Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You

Back in the day, I used to occasionally dredge the arkive and pull up a moldy artifact worthy of a re-read. 

After, all, these posts are never intended to be timebound, otherwise why bother? Nothing is more disposable than yesterday's news, so even when a post is oriented around the hysteria of the moment, it is in order to elucidate a deeper principle. If they're only about the left's daily tantrum, to hell with it. Who needs another voice yelling at you about things you can see with your own three eyes?

There were other excuses. For example, presumably few folks read the blog every day, let alone every year or decade, so for them an old post will be as new. 

For that matter, these decroded posts might as well be new to me, since they're banged out spontaneously in a certain frame of mind. Reading is very much a different mode, i.e., receptive but critical vs. expressive and perhaps a tad forgiving. 

Rereading a post allows me to view it with more critical distance and see if it passes the current sniff test. If something smells off, I can excise the rotten part and perhaps save the rest of the post from infection. Moreover, I inevitably encounter cringworthy passages I can blot from the Akashic record. 

The bottom line is, I really have no idea what's down there, so I'm as surprised as anyone else.

And frankly, at the moment I have nothing new to report, just the same old counter narrative. When this occurs, I never know if it's the end of the blog or just the end of a cycle. In any event, it affords me the opportunity to look down and back. Gnostalgia. 

Now, these are dark times. But so too was Obama's previous reign -- or incarnation, rather -- so I thought to myself, why not go back exactly 12 years and see what we were going on about? Maybe we can learn something, if only this too shall pass. No doubt into something even worse.  

Here it is, March 30, 2009:  Surfing the Eternal Waves of Novelty to the Sands of Time

We were discussing the freedom of the object -- which in itself is a strange sounding notion, being that we usually think of freedom as residing only in the subject, if indeed we acknowledge spiritual freedom at all. 

To put it another way, if the subject weren't free, then it would not only be an object, but we would have no name for it. Or any other names, for that matter. Bottom line: to say object is to say subject. Now, one of these must be prior, and it surely isn't the former.

The infinite plenitude of the object world reminds me of something I once read on the back of a Sinatra album by the king of comedically bad liner notes, a man named Stan Cornyn. 

For you youngsters out there, vinyl albums used to have an essay on back about the music thereinsometimes by a critic or celebrity, other times by an obsequious PR flack such as Cornyn. Although Frank -- overly harshly, in my opinion -- dismissed the song as "a piece of Shit," Cornyn enthused that Sinatra's phrasing   

comes out mmmmmmmmm all the way. If he runs out of gas on a phrase, which is a very rare bird for the man, then he runs out of gas two-and-a-half miles after anybody else would. He sings like he's got an extra tank of Texaco in his tummy (emphasis mine).

That's the point we're driving at: the object world always appears to us as if it's got an extra tank in its tummy: no matter how much we know, there's always more to be known. The tank never reaches empty, or we would be as God.

When we look at the world "the possibilities of life are infinitely more abundant than what is actually on display.... There is an incomprehensible prodigality in the very essence of life" (Balthasar). 

I remember something Whitehead said along similar lines -- that out of the infinite pool of possibilities, only a relative few undergo the formality of becoming. Potential is infinite. Reality is finite. Or, time is the serial crystallization of possibility.

Of course, the higher up the ladder we ascend, the more this becomes apparent. For example, one of our unavoidable limitations -- or sad conditions of existence -- is that a single lifetime can never be sufficient to actualize all that is latent within us. D'oh!

In the words of the Aphorist: The intellectual capital of the adult is often restricted to a small lottery he won in adolescence.

This is an odd situation that should be noticed by more people, but I think the problem is that most people foreclose their infinite potential so early in life, they don't really feel the sting, except in a vague or displaced manner. 

Then again, it would be a waste of timelessness to dwell on this inherent lack, because life itself floats atop this infinite sea of potential. Imagine if existence were as simplistic as imagined by the metaphysical Darwinist or bonehead atheist, deprived of its intrinsic mystery. 

This is indeed one of the purposes of a spiritual practice -- not to sit safely on the shore like the village atheist, nor to drown oneself in the ocean like the nondual mystic, but to ride these ceaseless waves of novelty from the depths of being to the shore of existence.

As Balthasar expresses it, we cannot look at the reality of undeveloped possibilities as "a realm of limitation and poverty." Rather, "the very purpose of this fullness in the womb of life is to illustrate life's richness and superabundance. It would betoken the poverty of being, and ultimately of the Creator, if everything possible were also actual" (emphasis mine).

