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Translation rohr's blog

  1. 1. Johnboy on December 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm said:Your comment is awaiting moderation.For Hugh (and likely a few others)RE: The optimal nondual (contemplative) approach to reality ismultifaceted in that it aspires to 1) intersubjective intimacyvia our unitive strivings whereby different subjects/personscelebrate coming together 2) intraobjective identity via ourrealization of unitary being whereby all realities present assomehow intricately interconnected as objects/functions withina divine matrix 3) intrasubjective integrity via eachsubject/person’s growth in human authenticity or true-selfrealization and 4) interobjective indeterminacy wherebycreated and Uncreated subjects/persons and objects/functionspresent as also somehow distinct. The nondual approach isprofoundly relational as it seamlessly, hence optimally,realizes the truth, beauty and goodness that ensues from thesedifferent eternal relationships.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++When I say nondual or contemplative, I am talking about theway I interact with my granddaughter when she knocks on mydoor. My heart leaps and we delight in each other’s presence.When I say dualistic, I think of doing my taxes.Talking about a putative ultimate reality, God for most of us,a nondual intersubjective intimacy would be like that betweenspouses, parent and child, or, like in my example, grandparentand grandchild. That’s one way aspire to interact with God inthe West. If, however, we interact with God like He’s apoliceman or judge, that would be dualistic in a moralproblem-solving sense. St. Bernard spoke of a “love of God forsake of self.” In catechism we learned imperfect contrition orsorrow for the consequences our sins have on us. CS Lewisspoke of eros or the “what’s in it for me” dynamic ofrelationships. All of those would be examples of practicaldualistic problem-solving. Those who spend a lot of time onmetaphysical proofs and the apologetics of natural theology inphilosophy internet forums are engaging God in a rationaldualistic problem-solving. This is another way we interactwith God in the West, which is okay but we miss the deeperinvitation to intimacy if we don’t go beyond it to thenondual.A nondual intraobjective integrity refers primarily toEnlightenment experiences of the East, where folksexperientially realize, beyond all concepts, the grand unityof all reality, how everything is related to everything else.This is not a metaphysical insight such that one would comeaway a pantheist (God is merely the whole that is greater thanthe sum of His parts) or materialist monist (the philosophicalnaturalism of an atheist). Rather, it is a profoundexistential realization of our radical solidarity with allbeing and the experience blossoms into a profound compassion,sometimes for all sentient beings. The Western experience oflove moves us to compassion, also, but more so from havingexperienced being so well loved. This does have practical 1
  2. 2. metaphysical implications that some Christians have resolvedas a pan-en-theism, which more so suggests God indwelling inall rather than be comprised of all (pan-theism). TheEnlightenment experience is nondual. There is no problem-solving going on, just an ineffable … well, we cannot telluntellable stories. Elaborating a panentheist approach onpaper is a rational dualistic problem-solving, which is greatbut not the same as an existential realization.Intrasubjective integrity speaks to our growth within each ofus as subject. Think of Kohlberg’s stages of moraldevelopment; Fowler’s stages of faith development; Piaget’sstages of cognitive developmet; or Lonergan’s conversions –intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious.Religious conversion is a two-step dance. Having been lovedunqualifiedly, we start loving, more & more through time, inthe same way, gifting others in return by cooperating withthat gift of divine love, which is nothing less than theactivity (mission) of the Holy Spirit. The more we cooperatewith that gift, which was given freely, apart from anything wehave ever known (or been educated to) or ever done (whether anascetical practice or moral deed), the stronger our ownunqualified loving & the more evident our cooperation with theHoly Spirit vis a vis beatitudes, corporal & spiritual worksof mercy, charismatic gifts, gifts of the Spirit, fruits ofthe Spirit, theological & cardinal virtues. Ourintrasubjective growth has dualistic and nondual moments,also. Our intellectual, moral, social and political growth isprimarily dualistic problem-solving (that we would not want toproceed without!). Our affective (emotional) and religiousdevelopment has both but realize their unitive summit in thenondual, when our other neediness is quieted.Interobjective indeterminacy speaks to the unspeakable. It isreally just a placeholder for the possibility of realitiesthat are wholly beyond us, like some aspects of God.We also interact with fellow creatures in the above-listedways but that takes us into arcane metaphysics with all sortsof root metaphors like substance, process, experience and soon.*******************************************************************************************RE: The dualistic (empirical, logical, aesthetical, practical& moral) approaches to reality represent our imbibing ofeternity from a temporal eyedropper that our finite existencemight not be drowned in God’s ocean of truth, beauty andgoodness, a heavenly tsunami that no earthly finite realitycould withstand or contain! Our dualistic approach does notrepresent a theoretical capitulation or departure from ournondual aspirations, only a compassionate and practicalaccommodation of our radical finitude, while we take thetransformative journey.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++The above statement is a recognition that our dualisticapproach is good and necessary, just not sufficient to realizethe value offered us in the Good News — that God wants anintimate relationship with us via a more nondual engagement — 2
