I.P.: But if the spiritual heart is not manifested physically, how can you tell where it's located and whether it has awakened or not?
A.M.: When the spiritual heart has awakened, you feel a kind of burning, an influx of energy, a feeling of peace in your chest. When it only starts awakening, you feel pain in the chest. At first it's like heart pain, often quite strong. Those who don't understand what's happening, think it's heart trouble. We've had cases in our commune when people felt acute pain at the time when their spiritual heart began to awaken. Doctors thought it was a heart attack, but cardiograms showed no heart disorders. Objective evidence spoke of good health. When the action of the spiritual heart expands, you may feel pain in your chest or even your shoulders. At first the area of action expands, but then it is localized and forms a kind of sphere in the middle of your chest. After a while the pain goes away and you feel the action only once in a while.At the time of acute self-consciousness at the birth of adulthood, when the
soul is still innocent and open, has not been hardened, and the world is a
big apple with possibilities that are seemingly limitless, and relationships
can seem to be so perfect and so easily perfect, and the soul has been just
awakened to the intense sense of personhood, self-hood, and asks (for the
first and sometimes only time in one's life) the question of who he is and
why he's here, the soul is wide open and seeks to go beyond itself. The
person feels deeply and intensely, having not yet learned to block and hide
these feelings which later prove too painful, and he longs to share this
feeling, this self-awareness, this itensity, this pain with others and to feel
what others feel, especially those who are going through the same thing.
Everything is poured out freely, sometimes too freely, and there is no
attempt to guard one's inner world from being trampled on. The child who
has never been hit by a car, if he is not told of the dangers, will have no
fear of walking into a busy street.
However, when the person gets older, as time passes, the perfect "soul-
mate" relationships which began so intensely, like a wonderous blossoming
flower, become disappointing because there was nothing higher to hold
them together; and the seemingly endless possibilities which present
themselves in youth become smaller, one possibility closing itself off after
another once one goes further on a certain path ( for each person can only
take one path at a time). And then occurs what has formerly been feared
and rejected - a layer forms on top of the raw person, a protective coating;
and it cannot be helped, for pure vunerability is too painful.
All this explains why youth of today fear so much to get old, why they will
do anything to prevent it.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
(Photo from Blog, Cotswold Peeps)
Why is this the case? First of all, how can two such diverse modes -- sight and hearing -- equally create the thing called "art?" Or, perhaps more to the point, what is art that it can express itself in two such diverse modes? Why are a painting and a symphony both called art? And why are the other senses excluded?
One of the classic definitions of art is that it combines, wholeness (integritas), harmony (consonantia), and radiance (claritas, which is similar to Plato's "splendor of truth").
Thus, painting and music can obviously embody wholeness and harmony, but it is difficult to imagine how the other senses could do so. For example, touch is inherently fragmentary; one cannot "touch the whole," nor can the fingers perceive radiance. And no one imagines that truth can be tasted or smelled (except in a subtle, analogical manner).
Let's go back to Joyce, who is speaking through Stephen: "An aesthetic image is presented to us either in space or in time. What is audible is presented in time, what is visible is presented in space."
The "mysterious instant" of aesthetic reception occurs when "the supreme quality of beauty... is apprehended luminously by the mind which has been arrested by its wholeness and fascinated by its harmony." There is in "the silent stasis of aesthetic pleasure, a spiritual state very like to that cardiac condition which... [is] called the enchantment of the heart."
Perhaps vision conveys the image of eternity, while sound is the moving image of eternity. As Schuon says, aesthetics is "the science of forms," and music presents us with temporal form, or architecture in motion. But the form must convey what is non-formal, i.e., the supra-formal light -- and truth -- from another world. It is limitlessness expressed by a limit, or divine radiance expressed through wholeness and harmony.
Interestingly, Schuon writes that "ignorant and profane aesthetics places the beautiful -- or what its sentimental idealism takes to be beautiful -- above the true..." This leads to idolatry of beauty, and of "art for art's sake." But beauty should be for truth's sake. If it is not subordinate to something higher, it will be appropriated by something lower.
Sri Aurobindo says something similar in a letter to a disciple, that through sound or image, "in a moment mysteriously, unexpectedly, there is a Presence, a Power, a Face that looks into yours, an inner sight..."
