This seems important, which is to say, fundamental and universal: that "every religion," according to Schuon, "has a form and a substance." Traditional religious forms are local vestments of this nonlocal substance, and although the two are complementary, obviously substance must be prior.
Is there a substance without form? Apparently yes, in that "beyond-being" transcends all limitation, and a form is a limit. However, I suspect that being and beyond-being go together like Creator and creature.
Nevertheless, "Substance possesses every right," being that "it derives from the Absolute"; whereas "form is relative," so "its rights are therefore limited."
I remember studying Carl Jung back in the day. His one Big Idea was psychological archetypes, which he called forms without substance, or psychic patterns awaiting experience. They are analogous to animal instincts, only on the human plane.
If the archetypes are the forms, what's the substance? That's a problem, for it seems to me that Jung subordinates substance to the forms, which is precisely what we are not supposed to do, according to Schuon. This must be why Jungianism devolves to a kind of pseudo-religion.
I actually applied to the Jung Institute in Los Angeles for post-doctoral indoctrination. Anyone can complete a PhD, but that hardly means you are complete! I knew I wanted to go on to some form of psychoanalytic training, and Jung's school of thought appealed to me because it is the weirdest. In other words, it seemed the most "open-ended," so to speak.
But upon going through a couple of preliminary interviews with experienced clinicians, it dawned upon me that any real weirdness had been contained -- that I was confronting a new orthodoxy, and that I would have to shave off my rough edges in order to fit into it.
This is an ongoing problem. Or issue. I can't seem to find a form adequate to the substance of Bob. As we've mentioned before, the Sons of Toots have no place to lay their heads! For as Schuon says, "The Spirit can be manifested, but It cannot be enclosed."
Compare this to beauty: it too can be manifested but not enclosed. What we call "art" is none other than the manifestation of beauty. It is also the attempt to "enclose" or "contain" beauty, but you could say that a genuine work of art can be identified by its failure at containment.
In other words, in a masterpiece -- say, Michaelangelo's Pieta -- the divine beauty completely overflows the form, despite -- or because of -- the perfection of the form.
Aesthetics is the sensible and secular manifestation of grace.
Aesthetics cannot give recipes, because there are no methods for making miracles.
Strictly speaking, the beauty of the work is in what exceeds any definition of the critic.
Every work of art speaks to us of God. No matter what it says (Dávila).
This quintessential orthoparadox also apples to music and language. As the form approaches perfection, it becomes more transparent and translucent. It makes you wonder if the perfect form would simply disappear. Which suggests that Nothing is the perfect expression of Everything.
Again, the Transfiguration is another example of the phenomenon. What was -- is -- that?! It seems to be the manifestation or revelation of the ultimate substance beneath or beyond the form.
All of this goes to the very function of intelligence, which is to discern the essence beneath the accident, the reality beneath the appearance, the absolute beneath the relative. In each case the former takes precedence over the latter, even though we never see the two apart. It's almost like we need the world in order to...
Yes, why must we have a world? It seems like a nuisance. Why not just create pure spirits?
The world is quintessentially a form -- or a hierarchy of forms. What's a hierarchy for? For climbing, I suppose. (Unless you are on the left, in which case it is for abolishing.)
Help us out here, Don Colacho.
I do not belong to a world that perishes. I extend and transmit a truth that does not die.
Christianity does not deny the splendor of the world but encourages us to seek its origin, to ascend to its pure snow.
The Church’s function is not to adapt Christianity to the world, nor even to adapt the world to Christianity; her function is to maintain a counterworld in the world.
Ah, a counterworld to the world. You could say the world descends from God. The counterworld ascends to God. But these are not-two.