Friday, December 30, 2016

All About Eve

Not much time this morning, so just a brief blast...

As often happens, subsequent to yesterday's post, some things came to my attention that seemed to comment upon it. For example, in a poem called The Blessed Virgin Compared to the Air we Breathe, Hopkins writes of God's infinity / Dwindled to infancy / Welcome in womb and breast, / Birth, milk, and all the rest...

"God's infinity dwindled to infancy" is what I have called divine infanity.

Then I was reading in the sequel to MOTT, Lazarus March Come Forth!, of how mother-love continues to be a kind of postnatal womb that surrounds and nurtures the growing child:

"The tendency of mother-love is to maintain its enveloping quality in order to 'bear' the child further until the ripeness of maturity.... The love of the mother holds the child in her embrace pressed to her heart, for decades on end -- perhaps until death and beyond" (emphasis mine).

Mother- (and Father-, in a different way) love is also a necessary condition -- a condition-without-which -- for the later discovery of divine love. It "makes the human being capable of comprehending or having a presentiment of divine love in a natural way by means of analogy..."

Then I was reading in another book by Tomberg (from prior to his Catholic conversion), Christ and Sophia, of how "Everything in the life of the children of Israel was to be ordered so that, after many generations, the race might produce a body suited to the work of Christ on earth..."

You could say that God needed to forge a collective womb for the descent of spirit, a preparation "for the future birth of the body intended to receive the Christ."

Jefferson famously characterized America as an "empire of liberty." But before there could be liberty on earth, it had to first descend from above, for which reason Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, BOOM!

If you accept the divine logic, Israel was pregnant with Mary who was pregnant with the messiah who is pregnant with the true liberty which is pregnant with you. For in the words of the Aphorist, Liberty is indispensable not because man knows what he wants and who he is, but so that he can find out who he is and what he wants.

And I would go back and up even prior to Israel, to say that God first had to create the species and the "nations" from which Israel was chosen; and before that the biosphere, planet, and cosmos, each a "womb" for the next (i.e., earth is the womb of life as man is the womb of theosis).

As Jefferson wrote, "the God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time." And Lincoln spoke of Americans as an "almost chosen people" and of a new birth of freedom.

So if the story of Mary is a tip-top-typological tale of incarnation and freedom, it is always metamythically conditioning history from above & beyond.

I wonder: WWSS? (What Would Schuon Say?)

The "mystery of the Incarnation has two aspects: the Word, on the one hand, and its human receptacle, on the other: Christ and the Virgin-Mother."

Or, as Bion would (un)say, Container (♀) and Contained (♂). Underneath -- or above -- it all is a kind of dialectic between the two, for there can be no contained without a container -- no Womb, no Word; and no matrix... well, just No (to God), period.

Mary is the mamamatrix "of the manifested divine Spirit" who "has suckled her children -- the Prophets and the sages -- from the beginning and outside of time..." She "personifies supra formal Wisdom" -- AKA Sophia -- and "it is from her milk that all the Prophets have drunk."

Looked at this way, Wisdom is whole milk, while scientism, materialism, leftism and all the rest are skim & scam milk.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Hand, Teat, Womb, and Cosmic Center

It seems that Mary is at once a kind of end, center, and jumping off point. But as always, I try to look at these things from a more abstract perspective, asking mysoph: what is the principle that makes this possible (or even necessary)? Not necessarily to reduce it to myth, but rather, to elevate it to what Schuon calls the "principal" realm. Principles are precisely what shed light on appearances. And this is what Intelligence is for.

In other words, if something is possible, then it is possible in principle. So, what's the principle going on here? Or is it sui generis, meaning that it is simply an inexplicable one-off event, "a reality which cannot be reduced to a lower concept or included in a higher concept"? If so, then this renders it intellectually dissatisfying, a case of metaphysical special pleading. Eh, I don't think God would do that.

"In Mary," writes Balthasar, "Zion passes over into the Church; in her, the Word passes over into flesh; in her, the Head passes over into the body. She is near the place of super-abundant fruitfulness" (in Bailie).

That is a loaded statement! Loaded with principles, that is, from the more historo-horizontal to the ontological-vertical.

On the historical plane -- the plane of salvolution history -- Mary is like the membrane between a specific people selected for a divine mission, and the prolongation and diffusion of the message -- or Word -- vouchsafed them. Imagine a coherent beam refracted through her and radiating ovary whichaway.

But the heart of the cosmic mystery is Word passing over to flesh. Now, that this principle is true, there can be no doubt. In other words, man qua man has access to a transcendent world of truth, beauty, virtue, and unity. If truth is in our brains, then it is incarnated. Nor is it possible to disprove that truth incarnates, on pain of instantaneous intellectual beclownment.

