A. General reflections. 8 min., 4 sec. Real Audio.
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What are your questions, comments, reflections? What resources do you recommend?
Pertaining to Original Sin & its effects:
�What I bring from my tradition when I join your tradition(s) in dialogue may be, for me, a deeply felt existential orientation, and may be, for you, an interesting and most useful set of anthropological and cultural data, and vice versa. When we celebrate our diverse spiritualities together in story and song and engage in ethical enterprises together in solidarity and compassion, not jettisoning our interpretations and dogmas but silently nurturing them deep in our hearts, then we move forward toward the day when we can have a more fruitful engagement about those particular doctrines and interpretations, however diverse, that ground our deeply felt spiritual and moral senses, convergent as they often are.�
If you are interested, then follow this lengthy excursus below, which to some extent is an essay on original sin:
There seems to be a creative tension between being and becoming, between substances and fields/processes, between neo-Whiteheadian and neo-Thomist analogues of causality and of motion. This tension is perhaps most acutely experienced as we analyze the rupture between the essential and existential aspects of human nature and the cosmos and seek to locate it.
We can look at the thomistic concepts of causality: formal, material, efficient, instrumental and final causations and see how, in our human experience of them, we have drawn some very compelling inferences about reality, physically, metaphysically and meta-metaphysically.
Physically, for example, we can look to biosemiotics and see how formal causation is reflected in the structure of a sign, while final causation is reflected in the process of an interpreter. Material and efficient causation, of course, are not problematical, physically. Instrumental causation might be thought of as that form of nonenergetic causation that is effected by the landscape on a stream which meanders over its contours.
Metaphysically, we can conceive of a tacit dimensionality that efficaciously but unobstrusively informs nature, as has been discussed by Arraj and Haught with respect to such theories as Bohm�s implicate order, Sheldrake�s morphic fields, Jung�s synchronicity and and acausal orderedness, and other Polanyian extraneous causal notions.
Meta-metaphysically, we have Bracken�s divine matrix or divine field of activity, from a process perspective, and we have the Ipsum Esse Subsistens of thomism.
Physically, metaphysically and meta-metaphysically, we also have the search for the �causal joints� by which both we and God interact with the universe.
The meta-metaphysical inferences we have drawn about ultimate reality from our physical and metaphysical analogues have been presented in various formulations and reformulations as �proofs� for God�s existence, which as projects of natural theology only really aspire to demonstrate the reasonableness of the various hypotheses of God. The cosmological argument, which posits the need for an Unmoved Mover, is based on an intuition from our common experience of efficient causation. The ontological argument is based on an intuition of being derived from our common experience of material causation. The teleological argument is based on an intuition from our common experience of final causation. The epistemological argument is based on an intuition from our common experience of formal causation. The moral argument is based on an intuition from our common experience of instrumental causation (perceived order).
We can look to Hans Kung�s categories (slightly modified and addended) for additional analogues and then associate these compelling theistic inferences such that the cosmological inference corresponds with primal origin and primal support; the ontological inference corresponds with primal being; the teleological inference corresponds with primal destiny; the epistemological inference is associated with primal ground --- and here I have taken the liberty to associate ground, not with such as Bracken�s divine matrix per se, but rather with both intentionality (meaning �to�) and ultimate meaning (meaning �that�); the moral inference is associated with primal order (and primal fertile chaos?).
Now, when we look for the location of the rupture between the essentialistic and the existential, we can look beyond just Tillich�s Ground of Being or primal being, on one hand, and Teilhard�s Omega Point or primal destiny, on the other hand. We also experience an alienation from both our primal origin in creatio ex nihilo and our primal support in creatio continua, the latter dimming our vision of our roles as Created Co-Creators (Hefner), the former forestalling both our mindful penetration of essence to esse and our further penetration of esse to Ipsum Esse Subsistens, as not knowing where we even came from causes us to question why we�re even here (Frankl�s existential vaccuum).
Our separation from our primal ground has thrown us into doubt about both the entire array of our epistemic capacities and the validity of our epistemological enterprises, whether in phenomenology, philosophy, metaphysics, theology or even science.
The domain of phenomenology asks of reality � this? here?
The domain of metaphysics asks - that ? there ?
Science asks the where � when � what � how ? questions of reality.
Philosophy asks the why ? questions.
Theology asks of reality: Who ?
We, resultantly, not only do not know the answers to the most basic questions about any aspect of reality (who, what, when, where, how, why, that) but even question the validity of the very questions, themselves.
