Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Churchill, God, and Baseball

We have an early appointment tomorrow (Wednesday), so there shall be no post. But this is today. Get on with it!

We left off with the idea that we are the measure of what we can understand; and that our understanding includes a nonlocal organ "which perceives, and at the same time confers existence upon, a reality of its own" (Corbin).

We compared this latter to the historical imagination. Coincidentally, for several months now I've been immersing myself in WinstonWorld, a remarkably expansive and imaginative place. Churchill wrote four volumes on the History of the English Speaking Peoples, ending at the threshold of WWI. He carried the story forward by writing five volumes on that little dispute, and then six more on its continuation in WWII.

My point is that he essentially imagined all of history and situated himself within it. Contrast this with the average lofo voter, whose historical horizons scarcely extend past the last meal and beyond the next. Or maybe you've never seen Watter's World.

Not only did he imagine history, but he assimilated it, such that it was woven into his very substance. Manchester says something to the effect that for Churchill, English history was more akin to what childhood memories are for you and I, or lunch for the lofo.

Here is the exact passage. I include it because I think it parallels what Corbin says about God and the imaginal space (emphases mine):

"Memorizing dates and place-names has always been the bane of schoolchildren." But "for a few," including Churchill, "history, by way of imagination and discipline, becomes part of personal memory, no less than childhood recollections of the first swim in the ocean or the first day of school."

"Churchill did not simply observe the historical continuum; he made himself part of it." The distant past, extending to Greco-Roman times, "informed his identity in much the same way" as did memories of his childhood home.

Even so, "He did not live in the past." Rather, "the past lived on in him." He had a "mystical relationship" with it, such that the present resonated with the past in a deeply personal way. You could say that this is how and why he recognized Hitler the moment he saw him: same play, new actor.

Yesterday we spoke of the distinction between history and memoir; a memoir, although "in" history, isn't history, in that the latter involves a more transcendental, comprehensive, and disinterested view. However, in a fascinating twist, it is as if Churchill transforms history into memoir -- as if it all happened to him personally.

Now, how might this help inform what we've been saying about the imaginal space?

Somewhere our Unknown Friend writes of the importance of imagining various events of the Bible -- is if intimately participating in them.

On a more banal level, I'm thinking of the great announcer of the Dodgers, Vin Scully, who will be retiring this week after 67 years with the team. I've been listening to him since 1965, and it is difficult if not impossible to describe his magical ability to facilitate one's imaginative participation in the game.

Through the '60s and '70s in particular, few games were televised, so radio was the only option. But he made the games so vivid, that most everyone attending them held transistor radios to their heads, listening to Vin describe what they were seeing with their own eyes. In fact, you didn't even need a radio. There were so many, that you could hear his voice in the stands without one -- even on the field.

Again, this may strike one as a trivial example, but think of the implications: Scully's imaginative description of the game was somehow more real than the game itself; or, it revealed a deeper dimension of reality via one's personal participation in the imaginal.

By the way, the wife discovered a download of Vin reading the rosary. I am informed by an 11 year old witness that it made her cry -- just as he made me cry in 1966, when the Dodgers lost to the Orioles in the World Series, even though the eyes tell us it's just a bunch of grown men playing a child's game.

There is something similar going on with scripture. For example, "the story of Adam in Genesis" reflects "the invisible history of the 'celestial' and spiritual man, enacted in a time of its own and always 'in the present'" (Corbin). As with Churchill, the stage is the same, and even the roles; only the actors change.

We're almost out of time. Let's conclude by suggesting that "mere reality" is lacking a dimension or two, which can only be perceived via the imaginal. "Is it possible to to see without being in the place where one sees?" Imaginal visions "are in themselves penetrations into the world they see."

It's little like how a magnifying glass gathers the sun's rays into a focal point which burns through the surface.


Gagdad Bob said...

Interesting how the left essentially creates a fake imaginal world. Ace:

"One thing that has impressed me more and more over the past two years is how powerful the left is in colonizing the thoughts of all citizens -- including commentators on the right.

"Andrew Breitbart used to say -- he said this the first time I met him -- that the left creates a 'Matrix,' as in the movie, a prison of illusion and reality distortion. When you are in the Matrix, he said excitedly, you can't see the Matrix itself."

You could say that the Matrix is the left wing version of the Imaginal.

julie said...


"Memorizing dates and place-names has always been the bane of schoolchildren."

Going back to the computer metaphor, simply memorizing a name and a date is about as helpful as having a named file on your drive that has nothing in it. And in most cases, probably never will.