Where this differs is that -- so to speak -- the Principle as such is incarnated. We all, by virtue of being human, can can know this or that truth. Therefore, truth again incarnates in us. But this purportedly represents the Truth incarnate. Now, that is a wild idea, but certainly not beyond imagining if we appreciate the fact that we incarnate (lower case t) truth all the time.

Now, if you believe in sanctity -- in sainthood and theosis -- then this Higher Enfleshment is pretty much the whole point: to gradually, via a nonlocal helping hand from grace, incarnate more of the truth, AKA the imitation of Christ. This is a subject to which we will return. Here I mainly want to highlight the principle.

If Mary is the "place" where this occurs, then she is quite literally the Matrix (Latin for womb) where it all goes down. This itself is dense with principles. She is, as it were, mamamatrix for paparinciple, such that baby makes Trinity. There is simply no other science, philosophy, or ideology that elevates this principle to its proper status as the hinge of salvolution (my annoying portmanteau for salvation + evolution).

I first stole this idea of mine from an unlikely source -- or at least this source helped me crystalize the notions that had been wondering around loose in my head. I say "unlikely" because the author of The Human Animal was an atheistic psychoanalytically inspired anthropologist. Even so, when I read his account of the Hominization Event, it gave me a major guffaw-HA! experience.

Indeed, look at the cover --> It has the natural trinity written all over it: That little trinity is the very basis and possibility of the unity of man -- both collectively and intrapsychically.

Let me see if I can find an illustrative passage. But before we get to that, here's a note to myself on the inside cover: "In the symbolic pyramid of culture, very few bricks touch the ground." The reason for this is that the principles don't go all the way down -- which is what we always try to do here at One Cosmos -- that is, build the cosmic pyramid on a foundation of solid principles that cannot not be true.

Another note: "perpetuating mistaken solutions to problems --> other animals do not do this, only humans."

This also involves the perpetuation of mistaken principles, which is in turn a kind of misincarnation, is it not? For what are mind parasites but fragments of the Lie incarnate? Indeed, a fragmented truth can also become a mind parasite -- for example, truths of science taken as self-sufficient explanations.

Hmm. A lot of other interesting notes here -- for example, "mammal's greatest invention: the teat --> basis for psychic connectedness and open system."

There are actually three great inventions that rendered humanness possible: womb, teat, and infantile helplessness. The teat is definitely a turning point, such that animals become dependent in a most intimate way.

And before teat -- or at least simultaneous with it -- is the womb through which one is literally inside another (unlike the reptilian egg, which is outside the body). And the His Majesty the Helpless Baby is the most fantastic of all. He simultaneously enables, and is enabled by, the primordial familial trinity of Mother-Father-Baby.

Another fabulous invention is the hand, specifically, the one with the opposable thumb. If we didn't have hands to grasp objects, nor could we have minds to grasp ideas and principles. Think of other "tools" evolution bequeaths to the animals: they generally do one or two specific things.

Wings, for example, help birds fly, and also keep them warm. But a hand can do countless things, from punching someone in the nose to writing sonnets (to making flying machines and coats for warmth). Truly, the hand is a kind of word made flesh that must be present before Word can be made flesh, for it is our first gateway to abstraction and generalization.

In a chapter entitled Man Hands Himself a New Kind of Evolution, LaBarre notes another important point, that bipedalism had to occur first in order to free the hands; in a coonworthy bon mot, he says that "man stands alone, because he alone stands."

As for the liberated upper extremities, "the human hand is the adaptation to end all adaptations." The emancipated hand emancipates us from... from everything, really, to whatever you consider to be the highest (or lowest) reaches of mankind. It allowed us to specialize in nothing and therefore everything.

But it all redounds to nothing if individual minds aren't linked together, which goes back to the invention of the helpless infant and the resultant intersubjectivity of mother and baby: "The real evolutionary unit now is not man's mere body; it is 'all-mankind's-brains-together-with-all-the-extrabodily-materials-that-come-under-the-manipulation-of-their-hands'" (ibid.). You could say this intersubjectivity ultimately renders possible the extrabodily body of Christ alluded to in paragraph three above.

We're getting rather far afield this morning, aren't we? Back to God's Gamble. "Mary's fiat" -- i.e., the Big Yes -- "inaugurates her pregnancy and brings that of her people to term." And "She brings the Yes of Abraham to its supreme expression." In her case, "She consents not to do, but to be, to be available as a vessel of divine will." She is the explicit link between doing and being, or between law and spirit, flesh and Word.

"For Jesus to have had a real human childhood, he would have had his primary, pre-synagogue formation at his mother's breast..." (Bailie).

