Sunday, November 13, 2005

Transcendence and Immanence

...on this point all religions and all sapiential traditions are in perfect agreement: man is the theomorphic creature par excellence, whence his preeminence and his position of centrality.

Perhaps the most baneful consequence of evolutionist thought is that it obscures, more effectively than any other pseudo-philosophy, the true nature of man and the loftiness of his destiny. One cannot but agree with Seyyed Hossein Nasr when he writes (with reference to the Darwinist age in which we live) that “Never before has there been so little knowledge of man, of the anthropos”.

The fact is that Darwinism constitutes a counterposition to the perennial wisdom of mankind. It represents a systematic denial of the archetypes, of the essences, of that “participation in Being” upon which all life and all existences hinge. In the climate of Darwinist thought most of what the religions teach loses its meaning or, worse still, assumes another and indeed contrary sense. To be sure, there have been attempts to fuse evolutionism and religion; but the point is that these new interpretations of perennial doctrines have in fact falsified and corrupted what they pretend somehow to restore or render more palatable to the contemporary taste. Teilhard de Chardin, for instance, has unquestionably falsified Christianity even as Sri Aurobindo has mutilated Hinduism.

At bottom evolutionism is the denial of transcendence, the desperate attempt to understand life on the horizontal plane of its manifestations. Religion, on the other hand, is perforce concerned with transcendence and the vertical dimension, in which alone the re-ligare or “binding back” can be effected. The supposed merger, therefore, of these opposed doctrines constitutes one of the most bizarre happenings in these already confused and confusing times.
(The Universe is Ultimately to be Explained in Terms of a Metacosmic Reality
By Wolfgang Smith cf. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life and Homo Sapiens
Edited by Henry Morgenau and Abraham Varghese :115)

The way he picked up on a "denial of transcendence" reminds me of a political scientist who came to define fascism as the "practical and violent resistance to transcendence." In the West there has been a war waged against religion based on Darwinism. (See two posts down for an example of a reaction from "organized religion" that was too little, too late. Who says that religion is organized? Disorganized, is more like it.)

I wonder if the best way to seek the truth is not just a focus on transcendence* as opposed to immanence but instead a sort of marriage between transcendence and immanence in telic thoughts about an unfolding of events as things are thought through, i.e. "evolution." It's ashame that the word has been made into a pollution of language by Darwinists for the sake of their creation myth. It is probably best to avoid it and just write of "an unfolding of events." One that eventually brings about a union between transcendence and immanence, thought and word, word and deed or the Word becoming flesh.

An example of some vague notions of some type of union between "the hidden face of God" or "a hidden subtext" which tends to knit things together in the still waters of a womb and Life:
In claiming that water means life, NASA scientists are not merely being upbeat about their project. They are making--tacitly--a huge and profound assumption about the nature of nature. They are saying, in effect, that the laws of the universe are cunningly contrived to coax life into being against the raw odds; that the mathematical principles of physics, in their elegant simplicity, somehow know in advance about life and its vast complexity. If life follows from soup with causal dependability, the laws of nature encode a hidden subtext, a cosmic imperative, which tells them: 'Make life!' And, through life, its by-products: mind, knowledge, understanding. It means the laws of the universe have engineered their own comprehension. This is a breathtaking vision of nature, magnificent and uplifting in its majestic sweep. I hope it is correct. It would be wonderful if it were correct. But if it is, it represents a shift in the scientific world-view as profound as that initiated by Copernicus and Darwin put together. It should not be glossed over with glib statements that water plus organics equals life, obviously, for it is far from obvious.
(The Fifth Miracle: The Search for
the Origin and Meaning of Life
by Paul Davies :246)

Or perhaps one could sum that up as the Spirit of Law moving upon the face of the waters? Who can say?

A focus on transcendence can lead one to conclusions about God, yet it is a mistaken pattern of thought typical to the West that a focus on immanence is somehow contradictory to transcendence or must be "separated." Instead it is complementary, a complementary marriage that calls for wisdom.

*(E.g. I am making a collection of anomalies that are rather hard for self-appointed Policemen of Knowledge to smother into their Mommy Nature. This sort of thing seems to annoy them.)

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