One of the -- if not the -- ultimate complementarities is subject and object. Indeed, these two seem to define one another, such that it is difficult to conceive of one without the other.
Can you imagine a world without subjects? No, of course not. Prior to 4 billion years ago -- or whenever life appeared -- there was nothing and no one there to perceive anything. There would only be everything everywhere at once, AKA nothing.
And what would a subject be without an object? Seems to me it would also be nothing, for subjectivity is always of, or toward, or with, or some other preposition. It seems to me that this sheds light on the nature of God, which is to say, Trinity, for the structure of Father-Son-Holy Spirit can be seen as Subject-Object-Relation.
This reminds me of something Hartshorne says -- that God is not only relative, but the most relative thing we can imagine. Indeed, he is the very foundation and possibility of Relationship. This is truly flipping the metaphysical script, because it implies that God actually IS what would appear to be impossible, which is to say, Absolute Relativity. Absolutely!
What else could it mean to say that "God is Love"? When I was a kid, my mother used to drag me to Christian Science Sunday school (up to about age nine or ten at the latest). No, it never took root, and proved ultimately to form an early lesson in why religion makes no sense. Certainly there was no way to integrate it with the other 6.9 days of the week.
In any event, I remember a podium, behind which gold letters spelled out GOD IS LOVE on the wall. No one ever explained why and how this could be so, certainly not on any satisfactory metaphysical basis (I'm not even sure if Christian Scientists believe in the Trinity; I don't remember ever hearing the word mentioned). Especially in a Christianized culture, it shouldn't take a man fifty years to begin to figure it out!
Now I'm curious. Let's check in with Prof. Wiki for just a moment. I promise not to get even more sidetracked than I already am. The movement is rooted in
philosophical idealism, a belief in the primacy of the mental world. Adherents believed that material phenomena were the result of mental states, a view expressed as "life is consciousness" and "God is mind." The supreme cause was referred to as Divine Mind, Truth, God, Love, Life, Spirit, Principle or Father–Mother, reflecting elements of Plato, Hinduism, Berkeley, Hegel, Swedenborg and transcendentalism.
At the core of Eddy's theology is the view that the spiritual world is the only reality and is entirely good, and that the material world, with its evil, sickness, and death, is an illusion.
Okay then. Ms. Eddy was a dyed-in-the-wool-pulling Gnostic (in the bad and intrinsically heretical way). Ah, here we go: her theology "is nontrinitarian; she viewed the Trinity as suggestive of polytheism." So she was a theological ignoramus as well. Not surprisingly, she "viewed God not as a person, but as 'All-in-all.'" Whatever that is. Seems like she conjured an indigestible brew of idealism and pantheism.
The whole thing was bound to confuse a child whose mother was a bit of a hypochondriac by proxy. What I mean is, despite all the "illness is an illusion" bit, she didn't hesitate to take me to the doctor if my temperature climbed to 98.7
You may be wondering how this heretical nonsense ever entered the Gagdad strain. Haven't I blogged about this before? There was a time -- maybe in the 1930s -- that Christian Science became quite a fad among Hollywood airheads, no doubt because of its non-conformist appeal. I mean, look at this list. It was like the New Age movement of its day, a pseudo-Christian way to deepak the chopra. Christian Scientology.
My maternal grandmother was a gold-plated eccentric who settled in Hollywood. From what I understand, she was hit by a bus or something, and had what she regarded as a miraculous healing due to the ministrations of a Christian Science practitioner. I'm not sure if she or my mother took it completely seriously, in the sense of living the faith.
But how could you? How can anyone consistently live as if the world is an illusion? You have to be able to live your faith in a consistent manner. But Christian Science ultimately forces you to think one way and behave in another. When it came to a choice between doctrine and reality, my mother always chose the latter, which is to say, medicine.
Here at One Cosmos -- hey, it's in the name -- we insist upon a total integration of horizontality and verticality, with no loose ends dangling from the cosmos area rug. We do not want to believe one way and act in another. We are not Cosmic Hypocrites, but completely consistent on every level of being. If not, then we correct it as soon as it is brought to our attention.
Let's get back to the idea that the world is an illusion. Well, duh! But an illusion is not a hallucination. The bus is not ultimate reality, but you still need to get out of the way if it is about to run you down.
The world is, as it were, a "side effect" of God. If you believe it is the cause rather than an effect, you are bound to chase this fairy tail forever. Scientific explorers "may well plunge into the mechanism of the physical world" and "undoubtedly meet with a variety of instructive insights into the structure of the physical categories..." (Schuon).
BUT: they will never reach the end of their trajectory, for the simple reason that there can be no end in that direction. Like the rays of the sun, they just go on "forever," more or less. Only by proceeding in the other direction can we locate the central source and principle.
Schuon begins with the axiom that "all knowledge by definition comprises a subject and an object." This self-evident natural trinity consists of intelligence-intelligible-knowledge.
This -- it seems to me -- is a kind of projection or prolongation of the heart of the trinity, revolving around Subject-Object-Spirit, this latter taking the form of love, truth, beauty, goodness, creativity, and transcendental unity. Furthermore, the middle term -- Object -- is actually a subject in his own right: he is object to the subject but subject to himself. All in a manner of speaking. Think of our world, in which other persons are objects but obviously subjects as well.
This sure goes back to the subject of Incarnation, doesn't it? "There is a chasm between ourselves and God that we cannot cross by our own powers." Thus, "if man is the bridge between the visible and invisible worlds, then Christ became human to repair that bridge" (White).
Recall what was said above about God being the most orthoparadoxically "relative" thing we can imagine: "Christ is in truth the most human of all of us. In short, God has become the most human of us all so as to reveal to us who God is in a most human way." Absolute Relationship becomes Relative Relationship, such that the latter can become the former.
Now, man is not just subject pure and simple; rather, there are layers, dimensions, and modes of subjectivity, hopefully with a degree of harmony and integration. For example, our senses are subjective. But materialists essentially pretend they have the last word on What Is. However, the senses don't really "say" anything. Rather, they are purely receptive. It is up to the intelligence to weave them into something higher.
Likewise rationalists. Yes, the world is rational, but not only rational; it can by no means be enclosed in the categories of reason on pain of immediately devolving to irrationalism. It comes down to the question of whether reason is an instrument of the mind or vice versa. To believe the latter is to be enclosed in tautology.
There is reality and there is truth, but reality is always bigger. It is like the relation between being and knowledge. We can of course know being, but only God can encompass it with rooms and mansions to spare. He not only drew a circle on the face of the deep, but a sphere around the circle and a four-dimensional object around the sphere. Etc. No matter how high you go, he always goes one dimension higher. Just call it Beyond-Being and be done with it.
"The mechanism of the world," writes Schuon, "can be neither purely deterministic nor... purely arbitrary. In reality, the universe is a veil woven of necessity and freedom, or mathematical rigor and musical play." As such, "every phenomenon participates in these two principles, which amounts to saying that everything is situated in two apparently divergent but at bottom concordant dimensions..." (Schuon).
Everyone knows that music is a kind of math. What they fail to appreciate is the converse: that math is a kind of music. If it's just silent and static -- if it doesn't sing of the creation -- to hell with it.
A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns.... The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or poet's, must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colours or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics. --G.H. Hardy