There are a number of references to this in the Book that are pregnant with meaning, such as older than Abraham, young as a babe's I AM, and blissfully floating before the fleeting flickering universe, stork naked in brahma daynight, worshiping in oneder in a weecosmic womb with a pew...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Our Father Who Wert a Heathen

This next chapter is on Our Father Abraham, who begins the story of the explicit divine-human collaboration we call salvation history.

Bailie starts with an astute comment by Balthasar, which should be read in the context of our previous post touching on primitive man's systematic refusal of history, which was enforced and renewed via sacrificial rituals. Among other things, old father Abraham said Yes to one-way time, which of course vaulted us out of our ontological nul de slack:

"God does not so much lead Abraham back to the Alpha, the origin (re-ligio), as forward to the Omega, the future fulfillment." This is an alternative to primitive religion -- even its cure, so to speak (or at least treatment); for it is "the other side of mankind's religious experience, and there is no third."

As alluded to in the previous post, if you're not moving forward you're falling behind. But "forward" only has sense in the context of its future fulfillment; or better, horizontal is only meaningful in light of the nonlocal vertical structure of things.

Either way, give Abraham credit for rejoining Alpha and Omega. "To become Christian," says Ratzinger, "means entering into the history of faith that begins with Abraham and, thus, accepting him as father" (in Bailie).

Abraham is not so much the Alpha Male as the first Omega Man.

He becomes so by placing us squarely in the bewilderness; indeed, what is salvation history but the universal, meta-cosmic bewilderness adventure? Only instead of 40 years in the desert, the wanderment is forever.

Or it would be, except for the fact that the end went to the trouble of incarnating in the middle: whatever else the Incarnation is, it is a back- and downward projection (so to speak) of the Omega into time and history.

So, man's real situation involves being suspended between two nonlocal attractors. You can call them Alpha and Omega, but if you want to express the idea abstractly you can just say Ø and O.

Indeed, this is the very definition of man -- which is to say, the animal whose environment is in the transitional space between the absurcular goround and our inspiraling deustiny. Everything happens there; or here, rather.

Time out for an Aphorism: Truth is in history, but history is not the truth (NGD). Analogously, God is in history, but history is not God.

Oh, and Modern history is the dialogue between two men: one who believes in God, another who believes he is a god. If there is an Ultimate Principle that distinguishes left from right, it is this: that the former is oriented to the Alpha, the latter to the Omega.

A progressive who "believes in God" is oxymoronic, because progressivism is founded on the divinization of Man. What they call "secular humanism" is really just human sacralization, AKA political religion. As Voeglin darkened thousands of pages trying to explain, the leftist collapses the space between O and Ø, which is why it is always so cramped and stuffy under their rule.

Note that Islamists do the same thing: they not only want to abolish the calendar, but drag us with them back to the 7th century. There too it is such a tight space that there's no room for the intellect -- as is the case on our college campuses.

Bailie alludes to "the relationship between archaic society's sacrificial center and the cyclical and backward looking fixation of pre-historic thought." They were gripped by a "fear-ridden determination to re-create an imagined past and remain safely within the orbit of its protection" -- a safe space to protect them from the ravages of time and history.

Some things never change

And again, absent the Omega, time is indeed the Great Ravager; it is entirely entropic, with no vector toward the negentropic attractor at the other end.

But life itself is surely negentropic, as is the miracle of intelligence, so these are already hints of the end in the middle of things. Properly speaking, as soon as we know truth -- any truth -- we should realize that something -- or someOne -- is up.

As we have discussed in the past, Christianity is not so much a religion as the cure for primitive religiosity: "the purpose of archaic religion was to protect its participants from the exigencies of history," i.e., "to spare them the call of Abraham or the vicissitudes of the Exodus" (ibid.).

Exactly. We had to somehow leave the orbit of Ø in order to achieve vertical liftoff. Man had "to be coaxed out of the immediate sacrificial arena" and into the great outdoors.

Just as our most furaway furbears had to climb down from the trees in order to dwell on the ground and attain bipedalism, Abraham had to leave the safety of the sacrificial arena in order to begin the mad dash from Alpha toward Omega.

This is how we become cosmic drama queens and kings -- not so much via "the discovery of some truth," but rather, by becoming actors in divine history and realizing it (Ratzinger, ibid.). Or just say called and sent.

Sent where? I'll tell you, but you can't get there without faith, hope, and love. And then you're there. Or rather, it's here. Same. Difference.

The bottom line is that our father wert a heathen, but then he waren't no more, beginning with the non-sacrifice of Isaac.

It is not the origin of religions or their cause that requires explanation, but the cause and origin of their being dimmed and forgotten. --The Aphorist

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