  3. 3. as St. Bernard would say, a love of God for sake of God. Ourdualistic approach is, however, both necessary and sufficientto nevertheless live a life of abundance under, for example,the Old Covenant because all God really expects of us is anenlightened self-interest. Like any good parent, who wantswhat is best for a child and will settle for them being safe,healthy, happy and moral even if they do not fully reciprocateour deep, deep love of them – God’s cool with our erotic loveof Him (what’s in it for us) and imperfect contrition. Thenondual and dualistic are not over-against is what I wastrying to say. The dualistic is an invitation to a weddingshower; the nondual is an invitation to the bridal chamber.********************************************************************************RE: Dysfunctional religion presents in many ways, primarilyfrom an overemphasis of the dualistic and underemphasis of thenondual. For example, on the journey to intrasubjectiveintegrity, we recognize it as our clinging to the false-self.In moral theology, some have overemphasized the procreativeand under-emphasized the unitive dimension of conjugal love.In spiritual theology, some have overemphasized the moral andascetical at the expense of the mystical and contemplative.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++For those familiar with the teachings of Merton on false selfand true self, especially as amplified by Fr. Richard, trueself realization is the paragon of the nondual approach vis avis intra-subjective (within oneself) integrity or humanauthenticity. For those who grew up Roman Catholic, the birthcontrol fiasco came from an overemphasis on the biologisticand physicalistic and rationalistic problem-solving approachand an underemphasis on the nondual unitive value of conjugallove. In homiletics, an overemphasis on fire and brimstone,church disciplines and other matters is primarily dualistic,true-enough, perhaps, but missing the deeper invitation tocontemplative prayer.**************************************************************************************RE: How does all of this apply to the political life? Mostpolitical dysfunction is rooted in the either-or/all ornothing thinking of our dualistic approach. Further, thisinsidious dualism gets way overemphasized at the expense ofour nondual vision of temporal reality. If we look through aLukan prism, we might see a fivefold Christology, whichrecognizes that Christ came to orient, sanctify, empower, healand save us. As Luke’s narrative continues in Acts, we see theSpirit continuing this divine work. A nondual approachinspired, indeed inspirited, by a pneumatological (Spirit-related) imagination sees the Holy Spirit infusing each realmof our temporal reality, always and everywhere, historicallyorienting humankind, culturally sanctifying us, sociallyempowering us, economically healing us and politically savingus.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++What I really wish to convey here is that the major categoriesof our explicit faith include 1) eschatology (where are we 3
  4. 4. headed? orienting us), 2) theology (to whom are we dedicated?sanctifying us), 3) ecclesiology (how are we a people?empowering us), 4) sacramentology (how are we sustained &nourished? healing us) and 5) soteriology (what’s wrong andwhat can we do about it? saving us). EVEN in our otherwisesecular culture, EVEN among nonbelievers, the SPIRIT is theOne coaxing humankind along, always and everywhere, already 1)orienting us through our shared history 2) sanctifying usthrough our cultures 3) empowering us through our socialinstitutions 4) sustaining and healing us through oureconomies 5) saving us and freeing us through our politics!THERE IS NO COMPARTMENTALIZATION FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT BETWEENTHE SECULAR AND THE SACRED.*************************************************************************************RE: This is not to deny that, from time to time, place toplace, people to people and person to person, the Spirit’swork has been variously amplified or frustrated in matters ofdegree; it is to affirm, however, that all good gifts have OneSource, Who has coaxed all of humankind along on the journey!++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Of course, for reasons due to poor formation or evendeformation or developmental inadequacies we encounterdifferent degrees of manifestation of God-presence as variouspeople(s) fail or even refuse to cooperate with the Spirit.Thing is, we must discern when and where it is we see failuresto cooperate but we can never know which failures result frominabilities (as above-listed) or refusals (sin), because weare not in a position to judge.**************************************************************************************RE: An overly dualistic approach, again, in an all ornothing/either-or way, contrastingly, always sees the Spirit –then but not now, there but not here, in this position but notthat or vice versa. Worse, yet, it will see the Spirit in himbut not her, us but not them, and not as a matter of degreebut to the extent one gets thoroughly demonized and anotherabsolutely deified! This is at the very root of the extremelypolarizing rhetorical back and forth between our politicalparties.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Once we employ a more robustly nondual view of humanrealities, we’ll see the Spirit at work even in Republicansand Democrats.*****************************************************************************************RE: The wisdom of the catholic subsidiarity principle isrooted in the gift of Third Eye seeing, which affirms oureternal nondual aspirations and their proleptic realizationseven while compassionately accommodating our temporaldualistic situations within their historical, cultural,social, economic and political contexts. It celebrates thefruits of our prayer that the Kingdom will come, indeed, onearth as it is in heaven.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++So, when a people’s history is explicitly eschatological(knowing where we’re headed per the Good News), when a 4
