When we say "one cosmos," the emphasis is always on both words: One and Cosmos.
"Cosmos" implies -- actually, it literally means -- order, not just of a superficial kind, but the deepest and most unitive structure of existence. And when we say "One," we obviously don't mean it in any numerical sense, but rather, in a qualitative way signifying the ultimate synthesis or integration of all particulars, both subjective and objective, spatial and temporal. No one has ever seen (or will ever see) the cosmos; rather, the cosmos is an implicit assumption in our ability to see anything at all, i.e., for things to be intelligible. If this weren't a cosmos, then we couldn't know it (or anything else)
Anything that exists partakes of oneness on pain of not existing; to exist is to be something. Conversely, to have no intelligible essence is to not exist. Many things we think of as "wrong" aren't so much erroneous as simply non-existent, and many of our political battles come down to the insistence that things that cannot exist must exist and shall exist. The word "marriage," for example, only exists because of the essential differences between male and female. New forms of marriage can only exist in a world without essences, but then marriage itself is drained of any essential meaning.
"Social justice" is another nonsense term with no essential meaning. I'm reminded of this because just yesterday I was rereading Hayek's indispensable Mirage of Social Justice. There is so much quoteworthy material in it; like Whitehead, he's better at cranking out memorable zingers than readable prose. This one is as good as any, and highlights the barbarism at the heart of the ironically named progressive. The idea of "social justice" is
a direct consequence of that anthropomorphism or personification by which naive thinking tries to account for all self-ordering processes. It is a sign of the immaturity of our minds that we have not yet outgrown these primitive concepts and still demand from an impersonal process which brings about a greater satisfaction of human desires than any deliberate human organization could achieve, that it conform to the moral precepts men have evolved for the guidance of their individual actions.
Yes, it isn't fair that Labron James plays basketball so much better than his teammates. But redistributing his points and rebounds to lesser players won't fix that.
Anyway, the Ground of reality is One, and this One is not a chaotic agglomeration but an integral whole. When we are in the Ground we are close to the One, and when we are at One we are floating in the Ground.
The Ground is also indistinguishable from the Center, the Center which is always present in the heart of every human being. Our task and our vocation is to live from this Center, which grounds, organizes, and unifies (which are all aspects of the same thing).
Although we journey through the finite, our home is in the Infinite. All men understand this, even when they deny it to themselves. A man who fails to transcend himself has failed to become one, precisely.
To say "transcendence" is to say openness to the Infinite. One could say that man reaches out to the Infinite, or that he cultivates a space within so as to allow its ingression.
Either way, this transitional space is where we live and where we are meant to live, not in some desiccated scientistic flatland with no water to drink or air to breath, just ice and rock.
Now, unity is always in the direction of inwardness; this is not to imply a pathological withdrawal from the world, but rather, the plain fact that oneness implies interiority.
Again, an "exterior one" is just a pile of stuff, so to speak, with no interior relations; its oneness is just our own projection, not anything intrinsic. But any complex whole -- say, the human body -- is characterized by an irreducibly complex system of internal relations, in which everything is "within" everything else.
Love unifies. Hate divides. Or, perhaps we could say that the deep unity we discover everywhere in the cosmos is what Dante was referring to when he spoke of "the love that moves the sun and other stars."
For Schuon, man "is capable of a love exceeding phenomena and opening out to the Infinite, and of an activity having its motive or its object beyond terrestrial interests."
Elsewhere Schuon has written to the effect that the purpose of life is quite simple: we are to know truth, will the good, and love beauty. Each of these three -- love, truth, beauty -- is a transcendental, meaning again that man's innate "cosmic direction" is beyond himself -- into, or toward, what surpasses him.
One might say that "horizontal life" is subjective and self-interested, while vertical life is disinterested and therefore objective (objectivity and disinterestedness amounting to the same thing). Now, there is no truth -- or knowledge of truth -- in the absence of these two.
Which is why the Way of Truth is a kind of sacrificial offering in which we transcend the passions and petty interests of the ego. To acknowledge a primordial truth is to die a little. But in a good way, since we die to fragmentation and are "resurrected" into unity. "A saint is a void open for the passage of God," and "To give oneself to God is to give God to the world" (Schuon).
Of course, you are free to try to be fulfilled within your own little absurcular orbit, but "It is a fact that man cannot find happiness within his own limits; his very nature condemns him to surpass himself, and in surpassing himself, to free himself" (ibid.)
I might add that we are condemned to surpass ourselves both horizontally and vertically. That is to say, our deiform nature means that we are trinitarian right down to the bones, so that even the most horizontal among us wants to escape from himself in the form of, say, a passionate love.
But love of man divorced from love of the Creator always ends badly, since no fellow human being can possibly embody the transcendence we seek. Bitterness, disillusionment, and recriminations follow, all for the inevitable discovery that every human is all too (another recent book discusses the details, On the Meaning of Sex).
Only the prior loss of God could transform an inevitability into a surprise: the surprise in discovering one's own idolatrous nature. Remembering God is our task, but forgetting God our hobby.
In Purcell, I came across a comment about St. John of the Cross, to the effect that his writing is "like a winding staircase always revolving around the same center, always recurring to the same topics, but at a higher level."
Again, this is the inspiraling "shape of man" that we've been discussing lately.
Schuon says something similar, that "Fundamentally there are only three miracles: existence, life, intelligence." And with intelligence, "the curve springing from God closes on itself like a ring that in reality has never been parted from the Infinite."
Thus, intelligence is already a kind of "union with God" (i.e., Truth), as are virtue and beauty. Each shines through the sophicating blandscape of the tenured, and brings us back to our ground and center, our origin and destiny. If truth is the "food" of the journey, love is the living water, and beauty the otherworldy perfume.
(All of the Schuon references are from his Echoes of Perennial Wisdom, which I guess must be echoing through me. It'll do that.)