulled into the same strange attractor. This is "the adventurous search for truth through subjectivity," as opposed to limping along with mere objectivity, which can get you nowhere (since it eliminates the adventurer before the adventure even starts).

And the whole thing works because "The goal is the cause of the beginning," except not in any predetermined way. It is at the author end of the polarity that provides the energy for the journey.

"The space of heaven... is filled with the peace and the teleological energies of the invisible realm..."

Yes, this is the Big World "in which spirits are corporealized and bodies spiritualized."

It's kinda like Art; or, Art is like a very focussed version of the adventure of consciousness:

"In creating a work of art, the psyche or soul of the artist ascends from the earthly realm into the heavenly.... And precisely at the boundary between the two worlds, the soul's spiritual knowledge assumes the shapes of symbolic imagery: and it is these images that make the permanent work of art. Art is thus the materialized dream."

Well, that was fast. How timelessness flies!