Sunday, November 21, 2021

Go North, Young Man!

You get what you pay for, and the following associations are entirely free!, meaning they won't cost you a thing except your time. Yes, but some readers will ask: where do I go to get my time back? 

Sorry, but that's above my praygrade. Only God could redeem your time, but first you have to ask. Oh, and don't forget to say thank you.    

For obvious reasons, I'll never have as much time to read as I want. The less obvious reason is that the more I read, the more there is to read. In other words, one thing leads to anauthor, and that author to seven others. There's no closure, even though the case is closed with regard to the big ticket items.

Regarding the latter, as we've discussed in the past, there is a covert but necessary relationship between the world's intelligibility and its... let's call it mystery

What this means is that the world is both completely understandable and never completely understood. Rather, it is intelligible to intelligence -- forever, or so long as time should continue.

"Forever," of course, is not synonymous with eternity, since the latter is timeless. We can't wrap our minds around the latter, being that we are necessarily timebound. 

Then again, I suspect that, deep down in the beating heart of things, there is some analogous relationship of timelessness <--> time in the divine economy, as systole is to diastole. Can't have one without the other -- or if you do, make sure to have a defibrillator handy.

I can't help thinking -- and this is just me, so take it with a pile of sodium chloride -- that time and timelessness constitute a primordial and irreducible complementarity a la Father and Son. I want to say there is a kind of trinity of the Heart, the Arteries, and the Circulating Blood.

What are the objections to such a heretical kettle of fishy bish bosh? I was about to say it started with the Greeks, who equated time with change, and change with appearances and deception. In order to apprehend the unchanging reality, one had to ascend beyond appearances and know the timeless Platonic forms of things. 

In short, time is seen as a privation of the "fullness" of eternity. 

Eh. I don't buy it. Among other reasons, I say that when the second Person of the Trinity goes to all the trouble of incarnating, he doesn't just take on human nature, but in so doing takes on everything this nature entails. And one of the things it entails is time. Isn't there something about "redeeming the time"? What's that supposed to mean?

Ash and ye shall recite. The time was 1930. The day was Wednesday. The man was T.S. Eliot: Redeem / The time. Redeem / The unread vision in the higher dream / While jeweled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse. 

Now, what's that supposed to mean? It surely means that there is something messed up about time, but that it isn't time's fault. Rather, the fault lies with Man, who has severed time from eternity. He does this way down in Genesis 3, meaning that he never stops doing it. Or at least it constitutes one of those permanent temporaltations herebelow.

So, how is time redeemed? Where do we start? Well, the first thing to realize is that we cannot do it -- that man is powerless to redeem the time, and the more he tries, the more costly it is to Build Back Better. BBB will piss away trillions upon trillions, but far from redeeming us, it will only re-reamus.

But seriously. How? 

Let's begin at the beginning. To say beginning is to say time, since eternity is without beginning or end. Now, what or who is man? Not only does man have a beginning, but the beginning begins with man. 

What I mean by this is that man qua man is the being who is consciously aware of the passage of time and all it implies, not the least of which being its End, AKA the nul de slack of Death. 

Now we've got a problem, and a big one. Animals don't have this problem, since they live beneath time, so to speak; they are infratemporal. Nor do angelic intelligences sweat it, since they are above time and don't even perspire anyway.

So, it's a uniquely human problem. Therefore, if -- hypothetically speaking -- the Ultimate Reality assumes human nature, among the things it assumes is Time (as such) and temporality. This is how -- and the only way how -- time can be redeemed. Again, hypothetically.

As it so happens, yesterday I read a passage that goes to this question. 

Yes? Petey wishes to say that just because God and only God can redeem the time, it doesn't mean we (human beings) have nothing to do with it. 

Rather, precisely because God has done the hefty living, it is up to us to participate in it. God is the necessary reason, i.e., the condition-without-Who, while man is the sufficient reason, the condition-with-who (which sounds ungrammatical, but like V.I. Lenin -- Vladimir Ilyich Ulynov, Donny! -- we're making a deeper point about subject -- who -- and object -- whom). 

For this reason it is said that "with God all things are possible." Possible, not necessary. If they are necessary, then man is irrelevant. We are cut out of the deal. We are pure whom to the one and only Who.

What was the thing I read yesterday? Don't go anywhere. I read half a dozen books at a time, so I have to figure out which one. 

