Saturday, July 29, 2023

Victims and How They Get That Way

Records indicate that I first became aware of René Girard in 1998 or so, upon reading Gil Bailie's Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads

As indicated a few posts back, Girard admittedly has only one big idea, this being the logic of human sacrifice and of scapegoating violence more generally. I ran into Bailie's book when I was pondering the ubiquity of human sacrifice in premodern peoples. Indeed, it is so universal as to prompt one to wonder whether it might be instinctual. 

Given the universality of the practice -- often including consumption of the victim -- what could be the common problem to which it was the solution? 

For Girard, it is the pervasive intrahuman violence that is temporarily suspended when collective violence can be perpetrated on a single scapegoat. Someone said that human sacrifice is "unanimity minus one," and that's no joke, especially if you're the scapegoat.

Come to think of it, I myself was the victim of mob violence last night in a dream. I found myself in lone opposition to the mob over the question of the efficacy of border walls, and one of them -- you can't make this up -- snuck up from behind and actually micturated on me. 

Distasteful as this was, it wan't fatal, and later in the dream I was going to return the favor by bunging him in the back of the head with a brick. But it was dark, so it was hard to identify him. I woke up before I could exact my revenge.

So my dream featured both scapegoating and mimetic violence, because supposing I had been successful in landing the brick, this would have only spurred more violence. Perhaps the mob would have literally sacrificed me, but things didn't get that far.

The violence that is unveiled in Bailie's book and in Girard's theory is precisely this scapegoating violence. Oddly enough, the very foundation stone(ing) of Western Civilization is a human sacrifice. 

But the Crucifixion is utterly unique in the annals of scapegoating violence, this for several reasons. First, the victim is literally God, and you know what they say about striking at the King. 

Second, this scapegoat is not only innocent, but said to be without sin. Therefore, the whole scapegoat mechanism is exposed for what it is -- again, it is for the first time *unveiled*, so the mob can no longer engage in it with a clear conscience. To the contrary, the violence turns back upon the perpetrators, such that we see our own guilt. 

I am reminded of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, in which the first hand which is seen nailing Jesus to the cross belongs to Gibson himself. 

Back when the film was released, secular critics accused Gibson of anti-Semitism -- ironically, trying to scapegoat him -- when he depicted his own guilt, not only as a member of the deicidal mob, but first among them. 

But that's what secular progressives do, every day. After reading Violence Unveiled, I would scan the newspaper with an eye to identifying who is being scapegoated today. 

But since Christ delegitimized the scapegoat mechanism, there's a new twist, in that every day is a new iteration of the question -- a competition over -- Who's the real victim here?, even -- or especially -- when the victim is actually the aggressor using victimhood as a weapon. The left is the very institutionalization of this inversion and perversion of Christianity. 

That is to say, thanks to Christ, there is a new and unprecedented concern for the innocent victims of scapegoating violence. However, just because the Messiah is the innocent victim, it doesn't mean that every victim -- every covetous, underachieving bum with a grudge -- is the messiah. 

But this hardly stops them from turning, say, St. George Floyd, into the innocent victim of institutional racial violence. The whole victim culture is predicated on the primordial -- but bogus -- innocence of their sacred Victim.

Now, I ask you: Every time some thug is micturated upon in this fair country, do we have to compensate the family, or the group to which he belongs? 

Consider this only the introduction to a Large Subject.

Friday, July 28, 2023

From Here to Eternity

Well, that was an annoying post yesterday. Even Oriental Jazzman said I need to Tuck in that Loose Shirt, but that's the price one pays for dabbling in Voegelin. So let's move on and dabble in Girard. Again, we've been reading a compilation called All Desire is a Desire for Being, like anyone could know even that. 

The context of the book's title is similar to a distinction I made way back in the bOOk, between... Frankly, I no longer recall exactly what I said, but clearly, whatever I said will be an embarrassment to me today, so it will take a Brave Man to check, and is Bob brave enough?

Okay, I'll take the bait.

The Buddha was correct in emphasizing that a major source of human suffering emanates from attachment to the phantom-forms known as our desires.

Oh, so now you are presuming to judge my pal the Buddha?