Finally, it is our alienation from primal order that undermines our meta-ethical and ethical enterprises, for there can be no de-ontology when our very ontology is considered suspect and their can be no foundational, teleological consequentialistic analysis when primal telos, itself, is in question.
How then can we more broadly conceive our essentialistic � existential rupture?
If we look at the equation: Metaphysics X Epistemology = Worldview.
then we can further decompose it such that:
Metaphysics = Cosmology + Ontology
Epistemology = +/- Phenomenology +/- Philosophy +/- Metaphysics +/- Theology +/- Science
Worldview = Noetic + Aesthetic + Ethic = Creed + Cult(ivation) + Code
Then we can associate:
Primal Origin & Primal Support with Cosmology;
Primal Being with Ontology;
Primal Ground with the Noetic, the Creed;
Primal Destiny with Aesthetics, the Cult(ivation);
Primal Order with Ethics, the Code;
such that all of these aspects of existence comprise an epistemological hologram, each being a fractal of how we have filtered reality by validating or invalidating, emphasizing or deemphasizing:
1) our epistemic capacities: a) indirect evidence, b) immediate, noninferential awareness & intuition; c) inference; d) numinous/mystical experiences; e) direct evidence; f) common sense and g) meta-rationality and super-reasonableness, etc and
2) our epistemological enterprises: phenomenology, philosophy, metaphysics, theology and science. [ see http://exit3.i-55.com/~marytanner/comparative.htm ]
What I attempted to demonstrate above is that the essentialistic � existential rupture is not only deep, it is broad. It has temporal dimensions: primal origin in the past, primal support in the present, and primal destiny in the future. It has an ontological dimension: primal being, which can be addressed as a problem of both being and becoming, of both substance and field/process, of both potentiality and actuality. It has an epistemological dimension: primal ground, which can be addressed by a more pluralistic/catholic, epistemological holism. It has a deontological dimension: primal order, which can be addressed by a more complete engagement of both the deontological and teleological approaches of a more holistic metaethic.
If we have thus located the essentialistic holes in our existential dikes, then how can we begin to plug them up before the streets of our City of God become awash in a flood of nihilism?
For our Primal Ground hole, we need faith.
For our Primal Destiny hole, we need hope.
For our Primal Order hole, we need love.
However, we have seen that these fractal elements of our noetic-aesthetic-ethic axes are algorithmically derived from a hologram whose formula is Metaphysics X Epistemology. How, then, do we repair the holes in our cosmologies and ontologies? Are they not occulted, in principle, constrained by a godelian dynamism? Are the Primal Origin & Primal Support holes in our dikes of Cosmology, and the Primal Being hole in the dike of Ontology, destined to remain unplugged, leaving our faiths, our hopes and our loves foundering, sinking in a sea of perpetual confusion?
I think the answer will lie in the direction of how it is we can develop a more compelling epistemological hologram, such that each of its fractal elements considered above gains a certain bouyancy, certainly by properly filtering reality through validation and invalidation, and emphasis and deemphasis, of our manifold and multiform epistemic capacities and epistemological enterprises. Where, then, can we turn for the norms to guide such a meta-epistemological effort?
All I can think of is ... ... ... ... Dialogue. And we can begin with Ethics, which is our most obvious point of hermeneutical convergence, both interideologically and interreligiously. Because this fractal element of our holographic worldviews is a fruit that contains within it the very seeds of our larger epistemological projects, we can grow these seeds in the light of deconstructive-reconstructive analysis to eventually discover the common root system of our otherwise diverse hermeneutical branches.
And this is why I previously wrote with confidence:
What I bring from my tradition when I join your tradition(s) in dialogue may be, for me, a deeply felt existential orientation, and may be, for you, an interesting and most useful set of anthropological and cultural data, and vice versa. When we celebrate our diverse spiritualities together in story and song and engage in ethical enterprises together in solidarity and compassion, not jettisoning our interpretations and dogmas but silently nurturing them deep in our hearts, then we move forward toward the day when we can have a more fruitful engagement about those particular doctrines and interpretations, however diverse, that ground our deeply felt spiritual and moral senses, convergent as they often are.
What are your questions, comments, reflections? What resources do you recommend?
I read the post with interest but do not understand it. I have to admit Philosophy is not my strongest suit. I enjoy theology and Recovery language better. Philosophy is difficult for me to understand and what I find is that many times when theologians or philosophers who use a lot of philosophy attempt to dismiss the mystery of faith and explain in a rational way they tend to contradict each other and Church teaching.
