For those of you keeping score at home -- who glance at the sidebar to keep up with the latest grist -- you will have noticed that I'm remilling Balthasar's three-volume Theo-Logic, beginning with... Volume 1. Notes to myself indicate that I first read it on February 27 in the Year of our Balthasar, AKA 2009.
Long-sophering readers will recall 2009 as the year we plowed through all 16 volumes of Balthasar's unfamous trilogy, which looked at God through the distinct-but-inseparable lenses of the three transcendentals: the Good (Theo-Drama), the True (Theo-Logic), and the Beautiful (The Glory of the Lord).
Balthasar actually began the series with Beauty, in that hyper-educated modern man is too indoctrinated in various esoterisms of absurdity to appreciate or understand the True. Beauty is more direct than Truth, and can sometimes do an end-run around the crystalized stupidity of the tenured.
Now, why are we rereading the Theo-Logic? Several reasons, and, more importantly, no reason at all, mainly the latter. As we all know by now, there is no method around here, no rhyme, no reason, and certainly no masterplan.
There is, however, a Meisterplan, which we unfollow to the unwritten letter. To quote the Meister himself,
--The only way to live is like the rose which lives without a why.
It scarcely matters, because
--Wherever I AM, there is God.
So, let Bob go and let O:
--For the intellect to be free, it must become naked and empty and by letting go return to its prime origin.
--We become a pure nothing by unknowing knowledge which is emptiness, and solitude, and desert, and darkness, and remaining still.
I have it covered: at the moment I am alone and still in the slackatoreum. While it isn't dark, I do live in the spiritual desert that is California, and I have emptied the melon. So here we are, with no idea where this post is going, let alone why we want to get there.
Back to the Theo-Logic. While we undoubtedly posted about it in 2009, we cannot remumble what we might have mumbled back then.
Having said that, this is no more relevant than suggesting that while we know we ate a pizza in 2009, we have no specific memories of the meal. It was no doubt tasty, but that's all we can say about it.
Well, it's the same with regard to reading. We do not read for purposes of diversion, or filling our head with information, or discovering Deepak's Secret. In the end, all that matters is finding and assimilating Truth. As with food, it is not eaten for its own sake, but for the sake of Life -- the higher, deeper, and wider Life. Mmmm, delectio divina.
Will you get on with it!
Right. I just want to review some of the passages that stood out to me yesterday. Twelve years is a long time, and I've changed a great deal since 2009.
Or, you could say I haven't changed at all, in the sense that I am just more myself than ever: like Bob, only worse. Come to think of it, there's a passage in the book that implicitly goes to just this orthoparadox, i.e., of "changing into oneself":
The same basic questions keep coming back, at a new level, as we wind higher around the spiral, or as we drill more deeply into the mysterious abyss of being.
Drill, baby drill! There's a never-ending spiral around and into the Divine Attractor, such that proximity to God covaries with proximity to ourselves. The Wonder at this Mystery -- which we symbolize (?!) --
for the genuine thinker, does not decrease but only steadily increases in the course of his research.
Tell me about it. And I'm not even a genuine thinker, just a diligent cosmographer taking dictation from. From Who? Maybe, but I'm only the the whomble scribe. At any rate, this we know:
Behind every answer there is a new question, and behind every reassuring certainty there is an expansive new horizon.
And the bang played on, for truth is symphonic and thensome.
Physics discloses a four-dimensional cosmos, but metaphysics reveals the most important dimension, which is to say, vertical depth (or height, if you prefer).
In reality, even physics can't get along without the ladder, which is why we can say, for example, that quantum physics is deeper than Newtonian, which is deeper than Aristotelian physics. Same world, increased depth.
Indeed, this is the job of man: to sound the depths of the cosmos. After all, if not us, who?
Speaking of the Devil -- who may be complicated but is always shallow --
All of the perversions that human freedom can inflict upon being and its qualities always aim at one thing: the annihilation of the depth dimension of being...
There's so much potential insultainment loaded into that brief passage that it could easily engulf this post in glorious flames of mockery and abuse. We will resist the temptation to make this post about the left, and instead join Balthasar in asking
How can divine, infinite truth be translated into creaturely, finite truth?
This is much more problematic than we might realize, as there are so many potential pitfalls. How to reveal the Truth in ways that accommodate our humanness, without it being perverted and even destroyed by the intended recipient?
This paradox is indeed baked into the message, for what did the intended recipients do with the message? They literally murdered it. I don't want to say this tells us all we need to know about man, but I will say that if we don't know this about man, we don't know much.
In short, man is for some reason a logocidal maniac. Or maybe you didn't attend college, or don't watch CNN, or don't read the NY Times.
What's going on here? Why the murderous hatred of the one thing man is good for? I mean, remove truth from the monkey -- or the sapiens from the Homo -- and what do we have? Man is reduced to a beast who is as nasty, brutish, and short as Brian Stelter.
I don't want to leave you with that disgusting image. Instead, one more comment from Meister Eckhart, who wishes us a happy Slacksgiving from 800 years into the future:
If the only prayer you say in your entire life is 'Thank You,' that would suffice.