However, "so long as one is satisfied with looking through windows, the gain is only initial; one day one will have to take up the pilgrim's staff and start out to journey there where the Reality is forever manifest and present."
Or, one must follow the light to the sun and sound to the moon, for "in a certain sense, the sun makes known space and the moon, time" (Schuon).
Thursday, July 29, 2010
The world's leading expert in English-speaking milieux, and translator of the Dutch political thought and influence of Groen, Dr. Harry Van Dyke, has summarized Groen's mature view in this way:
We are living in a condition of permanent revolution ... revolutions are here to stay and will grow much worse in scope and intensity unless men can be persuaded to return to Christianity, to practise its precepts and to obey the Gospel in its full implications for human life and civilized society. Barring such a revival, the future would belong to socialism and communism, which on this view were but the most consistent sects of the new secular religion. To Groen, therefore, the political spectrum that presented itself to his generation offered no meaningful choice.
"In terms of his analysis, the 'radical left' was composed of fanatical believers in the godless ideology; the 'liberal centre,' by comparison, by warm believers who warned against excesses and preached moderation; while the 'conservative right' embraced all those who lacked either the insight, the prudence, or the will to break with the modern tenets yet who recoiled from the consequences whenever the ideology was practised and implemented in any consistent way. None of the shades or 'nuances of secular liberalism represented a valid option for Christian citizens." Groen called for a rejection of the entire available spectrum of political positions, calling for a "radical alternative in politics, along anti-revolutionary, Christian-historical lines" (Harry Van Dyke, Groen van Prinsterer: Lectures on Unbelief and Revolution (1989, pp. 3-4).
"Almost as a postscript to the heavenly warning issued at Fatima in 1917, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, two years later, reviewed the three Great Evils of the latter times, noting: “In 1517, the Protestants rebelled against the Church; in 1717, the Freemasons rebelled against Christ; and, in 1917, the Communists rebelled against God.” In a single sentence the Polish martyr had exposed common origin and natural succession of each of these Apocalyptic nightmares...."
How will the Protestant Church begin to cleanse itself of its associations with Progress? Might not the occasion of America fighting for its reason for existence, its very soul, be the time to begin "anew"? Wasn't Jonathan Edwards soaked and permeated with the God-centered, solar, masculine theology which forms the basis of (in Augustine's words) true religion?
Monday, July 26, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
By courtesy of The Failed Hermit, we present Orthodox Poetic. For those of a literary turn, enjoy!
Friday, July 23, 2010
“God…has established one sole order composed of two parts: nature, exalted by grace, and grace vivifying nature. He has not confused these two orders, but he has coordinated them. One force alone is the model, and one thing alone the motivating principle and ultimate end of divine Creation: Christ….All the rest is subordinated to Him. The goal of human existence is to form the Mystical Body of Christ, of this Head of the elect, of this eternal Priest, of this King of the immortal Kingdom, and of the society of those who will eternally glorify God.” (La Civiltà Cattolica, VI, i, 1865, 287-288)Louis Veuillot had argued that the blindfold fixed by the Revolution upon the eyes of western man would probably only be removed by “the mutilated hands of martyrs”...Let it suffice to mention now that a lack of intelligence, a failure of imagination, and a simple ill will led Liberal Catholics of the 1850’s and 1860’s persistently to distort and thwart promotion of the exalted visions urged upon Christians by the counterrevolutionaries. Liberal Catholics outrightly refused to read Taparelli’s works, even when he personally begged them to point out where they thought he had erred. They labeled the patristic doctrine of divinization as being pantheistic, and the related concept of the Whole Christ as idolatry. Any notion of nature as dominated by Christ the King was excoriated as theocratic. Liberal Catholics, like liberal non-Catholics, invoked the power of the State to silence Veuillot, Taparelli, and those who agreed with them..."
from Dr. John Rao
Deserves better acquaintance.
"Just as the man who thinks only of this world does everything possible to make life here easier and better, so must we, too, who believe in the eternal kingdom, risk everything in order to receive a great reward there. Just as those who believe in National Socialism tell themselves that their struggle is for survival, so must we, too, convince ourselves that our struggle is for the eternal kingdom. But with this difference: We need no rifles or pistols for our battle, but instead, spiritual weapons—and the foremost among these is prayer. . . . Through prayer, we constantly implore new grace from God, since without God's help and grace it would be impossible for us to preserve the Faith and be true to His commandments. . . . Let us love our enemies, bless those who curse us, pray for those who persecute us. For love will conquer and will endure for all eternity. And happy are they who live and die in God's love."
