"Christ lives, he has overcome death, he has overcome all these powers. We live in this certainty, in this freedom, and in this joy." (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 12 XI 2008)
"Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks the truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie." (Blessed John Paul II, Canonisation of Edith Stein, 11 X 1998)

Friday, 3 September 2010

Transforming facts into meanings - three unrealities: the past, present and future - On William Blake

   Blake understood that when the spirit loses confidence in itself, the mind falls into the objective world and beings to see creation as something independent. It stops participating with life, stops perceiving beauty and possibility, and, instead, stands in judgement of everything, measuring differences, contrasts and oppositions. This false objectivity can only be transcended through a return to visionary experience, which alone can restore us to our true, imaginative selves.
    The scientific method encourages us to see the world as a thing outside of our own subjective experience of it. And once we do that, Blake warned, we start to think that what exists must necessarily exist, and that evil and injustice are givens. Such an attitude stifles the flow of human sympathetic awareness and cuts us off from any righteous indignation at the injustices visited upon others. This is why Blake said that a person who is not an artist cannot be a Christian, for the creative imagination is the only vehicle through which love of one's fellow man can be grasped. In Blake's New Jerusalem everyone is a visionary and, therefore, everyone experiences the Other as oneself. It is through faith that the primary narcissism of the child is recovered without forfeiting the adult's capacity to discern difference.
    The so-called objectivity of time and space clouds our capacity to make this return to the spirit because it replaces the divine cosmos with a world accessible only to our rational minds and breeds an unnecessary identification with our physical bodies as our selves. For Blake, time isn't a real object but the name for three unrealities: a past that doesn't exist anymore, a future that never will, and a present that is never quite here. "Space" is only a concept that distinguishes between "here" and "there." It has no real center and no real end. Only the holy immediacy of God within us is present to itself, eternal and always, containing the totality of human existence. But to live in the light of this revelation, one must discount the myriad distinctions and distractions that divide the transcendental unity of the soul-world.
    Eternal life is not life that last forever; not space-time life going on and on, acquiring more experiences and more things, exhausting itself in the joys of unending stuff. It is, rather, a life free from temporality. Only when we transcend the distinction between subject and object, between here and there, and between now and then, only when we go beyond the concepts of the temporal and the physical, can we begin to understand what holiness truly means. This is why, for the materialists, religious concepts are inherently absurd: they simply cannot accept the possibility that empiricism is a historically conditioned worldview born of the ancient aristocratic desire to control fate and manage history. As a result, they refuse to wake up to Being - remaining unconscious to the eternal and the divine present in each and every experience - preferring instead the heady fantasies of time travel and everlasting cyber-life.
    But Blake reminds us again and again that true knowledge - that is to say, knowledge of our ontological status as creatures made in the image of God - cannot be grasped through calculation, only through a vision. And vision  - in its most concentrated and inclusive form - is what psychoanalysts call the "imago," an internal picture that transforms facts into meanings.

(The above is taken from the book Subversive Orthodoxy by Robert Inchausti)

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