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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 is multifaceted in that it aspires to 1) intersubjective intimacy via our unitive strivings whereby different subjects/persons celebrate coming together 2) intraobjective identity via our realization of unitary being whereby all realities present as somehow intricately interconnected as objects/functions within a divine matrix 3) intrasubjective integrity via each subject/person’s growth in human authenticity or true-self realization and 4) interobjective indeterminacy whereby created and Uncreated subjects/persons and objects/functions present as also somehow distinct. The nondual approach is profoundly relational as it seamlessly, hence optimally, realizes the truth, beauty and goodness that ensues from these different eternal relationships. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ When I say nondual or contemplative, I am talking about the way I interact with my granddaughter when she knocks on my door. 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 between spouses, parent and child, or, like in my example, grandparent and grandchild. That’s one way aspire to interact with God in the West. If, however, we interact with God like He’s a policeman or judge, that would be dualistic in a moral problem-solving sense. St. Bernard spoke of a “love of God for sake of self.” In catechism we learned imperfect contrition or sorrow for the consequences our sins have on us. CS Lewis spoke of eros or the “what’s in it for me” dynamic of relationships. All of those would be examples of practical dualistic problem-solving. Those who spend a lot of time on metaphysical proofs and the apologetics of natural theology in philosophy internet forums are engaging God in a rational dualistic problem-solving. This is another way we interact with God in the West, which is okay but we miss the deeper invitation to intimacy if we don’t go beyond it to the nondual. A nondual intraobjective integrity refers primarily to Enlightenment experiences of the East, where folks experientially realize, beyond all concepts, the grand unity of all reality, how everything is related to everything else. This is not a metaphysical insight such that one would come away a pantheist (God is merely the whole that is greater than the sum of His parts) or materialist monist (the philosophical naturalism of an atheist). Rather, it is a profound existential realization of our radical solidarity with all being and the experience blossoms into a profound compassion, sometimes for all sentient beings. The Western experience of love moves us to compassion, also, but more so from having experienced being so well loved. This does have practical 1


metaphysical implications that some Christians have resolved as a pan-en-theism, which more so suggests God indwelling in all rather than be comprised of all (pan-theism). The Enlightenment experience is nondual. There is no problemsolving going on, just an ineffable … well, we cannot tell untellable stories. Elaborating a panentheist approach on paper is a rational dualistic problem-solving, which is great but not the same as an existential realization. Intrasubjective integrity speaks to our growth within each of us as subject. Think of Kohlberg’s stages of moral development; Fowler’s stages of faith development; Piaget’s stages of cognitive developmet; or Lonergan’s conversions – intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious. Religious conversion is a two-step dance. Having been loved unqualifiedly, we start loving, more & more through time, in the same way, gifting others in return by cooperating with that gift of divine love, which is nothing less than the activity (mission) of the Holy Spirit. The more we cooperate with that gift, which was given freely, apart from anything we have ever known (or been educated to) or ever done (whether an ascetical practice or moral deed), the stronger our own unqualified loving & the more evident our cooperation with the Holy Spirit vis a vis beatitudes, corporal & spiritual works of mercy, charismatic gifts, gifts of the Spirit, fruits of the Spirit, theological & cardinal virtues. Our intrasubjective growth has dualistic and nondual moments, also. Our intellectual, moral, social and political growth is primarily dualistic problem-solving (that we would not want to proceed without!). Our affective (emotional) and religious development has both but realize their unitive summit in the nondual, when our other neediness is quieted. Interobjective indeterminacy speaks to the unspeakable. It is really just a placeholder for the possibility of realities that are wholly beyond us, like some aspects of God. We also interact with fellow creatures in the above-listed ways but that takes us into arcane metaphysics with all sorts of root metaphors like substance, process, experience and so on. ************************************************************** ***************************** RE: The dualistic (empirical, logical, aesthetical, practical & moral) approaches to reality represent our imbibing of eternity from a temporal eyedropper that our finite existence might not be drowned in God’s ocean of truth, beauty and goodness, a heavenly tsunami that no earthly finite reality could withstand or contain! Our dualistic approach does not represent a theoretical capitulation or departure from our nondual aspirations, only a compassionate and practical accommodation of our radical finitude, while we take the transformative journey. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The above statement is a recognition that our dualistic approach is good and necessary, just not sufficient to realize the value offered us in the Good News — that God wants an intimate relationship with us via a more nondual engagement — 2


