Thursday, June 07, 2018

An Intense Beam of Darkness, AKA This Post

Yesterday's post ended before it was about to get underway, or at least left alert readers in a quandary as to what is so special about the principles Radiance and Reverberation.

To review, Schuon's metaphysic begins with the Absolute. However, the Absolute is not a featureless blob, but has certain implications or translogical entailments, among them Infinitude:

To speak of the Absolute, is to speak of the Infinite; Infinitude is an intrinsic aspect of the Absolute. It is from this "dimension" of Infinitude that the world springs forth; the world exists because the Absolute, being such, implies Infinitude.

Can't get clearer than that, although we are playing rather high above the terrestrial rim, near the summit of abstraction, before God swallows himself in his own Beyond-Being. On a clear day you can see forever up here. Nevertheless, it is not possible to contain the Absolute in language, only to point to -- or perhaps better, from -- it.

Along these lines, Schuon adds that the Absolute is not any mere "possible Reality," but rather necessary Reality. I suppose you could say that if we eliminate all contingency, possibility, and appearance from the world, what we are left with is the Absolute -- which is the changeless ground out of which the contingency and possibility flow.

Ultimately, absoluteness is what distinguishes a thing from nonexistence. In other words, to even exist is to partake of absoluteness; as such, our existence is contingent, whereas God's is necessary: God is that reality which cannot not be.

We could also say that he is the person who who cannot not be, but that would take us away from the main thread. Suffice it to say, no Him, no you or I. Remove God from the equation and we are not even nothing.

Possibility and Necessity. Don't leave home without them. Or at least don't try to think seriously about existence without them, for you can't. You can try to eliminate one, but it will always return in unanticipated whys.

Now, if the Absolute is necessary reality, the Infinite is -- you guessed it -- possible reality. However, bear in mind that this possibility is necessary; possibility as such must be, even though this or that possibility may or may not be. Creators gonna create, and that's all there is to it. But no one knows what they might come up with next.

There are further implications. The Infinite, for example, "appears as modes of expanse or extension, such as space, time, form or diversity, number or multiplicity, matter or substance."

Looked at this way, space is the "conserving mode" of infinitude, while time is its "transforming mode" (for both good and ill, i.e., progress and decay). Likewise, there is a qualitative mode (form), a quantitative mode (number), and a substantial mode (matter). Taken together, these "are the very pillars of universal existence": space, time, form, number, (prime) matter.

These pillars of the cosmic community are always at play in all phenomena. They are simultaneously beyond and in the world, for example, in the practice of art. Indeed, I would say that in practicing art -- or indulging in creativity -- we are reflecting the Divine play-nature. It's probably why we tend to idealize great artists.

The point is, because of the structure of existence, you might say that there are things (quantities) and perfections (qualities). If you manage create a perfect thing, you qualify as an Artist. I know I qualify because of my son. Not unlike God.

Now, back to our words of the day, radiance and reverberation. Recall from yesterpost that

Absolute Substance extends Itself, through relativization, under the aspects of Radiance and Reverberation; that is to say, It [substance] is accompanied -- at a lesser degree of reality -- by two forms of emanation, one that is dynamic, continuous, and radiating; and the other static, discontinuous, and formative....

Expressed in geometric terms, the Substance is the center; Radiance is the cluster of the radii, and Reverberation, or the Image, is the circle. [Existence] is the surface which enables this unfolding.

Now we see that Infinitude redounds to possible reality which redounds to relativization, this under the auspices of two modes: radiance, which is dynamic and continuous, like radii extending from the cosmic center; and reverberation, which is static and discontinuous, like concentric circles around a central point.

Okay, but what does any of this have to do with just living your life? Well, let me think...

I know! We are situated at the periphery, which is full of change, dynamism, progress, and decay; but nevertheless partake of the center, which is transtemporal contemplation, prayer, serenity, and peace. Lines radiate from the nonlocal center, and this is grace or "divine attraction." We reverberate at the periphery, and these are degrees of being.

4 comments:

julie said...

Okay, but what does any of this have to do with just living your life? Well, let me think...

I know! We are situated at the periphery, which is full of change, dynamism, progress, and decay; but nevertheless partake of the center, which is transtemporal contemplation, prayer, serenity, and peace. Lines radiate from the nonlocal center, and this is grace or "divine attraction." We reverberate at the periphery, and these are degrees of being.


Studying Psalms of lament this week. There is a structure to most of them, thus: 1) appeal and lament, which of course pertains to the changes, dynamism, progress and decay that happens in life; 2) a declaration of trust, which is in essence acknowledging our assurance in the Absolute/ center; 3) petition, a request for grace, and finally 4) the vow of praise, our responsive reverberation in response to that grace.

As far as living our lives goes, a part of that is being able to converse with God - even, or perhaps especially, when we are caught up in the midst of life's dramas.

Ron Krumpos said...

I have read two books by Frithjof Schuon:
"The Transcendent Unity of Religions" and "Sufism, Veil and Quintessence"
Both are in the bibliography of my ebook on comparative mysticism (and on my bookshelf).

Gagdad Bob said...

Perhaps we should airdrop the book on Sufism over Iran, Pakistan, and the Palestinian terrortories...

Allena Conrad said...

Thanks Bob for filling in the blanks.