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Starting From Blake
by David Sparenberg
2016-10-25 10:48:34
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Here I am about to share a few reflections on a quotation from William Blake.  I came across the Blake while recently rereading, in Per Amica Silentia Lunea the Anima Mundi by WB Yeats.  Here is Blake’s single line: “God only acts or is in existing beings and men.”

blake01_400These few words put a fire in my head.  Out of associations with this small quotation emerges a pattern of thought I am moved to share.  Quickly I step beyond the commonplace response: “Ah, here is another confirmation that we are God!”  My mind turns in a different direction.

Thus: Every act of violence destroying life out of season, whether human or otherwise—violence as cold will or cruelty—causes imbalance, diminishing the Presence of God in this specialized, variegated yet thoroughly interwoven world we inhabit, abuse and interdependently share.

When this old Earth is soaked in the blood of injustice, disrespect, disregard and oppression, God is exiled.  God’s exile is infinite and eternal suffering.  The deeper the wound, the darker the curse, the further and further removal becomes in convoluting losses of betrayal and distrust.

I wish to impress the seriousness of God’s affliction and the twofold consequences of God’s exile.  Because, if you are honest in your humanity, this will cause heartache and heartbreak.  And a broken heart can be the beginning of redirecting and redefining change.

What then, a person asks, can be the possible terms to end and reverse this exile, and for return of the Presence of God as an opening way of eventful encounter between us?

The mystic will imagine the content of two genuine possibilities for this ultimate event: the terror—the terror of all conceivable terrors—of all consuming and purging conflagration or holocaust of eradicating fire; or a sustainable cultivation of Heaven on Earth by non-exclusionary, encompassing love.  Annihilation or ardent compassion.  Extinction or a stewardship of biotic justice.

On one side is the zeitgeist of endgame, a solution we have collectively permitted and even prepared for ourselves.  On the opposite horizon is suggested the evolutionary maturity of the divine-human dialogue.

Always the living need to choose and choose often, choosing between the degrees of death, our inherited demons, and the deeper inner whisperings of the affirmations of life, our too long neglected and too often forgotten species ancestry: between consumption in cataclysmic or apocalyptic horror, or deliverance through enlightening peace; between destruction, which we have nearly perfected, and creaturely love, which we are at risk of losing the warmth and light of through technology, and even forsaking the spontaneity of natural and native (non-exploitative) feeling for.

What is most difficult, difficult and dangerous, in the contemporary condition is the accelerating and pandemic problematic of history, moving, without sufficiently empowered critical resistance, toward the negative conclusion—a finalizing event (or should we identify anti-event?) of the human adventure (or must we say misadventure?).  The while, soul retrieval (and with the exile of God as Presence declines the visionary clarity of soul and with eclipsing of soul’s revelatory perception comes the extensive exiling of soul), retrieval then, awakening, empowering liberation, and the cultivation of response-ability—all of this takes place on a different scale from the thrust of history; unfolds in bio-rhythms, of necessity, at a slower (should I not name it?), saner pace.  The threat of annihilation being linear, the alternative made up of correspondences and connections is, within the matrix of God and nature, recurrently circular and episodic.

Time has ever been and urgently, if not menacingly, continues to be the arbiter of Earth’s phases and direction.

Now this bundle of thoughts shared brings to mind another quotation. Perhaps it is all but an exercise in the associative peculiarity of personal thinking? Be that as it may, since I started out on a small quotation from Blake, it feels somewhat appropriate to conclude on another.  This is from the French author and philosopher Albert Camus.

The sensitive reader will follow the curve of this association, especially in knowing that I end with these works because I am in stubborn agreement with them.

Here is Camus: “This is perhaps what I felt most deeply.  At every form that miscarries in the trenches, at every outline, metaphor or prayer crushed under steel, the eternal loses a round.  Conscious that I cannot stand aloof from my time, I have decided to be an integral part of it.” *

*from The Myth of Sisyphus: Conquest

David Sparenberg


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Emanuel Paparella2016-10-25 12:39:59
Ah, the problem of immanence and transcendent in our idea of God... The above also evoked, for me at any rate, the famous quip of Nietzsche that "God is dead" and we have killed him...; more often than not misunderstood and misinterpreted. Also Einstein theory of relativity relating time and history to the speed of light. Indeed, to paraphrase Shakespeare, there is more mystery and philosophy in our idea of God (which Aristotle thought was the highest idea a philosopher could contend with) than our created puny minds will ever be able to surmise...

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