In other words, it doesn't really matter where we begin so long as we are either starting from or returning to First Principles, AKA Alpha and Omega. For only first principles can really bite into reality and generate traction for the vertical ascent. Without them we cannot "defy gravity," as it were, at least on the intellectual plane.
Indeed, if everything were just contingencies and not principles, then we could never get off the goround, could we? Then we would be in the position of the krugmaniacal Keynesian who stands in a bucket while attempting to lift himself by the handle.
This book by Lings -- Symbol & Archetype: A Study of the Meaning of Existence -- is all about first principles. The second half of the title is a hint: the meaning of existence.
Oh great. Just clicked over to Drudge. Let the learned gentleman from Colombia have the floor: "Moral indignation is not truly sincere unless it literally ends in vomiting."
Excuse me for a moment. I need a bigger bucket.
"The fool, seeing that customs change, says that morality varies." The same fool "does not content himself with violating an ethical rule: he claims that his transgression becomes a new rule" (Don Colacho).
Oh well. "Civilization is what old men manage to salvage from the onslaught of young idealists." Besides, "Whoever defeats a noble cause is the one who has really been defeated." Therefore, "The cost of progress is calculated in fools," and I can't count that high.
Speaking of first principles, the SCOTUS decision is a violation of the first rank, because it goes to the very basis of civilization. Perhaps we'll get into that more deeply once this acute nausea subsides a bit.
I wouldn't blame the Creator if he withdraws that providential hand that has both guided and bailed us out so many times over the past 250 years. Why bother with these loons?
It's one thing to be fallen. It's something else entirely to confuse down and up. Once that happens, then man enthusiastically pursues his own destruction. But nothing obliges us to participate in the sickness of the world. Well, except the IRS.
I feel like I'm live-blogging a black hole. This is a Dark Day, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with animus toward homosexuals. Indeed, I have a homosexual relative by marriage, an artist, and one of his works hangs on my office wall. If someone can't appreciate the distinction between micro and macro, between private behavior and the state presuming to redefine reality, then they are too unsophisticated and too insentient to even bother with. Let the dead bury the tenured.
For Lings, what we call the "fall" results in a kind of veiling, the veil being part of the "atmosphere" that opens up between divine and human, terrestrial and celestial. The path of return is "upward," but it is not as if we have lost all O-rientation.
Rather, "the science of symbols is inextricably linked with the path of return," for these symbols "are reminders for the spiritual traveller of man's lost perfection." Or, they may be nuisances, depending on the case (e.g., marriage, which can obviously only be between man and woman without ceasing to be what it is; to not know this truism is to not know what marriage is, even if one is technically married).
The spiritual adventure always involves "swimming against the tide." What makes the contemporary journey a little more tricky is that the stream is a sewer, so we are battling both gravity and ambient toxicity. That's okay. The exercise just makes our wings stronger, and exposure to the left makes our immune system all the more robust. Like a child who eats dirt, I have the antibodies acquired during my many years of exposure to higher education.
About that shrub alluded to in the first paragraph. Imagine looking down on a shrub, which seems to grow in every direction from a central point. Or better, imagine a spider's web, which "is all the more apt inasmuch as the web is woven out of the substance of its 'creator.'" For Lings, this provides a fruitful symbol of the cosmos.
In considering the web, "The concentric circles represent the hierarchy of the different worlds," such that "the more outward the circle, the lower its hierarchic degree." Thus, if the central point is "truth" or "sanctity" or "Christ," then the outer circle would represent darkness, journalism, and tenure.
But in addition to the concentric circles, there are also radii from the center out. Thus, we are never really separate from the Principle; you could say the circles represent immanence, while the radii signify transcendence. Without the radii, we would indeed by stuck like flies in whatever circle we happen to inhabit.
Lings makes the helpful point that at the "end" of each radii is a symbol. Or better, at the center is an archetype, while at the outer end is a symbol that more or less reflects the archetype. The local symbol is an emanation or prolongation of the nonlocal archetype, as it were.
Thus, for example, herebelow, marriage is a symbol that reflects a much higher and deeper archetype, ultimately the union of male and female, or absolute and infinite and other primordial complementarities.
This is the archetype the Supreme Court presumes to be qualified to destroy. Which is analogous to Iranian mullahs feeling qualified to destroy the bond between protons and neutrons. The result is vast destruction, the "unleashing of hell," so to speak. Likewise, to undermine the primordial link between male and female is to unleash a different kind of hell, but equally destructive.
Now, bearing the image of the web in mind, we see that there will necessarily be some things that "fall between the cracks," so to speak, i.e., the indeterminate spaces between the radii.
What sorts of things are these? I would say these spaces are filled with human illusion -- for there is no other kind -- i.e., with things that cannot be, because they have no ontological basis. In one sense they "must be," man being what he is. And yet, they "cannot be," for they are like the possibility of the impossible, or the nihilistic side of freedom, detached from principles and from God.
So, give the Supreme Court credit for doing the impossible.