Imagine the alternative: some musician might come along and write the last song, or a poet might compose the last poem: "That's it. We're done here. We've run out of songs and poems." 

But this can never happen. You can call it a privation, but it's also a mercy, for it means existence is a gift that never stops giving. The cosmic tank is always half full. 

Which is no doubt why we often inappropriately idealize artists, who seem to live on that shoreline between infinite potential and finite actuality. This is the dreamscape between thought and expression. To paraphrase someone, the Aeon is a child playing with colored balls along the shore.

In turn, the purpose of a secular indoctrination is to crush this natural mysticism and to replace the infinite world with godless abstractions and progressive concretions. Then, once the soul is sophicated, it projecst the "missing infinity" into time. Thus is born every spiritual perversion from leftism to scientism to liberation theology to gaia worship. It is the elevation of Ø to O.

However, it isn't exactly correct to say that the infinite cannot be found in the finite, for in truth, this is the only place it can be found -- just as it is impossible to locate substance in the absence of form. Rather, form is precisely where you will find the substance, and vice versa. 

Thus, "the finite appearance as such is the coming to light of a certain infinity." The realization of finitude is at once the "revelation of its intrinsic infinity. This infinity truly becomes visible in its appearance as the excess that does not become visible." Again, finite reality always sings to us as if it's got an extra tank of Texaco in its tummy.

As such, any knowledge is surrounded by a penumbra of mystery, which gives it its... tang. Again, imagine how dreadful life would be if there were some one-to-one correspondence between object and subject. Obviously, subject and object are stuck with each other until death do they part, but a statically bi-polar situation would be a marriage made in hell.

And that's no joke, for Raccoon Hell is a place where everything simply is what it is, with no remainder. Knowledge of any kind is always surrounded on all sides by the great unKnown.

This latter is surely "known," only not in an explicit manner. It is this unKnowledge that allows us to tend toward the actualization of a self which can never be fully known to us. It is reminiscent of the "luminous darkness"of faith, which allows us to approach the unKnown God who is increasingly known without ever exhuststing his knowability.  

Thirst runs out before the water does. --NGD


julie said...

In turn, the purpose of a secular indoctrination is to crush this natural mysticism and to replace the infinite world with godless abstractions and progressive concretions.

In progressive land, nothing is what it is, except when the leftist says it is. Things haven't changed all that much since '09, except that it's even moreso. I doubt we could have imagined "drag queen story hour" or "P is for Pride" Blues Clues, but perhaps we also wouldn't be all that surprised, either.

Anonymous said...

Well and FWIW, AFAIC, and IMHO, this is probably one of the greatest blog quote quotes of all time:

"Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket" (Hoffer)

Bullies tend to win, eventually, and competency wielding power is the only competency that matters. Bystanders tend to do what they do best, that is, to stand by. And even the most rational amongst us can rationalize the falling down of America as being caused by The Other.

It seems that it’s always These Others and never ourselves.

I can handle once mighty corporations being taken over by bully kleptocrats and their bloated bureaucracy bystanders and the trickle down worker crony corruptions which make a mockery of the hanging slogan banners. Usually, another corporation that’s younger and leaner and still in the “movement” phase will step up and carry on the mission until they too, fall down. Spacex for Boeing. Tesla for Chevy. And so on. It’s part of the cycle of life.

Obviously, this happens to nations and empires too. But my main concern here is when this happens to religious organizations. So I ask questions. Why did Jonestown happen? How did the Baptists get so black? Can we start our own new Catholic denomination to overtake that dangblasted Pope before the Vatican becomes a gulag? Stuff like that.

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. Godwin:

This post from the past was a tad bland. I think you have improved over time and your fresh new material is of higher quality. That shows progress within your mind. The good news: you are getting somewhere. The bad news: you are not there yet.

Keep plugging along. That is all anyone can do.

The other day I inhaled a few tokes of a strain whimsically called "Holy Grail OG." I thought, my gosh they will name this stuff anything now. Weed is all the same, right?

But I was blind-sided; the strain slapped hard and I was launched for a few hours into an alternative reality. The experience was uncomfortably intense; I would not call it fun. I experienced a full life review in a very short time. I wept.

After the comedown I found my view of reality felt more inviting and less threatening. Something had changed. I felt re-booted.

I'm not suggesting you get stoned, but I sense what you need now is a similar intense experience to shake your world and open up new avenues of thought. This will in turn stoke the fire for new posts for your readers to ponder.

For you, I sense there are mountains near your home. Go to them. There is a spot upon the side of a mountain, you will know it when you find it. There are large boulders and there is water. The experience you need awaits you there.