as St. Bernard would say, a love of God for sake of God. Our dualistic approach is, however, both necessary and sufficient to nevertheless live a life of abundance under, for example, the Old Covenant because all God really expects of us is an enlightened self-interest. Like any good parent, who wants what is best for a child and will settle for them being safe, healthy, happy and moral even if they do not fully reciprocate our deep, deep love of them – God’s cool with our erotic love of Him (what’s in it for us) and imperfect contrition. The nondual and dualistic are not over-against is what I was trying to say. The dualistic is an invitation to a wedding shower; the nondual is an invitation to the bridal chamber. ************************************************************** ****************** RE: Dysfunctional religion presents in many ways, primarily from an overemphasis of the dualistic and underemphasis of the nondual. For example, on the journey to intrasubjective integrity, we recognize it as our clinging to the false-self. In moral theology, some have overemphasized the procreative and under-emphasized the unitive dimension of conjugal love. In spiritual theology, some have overemphasized the moral and ascetical at the expense of the mystical and contemplative. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ For those familiar with the teachings of Merton on false self and true self, especially as amplified by Fr. Richard, true self realization is the paragon of the nondual approach vis a vis intra-subjective (within oneself) integrity or human authenticity. For those who grew up Roman Catholic, the birth control fiasco came from an overemphasis on the biologistic and physicalistic and rationalistic problem-solving approach and an underemphasis on the nondual unitive value of conjugal love. In homiletics, an overemphasis on fire and brimstone, church disciplines and other matters is primarily dualistic, true-enough, perhaps, but missing the deeper invitation to contemplative prayer. ************************************************************** ************************ RE: How does all of this apply to the political life? Most political dysfunction is rooted in the either-or/all or nothing thinking of our dualistic approach. Further, this insidious dualism gets way overemphasized at the expense of our nondual vision of temporal reality. If we look through a Lukan prism, we might see a fivefold Christology, which recognizes that Christ came to orient, sanctify, empower, heal and save us. As Luke’s narrative continues in Acts, we see the Spirit continuing this divine work. A nondual approach inspired, indeed inspirited, by a pneumatological (Spiritrelated) imagination sees the Holy Spirit infusing each realm of our temporal reality, always and everywhere, historically orienting humankind, culturally sanctifying us, socially empowering us, economically healing us and politically saving us. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ What I really wish to convey here is that the major categories of our explicit faith include 1) eschatology (where are we 3


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 and what can we do about it? saving us). EVEN in our otherwise secular culture, EVEN among nonbelievers, the SPIRIT is the One coaxing humankind along, always and everywhere, already 1) orienting us through our shared history 2) sanctifying us through our cultures 3) empowering us through our social institutions 4) sustaining and healing us through our economies 5) saving us and freeing us through our politics! THERE IS NO COMPARTMENTALIZATION FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT BETWEEN THE SECULAR AND THE SACRED. ************************************************************** *********************** RE: This is not to deny that, from time to time, place to place, people to people and person to person, the Spirit’s work has been variously amplified or frustrated in matters of degree; it is to affirm, however, that all good gifts have One Source, Who has coaxed all of humankind along on the journey! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Of course, for reasons due to poor formation or even deformation or developmental inadequacies we encounter different degrees of manifestation of God-presence as various people(s) fail or even refuse to cooperate with the Spirit. Thing is, we must discern when and where it is we see failures to cooperate but we can never know which failures result from inabilities (as above-listed) or refusals (sin), because we are not in a position to judge. ************************************************************** ************************ RE: An overly dualistic approach, again, in an all or nothing/either-or way, contrastingly, always sees the Spirit – then but not now, there but not here, in this position but not that or vice versa. Worse, yet, it will see the Spirit in him but not her, us but not them, and not as a matter of degree but to the extent one gets thoroughly demonized and another absolutely deified! This is at the very root of the extremely polarizing rhetorical back and forth between our political parties. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Once we employ a more robustly nondual view of human realities, we’ll see the Spirit at work even in Republicans and Democrats. ************************************************************** *************************** RE: The wisdom of the catholic subsidiarity principle is rooted in the gift of Third Eye seeing, which affirms our eternal nondual aspirations and their proleptic realizations even while compassionately accommodating our temporal dualistic situations within their historical, cultural, social, economic and political contexts. It celebrates the fruits of our prayer that the Kingdom will come, indeed, on earth 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


