The most important things are so difficult to think about that people either take them for granted or get them entirely wrong when they do try to think about them.
Irrespective of how many things he got wrong, the Bhagwan did get this bheegwan right:
The people are retarded. Which is why we never want to leave it to the demos to decide upon the big things. These things -- the Permanent Things -- are vertically prior to democracy, which is why the left’s hysterical talk about Threats to Muh Democracy! makes us want to reach for our second amendment.
In short, keep your 1st amendment close and your 2nd closer, for speech can only go so far in defending speech. In one sense the left is correct about politics devolving to power, but it’s a matter of who is deploying it: good or evil. Indeed, the left wants us to believe that the common term between a good or evil man with a weapon is the weapon, when the distance between these is two infinite.
At any rate, back to the Big Things that are difficult to define because they are difficult to reduce to anything less than themselves, but also because anything we think, do, or say presupposes them.
For example, “existence.” Just try to define that one without presupposing your own. I was about to say “we’ll wait,” but that would be forever, and our timelessness is limited.
Now, although we can’t define existence, we can relate it so something else, and this is Being. It turns out…
I shouldn’t put it that way, because this post is coming to you live and not pre-recorded. Rather, as we ponder existence, it’s turning out that it can only be understood in relation to a source or ground we call Being -- a verb, mind you.
We can’t actually understand either term, but here we are, not only situated between them but the only creature in all of creation that is aware of being so situated.
Wait -- did you just say creation? Doesn’t jumping to that conclusion presuppose a rush to judgment into a leap of faith? No, that’s not what we mean, at least not yet. Rather, we’re speaking more of the empirical fact of Creativity. Creativity is here, it’s queer, and it’s not going away, so we will eventually need a principle to account for it.
But what I really want to talk about is Presence. What is it? Like “experience,” “existence,” and “subject,” it’s another tricksy one.
First of all, it has at least three modes. For example, this coffee cup is present. But only to me. It’s not present to you, nor is it present to itself, since it’s not conscious. I suppose we could call that “objective presence,” which is a bit paradoxical, since the object is only present to a subject.
There is also the intersubjective presence that makes humanness possible, and without which it could not exist. As we’ve said before, this is one of the things that makes me skeptical of extraterrestrial intelligence, since it doesn’t matter how big the brain if the consciousness to which it is host is not intersubjective.
The existential ground of our intersubjectivity is in our neurological immaturity in the context of the mother-infant dyad. As explained in the book, absent this transcendent interpersonal space, we would be as instinct-bound as any other creature. But here in this space we are innerduced to an infinitude that is a kind of abyss -- an abyss of love at one and and dread at the other should emotional development go sideways.
(By the way, the trans-ontological condition of intersubjectivity is, of course, the Trinity.)
My larger point is that human subjects may be present to one another. I suppose we could call this “intimacy.” But other adjectives come to mind, for example, “depth.” Obviously, the relationship between subjects can be deep or superficial. What’s up with that? For it implies that Presence, whatever else it is, has this vertical span.
It also implies absence -- for example, our very much absent president. What happened to him? Where did he go? More problematically, did he ever properly exist, or did he always have the character of a husk -- not so much an empty suit as a reptile wearing one? At any rate, he is Present Absence or Absent Presence incarnate (notwithstanding the Malevolence that makes its presence known and felt through him).
Moving on -- and speaking of which -- there is also self-presence, or self-awareness, which is again visibly absent in our president, but also, not coincidentally, in his supporters, who do not have the presence of mind to perceive Biden’s absence thereof. Curious. Or perhaps obvious.
Now, if you are anything like me, there is another important kind of presence, this being the presence of God, or something. Call it what you want, but I don’t know what I’d do without it. This post has already taxed the reader’s presence, so how about a few sharp aphorisms to the ribcage:
God is not the object of my reason, nor of my sensibility, but of my being.
God exists for me in the same act in which I exist.
The most dispiriting solitude is not lacking neighbors, but being deserted by God.
In short, being is an act, this act is a presence, and this presence is of someone, i.e., a subject. Not only is this subject not me, nor could I be me in the absence of this bheeg someOne.