As often happens with the blog, the subject under discussion is provoking an acute case of Baader-Meinhof syndrome, in that I'm seeing it everywhere, thus making it difficult to reduce to order. It reminds me of when I run into one of those apparent cosmic dead ends, but then bump into an author who opens up so many potential avenues that I have to read his entire output.
The same thing happens with music. I no sooner discover a new artist than I need to hear everything. This just happened a couple days ago, as a result of reading the Leonard Cohen bio. He is by no means a new discovery, but until now I thought a "best of" collection was sufficient. The book prompted me to order the complete works (although he fooled the record company and recorded three more after this came out). $21 for eleven CDs is an offer I couldn't refuse. "My only weakness is that I'm weak" (H. Simpson).
The problem is, everything about Schuon mirrors everything else. He even alludes to this in the foreword of another collection I'm re-re-reading, The Play of Masks. In it he points out that the book consists of "small independent treatises" that nevertheless "often summarize the whole doctrine." Boy and how. Fractal is what it is: each thread unravels the whole area rug.
I was actually trying to divert myself into a new subject while blogging about the present one, but this book is only aggravating the Baader-Meinhof. Turns out that "the play of masks" is just another way of looking at "little big self." In other words, little self -- the ego -- is of course a mask, but it turns out that God himself is a master of disguise, if I may put it that way. I'll explain as we proceed.
No, maybe I'll jump ahead to the explanation right now. I'll paraphrase, but Schuon maintains that the "reality-appearance" dialectic or reciprocity or complementarity may be followed all the way up and into God; it is "in divinas" before it is down amongus, and it is only amongus because it is first in Him. Without question -- in my opinion -- this is a mystery at which the doctrine of the Trinity is trying to hint.
Wait. Are you saying there is "appearance" or "illusion" or "contingency" in God? Well, yes and no. Let's just say "in a manner of speaking." But if you speak in this manner, it explains a lot; it clears up a great deal of pneumababbling yada yada that tends to deepak over the chopra just when you need more light.
The next paragraph of the foreword repeats what I just said in plain Schuonese:
Without a doubt, metaphysics aims in the first place at the comprehension of the whole Universe, which extends from the Divine Order to the terrestrial contingencies -- this is the reciprocity between Atma and Maya -- yet it offers in addition intellectually less demanding but humanly crucial openings; which is all the more important in that we live in a world wherein the abuse of intelligence replaces wisdom.
Metaphysics is like a map of the sky which includes holes so as to escape the limitations of the map. Light streams into the cosmos from above -- like pure light through a prism. The prism is metaphysics, spreading out into the spectrum of colors we perceive herebelow. A color is an "appearance," but nevertheless not other than the primordial light.
With that image in mind, compare with this passage by Schuon from a book we were plagiarizing with yesterday: "it is equally true that pure Intelligence exists and that its nature is to tend toward its own source." Maybe you don't see it that way, but here is some aphoristic backup:
Thought can avoid the idea of God as long as it limits itself to meditating on minor problems.
Meditating on minor problems is one way to remain locked into vertically closed Little Self. It's one of the main reasons I can no longer relate to my profession, in that so much of psychotherapy involves nothing more than exchanging one mask for another -- perhaps less painful, but a mask nonetheless.
Christianity does not deny the splendor of the world but encourages us to seek its origin, to ascend to its pure snow.
"Splendor" is really none other than the divine light alluded to above, shining through phenomena.
Only God and the central point of my consciousness are not adventitious to me.
For the Rio Linda contingent, "adventitious" means continent, or relative, or extrinsic. We could say also that it is Maya, or appearance. Thus, in the whole wide world, only two things are not Maya, which is to say, God and Big Self, the latter a prolongation of the former. So really, it comes down to the eternal dance of O and ʘ, or player, playmate, and holy game.
Or just say man is in the image of the Creator and have a nice weekend.
The universe is important if it is appearance, and insignificant if it is reality. --Dávila