Friday, January 22, 2021

Fallen Arches and a Flattened Cosmos

We've been discussing.... What have we been discussing, anyway? Mystery, discontinuity, and circularity, in the context of an unerring map of reality.  

Along these lines, let me tie up a few loose ends. I've been reading more books than usual lately, too many to blog about in detail, for example, The Last Things, by Romano Guardini. The book isn't required reading, but the following passage is: 

The shape of a man's life is not a growth and unfolding from within, culminating in a return upon itself; its figure, its symbol, is not the self-enclosed circle, but an arch that reaches out toward something that in turn comes to meet it (emphasis mine).

The symbol for man cannot be the circle, because man -- or better, the person -- is an open system, not just horizontally but vertically. Nor can we ever attain closure on pain of biological, psychological, epistemological, ontological, and/or spiritual death.  

To be perfectly accurate -- which is always our aim -- you will have noticed that it is very much possible for a man to be biologically alive while being intellectually starved and spiritually asphyxiated. Indeed, what is the plague of wokeness but a zombie apocalypse? 

Anyone can see that Joe Biden isn't exactly alive, but nor is he dead. His mind will be declared dead when he is no longer useful to the left, which I predict will be in less than one year. Change my mind.

Back to the symbol for man: not the circle, but rather, an arch reaching up and out toward something -- boo! -- that comes down and out to meet it. Let's just symbolize it (↑↓). There's no getting around this. Rather, only getting around in it. 

Again, the brightest animal remains enclosed in the circle of its nature. It can learn, but there is a strict limit to what it can learn, since its object is its immediate environment, whereas man's object is the limitless expanse of intelligible being. Big place. Many mansions. Circular stairway with no visible top floor.

Thenceforth the man has a new vision; and to acquire the habit of living in the new vision is intellectual conversion.  The new vision of the world includes a new vision of man. Man is no longer part of animate nature like all the rest, rooted and enclosed in his own nature.... Its movement, its growth, are directed from man to God and back from God to man (emphasis mine).

That's a bingo. Except the transpersonal arch is broken, and man -- this means you! -- broke it. And you see the sign: you break it, you pay for it. Okay, how much? That's the subject of a different post, but you get the point. Well, here's a hint from later in the book:

The arch we spoke of here appears again. Christ carries man's nature to God, and back again from God to man.

The arch restored and resurrected. And an invitation to become golden arches ourselves.  

Speaking of the Flat Cosmos Society of the left, let's lift a passage from a seemingly entirely unrelated book called The Church and State, by Thomas Molnar: the left

cannot comprehend its own fallacy because the worldview it professes does not recognize anything above the individual, except "culture" and "values," which are nothing but expressions of individual tastes and preferences.

Here we see a kind of "structural" Dunning-Krugery at play, since the leftist doesn't know what he doesn't know and thereby insists that what he doesn't know doesn't exist -- like a dog that can perceive a book but can never apprehend its interior meaning, or like a troll who reads this post and thinks it's about the fraudulent election.

Which it is, now that I think about it. 

In another book, Guardini writes that "The meaning of things lies beyond them. A thing exists beyond itself; its reality lies above it."  And as Balthasar writes, "The more a thing exists, the more it becomes essentially light." Meaning is light -- a light simultaneously shed on the subject and object; or from object to subject and vice-versa.  

Which brings us to the far more blogworthy Transcendence and History: The Search for Ultimacy From Ancient Societies to Postmodernity. It will require several posts to unpack, beginning with the next one.  


julie said...

Anyone can see that Joe Biden isn't exactly alive, but nor is he dead. His mind will be declared dead when he is no longer useful to the left, which I predict will be in less than one year.

What amazes me, even now, is the people who apparently don't see this. There are people I like and respect, who aren't at all stupid, who honestly believe that the inauguration of the FICUS marks the start of a new and light-filled day after the horrid darkness of Trump. How do they not see what he is?

Here we see a kind of "structural" Dunning-Krugery at play, since the leftist doesn't know what he doesn't know and thereby insists that what he doesn't know doesn't exist.

I guess that's the answer.

Well, we will all see, soon enough. God help us all.

ted said...

Bob, that John Fahey album is special, isn't it.

Gagdad Bob said...

Remarkable too how so many leftists -- including members of my profession -- thought Trump should be removed based upon mental incapacity, but are blind to Biden's obvious cognitive deterioration: positive hallucinations were projected on to Trump, while Sleepy Joe is seen through a veil of negative hallucinations.

neal said...

Over Time the vault of the arch is some kind of wave with a beat.

Gagdad Bob said...


I'm going through a major John Fahey phase. Just ordered this baby from the website. I love the weird old America, even more so these times of repressive conformity. Make America strange again!

ted said...

Yes, strange with soul!

Gagdad Bob said...

At the other extreme of the weirdness spectrum, I'm also looking forward to The Complete Tommy James & the Shondells, due out in a couple weeks. People probably don't realize that the Ramones wanted nothing more than to celebrate the simple joys of '60s bubblegum, pop psychedelia, and garage rock.

Gagdad Bob said...

Also, this book The Sense of Mystery: Clarity and Obscurity in the Intellectual Life, by Garrigou-Lagrange, is quite profound. He's like a Catholic Schuon, in that he speaks of the deepest things with such precision and clarity, and with an authority that can only come from grace and spiritual experience. Only up to p. 83, but so far it's great.

julie said...

Via the ONT, who knew there was such a thing as a blonde raccoon?

Van Harvey said...


Anonymous said...

Is the purpose of this covid plague to awaken humankind to the truth that abortion is evil. Will new variants develop to fine tune it's targeted age group until only children are left unaffected and last until humankind's will is at one with God's on this issue. 'There are none so blind as those who will not see'

Charles Darwin said...

Nah, just an evolutionary struggle to determine who's less fit for office, Gavin Newsom or Andrew Cuomo.