Not exactly, but someone has to. 

The deeper point is this distinction between what I called "appetite," which, according to Oldbob, "arises from the natural self," and what he calls "the desire-mode of being," which "hypnotically roots us in the ephemeral."

As if you have transcended desire! 

Look, I like to think I live pretty lightly on the planet, not because I'm some kind of Gaia-worshipping science-denying jackass, but because the alternative just doesn't pay. It's literally a waste of timelessness, because the latter is all we have, and we only have so much. Infinitude is a finite resource!

Again, it seems man lives -- and always lives -- at the center of those four quadrants, two of which being horizontal, two being vertical. Depending on the mood, I define these in different ways, but let's tuck in the loose shirt and do so once and for all. 

Okay, between (↔) and ( ↕ ). Neither can be collapsed into the other; or, they can, but that's a deformation of Being. Past behind, future ahead, transcendence above, and immanence below. That's where we are, and always are.

None of these terms can ever by grasped by us, because we are in them, and they exist for us as poles of the tension in which we live. All sorts of symbols emerge in this space, some more differentiated than others, but none can be "final" in any static or systematic way. 

It is also important to note that when, say,  ( ↕ ) is collapsed into (↔), it is not as if (↕) is actually eliminated, rather, it just returns in a distorted manner, for example, vis a vis the stupid political religions that try to enclose Being and impose themselves on us. 

Now, one of the things that appears in this space is desire. For what? Anything and everything, nor does anything in this world (you will have noticed) satisfy it, so I suppose Girard is correct in saying that it conceals a desire for Being -- even for being God. 

Which brings us back to Genesis 3, which never actually goes away. Consider the fact that Adam and Eve -- like the restavus -- are situated in those four quadrants. They have a past, and like us, find themselves a-wake in the middle of a dream that is already in progress upon their awakening to it.

Again, man develops symbols to express the situation -- for example, that the Creator must have fashioned them from the dust of the earth, or that He yanked a rib from Adam's chest in order to fashion woman. 

Today we have more differentiated symbols, but to imagine that these have eliminated the mystery of origins is just silly. Future generations will chuckle at our crude expressions, just as we can chuckle at the thought of their "superiority" to us, because again, every finite being is equally distant from Infinitude and Eternity at any time. And if you don't know that, what do you know?

Continuing with Adam and Eve, they are obviously well aware of the vertical tension, hence God's warning about collapsing it. But desire, being what it is, impels them to go ahead and do it anyway, leading to expulsion and exile from the space in which we have our being. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Many stupid actions follow, and I read somewhere that the Bible as a whole comes down to a story of man's rebellion against God. What to do about it?

I don't know what kind of religion Voegelin professed, because he seemed to have a private one that he & the Almighty worked out betwixt 'em. But whatever else he believed about it, he clearly looked upon Christianity as a new and more differentiated symbolic expression of the Tension.

And with that, we'll pause and continue in the next installment.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

The Weird News Prior to the Good News

Still just flippin' away in the Voegelin Reader, and my attention is arrested by the following passage, not because it is new, but because it sounds so familiar, right down to the annoyingly orthoparadoxical nonsensibility he shares with us

Who writes like this? And why would they ever think their ideas could resonate in more than a handful of eccentric cosmic wonderers in the bewilderedness? 

From the Beginning, reality is the divine word speaking in succession the evolution of being from matter through plant to animal life, until it speaks man who, in the persons of patriarchs and prophets, responds by his word to the word spoken by god in history. 

So, God speaks man, who in turn speaks of God.

Note that Voegelin doesn't try to reduce this to a system -- like the infertile egghead highlighted yesterpost, the unreflective and incurious Nobel physicist -- since man is first spoken out of the infinite ground of being long before man speaks of the ground. 

Imagine being so cluelessly presumptuous as to overlook this little fact (and it is a fact). 

Say what you want about animals and vegetables, at least they aren't so presumptuous as to assume their own existence and then start telling fantastical stories about where existence came from. A little humility, please.

The reality of the cosmos, thus, becomes a story to be told by the man who participates responsively in the story told by the god.