On a preliminary basis, I want to say that time is a kind of prolongation of eternity, but that redemption is what transforms what is otherwise an ever-diminishing line into an open circle, AKA endless spiral. This spiral perpetually closes in on itself without ever reaching its deustination, since God is God and we aren't.

It has something to do with "metanoia," i.e., that primordial turning-around that constitutes conversion. Note that the first convert was Eve, followed by Adam. Except they turned around in the wrong direction. D'oh! The first cultists.

Here's the passage I was looking for -- from a quasi-philosophical and quasi-devotional book by Bishop Sheen called The Life of All Living: only man can sin, and sin is ultimately

the loss of a higher life which is a gift of God, and the domination of the lower life which is that of this world.... [It] implies a turning away from God and a turning to a creature. Its greatest malice is that it is the death of Divine life which is in us.

Leave it to man to crucify his own savior, but there you go.

The point is that man is as it were a metannoying creature who can do a 180º in either direction, ultimately toward Life and Truth or death and falsehood. The choice is yours. But remember: on one side is the degenerate line, which is like an ever-diminishing ray of light until one is enshrouded in total darkness; the other an inspiraling and renewing journey toward Celestial Central. 

We'll end with this passage from the same book:

The continuation of the Incarnation is the union of Christ with every individual human nature in the world.... Christ just as really and truly lives now in His new and mystic body, as He did during His physical life.... The Incarnate did not exhaust himself in the Incarnation (emphasis mine).

Amen.

12 comments:

julie said...

sin is ultimately ... the loss of a higher life which is a gift of God

The effect of that first bite of forbidden fruit was to cut us off from the fullness of Communion; first and foremost with God, but also with each other. Covering nakedness was just an outward sign of the closing-off of the mind, heart and soul. As though one had severed one's own umbilical cord while still in the womb.

Gagdad Bob said...

Regarding this, one of Schuon's greatest hits:

In reality, man has the right to be legitimately traumatized only by monstrosities; he who is traumatized by less is himself a monster.

So inevitable as to be a principle of humanness.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. When I first saw the title I imagined hordes of Latinos moving northward to escape the rapidly increasing threat of wet bulb death, in far greater numbers than the drug lord, corporate labor and NAFTA refugees of days past.

I'm learning that the Bible, like most eastern philosophies, is full of texts describing a ying and yang moderate balance. Not saying that we all go central, like to Kansas, as if those poor Kansans haven't been through enough as it is, but that material solutions are material solutions and spiritual solutions may be better north of the Rio Grande.

Cousin Dupree said...

All those illegals are the Juans we've been waiting for!

Cousin Dupree said...

Diversity comes to the suburbs, good and hard.

julie said...

Good catch by Sundance, according to the media it was the cars that robbed the Nordstrom. First they cause global warming, then they start looting stores; ban the cars now before they kill us all!

Gagdad Bob said...

Oh well. With the price of gas, that problem will eventually solve itself.

julie said...

In other news, octopus, crabs, and lobsters are now considered sentient beings, at least in England.

All animals are equal, but octopuses and crustaceans are more equal than others.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who gets things done at their house, like gardening, landscaping, pool service, painting, stucco, etc. knows that without the "Juans we want" things would go straight into the shitter pretty fast.

What, you have the time and skills to deal with all that?

Sure, one of the anonymous contributors is self-sufficient, but for the lame rest of us, we are going to want to keep our hired help coming around.

The Latino asks "what can brown do for you?" It turns out there is a damn lot brown can do, and we want them to do it too.

Do gabachos have a relationship with Mexico? You're damn right we do and we don't want to f*ck it up. If this country becomes a sh*thole then you can bet the Mexicans will take their valuable skills elsewhere. So f*cking behave, awright?

A wall? WTF for? Are you a f*cking moron? No we don't want no stinking wall.

Cousin Dupree said...

Shit yeah, los achievers.

julie said...

Via John Venlet, this is a good read.

EbonyRaptor said...

I find myself being drawn back into spiritual life. Not that I ever truly left, but more in the forefront lately. Music plays a role, and while I like many contemporary Christian songs, I'm most moved by some of the old hymns I learned 60+ years ago. One of them came on the radio the other day and it filled me up and took me back. I thank God for moments like that.

The hymn is "What Wondrous Love Is This". I've listened to many renditions over the years, including congregations in worship services I attended, and it's hard to beat the richness of a full choir singing acapella, but I think my favorite is done by Connie Dover with a bit of a Celtic vibe. Have a listen - maybe you'll like it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQbNiXUS8GQ