people’s culture is explicitly theological (even if pluralistically so), when a people’s society is explicitly ecclesiological (church-going), when a people’s economy is explicitly sacramental and when a people’s politics is explicitly salvific and liberating, we can rejoice that the Kingdom which is to come is at least being more fully realized in part. When it is not explicitly so — but merely historical, cultural, social, economic and political, we can STILL REJOICE knowing it is the same Holy Spirit providing all good gifts! ************************************************************** ************************** RE: There is nothing intrinsically wrong with an approach that takes from each according to one’s ability and gives to each according to one’s need; at least, it’s worked in convents, monasteries and families for millennia! Because of our radical finitude, however, without theoretically abandoning our ideals, we compassionately accommodate our radical finitude and, precisely because we are not angels, we institute government in the place of anarchy and regulated free markets in the place of any rigid capitalism or socialistic communism. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The point is that, like a just war, any government at all is a necessary evil and so no political philosophies are grounded in eternal principles and no politics is deserving of idolization or demonization. ************************************************************** ************************ RE: To the extent the ideals of our nondual, relational approach are being realized, governmental, regulatory and socialization processes must recede to optimize that freedom which best fosters authentic love. However, to the extent they are frustrated, then coercive government, regulatory and socialized means must be instituted to maintain order and advance the common good. The classical liberal or libertarian impulse (modern conservatism), then, is but a pragmatic critique of anarchism; it errs (and becomes indistinguishable from anarchism) when it treats the ideals of limited government as absolute values and ignores the practical realities that result from our radical finitude. The modern liberal or progressive impulse, then, is but a pragmatic critique of libertarianism; it errs when it treats governmental, regulatory and socialization processes as the default bias, when, in fact, limited government, whenever and wherever practicable, is the proper bias. What both libertarian and progressive approaches have in common, then, is that they are grounded in pragmatic critiques and practical accommodations and not so-called eternal principles; so, all of the pious talk about so-called consistent principles is actually misplaced! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Common sense tells us not to habitually do for anyone what they can do for themselves. Compassion instructs us to do for anyone 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, they otherwise differ in their means. The Gospel is not coercive or ever violent. The government is inherently coercive, as a 5


necessary evil. To the extent our historical, cultural, social, economic and political lives are realizing the values of 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 the common 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, the subsidiarity principle sometimes sees the virtue in flipping, at other times in flopping. It is only in moral approaches that consistency is fully warranted. But political systems are already grounded, for the most part, in a broad moral consensus (e.g Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and political differences are mostly rooted in practical and strategic differences toward goals that are otherwise already shared, like establishing world peace and eliminating poverty. To always recast our practical and strategic differences in terms of moral reality is just a sinister way to emotionally charge (they say energize) a political base. A nondual approach, via subsidiarity principles and relational ideals, however, transcends all of these differences and nurtures their creative tensions with a peace that surpasses all earthly understanding. ************************************************************** ************************ Here’s a lively example. The abortion debate. Even if everyone agreed on the metaphysics of ensoulment and the morality of abortion at every stage of gestation, there could be legitimate PRACTICAL disagreements on the best way to eliminate and or reduce the numbers of abortions. For example, it is a question of jurisprudence not morality on whether or not any given law is enforceable and whose role should or should not be criminalized. Has this law worked in South America or Europe or Kansas? Can it work in California? Differences in jurisprudence and strategy are not moral positions. Even if one agreed on jurisprudential issues, there could still be legitimate differences regarding political strategies and what would work best. One would never know it, listening to much of the rhetoric surrounding this moral reality. We should be able to advance this issue based on common ground.

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