So, it is literally a symbolism worked out in the luminous space between the noetic height and apeiriontic depth, or between O and (  ), via the spiral of (↑↓)Unless you have a better idea. 

To review, because it's both subtle and tricksy to wrap our minds around what wraps around our minds:

The word of man when he articulates his consciousness of reality emerges from the reality that is the word of god.

Voegelin cites the gospel of John as a quintessential example of a sophisticated awareness of the reality just described. In the famous preface to the gospel -- which we might call the Extraordinarily Weird News prior to the merely Good News -- 

instead of telling the story, he reflects on the divine-creative substance and its internal structure: "In the beginning was the word; and the word was with god; and the word was god." The creative tension in the Beginning is understood in terms of the paradox that the word and god are related by both difference and identity simultaneously.

Admittedly this is very weird, but is it weird enough?

The god who has the word that he is makes all things by speaking it (emphasis mine).

Later, once we are into the story, 

When the disbelieving interlocutors ask of Christ "Who are you?" he identifies the divine reality present in him as the Mosaic "I am"....  

For the god who spoke to Moses from in the Thornbush, now speaks through the mouth of man to other men; the god of a revelatory event in the past has become "the true light that illumines every man who comes into this world."

Weirder still, this "movement from the Beyond demands the countermovement toward the Beyond, out of history, into eschatological fulfillment" (emphasis mine).

This symbolic expression of the I AM in different contexts moves an Etienne Gilson "to understand all Christian metaphysics of Being as the metaphysics of Exodus," and hey now, why not? The I AM of Christ "becomes luminous, through its presence in Christ, for its participatory presence in every human being" from "the creation of the world to its end."

Sounds about right to me:

In the Beginning, the word of the hidden god creates the cosmos; when the word moves from the Beyond into man's consciousness, it reveals itself through language. And in this revelatory language, the I-am becomes a subject that acquires predicates...   

Meaning what, exactly? 

Not sure, so I'll just say what I think: that the I AM is the unsurpassable Metacosmic Subject whose ground is Beyond Being, but which necessarily assumes various qualities in being, in man, and in history, much like the colorless light refracted through a prism. 

Thus, we may speak of qualities such as the Life, the Light, the Truth, the Way; and in less abstract and more poetic terms as the Vine, the Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life, etc. 

The predicates express the movement of the word from the Beyond into everyman's existence [] and demand the countermovement toward the word [] that speaks through Christ [].

Something like that.

Wait, demand? Yes, because if this is the way things are, there is a way we must be in order to be in conformity to it.

I'm out of breath. And my blood sugar is low, so we'll conclude with this passage; within this I-am space of () -- that is, between the Beyond and Beginning -- 

is the language of seeking, searching, and questioning, of ignorance and knowledge concerning the divine ground... of being moved to seek and question, of being drawn toward the ground, of turning around, of return, illumination, and rebirth.

Of Exodus and of Deliverance, only forever, and repent as necessary.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

An Insolent Technician and an Omniscient Blogger Walk into a Post

Just a short one, because 1) I slept late, and 2) I have other things to avoid.

The Bob has spoken: let us call them the Four Ontological Quadrants: horizontally we are always (obviously) situated between past and future, which might as well be infinite, at least from our perspective. 

Vertically speaking we are always situated in the tension between the transcendent beyond and something analogous at the other end, what Voegelin calls the apeirion, this latter also being unlimited, indefinite, and unbounded. Since neither end can be defined, they are more directions or poles than anything we could positively define. 

[For the record, Bob calls these latter poles O and (  ), respectively.]

Oh, BTW, Bob, is this just a dry academic exercise you're engaging in, or is this something you also believe? Are these just Veogelin's ideas recycled through your head, or are you spending so much time on this subject because this is the way things are, period?

To be clear, I only write from the standpoint of Total Cosmic Omniscience. As does any other philosopher, it's just that I am honest about my megalomania. 

If you think about it, any claim about reality, no matter how seemingly trivial, is an extravagant one once you trace out all its a priori assumptions and entailments. It's just that most philosophers never do this, so the claim has a false appearance of modesty.


