Archive | February 2018

The Fourth Age and the Cosmological Picture

Having raised the issue of an incipient “Fourth Age” in the previous post, it behooves me, I think, to try to delineate (if that’s the right word) what may well be the likely characteristics of this Fourth Age, beginning with something rather fundamental — the “mutation”, if you will, in our cosmological picture.

Read More…

A Fourth Age?

Nothing seems more permanent than a long-established government about to lose power, nothing more invincible than a grand army on the morning of its annihilation — John Ralston Saul, Voltaire’s Bastards

The light of dawn and the light of twilight look very much the same. And you may think of Jean Gebser’s paradoxical “double-movement” very much in those terms as well.

Read More…

Individuation versus Individualism, II

“Eternity is in love with the productions of time” — William Blake

“The whole universe is a form of truth” — Rumi, “Green Ears

These two statements from Blake and from Rumi are equivalent. They both imply another order of consciousness and value (sometimes called “the noumenal”) behind, beneath, before, or implicit in the phenomenal or secular order of times. This is what truly marks the difference between insight and simple sight, for “vision” is ambiguous in that same sense, and it equally distinguishes between what we call “wisdom” and what we call “knowledge”. And it is, furthermore, implied in Nietzsche’s definition of nihilism whereby “all higher values devalue themselves”, which is, in effect, another way of defining “profanation” (another one of Nietzsche’s many ironies).

But the secular and the profane are not the same thing. Blake, Rumi, and Nietzsche warn us not to despise the things of the phenomenal world (or the things of “flesh and blood”, as the secular order is sometimes called) because the secular or phenomenal world is the self-revelation, or self-manifestation, of the noumenal. “Eternity is in love with the productions of time” alerts us to consider how all dualisms of spirit and matter, or mind and body, the private and the public, the individual and the communal, are false dichotomies, because the noumenal and the phenomenal, (or being and becoming, or eternal and temporal) exist in an intimate and mutual embrace (often described as one of “love”). “The whole universe is a form of truth” means, in effect, that the secular orders of time and the phenomenal order of appearances (related and mediated by the physical senses) are all symbolic form or metaphor for the self-revelation of the timeless or eternal. And that means that, in some strange way and to some strange purpose, the phenomenal or secular order is a kind of mirror for the eternal or spiritual order — something that is meant for learning.

Read More…