Thursday, June 26, 2014

A celebration of insufficiency

Readers know I am a somewhat concise thinker, at least, at some times. 

I've been known for my ability to think throughout  the 58+ years of my business and personal life; and indeed, I come from a family of thinkers, including a grandfather who was a bona fide foundational quantum physicist. So my thinking credentials are established and solid, if not irrefutable. ( Mind you, no one's ability to think well is irrefutable — even the best thinkers fail at times.)

 Being a thinker, with the acquired range of experience I have outside the realm of thought, I have the ability to recognize thinking for what it is with my other parts, and discriminate in a manner that understands the difference between thinking, sensing, and feeling, and the moments when thinking is clearly divorced from them, and lacks what is necessary to contribute to a full experience of Being.

As I grow older, I notice how insistently dominant thinking is in the exchange that people conduct on the question of Being. Friends of mine, many of whom are concise and incisive thinkers, think deeply on the matter, quoting Heidegger, Derrida, and so on. Now, these men (it's almost always the men, you know) are very smart indeed, and are good thinkers – but their limitations are never obvious within the prescribed range of what thinking is. Nonetheless, because they are so very smart, their thinking is often considered to be somewhat definitive on the questions they examine.

Let me make this as clear as is possible.One cannot think of the presence of God. 

One ought to be clear about this; and yet one isn’t, not at all. In encountering large bodies of work that think about the presence of God — because all written work thinks about the body of God rather than experiencing the body of God (“body” in this sense meaning the entirety) — one at once forgets that thinking is thinking. Thinking, in other words, cannot remember itself. 

Even in writing this— and for the reader, in reading it— one is already disconnected from the actual sensation and presence of God by the translation, which is outward and disconnected from the inward flow, the influence, of the presence of God. So unless one has this action active in one — at all times, and specifically enough to sense one’s lack — the words sound wonderful, and that is about all they can do. Words, I would caution, sound far less wonderful on the one hand when the presence of God is sensed — and, on the other hand, they sound far more wonderful in the sense that their very insufficiency becomes a celebration.

 This celebration of insufficiency has of itself become a fairly large piece of territory for thinking on things. Yet the celebration ought to be an inward one, which is conducted in feeling and sensation which form strong conjunction to thought; and instead, all of that pours outward into thought-forms which we encounter in various writings, verbal exchanges, and so on. The fact that the quality of the inner energy is degraded at once when it encounters any such material expression is already forgotten. People are mesmerized by words.

 Even Meister Eckhart —  and if he were alive to speak, I think he would agree with me here — was unable to avoid falling prey to this problem; and in some of the few encounters he had with actual critics he freely confessed to it. His own ego is involved in his sermons; everything we write always has our egos in it, right up until the point of death. And everything contaminated by ego falls short of this sensation of presence, which is shorn of any such influence, in and of and by itself.

 This question of being shorn of influence of ego is a delicate one, because presence, although it defines it, always ends up being interpreted through it. This is the weakness of the immanent, the material, the natural, that the vehicle itself is weak, and that the forces seeking to express itself through the vehicle are strong. When strength is filtered through weakness, what comes through is no longer strong, even though in its origins, it is pure. So if one is looking for an explanation about why the force and action of purification is so central to the growth of the soul, to the spiritualization of Being, one need not look further than this.

 Many of Eckhart’s sermons treat this question in various ways; and it’s interesting how much hyperbole he had to resort to to try and come to grips with it in any meaningful manner. His tactics, in the end, mimic the tactics of so many other mystics in that he attempted to negate and abandon everything in order to express the transcendent. 

Although the position is technically correct, it attempts to sidestep what can never be sidestepped, and that is the fact of our own existence and expression of the presence of God. 


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