I want to wrap up the review of Freedom from Reality, not because I succeeded in summarizing it, but because I give up. It's just too... unruly. I can't seem to reduce the thing to something smaller than itself, which I like to think is my speciality. Or something I can't help doing, at any rate.
Too much noise and redundancy. Again, not to belabor the point, but my favorite writers convey almost no noise, and if they are redundant, the redundancy is not in the message. In other words, they are never wooly or diffuse. If they repeat themselves, it is in the manner of a great artist who tosses out one masterpiece after another. That's not redundancy but fruitfulness.
Also, the work of the true spiritual master is very close to the source. The more distant one is, the "longer" the channel, and the more opportunity for noise to get in and contaminate things.
Schuon, in my opinion, always speaks in proximity to the Source, which is why he is so essential, universal, and primordial. As described in the foreword of his biography, "there are authors who occasionally examine things in depth, but who, very quickly, return again to the surface. In the case of Schuon, he starts at a considerable depth, and he remains" there.
This is quite true, but what makes it doubly intense is that once there, he doesn't go all wobbly or wooly on us. Rather, he maintains the same level of clarity, which is quite unusual, or maybe you haven't gnosissed. But this ultimately makes his yoke much easier, because he's done the hard work of stripping the celestial message of so much noise at the human margin.
Back to Schindler. Toward the end of the book, he summarizes what occurs with man's acquisition of diabolical freedom, calling it a kind of "anti-redemption," which is to say, a total inversion of "the perfect sacrifice of Christ." With it, man is reduced to "the all-powerful technician and the helpless product" of his own techne.
Indeed, you might even say that man, who is always analogue, literally makes himself into a digital being.
For this is the end result of a logical atomism that, on the human level, redounds to a radical individualism in which each man lives in his own private Idaho. Instead of being oriented toward the Transcendent Third that (who) unites us all, he... well, no one put it better than Thomas Wolfe, in his priceless description of some French pinhead, a
relentlessly rational intellectual that only France loves wholeheartedly, the logician who flies higher and higher in ever-decreasing concentric circles until, with one last, utterly inevitable induction, he disappears up his own fundamental aperture and emerges in the fourth dimension as a needle-thin umber bird.
In other words, he disappears up his own aseity. Which is, yes, funny, but more importantly, 100% ineluctably true if you take logical atomism to its absurcular conclusion.
But that conclusion simply cannot be, can it? Since this metaphysic is 100% false, it makes me wonder if its metaphysical opposite might be 100% true. And what might be the inverse image of this flat and desiccated world that can't even account for its own freedom, beauty, and intelligibility? In short, in what kind of cosmos is it possible for beings to know truth, let alone error on such a grandiose scale?
That also sounds funny, but if man cannot know error, then he cannot know truth. In other words, freedom and truth go together like error and subjugation. To be in error -- in particular, fundamental error -- is to be in thrall to... to what? I would say to powers, principalities, thrones, dominions. The usual cosmocrats of the dark aion.
In other words,
Pure power and utter powerlessness now converge into one, and man becomes the abject servant of his own limitless freedom, a passive object of active power: a slave of modern liberty (Schindler).
Paradox. The bad kind.
That might require a little more explanation. In reality, freedom is again distinguishable but inseparable from other transcendentals such as truth, beauty, and virtue. Sever it from these transcendentals, and what does it become?
Blind power. The person -- who was once-upin-a-timeless intrinsically connected to his own essence-telos -- is now adrift in a meaningless world over which he has this imaginary power he calls "freedom." Free, like a man dropped into a vast desert with no map, no compass, no companions, no traditions, and certainly no hope. The Aphorist:
Upon finding himself perfectly free, the individual discovers that he has not been unburdened of everything, but despoiled of everything. So, Total liberation is the process that constructs the perfect prison. In fact, Whoever is liberated from everything that oppresses him soon discovers that he is also liberated from what protects him.
Well, it looks like this is not the last Christmas post we'll ever need. Rather, we need at least one more, but it will probably have to wait until Tuesday. We'll leave you with a couple more aphorisms to ponder in the desert:
Freedom is not the goal of history but the material that it works with.
D'oh! Now you tell me!
The prestige of freedom in a society that professes scientific determinism is a Christian holdover.
Blasphemy! Cried the devil.