Thursday, May 17, 2007

Metaphysics and 'Lacking in Something'

And taking up the matter where we left off: “usteresantos,” meaning “they were wanting, they were lacking in,” (as in 'they were wanting wine') is related to the word usteron, meaning the womb – from whence we get the words ‘hysterectomy,’ ‘hysterical,’ etc.

It is apparent that the idea of the womb is related to a lack or of a wanting of something. There are several trains of thought that we can derive from this observation.

First: it shows the valuation for womanhood, marriage, matrimony, and childbearing in ancient societies – unlike the popular modern condemnation of all historical societies for their ‘patriarchalism.’ That they were patriarchalist may have been true; but it does not equally follow that they may not have also been matriarchalist as well. That the womb was experienced as a ‘lack’ gives meaning and savor to the idea of fruitfulness, fulfillment, and progeny. True fertility is a response to emptiness, hunger, and need, and the having of children is a ‘fulfillment’ not solely on the human plane. It is also a partnership with the divine cosmic order.

This idea of fruitfulness as fulfilling a need takes account of the fact that ‘Being’ itself is a need. Human existence itself is lacking in something. This is why we have history, this is the root of our metaphysical drives, our quest to experience the presence of God. Beings who have no ‘metaphysical’ inquietude cannot have history. The animals are 'fulfilled' in a way that we are not; it is our very ‘lacking’ that gives us the historical impulse. In this sense history is ‘womb-driven;’ it is the feminine of mankind (i.e., of all men and women) expressed, drawn out, lived out, upon the plane of temporalization.

In the Modern Age, by contrast, the metaphysical quest has been disregarded and disrespected. Like a structure, it has been pulled down from its role of providing a bridge to the realm of the sacred. Its parts have been ‘scattered’ into a multitude of fields: intellectual accomplishment, science and technology, social engineering, and politics. metaphysics hardly even merits the name any longer. Modernity frowns upon metaphysics although it loves its substitutes: such is one of the keys to our age.
Modernity begins with the discovery of self-sufficiency – or perhaps more precisely with idolizing ‘Self-Sufficient Being’ - or Reason, or Will, or Substance. The terms are not important. For the idea of self-sufficiency is profoundly false to life in whatever sphere it is elaborated. It does have the advantage, however, of allowing itself to be artificially self-contained and therefore exposed to detailed examination. Modern science owes probably more to the idea of self-sufficiency than it does to the idea of truth or the correspondence of reason and the world. At least, the idea of self-sufficiency explains in my mind why modern science has gone so far off track - but that could be a subject for another post.

But anyway, the idea of self-sufficiency is the opposite of the idea of metaphysics, which implies a quest for fulfillment, a wanting to get to the bottom of something (or to the heights of something), a desire for reality – which must mean the wholeness of it. It could not by that definition mean a portion of the world cut off and self-enclosed; it must mean the whole world, the cosmic and the human, the historical and the symbolical, the flesh and the spirit. Self-sufficiency says “there’s nothing outside the system” (i.e., it’s only nature, society, genes, class, gender, race, etc.); while the metaphysician of the womb which is history says it is the world and God, the laws of the spiritual as well as the natural order, the cosmic cycles, the Great Year, the Above and the Below, heights and depths, all in all.

We have come a long way from ‘usteresantos,’ – but is not this the truth of a biblical image – that to throw it into the water leaves multiple reverberations afterwards? Thus Mary becomes the true ‘Woman-Mother’ of history. And perhaps ‘Marianism’ is the very condition of the continuing existence of history.

For never has it happened that so many people have been so ‘lacking’…. in the feeling of ‘lacking.’ That is to say, history now unfolds on the plane of self-sufficiency, amidst the hordes of the self-sufficient, those who are barren in the womb.
And never before has there been such a period of prolonged stagnation as the Modern Age. Things haven't changed in essentials in decades, half a century, a century, a century and a half... Western mankind, stunting its growth with materialism, is paralyzing its capacity for creative development...
Never before has humanity possessed weapons of mass destruction such as the United States – primarily – possesses – and such a collection of insouciant and shallow politicians who might be tempted to unleash them upon the world – quite possibly to strike a fatal blow against the life-bearing capacities of this planet.

Some day – if humanity survives this period – we will better understand these things in the light of the Mysteries – which is the only way we will be able to understand them...
For nowadays we can only understand the Mysteries through living them... The ancients, when when initiated, could understand them intuitively...
But our initiation... is history... which is why we seek to understand the Mysteries intellectually and imaginatively through experience...

1 comment:

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