Fukuyama is still spewing his Hegelian nonsense:
"None of this is meant, of course, to justify the terrible events of the century now passing. But it does demonstrate the truth of de Tocqueville's assertion that even the actions of democracy's enemies seem in the long run to advance the cause of democracy. It also supports Immanuel Kant's view that man's "asocial sociability" -- his propensity for war and violence -- is the crucible of human progress.
So it turns out that the main consequence of the long chain of events occasioned by Gen. von Kluck's defeat, important as those events were for the millions of individuals affected by them, was to affect mostly the timing of the march toward democracy and free markets and not the final objective. This would seem to be evidence for what Hegel called the "cunning of History," or what others would label the hand of God in human affairs"
And sane persons like Paul Gottfried still try to explain patiently:
"Since the director of this website, who is named for the great emperor and king, has asked me to compare the “Habsburger Reichsidee” (the imperial idea) to the neoconservative concept of a global democratic America, I shall begin by underlining the fact that these ideas operate in non-intersecting universes. Such a comparison may be likened to the task of looking for common characteristics in a Shakespearean drama and a Harlequin novel. If overlaps are ascertainable (and they may be from a structural perspective), they are far less significant than the differences to be noted. One chief difference between the concepts in question is that unlike neoconservatism, the “imperial idea” is a Western and European invention that comes out of the aristocratic and bourgeois past. It is rooted in the European civilization that extended from the late Middle Ages down to the early twentieth century; and while imperial rule shows the marks of a certain commendable political development, toward religious tolerance and a market economy, its history is baroque and imperial. It is in the truest sense Burkean, uniting monarchy and aristocracy to a modern liberal order, without damage being done to any of the parts of this civilizational synthesis."
Gottfried has good ideas about what paleocons can be up to these days. No help from the Hegelians is forthcoming or should be accepted, even Republican ones. History does not explain itself.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
"It is ironic and sad that today supposedly avant-garde Christian writers can strike this cool, evasive, imprecise, artistic, superficially reformist pose of Erasmus and call it "postmodern" and capture a generation of unwitting, historically naive people who don't know they are being duped by the same old verbal tactics used by the elitist, humanist writers in past generations. We see them in the controversies between the slippery Arians and Athanasius, and we see them now in Tyndale's day. It's not postmodern. It's pre-modern--because it's perpetual."
Saturday, July 17, 2010
During this labor, Hercules will have to have the help of the gods (again!). The birds are too fierce to fight directly, and they nest in the reedy, dark, swampy woods. But the divine noisemaker is gifted to him by Athena (a brass device made by Haephestus). Using this, he raises them in flight, and he slays them with the arrows he gained against the Lion. Likewise, the Christian will need the aid of the full armor of God. I think I've mentioned this before, but just putting on the helmet of salvation will get you speared in the gizzard. Let me be more explicit. In the spiritual life, you grow, or you "die". God will often hold us at a step for years, decades even, until we "humble ourself under His mighty hand". He doesn't have a checklist that you can tick things off on at your leisure. It's a test. Or, more aptly, a quest. There is a path, and if you can't guess the riddle, or perform the three feats, or have a vision, you will wait there until you are sufficiently humble to sense your lack and need to do so. After that, it's easy, at least by comparison. Heaven is taken by storm, but not by warriors with tin-pot hats of easy salvation, or tin-foil hats of easy believism. The gods, the angels, the saints, the messengers...these are part of your quest too. And there are not so nice counterparts. And this is why the whole armor is requisite. Yet nothing is so imperative as the objective, and nothing so energizing or powerful as our Lord. It's just that a story has these details, and getting the details right are important. So don't forget that sanctification is more important (in a sense) than "justification". And don't forget that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, and that some have entertained angels unawares.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Opposed to this, we find more amenable and congenial the thought of this man:
"Gómez Dávila, however, did not merely repeat old criticisms of the Enlightenment worship of an abstract reason; he turned skepticism into a strength. This can be seen from his discussion of “problems” and “solutions,” two words that recur throughout his work. Gómez Dávila turns their customary relationship on its head. For him, problems are good, and solutions are bad. His first, and most obvious, objection to solutions is that all the modern world’s solutions simply have not worked. Indeed, the modern world is “drowning in solutions.” This observation, true as it may be, still does not reach the core of Gómez Dávila’s objections to solutions. It is not only modern man who is incapable of finding solutions to the world’s problems; no man can devise solutions to his problems. Problems are not to be solved; they are to be lived out in our lives. For Gómez Dávila, man is an animal that has only a divine solution. Skepticism, then, is not a way of finding reasons not to believe in God, but rather of “pruning our faith” in God..."
