"To speak of the Absolute," writes Schuon,
is to speak of the Infinite; Infinitude is an intrinsic aspect of the Absolute. It is from the "dimension" of Infinitude that the world springs forth; the world exists because the Absolute, being as such, implies Infinitude.
I understand this description perfectly. But that doesn't necessarily mean it is correct. As it so happens, I believe it is correct "as far as it goes," but it doesn't go far enough, nor does it account for, or delve into, what I regard as the most important meta-principle of all, which is to say, Person, and all this implies (e.g., relation, love, intelligence, freedom, creativity, etc.).
We'll get into it more deeply as we proceed, but I don't see how we can ever arrive at Personhood unless we begin there.
While I gather my thoughts, let's what Sr. D. has to say.
--If God were not a person, He would have died some time ago.
--The existence of God is indemonstrable, because with a person the only thing we can do is bump into him.
--For God there are only individuals.
--The two poles are the individual and God; the two antagonists are God and man.
--God exists for me in the same act in which I exist.
Perhaps it's a left brain-right brain thing, or words and music: Schuon's account is almost mathematical in its precision, whereas Davila is always more poetical.
And while looking for those, I found an aphorism that touches on our primordial Slack, another important cosmic principle, or better, mode, since this mode apparently isn't for everyone:
Man needs a busy life. No one is more unfortunate than the idler who was not born predestined to be one. An idle life without boredom, stupidities, or cruelty is as admirable as it is rare.
I am one of those people who not only doesn't need a busy life, but would experience it as a living death. It's one of the reasons I could never be a proper psychologist. I literally cannot relate to the sorts of problems that beset the average man. I'm not bragging. After all, an autistic person could say the same thing, and we don't praise autism as the ideal way for a man to be.
But I must have been predestined to be an idler, since I'm never bored. Except when circumstances force me to be busy.
As for stupidity, I was no doubt less stupid twenty years ago. They say a man reaches his intellectual prime at midlife. Well, first of all, I've always been a little behind my peers -- i.e., immature -- and second, I think I was actually kind of "brilliant" when I was 40 or so. Problem is, I was nevertheless an idiot. Defective software. In other words, I was still a liberal, among other defects.
Along these lines, here's something from Rob Henderson's latest newsletter:
According to both the Talmud and Solon, only at age 30 does a man attain full strength, and “plant his feet firm upon the ground,” according to Confucius.
From 30 to 40, a man often has great strength and energy. But has not yet reached full maturity and wisdom.
And in the Talmud, 40 is the age for “understanding” and 50 for “giving counsel.”
From 42 to 56, says Solon, “the tongue and the mind are now at their best.” In the next phase, 56 to 63, a man “is able, but never so nimble in speech and in wit as he was in the days of his prime.”
Similarly, Confucius wrote, “At 40, I no longer suffered from perplexities,” and “At 50, I knew what were the biddings of heaven.” Although it was not until he was 60 that Confucius says he “heard them with a docile ear.”
Likewise, the Talmud states that the full wisdom and dignity of being an elder begins at 60. This is also the age, says Confucius, that men enter into a new relationship with life and death, with the ultimate source of personal values, and with the self.
Back to the subject at hand, which comes down to a priori metaphysics vs. revelation. On the face of it, it would appear that man is in need of the latter because he is incapable of the former.
ALL men? Or are there a few serious idlers who retain the capacity for drilling right down to the core of things and envisioning the naked truth? This latter invites all sorts of frauds and abuses -- call it the yung pueblo syndrome, as discussed a couple of posts back. For it is easy to think one has all the answers. I certainly remember when I did. You know, back in my intellectual prime, when I was so brilliant and all.
Humility. In its absence you are most certainly headed for a fall.
While we're idly milling around, how about we define some terms? For example, what do we mean by the Absolute?
If we were to be asked what the Absolute is, we would reply first of all that it is necessary and not merely possible Reality; absolute Reality, hence infinite and perfect, precisely (Schuon).
I agree with that: the Absolute -- whatever it is and however else we conceptualize it -- is that which must be and cannot not be, on pain of cosmic absurdity and performative self-contradiction. It's what is left when we eliminate all the bullshit: self-evident truths, and all that.
FREE SPEECH, FREE WILL, FREE MARKETS, and FREE THOUGHT in our FREE TIME (slogan for imaginary campaign)
But as Dávila says, The free act is only conceivable in a created universe. In the universe that results from a free act.
Here are some of my bottom-line attributes of the Absolute: the Absolute is Person-Love-Creativity.
Okay, now do Infinitude:
the Infinite is that which, in the world, appears as modes of expanse or of extension, such as space, time, form or diversity, number or multiplicity, matter or substance (Schuon).
This certainly goes to the "many-ness" of things, where as Absoluteness goes more to their sheer existence -- moreover, their existence as this rather than either that or nothing; for "compared to empty space, each grain of sand is a miracle." And thanks to Infinitude, we'll never run out of grains of sand.
I don't recall Schuon ever discussing person or personalism. To the extent that he does, he regards the personal God as already a relative term, specifically, relative to the impersonal Beyond-Being.
As we've discussed before, I like to look at these in a complementary way, similar to how we conceptualize the Trinity as being a single substance despite the relations of the three persons. Analogously, there is a relation between the impersonal and personal, but it's all one divine substance.
In fact, I agree with Norris Clarke that God is ultimately substance-in-relation: there is no substance "behind" or "above" the relations, nor are there relations absent the substance. It's an irreducible complementarity, like man-woman, or time-eternity, or creator-creation.