For example, in the first sentence above, I alluded to subjectivity "entering" the cosmos. I then referenced existence "becoming" experience. Neither of these can be accurate; they are loaded with preconceptions that will lead us astray if simply followed blindly.
They are similar to the mind-matter dualism, which is just a conclusion masquerading as a premise. The one is defined in terms of the other, but neither is defined in terms of itself. In other words, to say "mind-matter" is a way to conceal the fact that one has no earthly idea what mind (or matter) is. The terms are just placeholders for certain properties.
Only metaphysics can rescue us from this linguistic rabbit hole of mirrors.
Yesterday afternoon the term popped into my head unbidden: precision poetry. That's all. Just "precision poetry." It then flew away, only to return just this moment. What could it mean?
Well, in my experience, it brings to mind exactly two people: Schuon the Metaphysician and Dávila the Aphorist. There are better poets and there are more precise thinkers, but no one else in my world combines the two in such a powerful way.
I'll give you a counter-example. I'm reading a book about a subject near my heart, called Into the Mystic: The Visionary and Ecstatic Roots of 1960s Rock and Roll. Between the ages of, say, nine and twenty five, music was pretty much my religion, my savior, my point of reference. It was the only thing that made Total Sense to me -- and made sense of the world.
I'm sure we've discussed this in the past, but for me it was much more than merely "liking music." Rather, it was my gateway to ecstatic and mystical experience. In other words, daily lessons in transcendence. Given the routine experience of transcendence, the world couldn't possibly be reduced to its appearance. Flickering embers from the Other Side were scattered everywhere.
It also seems to me that I was more vulnerable than most to ecstasy -- which I mean literally, in the sense of ekstasis or "standing outside oneself." In turn, this contributed to my singular lack of ambition. I was never, ever lured by the rewards of a conventional life, because those rewards could never replace the intrinsic rewards of bare existence. For me, such a life would equate to death. (I should also emphasize that this can easily be confused with mere hedonism, another thing entirely.)
So, you can see why I was attracted to the title of this book. And while the author makes some good points, his language is so full of imprecise bloviating that it dulls the message. Frankly, this is the peril of any religious writing, especially before there is any canon or tradition within which to work.
Come to think of it, really productive religious writing must always navigate between two shores, dogma or doctrine on one side, and a kind of indistinct cloud on the other. Geometry and music. Default to the former, and language becomes dead and saturated; veer toward the other, and one is reduced to deepaking the chopra.
What is needed is... precision poetry. Here is an example of imprecise pseudo-poetry, or of Liking the Sound of One's Own Pen:
American children heard so much about this imaginary Britain that it was sometimes hard for them to tell as they grew up what were their real childhood memories and what came out of those stories. Without knowing it, their parents had initiated them into the British secret history.
Thus, when the Beatles arrived,
the American adolescents who responded to them already had a kind of interpretive framework with which to understand them. They instinctively understood that these young men, with their fascinating accents, their schoolboy hair, their air of cheeky panache, their dashing clothes, were not of the colorless present, but creatures of a story. They were envoys from the secret history....
They were a version of the protagonists of English children's stories, the ones who discovered phoenix eggs and secret gardens. The implicit idea was that childhood -- or certain things about childhood -- could become a way of life.
There may be a precise point or two buried somewhere within, but as the Aphorist might say: Prolixity is not an excess of words but a dearth of ideas. So, Write concisely, so as to finish before making the reader sick.
Speaking of which, there is a particularly nauseating passage about the JFK assassination. If you want to be precise about it, he was killed by an unhinged leftist (but I repeat myself). End of story.
No no no. Here's the real story:
Something in the thousand days of Jack Kennedy put into the air a notion that a Kennedy America might be a place where the desires of the underground could be harmonized somehow with the desires of the country. Kennedy was, Norman Mailer said, a sheriff that the outlaws could respect. The idea of such an alliance of outlaws and sheriff was shattered by the assassination, never to recur.
Oof! I think I'm gonna hurl. It gets worse:
JFK had sometimes seemed like a presence that might graciously escort the country through the transformations that history was poised to rain down on it, to somehow manage it all -- a person who had one side of his head in the grace of the past and one side in the wild energy of the oncoming future. Now the people felt exposed to the fury of the storm.
That right there is some bad and imprecise poetry. And no, he wasn't just murdered by a leftist loon:
The consensus narrative was not able to comprehend the assassination.... The Commission's version of the story was finally not far enough from the id of America, the secret dark enflamed places where espionage, crime and reactionary violence [?!] crossed each other....
An impulse emerged, almost from the moment of the event, to see the assassination as part of a pattern, maybe an extension of the horrors coming regularly out of the South. It was American viciousness -- the spirit of the lynch mob -- seemingly carried to a sublimity of horror, the mask slipping from the awful face. A glimpse of the scale of the power that was keeping the country both placid and brutal.
Gosh. Why not just blame Trump and be done with it?
My point isn't to make you sick. I just wanted to again highlight the nauseating combination of obscure thought and bad poetry. To quote the Aphorist, Many a modern poem is obscure, not like a subtle text, but like a personal letter. As in, "What the hell is he talking about?"
Precision poetry is not only possible, it is necessary. This is because truth and beauty converge and are ultimately two sides of the same reality.
The other day it occurred to me that we really need a Bill of Responsibilities to complement our Bill of Rights. Indeed, the former must precede the latter, because only a responsible person can be given rights. Rights and responsibilities are grounded in free will, such that the free person has certain intrinsic rights only because he is presumed to be a morally responsible agent.
So, we have the "right to free speech." But this is only conceivable, let alone possible, because we have a prior responsibility to the Logos. In other words, we are obligated to speak truth. To bear false witness is not only wrong, it is cosmically irresponsible. It is to destroy the very reason why man was given speech at all. When you speak -- and write -- you have an obligation not only to be honest, but to at least try not to be ugly.
The writer arranges for syntax to return to thought the simplicity which words take away. And The fewer adjectives we waste, the more difficult it is to lie. --Dávila