Re. the matrix of the left, there is truly no way to properly escape it, short of moving to your own private desert island. Again thinking of computers and the internet, with every new and updated interface they seek to draw the user more deeply in, promising to organize and streamline your digital life and seamlessly integrate everything, or close to it. Which is all well and good so long as you are both on the cutting edge of technology and in the good graces of the technologists who create so much of the software needed to accomplish all of this - and who also happen to be humans, quite often with grand ideas about shaping the culture, who don't take so kindly to independent thinking. See Eich for details.

Leslie Godwin said...

"It's time for the Holy Rosary!"
I highly recommend the Rosary as prayed by Vin. You can buy the digital version or CD.
He makes the mysteries sound like he was there.
Mrs. G

julie said...

I must have gotten distracted halfway through reading this post yesterday; I completely missed everything after the Unknown Friend observation.

I'll have to keep that Rosary CD in mind, it sounds interesting.

Again, this may strike one as a trivial example, but think of the implications: Scully's imaginative description of the game was somehow more real than the game itself; or, it revealed a deeper dimension of reality via one's personal participation in the imaginal.

You've talked before about the difference between a layperson's understanding - for instance, of a baseball game - and a professional's. In this context, if the professional were to put into words some of what he understands such that the layperson is "seeing with eyes made new," the Game would in some ways actually be more real than if the person were watching with no depth of understanding.

Just as we, from our far distance, have the luxury of knowing in advance while reading the Gospels that Jesus really is the Messiah, because some of the people who were there and knew the real score were good enough to write it all down for posterity. Most of the folks around him at the time were utterly clueless.

Joan of Argghh! said...

I want to flag a comment by Abdul that mentions my jugular vein. I am not happy about it.

julie said...

Not sure what to make of that guy, but he has used the jugular reference before (can't find where at the moment). He seems to mean it the same way Christians say that God is closer to us than our skin, or nearer than our hearts. FWIW.

Jugular sounds much more creepy, though.

Joan of Argghh! said...

He seems to mean many things, none of them pleasant. My c00n vision has been activated since he first arrived and it had nothing to do with his name. He has the drone of UnMan.

stephen b said...

Your inclusion of Vin Scully in your post is apt. He lived Dodger history, indeed baseball history. It came out in every sentence. Probably my earliest childhood memory was his voice coming from a Zenith tube radio at my Grandfather's house in San Bernardino, where I visited in the summer

julie said...

"Drone of UnMan" - that's a good way to put it. Now I can't help thinking of him as one of the characters in Lewis' Space Trilogy.

mushroom said...

History is a kind of revelation, and revelation requires that we both internalize it and be internalized by it. As Jesus, the ultimate revelation, says, He abides in us and we abide in Him.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

Mistrust leaves an ugly residue of unpleasantness in the heart. Life is built on trust and once trust vanishes, life will no longer find its spiritual tranquility. This is the malady of our present distrustful world. Please I am a human like you and her and do not be afraid to hear the words of someone from out of your clan, also to search for the meanings of his words within the purity of the christian good heart. My purpose is to cross the bridge of separation to the unified source of our spiritual radiations, the universal god irrespective of the different prophets,saints or sages that pointed to the divine radiations, the only real point of our human original cultural reference, the one who has breathed out of his spirit, our soul through which we function on all our levels of existence., and our tool to his presence.

Van Harvey said...

abdull oaths "Mistrust leaves an ugly residue of unpleasantness in the heart."

No, mistrust rightly applied, tends to leave one cleaner, safer and happier than failing to. Deserving the mistrust of others, generally comes from a falsity in the heart and mind, which leaves an unpleasant residue upon those they come into contact with... or at least until they are recognized and brushed off.

Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "You could say that the Matrix is the left wing version of the Imaginal."

Yep, the Leftist has always been about recreating our world in their own image. That's expected, but what I wish wasn't to be expected, is that so many who see themselves on the right, use the left's template to see the world with. Doubting, rather than Questioning, Cynicism, rather than deeper understanding, Kantian Imperatives, rather than Principles.

That last especially, Imperatives, rather than Principles, is what I see so prominently in the NeverTrump'rs, using disintegrated 'principles' to escape the context of reality - substitutes for thinking, rather than thinking in a principled manner.


Abdulmonem Othman said...

Reading a text out of its context is liable of misreading, a misreading that often time leads to misinterpretation. As there is a warranted mistrust, there is the opposite also that rides an uncertain course without verification. One has to be careful where one puts his step. Falsification accompanies the human ever since the beginning, it is a relation not a separate improvisation. It is a continual dialogue as you see me I see you. Return to the primordial purity as a divine call. it is a difficult task, Self-cleaning may be triggered by outside motivator but it remains basically an intentional personal move that needs a lot of tense work and persistent follow-up. Thank you for letting me see my path to him better.