Saturday, September 26, 2009

on Otto's Mysterium Tremendum: Consonance

The reason for our reason surpasses all reasoning. I have seen a lake, a field, a storm. God is not the lake or the field or the storm, but through the lake and field and storm I have glimpsed God not face to face but perhaps in passing. The lake and field and storm are vital to me but in no way essential to God who is extra to everything; only others, only things external to ourselves can waken us internally, through and through.

I imagine the lake and field and storm but can in no way have just imagined them or they would be dreams and not desires, not objects of desire that awaken my desire for God who is in the lake, in the waters, in the depths. I cannot swim but experienced swimming in love, in numen, an altogether different thing from imagining, from talking about swimming or thinking of swimming in passing. There are no analogies: swim like a duck? With skinny webbed feet and no arms and without perhaps getting wet at all? Perish the thought, always murder, murder the idea.

Swimming makes one wet. Swimming in love makes one wet forever. I have always been a soggy person, the waters of my baptism never quite dried off, although as I say I could not of course have ever have swum to start with, buoyancy is impossible. One always sinks, that is what we do. It is all that we can do, God is unfathomable, we cannot reach the depths. There is no walking on the bottom; we must swim from one moment to another, from one word to another - yet we have never, ever learned how to accomplish this. The idea that we can do so is fiction, imaginary and unimaginable.

I have seen a lake, a field, a storm. The field of all experience is of course as flat as the lake of love; we are surface creatures and where we cannot swim we perhaps must walk. But how does one walk? The field is a maze of sun and shadow, we are blinded by darkness and by light. We must grope our way because we are so dazzled that the darkness is not evil and the luminous is not goodness, we cannot tell them apart, that is the cause of our blindness. It is frightening, is it not?

The field is terrible but it is all that we have, the most that we can ever have. We tremble to cross. We must dread the moment of our step, it shall feel like an entire leap into we know not what not because we have no idea- as I have said we must of course grope- but because our idea might be, must be unreliable in the awful weave of darkness and of light. We have never done anything like this before, we have now fallen off our ass and must perhaps await a voice, a whisper, a roar.

A map, a legend would be worthless because the clouds that make the shadow and the sun that makes the light are both always moving and in any case could kill us, and might do so arbitrarily. We cannot say where we go but only that we should, that we must. We cannot cross the field but there is no place else to go, no other place worth going. We must lift up our eyes.

We would see a storm, the one we must into, the oldest tempest that ever was or will. We cannot understand the storm, but the storm is not our lack of understanding. It is an analogy that works until it doesn’t. The storm is mostly raging silence, it is the wind we cannot hear that most tempts us to shout. But what would we say? We cannot think through the torrent of our hearts. Whether over the surface of the water or the field of the desert the storm is most exciting. We cannot look away and must say, must do something for this something that might kill us but sends us rain instead.

It is not that we have not been talking, but that until the storm we had not known what we were saying, our minds were caught in other things, golden calves and such. Now we have seen the storm of everything and nothing and been saved from boredom and from indolence, we have been spoken to. It is the storm that we have been waiting for but cannot possibly have apprehended. There were no meteorologists for this one, no soothsayers who could scry those clouds. This one came right up out of nowhere, though the eldest could feel it in their bones.

One might say that something is coming but never known precisely what it was, because there has been nothing like this storm before, though of course the storm has always been. It is like sex, this storm, everyone thinks it’s new and maybe it is, though it’s been around forever. Just because we’ve never seen a storm doesn’t mean we ourselves haven’t been such, tempests of darkness and of light. Light shines on light, wave resounds upon wave, and deepness calls to deep, and our hearts and thoughts unfold across creation as they always and never have before, and always and never will again.

No comments: