Thursday, October 27, 2011

Preaching, Passion, and Illumination

"It would be a poor thing to be an atom in a universe without physicists, and physicists are made of atoms - A physicist is the atom's way of knowing about atoms..." -George Wald

" man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Meditation on these points. The subject is that which is in the object that can stand outside the object and view itself. The faculty for this is consciousness.

I continue my reading of Aristotle at the Metaphysics as an oblique reference to these thoughts.

I don't find the word preacher appealing.  It means minister or sermonizer.  It also means Ecclesiastic.  But Solomons are rare.   My problem is, I guess, and they are not alone in this at all, preachers make you feel the heat but if you want to see the light, move on because the heat of their passion effectively blocks out any enlightenment.  Conceded, heat is a form of light, and does give comfort if you are out in the cold.  So does passion, and they do communicate passionately, and this is good because faith begins in the heart.  It is felt, not reasoned.  That feeling is the first tentative step to wisdom, understanding, light.  Preachers compare to sophists.  Rhetoric is their main faculty; and they both pass the collection plate from Protagoras on down.  But truth can't be conveyed rhetorically.  Truth is not something that can be taught, or bought.  Only "things" are teachable.  Truth might inform things.  So might beauty.  But you can't teach beauty any more than truth itself.  Both are available to be realized, not learned.  Truth and beauty and the other concomitants of consciousness are aspects, facets, of the spirit that confer universality.  Sermonizers pray for this or that, implying they have power to move God in their favor, and, more to the point, that you can too.  Well, "Deeds can't dream what dreams can do", but, intention plays a greater part, I think, than actual work on behalf of the petitioner by the divine creative force behind the whole existential Reality.  What really happens in these settings is a longing for the Real, for truth, is set up but never fulfilled.  Instead they are satisfied with their dogma, which can be taught, and is bought, dearly.  But dogma does not confer universality and truth does and the sophist's belief he has a direct pipeline to truth, in the final analysis, tragically shuts off the possibility of discovery.

To be clear, I don't doubt the divinity of Christ, or any man, not that all men are Gods.  Is a drop of water the ocean?  I submit Christ understood how it was, and more importantly, how it wasn't.  People following this path like to say, "I know God loves me."  First of all, how selfish.  Secondly, say to them, if God loves everything the same then it begins to look a lot like indifference, and watch their eyes glaze over.  Their God is anthropogenic and the lie to their "faith" is that the more they pursue it the more they claim certitude.  Its true, rather, that real faith results in greater doubt, trepidation, humility, the closer one approaches the divine.  In the end one arrives at a sort of infinite resignation that knowing God is impossible.

Its written that in the beginning was the Word and the first act of creation was of light.  Leaving aside what is the Word think of the light as principle, not as visible light, per se.  As principle, illumination is participated in by the various forms, the concomitants of consciousness, e.g. Love, Liberty, Truth, Beauty, Grace, Wisdom, and so on.  All of these pertain to the substance of things; they are aspects of the indwelling spirit, of the potentiality inhering in the energia of matter and of the entelechy, the end within.  It is the form of things that facilitate display of these and in doing so universality is conferred on the subject by their presence.  The form makes a thing, a painting, for instance, individual, but it is the beauty that gives it appeal, universality.  Forms make the concomitants intelligible, available, individual.  The concomitants make the individuals universal.  People like to ask what a work of art means.  It doesn't mean anything.  It is a question; Who am I?  If it is a beautiful piece the answer is; I am everything that is.  My meaning and purpose consists in the instantiation of beauty in this individual object.  Likewise for love and the others.  You can't teach love, liberty, wisdom, grace, beauty, but your life is enriched beyond compare if you can find paths that participate in the divine light in which these qualities facilitate the awakening, the apotheosis, of the divine.  You can be Love, Freedom, Wise, Grace, Beauty; Truth can be lived.  No learning necessary.  To borrow from T.S. Eliot, the drop of water slips into the shining sibilant sea and arriving where it began knows the place for the first time.