By which Clarke means a kind of endlessly communicative universe in which the parts "pour over into self-expression and self-communication with each other." We've discussed this in many posts of yore, but the only reason a "part" can exist is because it constitutes its own "whole" in miniature.
For example, how can we look at a tree or dog or star, and instantly recognize its wholeness? I think because any recognizable thing partakes of the very wholeness that characterizes the cosmos itself. No one ever has or ever will perceive the cosmos -- obviously -- and yet, we all intuit its oneness, wholeness, and uniformity across space and time. Nah, it's stronger than "intuit," since the wholeness cannot not be.
In order to be a whole, the cosmos must be in contact with itself -- whole to part, part to whole, and part to part. And indeed, according to trinitarian metaphysics, even the whole is in communication with itself, without descending into partness! Rather, the trans-whole is a single substance of three eternally related and expressive persons.
At the bottom of the page I have a note to myself: "Does Jesus not bring a certain correction to the Jewish conception of God?" To say "correction" is to prejudge the case, but he certainly respects the radical oneness of the Jewish God while tweaking it in a wholly unexpected and seemingly paradoxical manner.
Chesterton wrote of how the former (oneness) was a prerequisite for the latter (threesomeness), in that the pagan cosmos had first to be cleansed of polytheism in order to properly approach the Trinity.
In other words, if the Trinity had been introduced in an extra-Jewish context, pagans would have undoubtedly understood it as tritheism rather than a deeper elaboration of strict monotheism. Moreover, they would have no doubt used it to explain how Jewish monotheism is all wrong.
Back to Clarke. As we've suggested on many occasions, going all the way back to the urtext itself, there is a big difference between a pile and a unity. We can recognize a pile of laundry as "one thing," and yet, it's really just a bunch of externally related but contiguous articles.
In contrast, a real unity -- such as an organism -- consists of internally related parts. My heart and lungs, for example, aren't analogous to billiard balls, but share a higher unity of relation and function. Thus, without this communicative interiority,
all we would have would be a collection of isolated beings, each a center of existential energy similar to all others, but totally bound up within itself, with no connection or communication with others, and hence no way of knowing them.
Each being would be plunged in total silence and darkness as far as the rest of the universe is concerned, a total "black whole," so to speak, except that it would not even exert any gravitational pull on the rest, as black holes do in our world.
Clarke's description is slightly misleading, in that there is literally nothing that could be said of any reality that weren't grounded in self-communicative interiority. There would be no "collection," no "beings," no "centers," no cosmos at all and no knowledge in, of, beyond, or before it; no darkness, light, isolation, unity -- just an inconceivable nothingness. You could say that this is either one cosmos under God or no cosmos under nothing. It's that stark a choice: God or tenure.
The vertical oneness of reality
enables beings to come out of their isolation, connect with each other, influence each other, and communicate with each other.... [It] truly allows there to be a universe, that is, a turning of all towards oneness, togetherness.
When anytwo are gethered in his name, there are -- boo! -- three. And this calls to mind a slightly cryptic aphorism: Any shared experience ends in a simulacrum of religion.
Get it? So simple and yet so fundamental. If not for this everyday miracle, we'd not only have no God, we'd have nothing (and no we to have it).
The Sovereign Good, because it is good, is radically self-diffusive, self-giving, and self-communicative. It is at bottom a radiant gift, so to speak. After all, it is free. And it does shine. And so do we. John Lennon was on to something:
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void / It is shining, it is shining
That you may see the meaning of within / It is being, it is being
That love is all and love is everyone / It is knowing, it is knowing