This one is just random but more than adequate to make the point. It's from a talk by Nobel physicist John Clauser on The Crisis of PseudoscienceAlthough I agree with most of what he says, he easily descends into what we would call the far more consequential crisis of scientism  (

Come to think of it, just why is there a crisis of science? For example, what motivates a man to falsify his results just to gain fame, influence, and tenure? 

The question answers itself. I, on the other hand, would never knowingly mislead my readers, because I must answer to a higher authority, and Petey is trouble enough when he's in a good mood.

To be honest, I didn't even read the whole essay, rather, just rolled my eyes at certain passages and moved along. It's the darn naivete couched in a detached sophistication that does that:

A long time ago, actually my whole life, I have been an experimental physicist. [I've] had the distinct privilege of literally being able to talk to God even though I’m an atheist. In a physics laboratory, I am able to ask carefully posed mathematically-based questions and correspondingly observe universal truth. 

I realize that's a little in-joke between materialistic physicists, but what is universal truth? By virtue of what principle does it exist and permeate our cosmos, and by virtue of what principle is a randomly evolved and contingent animal able to know non-contingent truth?

We'll wait.


I didn’t know ahead of time what answer I would get. I just knew I could get an answer. Nonetheless, I found real truth.

You don't say.  

I assert that real truth can only be found by observing natural phenomena. By carefully observing natural phenomena. 

Including that truth?

Who's fooling whom?

Few ideas do not turn pale before a fixed glare.


Nothing makes clearer the limits of science than the scientist's opinion about any topic that is not strictly related to his profession.  


The technician speaks to the layman like an insolent sorcer.  

I won't bother reading any further, because that is more than sufficient to make my point about other thinkers and their outrageously extravagant but utterly undefended claims. For truly truly, it is like pronouncing There is no God and I am His prophet. 

Now back to Voegelin, who has no more use for scientism than for any other ideology that collapses the Tension of the Between:

The Beyond and the Beginning, articulating the directions in which divine reality is experienced, have remained the unsurpassably exact expression of the issue to this day. 

And to this day, 49 years later, and to every subsequent day, since the time series is infinite, or certainly indefinite. It may end tomorrow, but the Absolute will always leave a shadow or contrail analogous to time, AKA the moving image of eternity. 

Note the immodest claim: the unsurpassably exact expression. Which calls to mind a perfect aphorism for the occasion:

Properly speaking, the social sciences are not inexact sciences, but sciences of the inexact.

Absurd you say?

Man calls "absurd" what escapes his secret pretensions to omnipotence.

So, checkmate.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Dreams within Streams (and vice versa)

 Yada yada flip flip, here's a thought:

The great stream of being, in which he flows while it flows through him, is the same stream to which belongs everything else that drifts into his perspective (Voegelin).

In other words, the world -- or cosmos -- is obviously not static, it's a movement, a process, a riverrun. Out of this stream emerges another stream, Life, which is much like an eddy in a river. It is at once distinct from the larger stream, but obviously inconceivable in its absence.

At the moment we're in the middle of a stream of thought, and where does this fit in?  We have no idea where it's going, nor do we really know where it's coming from. All we know is that Bob is yada-yada-flip-flipping, as usual.

Is it streams all the way down?

Hold that thought. We'll flow back to it, but I am reminded of a later chapter called The Beginning of the Beginning, which begins as follows, except I'm going to substitute Bob and his computer for Eric and his paper:

As I am putting down these words on a blank computer screen I have begun to write a sentence that, when it is finished, will be the beginning of a post on certain problems of the Beginning.

The sentence is finished. But is it true? 

We can't know unless and until we go through the yada yada. Assuming a wall of text below -- which hasn't yet been written -- it looks like we may have made some progress, but who knows? I certainly don't, but it feels like a potentially fruitful area of enquiry. 

The reader does not know whether it is true before he has finished reading the post and can judge whether it is indeed a sermon on the sentence as its text. Nor do I know at this time, for the post is as yet unwritten; and although I have a general idea of its construction [note: I don't], I know from experience that new ideas have a habit of emerging while the writing is going on...

That I do know, since these posts do have a way of writing themselves, albeit with my cooperation. 