The fall of Adam and Eve or the human race is really the pivotal event that changes the planet forever. I have often wondered what the first sin was. I understand that the apple is symbolic but the only answer I can come up with is rebellion and Pride. Is Pride or lust hunger at the center of all the wrong choices we make as we move from God and is created order. I dont know. As we move away from that event toward the coming of Christ and then away from Christ toward his second coming everything becomes buried again underneath a layer of selfishness and pride and sometimes I cannot see above the fog of my own desires, addictions, and fears. Just some rambling thoughts.
I suppose that if I had a half a $million to spend, I could reach the highest levels of Dianetics, as John Travolta, Kirstey Alley and Tom Cruise have done.
Another approach is psychotherapy. Barbara Streisand has been at it for dacades.
The Forum, back in the old days as EST, would have people screaming in your face as a drill instructor does, and yuppies paid good money for this.
Don Juan Matus had a teacher who sent him to an extremely abusive man over and over until he mastered him. It takes a touch of masochism to do this, but I have practiced this several times per week for nine years and my ego remains intact. On the other hand, maybe those guys are just mean.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to listen to the presentation as it's not running on this computer. I'd like to make a general and more personal reflection on the idea of sin and the fallen nature. Previously I didn't have a clear conception of this and believed that it was not healthy to consume oneself with the feeling of sinfulness. I read through "The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," by Joyce and it had me mulling over sin. Joyce, by the way, renounced his Catholic faith, although he was an ardent reader of Aquinas. In fact he devised an aesthetic theory that incorporated Aquinas' ideas on integritas (beauty), consonantia (wholeness), and claritas (radiance). Alot of his writing has a Thomist feel to it.
After reading Joyce's reflections on the fallen nature, I began to ruminate over sin. A conception of the fallen nature is necessary for one to follow a dualistic tradition. This understanding pivots on an existential dependence on the mercy of God. I began to see that the purely unitive view of God is not healthy for one still living in sin and I modified my view. What emerges from this is a sense of mystery in my own woundedness. Wounds are not simply objects of attention as a narcassist would see them, but they are filled with the living presence of the divine and they somehow are connect our fallen nature to the living mystery of God. This understanding only came through when I began to reaccess my understanding and acceptence of the fall and my own sinfulness.
Good to hear from you again, Asher. Those are powerful insights you're coming to concerning the presence of the divine in our woundedness. Thanks for sharing them.
One of the primary reasons the teaching on the fall came to light was through reflection on the reality of evil and disharmony that is a consequence of our misuse of freedom. The previous slide has some good links on this, especially the ones from innerexplorations.com
I wonder why you couldn't hear the sound files? I've had no trouble listening to them in Mac and Windows. You'll need Real Player, however; see http://www.real.com to pick up the freeware version.
I wonder if this yearning for love comes from the fallen nature? We can say that the yearning is evidence of his presence, but it is also evidence of our seperation, I think. In terms of contacting the wound--I like your question about how one confronts the wound when these archytypes forces surge up. It seems that our wounds are the doorway into his love, and our growing dependence on him. The place where we are united to him and this gives us hope in times when archytypal energies surge up. But without a framework and an understanding of sin (not a shame filled, guilt filled etc) it is impossible for me to enter this. Perhaps these archetypal forces assail us when we are open to them in some part of our fallen nature. Why are we open to these forces? Because on some level we enjoy them. And on a psycological level these forces can be helpful until we are moved or move into a deeper alignment with God. In other words, they can protect us from unconscious forces that we are not ready to face. When you talk about an upsurge, are you talking about an unloading of the unconscious? It seems that unless we become radically reoriented to God, these forces will keep arising because we have not offered that part of our nature to him and been sealed by him.
For myself, a new understanding of the Fall is helpful to move into deeper relationship with God.
Ps. Thanks Phil, I figured out the audio show and should have some impressions after I think over some of the ideas that were brought up.
Thanks for that essay on Lectio Divina. I especially liked this:
"ONCE WE have found a word or a passage in the Scriptures which speaks to us in a personal way, we must take it in and "ruminate" on it. The image of the ruminant animal quietly chewing its cud was used in antiquity as a symbol of the Christian pondering the Word of God. Christians have always seen a scriptural invitation to lectio divina in the example of the Virgin Mary "pondering in her heart" what she saw and heard of Christ (Luke 2:19). For us today these images are a reminder that we must take in the word - that is, memorize it - and while gently repeating it to ourselves, allow it to interact with our thoughts, our hopes, our memories, our desires. This is the second step or stage in lectio divina - meditatio. Through meditatio we allow God's word to become His word for us, a word that touches us and affects us at our deepest levels."
