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.