Monday, August 21, 2017

Staring at the Nonlocal Sun is Bad for the Health of Your Ego

Are you bored of the eclipse yet? Even my son asked, "What's the big deal? There's a sunset every evening." And he's no cynic. Just group-trance resistant.

Well, at least the media are momentarily hysterical about something other than Trump.

The sun is such a primordial symbol of divinity, it must resonate in a particularly intense way among the spiritually obtuse and/or untutored. I'm sure you've read stories of how eclipses affected premodern people. I just looked it up, and we don't actually have to go back in time. For example, here's a laughty sage who explains why eating food during a lunar eclipse is harmful.

But solar eclipses are that much more dangerous. For example, 4,000 years ago a couple of proto-pundits were beheaded for failing to notify the king of a forthcoming eclipse. If only we could do the same to pundits who failed to predict the cosmic catastrophe of Trump.

The general consensus seems to have been that a demon or monster was attacking and robbing the trembling horde of the central principle that orders and illuminates their primitive cosmos. In other words, Trump Derangement by another name.

Schuon has some pertinent things to say about the symbolism of the sun:

To say that the sun is God is false to the extent it implies that "God is the sun"; but it is equally false to pretend that the sun is only an incandescent mass and absolutely nothing else, for this would be to cut it off from its divine Cause; it would be to deny that that the effect is always something of the Cause.

The point is that for the great majority of human history, the sun was regarded as a god. But before you dismiss this as kooky talk, consider the adequacy of the symbol for a preliterate people. It is as if the sun wordlessly conveys a number of perennial metaphysical principles, for example, "luminosity, heat, central position, and immutability in relation to the planets" -- or the light of intelligence, the warmth of emotion, the centrality of the Absolute, and the infinitude of its benevolent grace. We might say that helio-centrism is theo-centrism v.1.

Let's return briefly to the subject of language abuse. It cannot be sufficiently belabored that this is what the left does. Remember Jesus' crack about how Satan is a liar from the beginning, and that "whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies?" That's the left; or rather, the left is that.

Please note that I do not say this polemically or bobnoxiously. Rather, I say it literally. Later in the post -- or maybe tomorrow -- I will explain why this must be the case, for God gives us the choice between God or nothing, O or Ø, and on that choice rests everything else. Choose the latter and you have chosen to live in a permanent solar eclipse. You are officially a lunatic, someone who reflects light but imagines it comes from within.

"Man's chief nourishment," writes Pieper, "is truth.... Anyone who wishes to live a truly human life must feed on truth." Which is theophagia, or eating God.

Just this weekend I was feeding on a particularly rich source of truth, in the form of some bon bons from the pen of St. Thomas. Actually, I read it through twice, but even then, it's not "digestible" in the usual way, for this is not "information" per se, but more like spiritual pneutriants -- or better, enzymes -- that catalyze vertical recollection. As Pieper says in the preface, they "should be absorbed thoughtfully again and again; in this way the reader will kindle his own thinking."

I was going to present some of these pregnant thoughtlets "without comment," but they inevitably kindle my own thinking. They are naturally -- or supernaturally -- fertile.

Pieper mentions that Thomas combines order and mystery: there is "the clear and intelligible building up of reality, as well as the doctrine which reflects that reality." But this order is everywhere "interwoven and crossed by mystery." Therefore, in a note to myself, I added that the cosmic area rug is a tapestry of mystery and intelligibility, each necessarily flowing from the fact of Creation.

In other words, if the world were not created, it would be unintelligible and not even mysterious. As we've mentioned before, the world is only intelligible to us because of God, but it as also never completely intelligible for the same reason. Simple as. What we know is always surrounded by and even steeped in Mystery. You might say Left Brain Right Brain. No matter what the former knows, the latter imbues it with a Mystery that cannot be eliminated short of a devastating stroke or soul-deadening tenure.

"Everything eternal is necessary."

Right. Therefore, everything necessary is eternal. Man can never contain the eternal, but he can certainly know the necessary, and thereby touch the eternal, no? For example, God is necessary being. Put conversely, he cannot not be. Boom! Eternity while you wait.

Extending that one a bit, "Everything changeable is reduced to a first unmoved being," another Necessary Truth. As such, "each particular knowledge is also derived from some completely certain knowledge, which is not subject to error." Knowing truth -- any truth -- is sufficient to prove God.