Kathleen Norris ("The Cloister Walk) spoke about this. She noted that she incorporates this listening in the writing of poetry...I find a sacramental quality in the poetry of Denise Leverov, whom I have been reading lately. I would like to get to the Bible at some point, and begin to read it every morning and night. Here's something by Levertov. I liked JB's discussion of analogical vs. dialectical imagination. But I wonder if imagination is the right word for "God disclosing himself to His Creation." I also wonder if this sort of view of reality can be transmitted without the conception of "the Fall." Other traditions have their poetry, their ecstatic paeons of oneness with the Godhead, but so rare to find a voice like this:
A Common Ground
To stand on common ground
here and there gritty with pebbles
yet elsewhere 'fine and mellow--
uncommon fine for ploughing'
there to labor
planting the vegtable words
diversely in their order
that they come to virtue!
To reach those shining pebbles,
that soil where uncommon men
have labored in their virtue
and left a store
of seeds for planting!
To crunch on words
grown in grit or fine
crumbling earth, sweet
to eat and sweet
to be given, to be eaten
in common, by laborer
and hungry wanderer...
Glad to see you're enjoying the info on Lectio Divina, Asher. It's an excellent way to approach God through the mediation of Scripture and have one's receptivity formed accordingly.
That "Common Ground" poem is very fine indeed!
"Christ's death and resurrection bestows the grace through which our fallen human faculties can be transformed."
-I wonder if it is also the fall from childhood? For most of us the journey is a journey backwards...and then one tries to move forward only to find the whole conception of forward has been inverted and the values that hold that movement have been put into question. The new values are too deeply part of ones being to be usurped. One also questions this yearning. What is it? Why do I yearn for this? This love that I seek has made me a hypocite for I hunger for it like a glutton hungers for food. How is my impulse different? Arne't I the same: selfish and sinful.
The impulse towards God has become interwoven with the fabric of ones being. There is choice, however, to force oneself to ignore the way.
I also ask myself: How can one depend on faith and knowledge to guide them when the movement backwards is so jarring, regressive? What if the theologians are wrong? So what if some people made it through, this place is hell where I stand...this is the point where one is forced to depend on a higher power and trust is given and the way forward is seen/felt. But who has the guts the follow it? To follow it, one must put aside all ones egotistical motives. This is confusing: who am I if I put aside these things, what will be left? What if the ego is simply so regressed, that I am really going mad? Again, the inner movement for prayer provides a space of belonging to the world, it points out ones innate gifts and weaknesses and then infuses us with a presence of love. Then a more serious question for some: what if the ego is not developed and this process has started. It assuredly can have damaging effects on the development of the personality. This is the problem of most teachings that focus away from the self, as I now see it.
"But it seems His death and resurrection make the subconscious much safer to explore."
Yes,one needs a mediator to get through the subconscious.
"And on a psycological level these forces can be helpful until we are moved or move into a deeper alignment with God. In other words, they can protect us from unconscious forces that we are not ready to face."
Say more about what you mean here.
Our unconscious defence mechanisms are important. The unconscious protects us from forces that we simply cannot face without God.
Sometimes I wish I was born a Christian
w.c., I'd hate to see that Sedona method you describe and outline buried deeply in an unrelated thread. How about excerpting this information and sharing your experience with it on a new thread in the Christian Spirituality Issues forum? I really like what I'm reading, here.
(2,800 posts! )
The one thing I appreciate about the Catholic Tradition is the ability to change before God. As a Calvinist I beleived that I would always be depraved even in Heaven and that I was unable to be purified. I was raised on the idea of total depravidity and it affected my psyche. Warranted or not it lead me to believe that I was a pile of dog manure and to self hatred. In the catholic tradition at least my understanding of it I have come to realize it is true that I have fallen nature but also I was created in God's image and that I was not a rotting pile of refuse but someone who God loved and wanted to cleanse or infuse with grace. To me this is a healthier view.
I love the concept behind centering prayer but have never been able to use it effectively. Lecto Divina and the irish jesuit web site sacred space have helped me in my spiritual walk.
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