Monday, March 05, 2018

A Gloriously Translucent Cosmos

In a sense, necessity and possibility are another way of talking about the perennial question of the One and the many -- an irreducible reality that any metaphysic has to confront. How can the world be both one and diverse? Ah ha! Perhaps it is diverse because it is one, and vice versa: a diversified unity and unified diversity.

The Absolute is necessary-oneness, while the Infinite is diverse-possibility -- both in time and in space. If not for the oneness of time, then each moment would be a radical novelty, unrelated to past or future nows. Time would be atomistic. But like space, it is both continuous and discontinuous, a la quantum physics.

Thus, I am not surprised that physical reality turns out to be wave or particle, depending upon one's perspective. It is actually wavicle, but we aren't equipped to perceive it that way. Presumably only God can see the wavicle. And live.

All of this again implies some sort of "change" in God, but it doesn't mean that God changes. Possibilities simultaneously veil and reveal -- AKA reveil -- God; and what is "Possibility as such" but "the supreme Veil, the one which envelops the mystery of Unicity and at the same time unfolds it, while remaining immutable and deprived of nothing?" (Schuon).

So, in this context, change, or possibility, or diversity, are all veils of the One, so to speak. The thought just popped into my head of the veil dance. Phenomena are a dance of veils. You can remove one after the other, but never get to the unveiled, naked truth. Not for nothing is maya, or shakti, or prakriti, seen as feminine. It is as if Shakti dances before Shiva, the motionless male principle.

Recall the Vedantic trinity of being-consciousness-bliss. As Schuon writes, it is in the latter "that Divine Possibility overflows and gives rise, 'through love,' to the mystery of exteriorization that is the universal Veil, whose weft is made of worlds and whose warp is made of beings."

Bliss is the vision of all-possible Being. It's why God is never bored.

Before you ask if you can buy some pot from me, I was discussing just this subject yesterday with my 12 year old, who has taken up photography. Because of it, he now sees the world in a completely different way, looking at the infinite aesthetic possibilities that are always present each moment, but unseen unless we consciously notice them. Any fully-dimensional spiritual practice must discern beauty, right? And what is beauty but the divine bliss in response to radiant glory?

Yes, there's an Aphorism For That. Take your pick:

When religion and aesthetics are divorced from each other, we do not know which is corrupted sooner.

Aesthetics is the sensible and secular manifestation of grace.

Aesthetics cannot give recipes, because there are no methods for making miracles.

Without aesthetic transfiguration all of reality is pedestrian.

Every work of art speaks to us of God. No matter what it says.

Only those who secretly propagate the admiration of beauty conspire effectively against today’s world.

I do not know whether in another world the devil punishes an irreligious society. But I see that here it is soon punished by aesthetics.

Hollywood be thy name. Except for Gary Oldman.

It is as if man lives between potential and necessity so to speak; or rather, between necessity and necessity. What I mean is that it is up to us to realize and perfect possibility, which is to say, return it to its source. And now that I'm thinking about it, this a way to think about Jesus handing over the whole of creation back to the Father.

Somewhere Schuon describes art in this way. Here it is; a perfectly lucid summary of everything said above:

The essential function of sacred art is to transfer Substance, which is both one and inexhaustible, into the world of accident and to bring the accidental consciousness back to Substance.

One could say also that sacred art transposes Being to the world of existence, of action or of becoming, or that it transposes in a certain way the Infinite to the world of the finite, or Essence to the world of forms; it thereby suggests a continuity proceeding from the one to the other, a way starting from appearance or accident and opening onto Substance or its celestial reverberations

Or this:

The Principle becomes manifestation so that manifestation might rebecome the Principle, or so that the “I” might return to the Self; or simply, so that the human soul might, through given phenomena, make contact with the heavenly archetypes, and thereby with its own archetype.

Which is why, to paraphrase the Aphorist, mere talent is to art what good intentions are to behavior. Each is a road to hell.


julie said...

Only those who secretly propagate the admiration of beauty conspire effectively against today’s world.

True that. One of the major failings of Conservatism, Inc., is the way they've pretty much handed complete control of the arts over to those who hate the True, Good and Beautiful. Lots of what they create may be any one of those things, but virtually always with a taint of something awful or twisted as well.

julie said...

Re. photography, I don't know if your boy (or maybe thru Mrs. G?) has access to Facebook, but if you look up Robin Starfish there under his real name he still runs the Photo Assignment group with a new assignment every couple of weeks. It's a fantastic way to learn how to see.

Anonymous said...


Besides the arts, conservatives have failed to contest the leftists for control of the educational system, advanced technology, natural resource management, the military, the aerospace industry, and the cannabis industry.

Pharmaceuticals, textiles, agriculture, tobacco, and petroleum are bastions of conservative control, and they'd better hang on to those or they will be marginalized.

mushroom said...

Phenomena are a dance of veils. You can remove one after the other, but never get to the unveiled, naked truth.

Science is the study of veils?
I concur about Gary Oldman. He is some kind of delightful, shape-shifting alien.

Mizz E said...

"A Gloriously Translucent Cosmos"

Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
The Ploughboy is whooping--anon--anon!
There's joy in the mountains:
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone.
- William Wordsworth, "Written in March"

Unknown said...

It is so wonderful that humans arrive to the one through different doors, yet they are using the same unseen soul which no one knows how it perceive and how ably it expresses what it has perceived. God used the word to manifest what he wants in both the phenomenal and the noumenal spheres. It is the uniqueness of each human in delivering his/her output that makes our world so aesthetically enjoyable. My heart danced on the flowing images of Wordsworth, that our creative god never stops manifesting for the human participation in this imaginal dance of the veils. The Sufis said, there are 700 veils between us and the one that the human souls need to transverses in light of its capacity and its perseverance in wanting to pursue the way to him. Meek hearts that have encompassed the chatter of the head find simplicity in understanding the divine truth away from the sophisticated complications of the clever mind that has lost his/her connection to the heart. Once we realize that our awareness is part of his awareness, doors will be opened to see the interplay between the negative and the positive forces as part of our existential necessities and possibilities that keep human testing ground in full operation.