Monday, December 29, 2014

Sin and missing the mark, Part II

The spider, redux

We know Gurdjieff did not discount the concept of sin. His aphorism reads: When you know it is wrong and do it anyway, you commit a sin difficult to redress

Yes, one may call this missing the mark; but the mark is for the good, that is, for the right, and not the wrong.

We furthermore know Gurdjieff had a movement called ‘I wish to be for the Good,” so we know that the concept of goodness was not foreign to his work either, no matter what relativists may say about the subject. One must, in the end, admit that Gurdjieff proposed what is called an objective good— that is, a good which is goodness itself, not an invented, human version of goodness. This is that same higher goodness referred to yesterday; and this idea of objective goodness permeates the cosmic atmosphere of Beelzebub’s universe.

I don’t, in the end, believe it’s even possible to separate Gurdjieff’s concepts of sin and redemption from those of Christianity-at-large; they stem, in the end, from the root presumptions of the Abrahamic religions he was raised in and around. Beelzebub’s descriptions of mankind depict humanity as essentially sinful; while assigning the blame for this to an abstraction (the organ kundabuffer) the results remain nonetheless concrete and tangible; and the responsibility for correction rests squarely on the shoulders of the individual. Mankind plays, at the outset of Beelzebub, the role of an innocent victim; yet in the end, to be complicit in the malevolent results of the organ kundabuffer does not allow complacence; in the end, we are responsible

The idea of intelligence (whether conscious or not) begins with an intelligence of responsibility: if there is an objective reason to be attained, it lies here, where the individual learns to actively discriminate between their own self-interests, i.e., their criminally irresponsible ego, and the interests of God—that is, a higher principle.   

This idea of goodness-in-itself is invested in the idea of Being. 

Being (forever vested in the opposing natures of manifested immanence and unmanifest transcendence) is an inherent goodness unto itself, encompassing both its own goodness and the measurement of its goodness, as embodied by the bad. 

This may seem like a logical pretzel; but if it is, it’s a chocolate-covered pretzel, simply because the experience of Being, if engaged in wholeheartedly and unreservedly, is Godly unto itself; its inherent goodness is inevitably revealed. To Be is already goodness itself; and we can conceive of no alternative. 

Meister Eckhart reminds us thus: 

Life is so desirable in itself that we desire it for itself. Those who are in hell in eternal pain would not wish to lose their life, neither devils nor souls, because their life is so noble that it flows direct from God into the soul. And so, because it thus flows immediately from God, they want to live. What is life? God's being is my life. If my life is God's being, then God's essence must be my essence, and God's self-identity my self-identity, neither more nor less.   

Sin, therefore, exists not in defiance of goodness and Being, but in support of it. It is unable, in the end, to eclipse or obviate the good; and so one comes to an acceptance of it… 

even if that acceptance requires all the very real discomforts not only of conscience,  but also the darkest tests of the soul itself.


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