Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Last Temptation of Bob

To back up a bit, why does it even matter? You know, this business of esoteric vs. exoteric -- it sounds like you're having a relapse of new age gnosticism; or probably just fleeing from the unavoidable scandal of Christianity. 

The Last Temptation of Bob?

I can think of two main reasons why it matters, the first being metaphysical, the second evangelical, or understanding and communication, respectively. 

As it pertains to the blog, we never communicate what we haven't understood; we do not engage in speculation. For starters, if we give someone a bum steer, i.e., bad vertical directions, then...

Put it this way: just as we are responsible, forever, for any exuperant animal we tame, we are equally responsible for what we presume to teach. Let's say I confidently give a motorist directions, not knowing or caring that he will drive over an abyss or crash into a wall. The consequences are on me.  

Nor, in giving directions, should we go wobbly at critical junctures, unless the wobbliness is truly in the nature of things, which it sometimes is. The intellect has its rights and privileges, and in general these are both more and less extensive than the average person realizes. Human beings are much more intelligent than folks realize, but also much more stupid -- especially the intelligent ones. The stupid ones generally aren't so grandiose. 

Consider the village atheist, whose spiritual pathology is precisely a consequence of a ridiculous pride mingled with bottomless subjectivity. For truly, who cares about the inane babbling of an opinionated primate? Either these primates can know truth or they can't; and if they can, then they have thereby transcended themselves and left biology and physics and atheism below. Besides, we're Homo sapiens, not Homo opiniones

Biology and physics, or math and genetics, still exist -- obviously -- but the intellect explains them rather than vice versa. The lower realms are necessary but never sufficient conditions for the emergence of humanness. If they were both necessary and sufficient, we couldn't know it, any more than my dog can know she is a domesticated descendent of an extinct ancient wolf. 

Back to the question at hand: why is esoterism important? Come to think of it, let's first define our terms: what exactly is esoterism? 

Well, there's no such thing unless it is understood in the context of its complementary partner, exoterism. This is one of those primordial complementarities that suffuse our existence, e.g., subject/object, time/eternity, form/substance, self/other, appearance/reality, absolute/relative, etc. In each case, the one evokes the other, and cannot be conceptualized in its absence.

So in reality, to say esoterism is to imply exoterism, and vice versa:

The word “esoterism” suggests in the first place an idea of complementarity, of a “half” as it were: esoterism is the complement of exoterism, it is the “spirit” which completes the “letter" (Schuon).

Now, as we have said many times, in any Primordial Complementarity one pole must be prior, even if we never see them apart. For example, there is no subject without an object, but obviously subjectivity could never occur in a purely objective universe. Therefore, the subject must be prior, and ultimately this Subject-Intellect is God, but that's beside -- or above, rather -- the point.

The Point being that herebelow Truth takes a form, but the substance of truth cannot be reduced to its form, for the same reason that the subject can't be reduced to object, or semantics to syntax. 

As we mentioned in the previous post, we can express the same truth in an infinite number of ways, even if some ways are necessarily better -- not forgetting more beautiful -- than others. Come to think of it, the "best way" will be characterized by a maximum of truth, beauty, and goodness, by light and warmth and glorious living color. 

But we can't actually see pure light, can we? Or, we can see it for a moment, just before it renders us permanently blind. Humanly speaking, light for us is helpfully given the appearance of color, and Schuon often uses this analogy to distinguish pure formless truth from the forms it takes:

the word “esoterism” designates not only the total truth inasmuch as it is “colored” by entering a system of partial truth, but also the total truth as such, which is colorless. This distinction is not a mere theoretical luxury; on the contrary, it implies extremely important consequences. 

We live in a cognitive prismhouse of intellectual color-forms, and these forms simultaneously convey and veil the whitelight of Truth. 

Now, what is the most "esoteric" thing that could possibly happen in this cosmos?

Hmm. I suppose it would be for the pure Light to actually become one of its colors: for the Light to become color that the color might become Light. 

We'll end with some passages from this intriguing new translation and interpretation of John, called Mary's Voice in the Gospel (linked in the sidebar):

In him, there was life, and this Life was the light of all humankind....

The genuine light, the light which brings light to every human being, now coming into the world -- this is what he was.

He was in the world! [?!] And the world had come to be through him, and the world did not know him....

The Gift and the Truth came to be through Jesus Christ.

Again, it doesn't get more esoteric than this. As John (the Baptizing-Esoterist) exclaimed in his bewilderness,

After me there is coming a man who is placed before me, because before I was, he was.

Wut? Pakulak claims that in verse 18, a better reading of "only-begotten Son" is "Only-Begotten God." Apparently God never stops giving birth to himself, hisword; and we are invited to likewise give birth to this Godword in the womb of our godward soul: mission accompliced! 

And out of this Nothingness God was born (Meister Eckhart).