In author words, -- and this is something I discovered about a month into blogging, when the Gagdad melon reached the last of its own meager resources -- it seems I am a necessary but insufficient cause of my own damn blog. 

Which suggests -- or at least the thought just popped into my noggin -- that perhaps we're tapping into another stream of some sort; that it's not only streams all the way down, but all the way up, too. 

Gosh, maybe even God himselves is a kind of riverrun of extream being, and this in turn opens a whole can of wormholes -- back to Joyce in particular.

Why Joyce, and must you, Bob? Do you really want to alienate your last three readers?

First of all, it's not me. In fact, I'm not myself at all, I'm whoever I am with at the moment. This is at once trivially true, being that the very foundation of human consciousness is intersubjective, but it seems that this intersubjectivity -- like the streams -- proceeds both up and down (and horizontally).

I have something inside of me talking to myself.

I'm not meself at all (FW).

When does a dream begin? No one knows, since the bestwecando is recall it from the middle of a dream already in progress. It reaches down into the unknown and unknowable, and "how the deepings did it all begin?"

Like I-AMnesia or something. Or general amesthesia. Indeed, where does being begin? The answer may surprise me! For not only are we "circumveiloped by obscuritads," but "we foregot at wiking when the bleakfrost chilled our ravery." 

I could go on, but I want to flipflip back to a previous chapter in which Voegelin talks about man's earliest efforts to give symbolic expression to the great mystery, 

where everything that meets us has a force and a will and feelings, where animals and plants can be men and gods, where men can be divine and gods are kings, where the feathery morning sky is the falcon of Horus and the sun and moon are his eyes, where the underground sameness of being is a conductor for magic currents of good or evil force that will subterraneously reach the superficially unreachable partner, where things are the same and not the same, and can can change into each other.

Some things never change, and that's one of them. In other words, for Voegelin, we live and move and have our being in this same "space," it's just that it is less compact and more differentiated over time. But we still have no idea when the dream begins or how it ends. Unless. But that's a different post. Let's try to stay in this one. 

The monkey in the middle. 

Thaaat's right, Petey, that's what we are.  

We are thrown into and out of existence without knowing the Why or the How...

We are forever trying to symbolize this abyss of WTF?!, to render

the essentially unknowable order of being intelligible as far as possible through the creation of symbols that interpret the unknown by analogy with the really, or supposedly, known.

Put it this way: everyone in the past, and everyone in the future, finds himself in the middle of this ongoing dream of being; all points at any time are equidistant from the timeless. Unless my myth is off, but I think it adds up:

the past and future of mankind is a horizon that surrounds every present.... we neither know why mankind has a past, nor do we know anything about its goal in the future.

Come now, Bob, isn't that just giving up?

Why yes, come to think of it. But only giving up those deformations of being we call ideology. For

Only when the constancy of human nature and the sameness of its problems of order in every present is theoretically secured against ideological misconstructions will the problem of a mankind that advances in history toward higher levels of truth reveal its formidable proportions.

Not only is this problem of order "the same for all men at all times," but "nothing less is at stake than the existence in truth under God." Yes, it is One Cosmos Under God before & afterfall, and we are always in between the two:

history is not a stream of human beings and their actions in time, but the process of man's participation in a flux of divine presence that has an eschatological direction. 

So, we got that going for us. 

The post is finished. But is it true?

We’ll end with an aphorism:

Everything in history begins before where we think it begins and ends after where we think it ends.

Monday, July 24, 2023

A Mingus Amongus & Jammin' with Jesus

Yesterday we were discussing the disturbing fact that we all have our parts to play and lines to speak, but no one seems to have access to the whole screenplay. Is it a crime drama? Screwball comedy? Suspense thriller? Horror movie? 

Again, man "is an actor, playing a part in the drama of being and, through the brute fact of his existence, committed to play it without knowing what it is.The role "must be played in uncertainty of its meaning, as an adventure of decision on the edge of freedom and necessity."

Stipulated: it's an adventure movie, but it's also improv, nor does it ever stop being the latter.

Or rather, the opposite of improvisation is routine, so I suppose it's best to have some combination of the two. 