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The Fifth Task will involve doing what seems impossible, in sheer magnitude. Massive lifestyle changes (Lifestyle itself, oh my!) will have to be implemented, as well as old forsaken duties resumed, and perhaps their neglected missions in the world that will suddenly be seen in a new light. One might even wish to try to save old gifts from God long abandoned. In any case, metanoia (thinking newly) will reveal more work than you can shake your stick at. You're going to need a river, like Hercules, to redirect through those piled up Augean stables. And when you're done, the Accuser will still proclaim that you didn't do it fair and square. Use the tactics of Greatheart, in Pilgrim's Progress, and arm yourselves with the active virtues of "works-righteousness" : dauntless, intrepid energy of action. The enemy can be destroyed at close quarters, and heaven can be taken by storm. Here, the helmet of faith alone does you no good, because you are wrestling enemies who will rip out your spleen. The whole armor of God is yours; dig that new channel, rip up the old river, and throw open the stable doors on the far end. Cleanse yourself and draw near to God. Don't wait for the miracle.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Marshall has rightly engaged Carrier due to his prominence (Carrier is one of the few atheists who has had training in classical studies and addresses primary documents from the early Church era).
Marshall's site is here: http://christthetao.homestead.com/
Monday, July 5, 2010
"Whether through socialism or mindless pragmatism, the international Empire of the World created by the Party-State-Church is purely materialistic and destructive of man. It destroys him by trying to turn him into something that he is not meant to be; by giving him a social order that prepares him to see nothing; by depriving him of the necessary means by which he may find his way back to sanity. As it goes about its work, it teaches its “infallible” fideist doctrines of “freedom”, “progress”, and “pragmatism”, so that men may praise their own destruction as the height of human achievement. Through channels that, owing to the real complexity of human nature and the problem of sin, supporters of the Revolution might not have envisaged or wanted, the logic of its mission is completed: men are plunged into a hell which calls itself heaven.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Is this a Kierkegaardian gambit of psychologically driven passion? Or the Truth? One of the problems with being "Western" is that we are often faced with false choices in our thinking. I call this the trap of "dialectics", but it is pretty clear that another form of terminology could be used. Eastern thought tends to map the whole in more than one dimension; "Progress" is thus precluded, but a more equitable approach to the whole person is used. The "nous", for instance, receives attention. The Noetic element is neither mind nor passion, but is capable of both, and with better results. The "East" can help us with that. It doesn't mean we have to stop being "Western". Simone Weil was right to think that interdisciplinary religious approaches would destroy both. However, if one is sufficiently dedicate to one's "own", then cross-training can help, and may, in fact, be the only thing which could.
Bp. Kallistos Ware: “So long as the ascetic prays with the mind in the head, he will still be working solely with the resources of the human intellect. On this level he will never attain to an immediate and personal encounter with God. By the use of his brain, he will at best know about God, but he will not know God.”
“The intellect/nous is in the heart but the heart is much greater than the nous. The heart includes volition, the will to choose to follow God’s commandments. It also includes the faculty of loving and desiring God. Thus, the three faculties of the heart are: 1) To know God with the nous, 2) To love God with the heart, 3) To choose freely to follow Him.”
Spiritual forces exist, both good and bad, which hinder our progress. Demons give idle and distractive thoughts the backing of their deception and power, and we join these to our kindled passions. Our guardian angels are tasked with many things, including (according to Jesus), making life not worth living or even having been created if someone makes us stumble. They all behold the face of the Father directly, and are associated with the soul. It might be useful to recall, from time to time, that specific times and places and people have energies which help or hinder us, and that we ourselves are open to other influences than obviously physical ones. Test the spirits. Discern the times. Watch and pray.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Or, says Plato, "the madness of God is greater than the sanity of man".