Thursday, February 27, 2014

Random Thoughts

I am fond of museums and of art museums in particular. The closest analogue in America (in America perhaps the only acceptable analogue) to the building of great cathedrals, museums, far from being mere repositories of cultural histories, are in fact repositories of faith, many faiths, perhaps Faith itself, inexhaustible festivals of what Joseph Campbell correctly calls The Masks of God. As with foxholes, there are no atheists in museums.

I have heard often enough from my economist friends that capitalism is the premier organizational force for a society, that its unswerving adherence to the idea, conceived almost as a moral law, that an ever expanding "pie" lifts more out of poverty, feeds more, than any other system, is, in fact, the real world analogue of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. I grant the arc of the thought, but I remind them that the intent of that particular bit of antique legerdemain was distributive, not acquisitive.
(A bit of pragmatic advice: store up your treasure in heaven...there's no IRS there.)

Modern industry has the tendency to sweep all living things before it, but its implement is rarely so simple as a broom and its attitude rarely the reverence of the Jain.

I have taken in my retirement to playing the guitar, a most marvelous instrument: capable of an infinitely complex mathematics it sings yet happily the simplest of fractions.

With time and space sufficient,
Love hardens into beauty,
Thence, by want protracted
And yearning ever hungered
Blossoms into grace:
God's gift though freely
Given's never free,
And time itself's the fee.

The Mevlevi mystic, either as an aid to or as a consequence of his ritual "remembering" of God, allows himself to be moved in the hypnotic whirling dance that, in the western imagination, defines the word "dervish." The psychology of this and all similar religious experiences calls for a specialized investigation, and western science, having exhausted (or been exhausted by) its material bias, begins --- tardily --- to move in this esoteric direction. In time, perhaps, it will reach conclusions and posit tentative truths, doubtless content that it has fulfilled its function by enriching the store of human knowledge and thoroughly oblivious to the fact that this "enrichment" has consisted of nothing but another description of the indescribable, another language of the unspeakable. This ignorance is science's blind spot...and its salvation.

What legacy shall one leave this too much abused world? Perhaps it would be better if it were only silence, only the parturient soundlessness of unmoving grass, the gesture of the trees at rest, the mute affirmation of still water. In such a silence one might at last learn what all the clamorous, dissembling words have so obscured.
Let the whole world be struck dumb for three days, and we will all hear God.

Contrary to the antics of all prophets, all evangelizers, there is no single idea which will save the world. There may be, however, a scant number of themes which, if properly ordered, will dissolve reality. We must find the medium in which reality is soluble.

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