Recall that Pieper is providing these nuggets shorn of their explanatory apparatus. But none of that is necessary -- nor sufficient -- if you just see their Truth directly. The bottom line is that God Is. If he isn't, then neither are we. Literally.

Why? Because "The further a being is distant from that which is Being of itself, namely God, the nearer it is to nothingness."

Recall what was said above about man being situated between O and Ø. It doesn't get simpler -- or more complicated -- than that. But the complication results from falling out of the orbit of O, for Ø is not actually a "direction"; unlike O, it is not an attractor, rather, a tendency in man -- a tendency to go nowhere by any number of paths.

Christians reject evolution! Hardly. St. Thomas out-Darwins Darwin, not only permitting evolution, but mandating it; he provides a ground for evolution that Darwinism itself cannot furnish: "The Divine Wisdom joins the last of the higher kind with the first of the lower kind." Man and ape. But also man and angel (or archetype), for there are always two sides, vertically speaking.

Well, I think I'll go outside and check out the eclipse. That's enough gazing at the nonlocal sun for today.


julie said...

Our munchkins will be walking home from school today just when things get interesting. All hype aside, the prospect of seeing slivered-moon-shaped dapples of sunlight sprinkling down from between the tree leaves on the way home is simply de-lightful. We cut up some boxes so the kiddos can try the pinhole trick, too.

I expect they'll be completely bored by it by the time we get home.

Gagdad Bob said...

We just hit maximum here at 10:20. If I didn't know about the eclipse, I don't think I would have even noticed it. However, we only had 62% coverage at this latitude.

Gagdad Bob said...

You can plug in your zip code here, and see what you're going to see. Frankly, the app was cooler than the real thing.

julie said...

Hasn't really started here yet. We're supposed to get close to 80%, and the weather is pretty clear. Should be pretty noticeable, unless a storm blows up.

Gagdad Bob said...

I feel ripped off. 38% of the sun is still very bright.

ted said...

I feel ripped off. 38% of the sun is still very bright.

Supposedly this may even be true when it comes to grey matter.

Gagdad Bob said...

I've been wanting to post on that very subject: almost anyone is bright enough to understand what they need to know; and most any life is sufficient -- as in Ulysses, in which 24 hours in the life of Leopold Bloom is All Lives Ever. The same truth is multiplied exponentially in Finnegans Wake.

Olden Ears said...

most any life is sufficient -- as in Ulysses, in which 24 hours in the life of Leopold Bloom is All Lives Ever

Just reading Seneca this morning:

"Now what is the chief thing in virtue? It is the quality of not needing a single day beyond the present, and of not reckoning up the days that are ours; in the slightest possible moment of time virtue completes an eternity of good."

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, like that. We have no one to blame but ourselves if we can't find eternity in a grain of here or hold eternity in the palm of now.

julie said...

Can confirm; even 20% sunlight is still very bright.

As to intelligence, indeed; this is why, for instance, it is so monstrous that certain countries are close to eradicating Down Syndrome babies. They haven't cured it, they just kill them as early as possible so that nobody will have to suffer a poor "quality of life." As if they aren't capable of being joyful, loving and kind, and of knowing what they need to know to live a full and fulfilling life.

Unknown said...

Macrocosm and microcosm are mirror of each other. The eclipse of one is a reminder of the eclipse of the other. It is a reminder that under the shadow of darkness hides the treasure of the soul, that is why spiritual development is linked to the starvation of the shadow from its energy thus leaving it in a state of weakness and at the same time enhancing the ascendancy of the released soul with the new energy taken from the shadow of darkness.This is the way of the one who is seeking to know itself through the humans. The primordial origin from which everything arises and to which everything returns. This is the way of finding peace in the midst of the sorrow. Life is a trail that imposes upon the humans a process of struggle with the antagonistic forces that try to hinder the seeker from reaching the self realizing goal that can not be achieved without contacting the spirit, the nourishor of the soul. It is a fact that we are born to die, meaning that following physical survival in terms of power ,comfort, pleasure and security is a deluded path that leads to no truthful ends. It is spiritual survival is the path that saves us from death in the coffin of the head away from the supporting emotional enhancement of the heart. Intellect without heart is a lost adventure. Grieving is the tool of the awaken soul in its path of ascendancy,after all what is repentance but a kind of grief in the way up. It is a zombie peak time that needs all our efforts to face the coming unknown that all sensitive souls are sensing. It is no longer a local, tribal,color or any other labels salvation but a planetary human salvation away from the fragmenting approach our misled civilization is pursuing.

Dougman said...
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