Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Loss of God is Just Plain Careless

Lately my reading has gotten so far ahead of my blogging that I'm writing about things from weeks or months ago instead of doing so in Real Time, which is the usual procedure. So I'm going to fast forward to what I'm reading at the moment, an out-of-print book of essays and talks by the esteemed Josef Pieper, called Problems of Modern Faith.

(Although I'm enjoying it, it's probably not worth the price for a used copy, especially if you haven't read other works of his such as The Four Cardinal Virtues, Guide to St. Thomas, the Anthology, etc.)

The reason I want to blog about it NOW is that it's provoking a lot of sparks that may not be recoverable when I return to it. You know how it is: Light from the past isn't the same as Light in the here and now. Sun and stars.

In fact, the book has triggered a lot of aphorisms that I've written to myself in the margins. I've no doubt mentioned a similar sentiment in the past, but it goes like this: Scientism is the religion of the part, while religion is the science of the whole.

I mean that quite literally. Scientism is science expanded to an ideology -- and idolatry -- via a false absolute, while the point of religion is to provide a way to understand and adapt ourselves to ultimate reality.

As we all know, profane science tends to conflate reality with its (properly) narrow method of studying it. This necessarily ends in the quantification of reality, and therefore the negation of qualities.

But qualities are the most important -- and certainly most interesting -- part of reality. In the absence of qualities we would not only be bored to death, but actually dead, being that life itself can't be reduced to numbers.

More gravely, to eliminate qualities is to inter man in a tomb of his own categories. Only man can distinguish good from bad, true from false, appearances from reality, beauty from ugliness, etc. This is why we are here. In other words, what is unique about human beings explains the purpose of human beings. Man's sufficient reason is conformity to reality, both horizontal and vertical.

Another note from mysoph says that Reality is the totality of our means of accessing and comprehending it.

This may sound Kantian, as if I am limiting reality to our categories, but that is not what I mean. Rather, it is a way of saying that reality is much wider, higher, and deeper than what can be accessed by the scientific method only. The beauty of nature, for example, provides real information about reality. More generally, qualities are windows into the Real.

Or put it this way: a decent map of the cosmos will take into account vertical perception. Science involves horizontal perception only. If elevated to a metaphysic it distorts the world beyond re-cognition; it banishes the very categories through which we may perceive and understand reality.

Schuon says something to the effect that the totality of the cosmos demands the unicity of man: the Everything of the World is mirrored in the All of Us. There are expansive visions of reality worthy of man, and pathetically narrow ones that hardly do justice to insects or even liberals.

Here is a pertinent pensée by Pascal: If you are not concerned to know the truth, then you have access to enough truth to to enable you to live in peace. BUT if you long with all your heart to know it, then what you have got is not enough.

Now, a Raccoon is in the latter category: what we have is never enough, even though -- orthoparadoxically -- it is more than enough.

What I mean is that God is the primordial More than Enough, ceaselessly flowing out of himself a la the Trinity. So long as we are oriented to and rooted in this reality... well, it's like Revelation says: the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

As Pieper puts it, we are interested in reality as a whole and in the totality of the world. By any means necessary. We are careful "to ensure that not one single element of reality is concealed, overlooked, forgotten or suppressed -- which could easily happen if the activity of the mind were to be restricted to what can be verified by the methods of exact science."

Atheistic science allows so much reality to evade detection that you might be tempted to believe it is a conspiracy against man. But just as there is a scientific method, there is a psychospiritual or pneumatic method, AKA verticalisthenic. This "critical posture" "implies the determination not to allow any element of the totality of truth to escape us."

Two attitudes are required, an "openness toward the reality of things" (o) and a kind of silence "at a level much more profound than so-called scientific objectivity" (---). This goes to Jesus' allusion to the "singleness of the eye which enables one's whole body to be filled with light."

Here again, the perception of an integrated cosmos is dependent upon a prior integration of the self. A psychotic or neurotic (or ideologically deranged) person perceives a fragmented cosmos because his own mind is fragmented. (Recall Schuon's comment about the relationship between totality and unicity.)

There are "an infinite number of ways in which we can close ourselves off from the world." In the book I used the pneumaticon (o) to symbolize the proper stance. This implies the existence of a counter-stance we might call (ø). Is there such a thing? Only since Genesis 3!

Often it consists of nothing more than "simple inattentiveness." Which implies that the loss of God often comes down to plain carelessness.

It is only too easy... to rest content with what we already know. But he who wishes to behold, and to continue to behold, the totality of things, lives in a perpetual expectation of new light. The truth is the whole, but we never see the whole of anything!

Nevertheless, we never stop trying, for we are open at the top.