Andrew MacDonald said...

You write, "As it pertains to the blog, we never communicate what we haven't understood; we do not engage in speculation."
Hmmm, can you give an example of what you mean by speculation you don't engage in? I like to engage in a "spiritual imagination," exploring with others and letting new ideas come. I don't think you mean that but can't imagine what you do mean.

Gagdad Bob said...

That may have been a joke, but I'm not sure and don't want to speculate.

EbonyRaptor said...

One man's faith and courage on 9/11/2001 - Part 1.

Todd: Hello… Operator…listen to me…I can’t speak very loud. – This is an emergency. I’m a passenger on a United flight to San Francisco.. We have a situation here….Our plane has been hijacked…..can you understand me?

Lisa: (exhaling a deep breath to herself) I understand… Can the hijackers see you talking on the phone?

Todd: No

Lisa: Can you tell me how many hijackers are on the plane?

Todd: There are three that we know of.

Lisa: Can you see any weapons? What kind of weapons do they have?

Todd: Yes…. they don’t have guns….they have knives – they took over the plane with knives.

Lisa: Do you mean…like steak knives?

Todd: No, these are razor knives…like box cutters.

Lisa: Can you tell what country these people are from?

Todd: No…..I don’t know. They sound like they’re from the mid-east.

Lisa: Have they said what they want?

Todd: Someone announced from the cockpit that there was a bomb on board. He said he was the captain and to stay in our seats and stay quiet.
He said that they were meeting these men’s demands and returning to the airport… It was very broken English, and… I’m telling you…it sounded fake!

Lisa: Ok sir, please give me your name.

Todd: My name is Todd Beamer.

Lisa: Ok Todd….my name is Lisa…Do you know your flight number? If you can’t remember, it’s on your ticket.

Todd: It’s United Flight 93.

Lisa: Now Todd, can you try to tell me exactly what happened?

Todd: Two of the hijackers were sitting in first class near the cockpit. A third one was sitting near the back of the coach section. The two up. front got into the cockpit somehow; there was shouting. The third hijacker said he had a bomb. It looks like a bomb. He’s got it tied to his waist with a red belt of some kind.

Lisa: So is the door to the cockpit open?

Todd: No, the hijackers shut it behind them.

Lisa: Has anyone been injured?

Todd: Yes, ..they…they killed one passenger sitting in first class. There’s been lots of shouting. We don’t know if the pilots are dead or alive. A flight attendant told me that the pilot and copilot had been forced from the cockpit and may have been wounded.

Lisa: Where is the 3rd hijacker now Todd?

Todd: He’s near the back of the plane. They forced most of the passengers into first class. There are fourteen of us here in the back. Five are flight attendants. He hasn’t noticed that I slipped into this pantry to get the phone. The guy with the bomb ordered us to sit on the floor in the rear of the plane……….oh Jesus.. Help!

EbonyRaptor said...

One man's faith and courage on 9/11/2001 - Part 2.

Lisa: Todd….are you ok? Tell me what’s happening!

Todd: Hello…..We’re going down….I think we’re going to crash……Wait – wait a minute. No, we’re leveling off….we’re ok. I think we may be turning around…..That’s it – we changed directions. Do you hear me….we’re flying east again.

Lisa: Ok Todd…. What’s going on with the other passengers?

Todd: Everyone is… really scared. A few passengers with cell phones have made calls to relatives. A guy, Jeremy, was talking to his wife just before the hijacking started. She told him that hijackers had crashed two planes into the World Trade Center……Lisa is that true??

Lisa: Todd…..I have to tell you the truth…’s very bad. The World Trade Center is gone. Both of the towers have been destroyed.

Todd: Oh God —help us!

Lisa: A third plane was taken over by terrorists. It crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC. Our country is under attack….and I’m afraid that your plane may be part of their plan.

Todd: Oh dear God. Dear God…….Lisa, will you do something for me?

Lisa: I’ll try….if I can….Yes.

Todd: I want you to call my wife and my kids for me and tell them what’s happened. Promise me you’ll call..

Lisa: I promise – I’ll call.

Todd: Our home number is 201 353-1073…….You have the same name as my wife…Lisa….We’ve been married for 10 years. She’s pregnant with our 3rd child. Tell her that I love her…….(choking up)..I’ll always love her..(clearing throat) We have two boys.. David, he’s 3 and Andrew, he’s 1…..Tell them……(choking) tell them that their daddy loves them and that he is so proud of them. (clearing throat again) Our baby is due January 12th…..I saw an ultra sound… was great….we still don’t know if it’s a girl or a boy………Lisa?

Lisa: (barely able to speak) I’ll tell them, I promise Todd.