I just read a biography of Charles Mingus, whose music was always on the knife-edge of order and chaos. As he put it to his musicians, You can't improvise on nothin'! But nor can you do so on something that has become overly rigid and predictable, and devoid of surprise.

These here posts: are you not surprised?


So it's a suspense thriller after all? Yes, that's why there is always the possibility of a train(of thought)wreck.

Just why are there surprises at all in the cosmos? Beginning with the cosmos itself? I can see bad surprises, but why on earth are there so many pleasant ones? 

This material is challenging enough, so let's stay focussed. First of all,

existence is not a fact. If anything, existence is the non-fact of a disturbing movement in the In-Between of ignorance and knowledge, of time and timelessness, of imperfection and perfection, of hope and fulfillment, and ultimately of life and death (Voegelin).

Okay, but some of these are not like the others, plus there's a whole lot about the movement that is not -- surprise! -- disturbing. 

True, being alive means living on the horizon of death, but why all the knowledge, perfection, and fulfillment in between? Are these hints of something better, or just illusions swept away by death's tide?

I want to say that living between, say, ignorance and truth, is not analogous to living between life and death, because truth touches on, and must descend from, eternity and immortality. And if our existence were a mere existential fact, well, first of all, You can't improvise on nothin':

if man's existence were not a movement but a fact, it not only would have no meaning but the question of meaning could not even arise. 

Speaking of which, and I'll try to find an example, but in one of his greatest bands, Mingus and Eric Dolphy would literally improvise by conversing with one another, asking questions, testifying, shouting answers, telling jokes, etc, in the moment. Almost like an analogue of life or something. 

On first exposure it may sound like noise, but it's full of pleasant surprises. Start with the bass solo -- or lecture -- at about 4:50, followed by Dolphy's response (around 7:00) and conversation (9:30):

I wish the blog could be more like that, with lots of call-and-response, of comments in real time instead of after the fact, because the Light -- the luminosity -- is always in the in-between. 

Otherwise, we face the possibility of existential shrinkage, in which the living God 

has been thrown out of the search and is no longer permitted to answer questions: living in retirement from the life of reason he has shriveled into an object of unreasoned faith... and declared to be dead.

Can't improvise on nothin'! Nor on something ideologized and frozen. 

Rather, we improvise in the space or "tension of existence between the human and divine poles." God is "the mover who attracts or draws man to himself," as man is the arrow aimed at or attracted to or pulled by God, "in which the movement becomes luminous to itself." 


To follow Christ means to continue the event of the divine presence in society and history.... of God's pull becoming effective in the world through Christ...

Not a dead doctrine but a living relationship to the Beyond, because you can't improvise on nothin':

In the historical drama of revelation, the Unknown God ultimately becomes the God known through his presence in Christ....

The Adventure, or 

drama of the Unknown God who reveals his kingdom through his presence in man, and of the man who reveals what has been delivered to him by delivering it to his fellowmen, is continued by the existentially responsive disciple in the gospel drama by which he carries on the work of delivering these things from God to man.... the presence of the drama partakes of of both human time and divine timelessness...

Or at the intersection of form and improvisation. Monday Morning Prayer Meeting:

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Questions to Your Answers

Picking up right where we left off, "The answer will not help the man who has lost the question, and the predicament of the present age is characterized by the loss of the question rather than of the answer," and could you repeat the question?

We'll get there -- I hope -- but you're not wrong to ask, for "it will be necessary"

to recover the question to which... the philosopher could understand the gospel as the answer (emphasis mine).

Ancient Jeopardy? "I'll take Goddamn Right I'm Living in the Fucking Past for $600, Alex."

But it's not in the past:

Since the question concerns the humanity of man, it is the same today as it has ever been in the past, but today it is so badly distorted through the Western deculturation process that it must, first, be disentangled from the intellectually disordered language in which we indiscriminately speak of the meaning of life, or the meaning of existence, or the meaning which must be given to the fact of existence..., as if life were a given and meaning a property it has or does not have (emphasis mine).