Olden Ears said...

silence "at a level much more profound than so-called scientific objectivity"

Reminds me of the following dialogue I ran across somewhere:

REPORTER - When you pray, what do you say to God?
MOTHER THERESA: Nothing. I just listen.
REPORTER: What does God say to you?
MOTHER THERESA: Nothing. God just listens, too.

julie said...

Two attitudes are required, an "openness toward the reality of things" (o) and a kind of silence "at a level much more profound than so-called scientific objectivity" (---).

Skills that don't come naturally to most people, I suspect. Today I had to separate my kids for a time out and tell them both to stop talking, specifically to each other. They are full of imagination and thoughts that just have to be expressed the moment they are formed, which is in many ways delightful. But when it isn't, it's maddening, especially when reality - and other people - won't conform to their commands.

We have a world full of people who never figured out that reality is what it is, no matter how much you argue with it, and sometimes the best thing to do is be still, and know that I AM.

Anonymous said...

A good post, free of sordid musing on the shortcomings of the left, for a change.

It should be pointed out that after being careful and listening in silence, one is likely to receive promptings.

Knowledge of reality is a goal unto itself, and achieving said goal tends to amplify Lakein's all important question: "What is the best use of my time, right now?"

Yep, I'm a troll. Every blog should have a least one.

Gagdad Bob said...

No sordid musings on the left? You need to read more carefully:

"There are expansive visions of reality worthy of man, and pathetically narrow ones that hardly do justice to insects or even liberals."

Abdulmonem Othman said...

It is really astounding with few perceptual windows and a spiritual coordinator I can navigate the horizontal and the vertical. Who puts that in me. I see through his seeing,hear through his hearing and every things we have are his gifts ,the air we breath ,the water we drink etc, Every things around us are pointers to him if only we pay attention to his attention that permeates everything. No wonder he said do not forget me because if you forget me I make you forget yourself. The worst thing a human can do is to forget the god, light of everything. No wonder the single eye of concentration and meditation open the light. God do not put any one down if he knows the sincerity and honesty of the intention of the seeker. It is a never ending benevolent processes of feeding in the physical plane witch is open to all, but in the spiritual plane the matter is different where striving for the divine light is required. In the old days god select his messengers, in our time we select our god due to our maturity and the intensification of consciousness shown by the time. Only oneness knows the oneness. The alone with the alone.

doug saxum said...

In the old days god select his messengers, in our time we select our god...

Ah, the good old days.
What are the messengers you speak of?

doug saxum said...

Who do you give legitimacy to?

Abdulmonem Othman said...

If we do not know to whom we give our true allegiance, all our talk of truth beauty goodness, vertical knowledge that is faithful knowledge and horizontal knowledge rendered itself useless and we know by necessity that there is nothing useless in this wise creation. This is the eternal problem between those who see there is something behind its all and those who deny the wisdom of creation and the significance of consciousness. Ever since the beginning there are false prophets and true ones and our time is no different and every one knows when he is lying and when he is telling the truth. Maleficent and benign is the chant of our life. There is no blockage without outlet. Meaning is a flowing river where there is always another fold. Faith is the capacity to navigate uncertainty, once one wants everything to be certain ,all diseases grow, one glance at our post historic humans we can notice, all kind of frightening peaks, major among them is the financial larceny. It is clear god has programmed his operating system on the principle of latter to give the humans ample time to do anything they desire warning them that the real settlement is with him where there is no false witnesses ,false documents or any other falsification you can imagine.

doug saxum said...

You can't give me even one name?

Anonymous said...

Abdulmonem wrote "It is clear God has programmed his operating system on the principle of {financial larceny}.

I don't necessarily sign off on the larceny part. But, a point is advanced, that God doesn't provide ripe conditions for the development of saints. Which could mean, He doesn't desire a vast horde of spiritually advanced people to manifest. Perhaps he'd rather have a 5% rate of the spiritually advanced, and perhaps .01% or less of sages, sannayasins, yogins, saints, holy personages, and so forth. The 94.99% He'll want to keep in conventional religious or secular roles (money hounds, go getters, scientists, silly immature brats, etc,) and especially those who insist on physics as the be all and end all.

In short, the type of people the blog author states are misguided; God desires these types to flourish. I'm not saying that's what it is; I'm only running it out there.

Our age has been given the the task of birthing the Singularity; perhaps a blindness to reality is an asset on this road? I don't know.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

I am sorry to have caused you to misunderstand the divine operating system as being built on financial larceny not on the day after. God as you know has forbidden using money as a tool of income or fear as a tool to exploit others
Are not the names alluded to in the blog suffice.

doug saxum said...

I was curious as to how far back in time you were alluding to.
Which of the prophets would you hold as legitimate, or truly a prophet of God.
(Or is it Allah to you?)