The following post is what we call a Train Wreck. It is borrowed from the band King Crimson, whose intricate compositions sometimes fall apart in mid-performance. Such occasional fails are inevitable if the band is to be on the knife-edge between memory and improvisation, lending a kind of drama to the proceedings. Apparently, playing in 17/14 time isn't as easy as it looks. Will the center hold, or will it fly apart?
Likewise, this post was begun yesterday but ended in a train wreck. This morning I tried to get it back on the tracks, but it derailed again. Still, I don't think it's totally worthless. However, it's better to treat each paragraph as a separate unit, rather seeing it as a unified post.
We've been meditating on the subject of Truth per se, which is transcendent, eternal, outside of time, yada yada, and about what happens to it when it takes the plunge into history. This plunge takes the form of a pilgrimage or journey -- the Creator's own journey in his own creation -- which must one of the weirdest stories ever told, hence its appeal for metaphysical tree-dwellers such as ourselves.
For Balthasar, "it is a basic Christian requirement that existence should represent itself dramatically." Moreover,
the libretto of God's saving drama which we call Holy Scripture is worthless in itself unless, in the Holy Spirit, it is constantly mediating between the drama beyond and the drama here.
There is God's narrative and our narrative, and how do the two relate? Both play out in freedom, except the former can never be detached from its telos, whereas ours cuts both ways. I want to say that our engagement with God-in-time ends in the train wreck of the Crucifixion. But God's narrative ends -- so to speak -- in the Resurrection, which comes as a total surprise to our narrative. Didn't see that coming!
Again, as mentioned a post or two ago, the human drama begins with a frank refusal that sets us on a narrative (crash!) course divergent from the divine will. In one sense, the temporal form of revelation -- salvation history -- is the story of the attempt to realign the two: of thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
There's no drama without an antagonist. This shapeshifter takes diverse forms, beginning with the Serpent in the Garden. His motto is always Thy willfulness be done on earth as it is in hell (willfulness defined here as the severing of freedom from the true and good).
Balthasar points out that "the theatrical is a primitive human instinct"; as there are cathedrals in space, he alludes to "cathedrals in dramatic form," which is to say, extended in time. Some drama is merely escapist, drawing man out of himself. But the divine drama is clearly inscapist, in that reveals man to himself and draws him toward his transcendent end.
As we know, "person" is etymologically related to persona, which alludes to the mask used by actors on stage. What with the three persons of the Trinity, Christianity and drama are related at the very foundation.
Revelation cannot be a "subset" of history, rather, vice versa: for it reveals what history and man are about, i.e. their principle and telos.
Balthasar makes an important point about the dialogue of the players in the drama, that
the action is not reducible to dialogue; not every plot is unravelled in speech and counter-speech. Something that is beyond the speakers and governs them can make itself known, whether they are aware of it or not.
For example, one of my Bibles has Christ's words in red. Obviously the words are important, but, taken out of context, they can be reduced to a kind of self-contained doctrine that obscures the importance of the narrative form, which is to say, Christ himself as he undergoes time. I would say that this latter is the ultimate context in which to comprehend the words (AKA the passion play).
The divine drama cannot be exhaustively expressed in or contained by a doctrine from our side, because there's simply not enough room in human language. In other words, eternity cannot fit into time -- nor the Absolute into the relative, the Infinite into the finite, the Word into words.
Therefore, this Truth is "stretched out" in time, so to speak, meaning that it has a coherence -- the coherence being discerned in the connecting thread -- but not "complete," in the sense that it is and must be an ongoing unveiling: a narrative.
What's the word, Jeeves? Asymptomatic? No sir: asymptotic. Yes, that's the one: forever approaching but never reaching its telos, or Omega point, because the latter is outside time. As is the Alpha. History is what happens in between these two, but again, it's not a random walk through 4D. We are ordered to our end, even of we diverge from it. Train wrecks are the price of freedom.
Speaking of which, slow down, Bob! Sharp turn ahead!
There is an "infinite" distance between the states of IT IS and I AM. And I put "infinite" in quotes, because there isn't even a way to conceptualize the distinction between objects and subjects, at least if we limit ourselves to the tools of the tenured.
Our ancient furbears, Homo erectus, arrived on the scene about two million years ago and exited the stage some 100,000 years back, around the same time we got here. If you're looking for a literal Genesis, this is the place to begin.
Credit where it is due: Homo erectus invented "the Acheulean stone tool industry, succeeding the Oldowan industry" (Wiki), which sounds impressive until you realize that this pretty much consisted of Sharpened Rock version 2.0.
Now, this is interesting, for it confirms a suspicion laid out in the bʘʘk: the recent discovery of a one year old Homo erectus lad showing that "this species lacked an extended childhood required for greater brain development, indicating lower cognitive capabilities." Man cannot enter the human narrative -- or any narrative -- without this extended neoteny.
Specifically, what I suspected was that no amount of raw intelligence could have resulted in the genesis of our humanness (AKA Homo sapiens sapiens), because what was required was the emergence of intersubjectivity, and with it, the possibility of vertical ensoulment, which is when the real human story gets underway.
It seems there is a convergence between Homo erectus and Homo pomo, because neither possess the cognitive tools necessary to get the job done.