Tuesday, May 18, 2021
3:10 a.m. Continuing.
We need, what Genius is unconsciously seeking, and, by some daring generalization of the universe, shall assuredly discover, a spiritual calculus, a novum organon, whereby nature shall be divined in the soul, the soul in God, matter in spirit, polarity resolved into unity; and that power which pulsates in all life, animates and builds all organizations, shall manifest itself as one universal deific energy, present alike at the outskirts and centre of the universe, whose centre and circumference are one; omniscient, omnipotent, self-subsisting, uncontained, yet containing all things in the unbroken synthesis of its being.
A little difficult to read, yet the meaning clear enough, once re-stated.
It ought to be, given that it seeks to say what you – we – have been trying to put into words over several years!
To put it into plain English – We need a new way of expressing the fundamental unity of all things 3D and non-3D. Words like “universal deific energy” aside, the sense of it is right there: Everything is all one, and we need a way of expressing it that will function as a scientific law rather than what seems only a pious wish or a sleepy generalization.
And that new conceptualization will supplant older ways of seeing things, whose insufficiency will have become obvious.
He is stating real, actual, yet ideal –. Well, again my language is clotting, like his. I’m trying to say, he is not in cloud-cuckoo-land; he is trying to say something that makes great sense, but he can’t seem to realize that language that is clear to him is not clear to everybody else.
You will find that your own – our own – clearest statements are none too clear to those who cannot find the right place to read them from.
XXXII. GENERATION AND CORRUPTION.
The soul decomposes the substances of nature in the reverse order of their composition: read this backward for the natural history of their genesis and growth. Generation and corruption are polar or adverse facts. The tree first dies at the top: to raze the house we first remove the tiling. The decomposition and analysis are from without, according to the order of sense, not of the soul. All investigations of nature must be analytic through the order of decay. Science begins and ends in death; poesy in life; philosophy in organization; art in creation.
I think this says: Science proceeds by analysis rather than synthesis.
That isn’t wrong, but recalibrate, and proceed more slowly.
All right. Perhaps we could say, the senses proceed by the process of analysis, which examines the most exterior facets of a thing first, and proceeds to dig its way toward first causes. Intuition, on the other hand, first sees the causes, then works its way to seeing how those causes play out. The two complementary ways of seeing the world seem to describe entirely different things at first. Only when they have proceeded far enough does it become clear that one is burrowing from the outside inward, and the other is burrowing from the inside outward. But they are describing the same universe, the same all-that-is.
Again, keep this one in mind in its connection with the preceding and following sayings.
XXXIII. EACH AND ALL.
Life eludes all scientific analysis. Each organ and function is modified in substance and varied in effect, by the subtile energy which pulsates throughout the whole economy of things, spiritual and corporeal. The each is instinct with the all; the all unfolds and reappears in each. Spirit is all in all. God, man, nature, are a divine synthesis, whose parts it is impiety to sunder. Genius must preside devoutly over all investigations, or analysis, with her murderous knife, will seek impiously to probe the vitals of being.
Yes. This paragraph sums up what is contained in the previous saying.
It does. And if examined separately, these sayings may appear to be little more than a series of irritatingly positive statements without support. Seen in connection with one another, though, they appear to be one argument, logically laid out.
Again I wonder if they might have been clearer to people without the headings that tempt us to read them as self-sufficient (and largely meaningless) assertions. I can see that either way has its disadvantages.
God organizes never his attributes fully in single structures. He is instant, but never extant wholly, in his works. Nature does not contain, but is contained in him; she is the memoir of his life; man is a nobler scripture, yet fails to outwrite the godhead. The universe does not reveal, eternities do not publish the mysteries of his being. He subjects his noblest works to minute and constant revision; his idea ever transcends its form; he moulds anew his own idols; both nature and man are ever making, never made.
I think he is saying here, in repeated examples, that God is the whole that surpasses the sum of its parts.
Not a bad way of saying it, because it leads (or may lead some, anyway) to the further thought: Something can only be more than the sum of the parts if it has its being in a higher order of things. Everything is part of God (if you choose to express things in this older way), but God is more than the sum of everything at this level. The All-D is not the highest expression of reality as it is not the lowest. But everything at this level, as at any level, is entirely contained in the thing that transcends and organizes it.