Todd: I’m going back to the group—if I can get back I will…

Lisa: Todd, leave this line open…are you still there?……

Lisa: (dials the phone..) Hello, FBI, my name is Lisa Jefferson, I’m a telephone supervisor for GTE. I need to report a terrorist hijacking of a United Airlines Flight 93….Yes I’ll hold.

Goodwin: Hello, this is Agent Goodwin.. I understand you have a hijacking situation?

Lisa: Yes sir, I’ve been talking with a passenger, a Todd Beamer, on Flight 93 who managed to get to an air phone unnoticed.

Goodwin: Where did this flight originate, and what was its destination?

Lisa: The flight left Newark New Jersey at 8 A.M. departing for San Francisco. The hijackers took over the plane shortly after takeoff, and several minutes later the plane changed course – it is now flying east.

Goodwin: Ms. Jefferson…I need to talk to someone aboard that plane. Can you get me thru to the planes phone?

Lisa: I still have that line open sir, I can patch you through on a conference call…hold a mo…..

Todd: Hello Lisa, Lisa are you there?

Lisa: Yes, I’m here. Todd, I made a call to the FBI, Agent Goodwin is on the line and will be talking to you as well.

Todd: The others all know that this isn’t your normal hijacking. Jeremy called his wife again on his cell phone. She told him more about the World Trade Center and all.

Goodwin: Hello Todd. This is Agent Goodwin with the FBI. We have been monitoring your flight. Your plane is on a course for Washington, DC. These terrorists sent two planes into the World Trade Center and one plane into the Pentagon. Our best guess is that they plan to fly your plane into either the White House or the United States Capital Building.

Todd: I understand…hold on……I’ll…….I’ll be back..

EbonyRaptor said...

One man's faith and courage on 9/11/2001 - Part 3.

Lisa: Mr. Goodwin, how much time do they have before they get to Washington?

Goodwin: Not long ma’am. They changed course over Cleveland; they’re approaching Pittsburgh now. Washington may be twenty minutes away.

Todd: (breathing a little heavier) The plane seems to be changing directions just a little. It’s getting pretty rough up here. The plane is flying real erratic….We’re not going to make it out of here. Listen to me….I want you to hear this….I have talked with the others….we have decided we would not be pawns in these hijackers suicidal plot.

Lisa: Todd, what are you going to do?

Todd: We’ve hatched a plan. Four of us are going to rush the hijacker with the bomb. After we take him out, we’ll break into the cockpit. A stewardess is getting some boiling water to throw on the hijackers at the controls. We’ll get them….and we’ll take them out. Lisa, …..will you do one last thing for me?

Lisa: Yes…What is it?

Todd: Would you pray with me?

They pray: Our father which art in Heaven

Hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive our trespassers,

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…

He makes me to lie down in green pastures

He leads me beside the still waters

He restores my soul

He leads me in paths of righteousness

for His name’s sake

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I will fear no evil, for thou art with me…..

Todd: (softer) God help me…Jesus help me….(clears throat and louder)

Are you guys ready?……..

Let’s Roll……………………

Gagdad Bob said...

There are many more Christian martyrs today than there were in the early Church.

Gagdad Bob said...

Really interesting interview of Curtis Yarvin, AKA Mencius Moldbug, by Tucker.

A lot to ponder, but it seems to me that power is the grace of the secular left.

My other takeaway is that we will inevitably become a third world country. But trying to predict exactly when would be speculation. California is definitely on the fast track.

julie said...

It certainly looks that way.

Yesterday we watched the documentary about 9/11. I haven't really done that since it happened, it's just too painful. I'm glad we did yesterday, but watching all that was too much like living it again.

So many true martyrs died that day.

One person who was really interesting, though, was toward the end. Chuck. He was in New York and by the sounds of it, his life had completely fallen apart. Alcoholic, ex paramedic, seemingly a completely lost soul. Saw the news, and said he didn't even feel much of anything about what was happening. Then his estranged sister called and left a message saying she was sure he was down there helping. He ended up actually rescuing someone trapped in the rubble, and he's convinced that nothing he did on that day was his own work. "God uses the weak," he said. Complete humility. God bless that man, I hope his life has turned around since then.

Cousin Dupree said...

The fix is in in California. As if we didn't know that.

julie said...

We plan to go vote on Tuesday, but we aren't kidding ourselves that it matters. Vote early, and it'll end up in a bag on the side of the road. Vote in person, and who knows if it'll actually be counted, or if it'll just mysteriously get switched or lost somewhere between being scanned and being entered into the tallying system.

Cousin Dupree said...

Since Larry Elder is a dangerous white supremacist, cheating is a moral imperative for the Dems.

Cousin Dupree said...

Gavin Newsom is the pasty face of black & brown privilege.

Van Harvey said...

Just read through EbonyRaptor's faith & courage posts, after having just heard about Gen. Milley's alleged treasonous actions against his then Commander & Chief. Interesting times, interesting times. Let's Roll, indeed.