  5. 5. people’s culture is explicitly theological (even ifpluralistically so), when a people’s society is explicitlyecclesiological (church-going), when a people’s economy isexplicitly sacramental and when a people’s politics isexplicitly salvific and liberating, we can rejoice that theKingdom which is to come is at least being more fully realizedin part. When it is not explicitly so — but merely historical,cultural, social, economic and political, we can STILL REJOICEknowing it is the same Holy Spirit providing all good gifts!****************************************************************************************RE: There is nothing intrinsically wrong with an approach thattakes from each according to one’s ability and gives to eachaccording to one’s need; at least, it’s worked in convents,monasteries and families for millennia! Because of our radicalfinitude, however, without theoretically abandoning ourideals, we compassionately accommodate our radical finitudeand, precisely because we are not angels, we institutegovernment in the place of anarchy and regulated free marketsin the place of any rigid capitalism or socialistic communism.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++The point is that, like a just war, any government at all is anecessary evil and so no political philosophies are groundedin eternal principles and no politics is deserving ofidolization or demonization.**************************************************************************************RE: To the extent the ideals of our nondual, relationalapproach are being realized, governmental, regulatory andsocialization processes must recede to optimize that freedomwhich best fosters authentic love. However, to the extent theyare frustrated, then coercive government, regulatory andsocialized means must be instituted to maintain order andadvance the common good. The classical liberal or libertarianimpulse (modern conservatism), then, is but a pragmaticcritique of anarchism; it errs (and becomes indistinguishablefrom anarchism) when it treats the ideals of limitedgovernment as absolute values and ignores the practicalrealities that result from our radical finitude. The modernliberal or progressive impulse, then, is but a pragmaticcritique of libertarianism; it errs when it treatsgovernmental, regulatory and socialization processes as thedefault bias, when, in fact, limited government, whenever andwherever practicable, is the proper bias. What bothlibertarian and progressive approaches have in common, then,is that they are grounded in pragmatic critiques and practicalaccommodations and not so-called eternal principles; so, allof the pious talk about so-called consistent principles isactually misplaced!+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Common sense tells us not to habitually do for anyone whatthey can do for themselves. Compassion instructs us to do foranyone what they cannot do for themselves, best we are able.While the aims of love and politics may often coincide,including both Gospel imperatives and injunctives, theyotherwise differ in their means. The Gospel is not coercive orever violent. The government is inherently coercive, as a 5
  6. 6. necessary evil. To the extent our historical, cultural,social, economic and political lives are realizing the valuesof our otherwise explicitly eschatological, theological,ecclesiological, sacramental and soteriological lives,government can and should back off. Otherwise, unfortunately,we need it to maintain the social order and to establish thecommon good. This doesn’t mean we have abandoned the Gospel,only that we are weak and cannot fully implement it.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++RE: Finally, when it comes to strategic approaches, thesubsidiarity principle sometimes sees the virtue in flipping,at other times in flopping. It is only in moral approachesthat consistency is fully warranted. But political systems arealready grounded, for the most part, in a broad moralconsensus (e.g Constitution, Declaration of Independence,Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and politicaldifferences are mostly rooted in practical and strategicdifferences toward goals that are otherwise already shared,like establishing world peace and eliminating poverty. Toalways recast our practical and strategic differences in termsof moral reality is just a sinister way to emotionally charge(they say energize) a political base. A nondual approach, viasubsidiarity principles and relational ideals, however,transcends all of these differences and nurtures theircreative tensions with a peace that surpasses all earthlyunderstanding.**************************************************************************************Here’s a lively example. The abortion debate. Even if everyoneagreed on the metaphysics of ensoulment and the morality ofabortion at every stage of gestation, there could belegitimate PRACTICAL disagreements on the best way toeliminate and or reduce the numbers of abortions. For example,it is a question of jurisprudence not morality on whether ornot any given law is enforceable and whose role should orshould not be criminalized. Has this law worked in SouthAmerica or Europe or Kansas? Can it work in California?Differences in jurisprudence and strategy are not moralpositions. Even if one agreed on jurisprudential issues, therecould still be legitimate differences regarding politicalstrategies and what would work best. One would never know it,listening to much of the rhetoric surrounding this moralreality. We should be able to advance this issue based oncommon ground. 6

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