We need a homely, sense-based example such as Emerson was so good at providing.
A bag of potatoes contains all the potatoes inside the bag, but potatoes-plus-bag does not equate to everything, only to everything at the potatoes-plus-bag level.
I’m smiling. That’s homely enough, but I’m not sure it really clarifies for people. I guess we’ll see.
Nature seems remote and detached, because the soul surveys her by means of the extremest senses, imposing on herself the notion of difference and remoteness through their predominance, and thereby losing that of her own oneness with it. Yet nature is not separate from me; she is mine alike with my body; and in moments of true life, I feel my identity with her; I breathe, pulsate, feel, think, will, through her members, and know of no duality of being. It is in such moods of soul that prophetic visions are beheld, and evangeles published for the joy and hope of mankind.
Again he says if you view the world through the senses, it appears to be external to you. If you view it through the intuition, you feel that you are part of it and it is part of you. In practice, we do both, hence we don’t always realize that we are seeing the same thing two ways.
Nothing to add or modify. Continue.
Solidity is an illusion of the senses. To faith, nothing is solid: the nature of the soul renders such fact impossible. Modern chemistry demonstrates that nine tenths of the human body are fluid, and substances of inferior order in lesser proportion. Matter is ever pervaded and agitated by the omnipresent soul. All things are instinct with spirit.
He says the same thing again, from a very slightly different angle.
He does, for two reasons. First, it is hard for him to hold the perception together, he lacking the left-brain right-brain analogy with all the associations of thought it brings. Second, he is therefore uneasily aware that he hasn’t quite gotten it across convincingly, and so he restates it, not quite sure if he is restating or stating something a little different.
As we proceed, I get more impressed with the difficulty of the task he set himself, and I see better what Emerson meant in saying that if he had never met Alcott he would not have seen that Plato was describing something real, rather than only imaginary. That’s a poor way of putting it, but I am very much aware of how slippery all these words are, how misleading.
XXXVII. SEPULTURE AND RESURRECTION.
That which is visible is dead: the apparent is the corpse of the real; and undergoes successive sepultures and resurrections. The soul dies out of organs; the tombs cannot confine her; she eludes the grasp of decay; she builds and unseals the sepulchres. Her bodies are fleeting, historical. Whatsoever she sees when awake is death; when asleep dream.
Yet again. And again, despite these paralytic words like sepulture, what he says is real; it is sensible. It is the result of very fine “spiritual” perception.
It is, but spell it out even though you think it unnecessary.
What we perceive through the senses appears fixed and dead because the senses can report only what was, 1/30th of a second ago. But what is – the unending flux of living forces not yet determined by somebody opening Schrodinger’s box – can be perceived by the intuition, not the senses. Thus, “He who looks outward, dreams; he who looks inward, awakens.” Thus, in Alcott’s words, “Whatsoever [the soul] sees when awake is death, when asleep dream.”
No, look at that more carefully. Your overall sense of it is right, but not that final part.
You’re right. It is all of a piece until that final sentence. What does he mean there?
Read the related sentences carefully together. He says that the soul is contained within the forms it appears in, but is not confined to them. That is, the non-3D component is bound to the 3D component during the 3D’s life, but does not die when the 3D component dies. Thus far, nothing new to you. Then: “Her bodies are fleeting, historical. Whatsoever she sees when awake is death; when asleep dream.” It would be clearer if he had pulled that sentence apart a bit, expanded it to say, “What the non-3D expresses through its 3D component is dead in the sense that the 3D is mortal. What the non-3D can show only as intuition is not mortal (because not merely 3D) and therefore is not seemingly “real;” in the way the 3D self takes the 3D world – the shared subjectivity, as we are calling it – to be real.
And there’s your hour.
Our thanks as always. It is an interesting exploration.
A good way to pass the time, you will admit. And it is good work as well.
Till next time, then.
Frank DeMarco, author
Papa’s Trial: Hemingway in the Afterlife, a novel