Doesn't work that way -- never has and never will. I want to stay focussed on this chapter, but there is a passage from a later one that arrested my attention yesterday, that Life

is not a datum of experience insofar as it is not given in the manner of an object of the external world but is knowable only from the perspective of participation in it.

From the inside. And even then, we can only participate in a kind of game or play that was here when we arrived and will persist long after we're gone.  

Question: is it possible that something could occur in history after we exit the stage that completely alters the meaning of the play in which we acted and did our bit? Or does every human, by virtue of being one, have access to this transcendent meaning? Time out for a favorite aphorism:

In each moment, each person is capable of possessing the truths that matter.

Er, like now

Yes. What do you think a moment is? 

Hmm. So it is as if there is only the moment -- the human moment, as it were, and it is indeed a little difficult to appreciate that everyone in the past shared this same moment, which we might call the intersection of the vertical and horizontal -- or, as Voegelin puts it, "Man, while existing in time, experiences himself as participating in the timeless."

It's just that we have a *little*... blind spot, similar to where the optic nerve plugs into the retina. Coincidentally, this existential scotoma is called the "I" of the subjective storm. Or at the very least, this I has access to both appearances and reality, and to the extent that the former eclipse the latter, you're wasting away in Scotomaville.

But damn, sometimes it's hard to rise above the nonsense. It's downright disturbing:

The perspective of participation must be understood in the fullness of its disturbing quality.

Wait -- if you're not disturbed you're wrong, or something? 

Yes, but in all likelihood you're disturbed about the wrong things, or projecting your ontological Disturbance onto something less, e.g., politics, or gender, or race, or the weather, or whatever. Can't blame them, really. That's God's job. But

This situation of ignorance with regard to the decisive core of existence is more than disconcerting: It is profoundly disturbing, for from the depth of this ultimate ignorance wells up the anxiety of existence.

Hmm. Just spiritballin' here, but perhaps this Disconcerting and Profoundly Disturbing scotoma is the place where the Question (?!) arises and must arise and always arises? Maybe?

In which case we might propose an inverse aphorism, that In each moment, each person is capable of dwelling in the idiocies that don't matter -- or of denying those truths that do.

Just a little more of what Voegelin says about our disturbingly ambiguous and paradoxical situation, about which we must pull no punches (but which, we hope, will go to what we were saying about the Question to which the gospel furnishes the Answer):

man is not a self-contained spectator. He is an actor, playing a part in the drama of being and, through the brute fact of his existence, committed to play it without knowing what it is (emphasis mine).

It reminds me of when they film a movie to which no one has access to the whole script, which must be kept secret so spoilers won't leak to the public. For example, various alternate endings were produced for the Who Shot Mr. Burns? episode -- and to this day, there are conspiracy theorists and comic book guys who insist it wasn't really Maggie. Worst. Ending. Ever.

In any event, who among us hasn't found himself "in the situation of feeling not quite sure what the game is and how he should conduct himself"?  WHAT'S THE GAME and WHAT IS MY ROLE?

There is no vantage point outside existence from which its meaning can be viewed as a course of action charted according to a plan, nor is there a blessed island to which man can withdraw in order to recapture his self. The role of existence must be played in uncertainty of its meaning, as an adventure of decision on the edge of freedom and necessity (emphasis mine). 

Even for God? Or especially for God? Little help, Nicolás!

The history of Christianity would be suspiciously human if it were not the adventure of an incarnate God. Christianity assumes the misery of history, as Christ assumes that of man.

What else ya' got?

For the Christian, history does not have a direction, but rather, a center.

The moment? Put it this way:

If history made sense, the Incarnation would be superfluous. 

In other words, it would not be the Answer to anything, or it would be the answer to an irrelevant question that no one is asking. 

But if we are honest, we have to begin by acknowledging that little blind spot:

At the center of his existence man is unknown to himself and must remain so, for the part of being that calls itself man could be known fully only if the community of being and its drama in time were known as a whole. 

Well... what if the end, the fulfillment, the cosmic punchline, the eschaton, the Omega, could be known? What if the end were made middle, so to speak, such that it were available in every moment? What if the drama were a Theodrama?

Best. Ending. Ever?

To be continued... 

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