Thursday, May 05, 2016

Perpetual Motion, Proof of God, and a Cure for Finitude

To be human is "to live on the edge, on the frontier of matter and spirit, time and eternity..." As such, it is to be an ontological I-AMphibian; we are freely able to choose "either direction, down toward matter or up toward spirit." Our "destiny is thus to journey through matter toward a fulfillment beyond matter" (Clarke).

Never mind that this is not something you will ever learn from the Conspiracy, for it is obviously not in their interest to highlight man's vertical freedom. More scandalous is the fact that one can be exposed to conventional religion without ever being shown the damn cosmic roadmap.

To the extent that we have free will, it is only explained with reference to its proper object, which we call O. Freedom itself is a good, but only -- obviously -- if it is oriented to the Good. Failing that, it is a dubious gift at best, analogous to knowledge without truth or creativity without beauty or "values" without virtue -- or, in a word, tenure.

"The human will," writes Clarke, "is necessarily oriented towards nothing less than the Infinite Good as its only adequate fulfillment..." But finite goods are a reflection or prolongation of the one Good, and there are an infinite number of pathways through them.

It reminds me of jazz: a solo is like a journey from this chord to that, but there are an infinite humber of melodic pathways one can take along the way.

Likewise, the human intellect "is naturally ordered, as to its adequate object, to the whole of being as intelligible." Nothing short of God fully satisfies, but this doesn't mean that sub-divine knowledge is worthless.

Rather, as St. Thomas quipped, "Every knower knows God implicitly in anything it knows." If this is not the case, then we can ultimately know nothing -- or nothing can actually be known.

Yes, we just proved the existence of God. Or, alternatively, the impossibility of proving anything, including this statement. Take your pick.

In the past I have referred to O as the Great Attractor. This was before I even knew that other folks characterized it in the same way, albeit in different terms.

For example, "we are magnetized, so to speak, by our very nature towards the Infinite Good, which draws us in our very depths" in its wake (Clarke). This is "the great hidden dynamo that energizes our whole lives, driving us on to ever new levels of growth and development, and refusing to let us be ultimately contented with any merely finite, especially material, goods."

Clarke makes an important point about the dynamo that energizes us. Any kind of energy is the result of a polarity; in this case, the polarity is between God and man. Being that he is infinite and we are finite... well, in addition to proving the existence of God, we have now proven the existence of perpetual motion.

What we call development takes place in the tension between these complementary extremes: "the spiral of self-development should ideally go on, alternating harmoniously between the two poles," which are really two streams of metacosmic energy, one going out and up, the other down and in. As such,

"the life of every human person unfolds as a journey of the spirit through an ever-developing spiral circulation between self-presence and active self-expressive presence," or "between inward-facing self-possession and outward-facing openness to the other" -- both horizontal others and the vertical Other.

Which is why those who give shall receive, those who are empty shall be filled, the last shall be first, the love you take is equal to the love you make, etc.

Again, the I is always a We, AKA substance-in-relation. How does it all end? "In a word, the final goal and perfection of the whole universe is, literally, the communion between persons, who in turn gather up the whole universe in their consciousness and love and thus lead it back to its Source."

So I guess we've also discovered a cure for finitude.

You're welcome.

[A]s we move more and more into the phase of vertical self-transcendence, putting off our self-centered consciousness to open up the Great Center and its transforming power, then a profound reversal in the movement of self-development takes place: it now flows primarily from above downwards, transforming us from above. --W. Norris Clarke


julie said...

Which is why those who give shall receive, those who are empty shall be filled, the last shall be first, the love you take is equal to the love you make, etc.

Also why we must be like children in their openness and innocence.

mushroom said...

Freedom itself is a good, but only -- obviously -- if it is oriented to the Good.

When is freedom not free? When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness (Romans 6:20).