It might be a universal human sensibility to believe that satisfaction with one’s life is possible. People want to be satisfied, often are not, but still believe that it is possible. Even despair suggests the possibility of an absent satisfaction.
Satisfaction might imply satisfaction in the things of God, or Gods, or Absolute Realization. Ultimate satisfaction might imply the integration of perception or the unity of knowledge. Satisfaction might imply meaning, or purpose in life, or justice, justification, or making satisfaction in the sense of making up for something, atonement, or doing penance. I use this word, satisfaction, to commence a discussion about an important, but elusive phenomenon. Terms like composition or form might serve as well to open this analysis. But these seem too literary, not quite universal enough for my interest. There are other such options, but for the purpose of this essay satisfaction will do.
I am not primarily interested in what are considered here secondary or tertiary levels of satisfaction such as sexual satisfaction, or the satisfaction gained from accomplishment, intellectual discovery, or winning at cards, for example. Although any of these might play a part as one intuits the possibility of complete satisfaction.
The methodology that developed along with the intuition that complete satisfaction is a viable topic for analysis, is unique to this subject and includes elements unusual in critical evaluation. For instance, because this study is not a physio-chemical experiment, but an investigation into discursive and non- discursive perception,1 a certain amount of autobiographical information is justified, even necessary. This is not only so that the reader may know better my bias or understand better the angle from which I approach this topic, but because this subject matter can only be comprehended as it is situated within the context of human personality and culture. The phenomenon itself alters with culture and personality while still remaining a universal phenomenon in human perception. My practice of the religio-cultural traditions and techniques to be commented upon here, have both formed my personality and influenced the conclusions I deduce in this investigation.
What I have done to understand the content and impact of this intuition is to “study” religion and art. Within this context, I am a priest in an ancient and rigorous dispensation. I remain a practicing artist and poet–my B.A. is in Art and English Literature.2 For my Masters and Ph.D. studies in theology, comparative religion and aesthetics, I “read” under one of the great contemporary masters in the History of Religion and the Philosophy of Science, Raimundo Panikkar.3 I am familiar from my youth with some of the inner workings of shamanism. I have lived in the cultures that I study and am now on intimate terms with the history of mysticism and its techniques. I mention all of this because the pursuit of the SPIRIT, INSPIRATION, GEN-I-(US) in this intuition about the nature of satisfaction now results in a complex of elements that required such trainings. I intend in this essay to describe this complex of elements and how they have been and still are important for the formation of culture and definition of personality.
ART, THE SHIFT OF CONSCIOUSNESS, MYTH, AND SCIENCE
Art, as a mode of commenting upon ineffable states, especially in certain religions such as Buddhist Tantra and the Christian Hesychasm, is one of the vehicles used to explore this complex of topics. The ability to shift into other states of consciousness is also an element explored here.4 Myth and history cut revealing facets on the face of our stone. Literature, science and world philosophies: Critical method is employed as well as ancient practices traditionally used to transform reality or one’s perception of it. These, within an interdisciplinary context, are engaged to comment upon the perception and means of ultimate satisfaction.
Consideration about the nature of time is pertinent here as well. Temporal and atemporal categories are compared. Temporal rule opposed to atemporal consciousness is contained in the contrast between the more primordial Animistic Shamanism of hunter-gatherer societies and civilization, for example. How we view time and structure life styles as the result is at the heart of our issue. It is a collective shift of consciousness in history that leads away from nature toward technocratic civilization, changing the quality or even the possibility of satisfaction. An example of Christian techniques for such altering of consciousness to a more atemporal realization would be 1700 years of Christian monasticism or the archetype of the monk generally.5
Any examination of ancient world philosophies reveals a secondary strata of cosmological and physiological belief developed from a world wide experience of psychic, physio-mystical “energies.” A description and evaluation of these is a necessary element in this complex of issues related to satisfaction and perception.
In a similar way, concepts and practices associated with the practice of erring are an important consideration here.6 The medieval knight errant wandered the realm doing good and heroic deeds, waiting for and seeking to do God’s will in a manner dependent upon the shift, i.e., to find the Holy Grail.6 One abandons oneself to the mercy of God. The Hesychast or Tantric monk uses specific practices to accomplish similar goals–ultimate realization of absolute reality. The Vedic sunyasin takes to the roads and depends upon the divine spirit for sustenance. Is this satisfaction?
The shift of consciousness between linear, logical, analytical thought, to non rational states of consciousness as found in some forms of prayer, art, or Zen, for example, suggests an underlying world of primary importance in the construct of human identity and culture. One example of this shift comes from Zen and the Art of Archery.7 The Zen archer stands with bow drawn and arrow cocked. The archer aims, then waits awhile. As the archer waits, consciousness shifts so that the target and archer identify as one, letting the arrow fly to its target. It is the shift of consciousness that (re)defines humanity and its capacities. The shift is a capacity that people have exercised since the dawn of human consciousness. It is a natural but specialized experience for which the religious practitioner ardently prepares, yet it remains an essential human trait. While the shift is a specific phenomenon, it is also a reference to and implicit in the more general, yet fundamentally significant temporal/non-temporal8 him the expertise to carefully observe and comment upon various issues of world concern. He has contributed major texts to the philosophy of science and religion, and has taught at universities in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. As a Roman Catholic priest, he has taken an active part in the cultural and philosophical life of Western Europe and India. I feel that a valid approach to his work should reflect something of the professional depth, yet, at the same time convey the personal, experiential nature of his expertise since this combination results from his strongest positions regarding human knowledge and its fragmentation in modern culture. His effort overcomes natural vs. supernatural, science vs. nature (and God) dualities.)) considerations about human perception.
The shift of consciousness is an essential thread that weaves itself through most religious traditions. That the shift occurs is an anthropological fact. For the shaman, it is at once a spiritual and a technical process. It gives access to the sacred as it engages the Realm of Power (of the gods or archetypes) that enables the shaman to resolve the problems of his/her concern. For the Buddhist, the shift overcomes the object- subject dichotomy of identification, having abandoned a solely sensate-based perception. This makes possible all the great Buddhist accomplishments, especially compassion, detachment and the Bliss- wisdom of the Void. For the Christian, the shift accompanies a more general metanoia and the emptying of self in kenosis. The superficial self, the egotistical self, is overcome or re-integrated; and the ineffable, original self is revealed–the Go[o]d News! By such self-abandonment, the rhythms of the Divine Spirit might be known.
The shift is, by its very nature expressive, not only in the lives of individuals as well as cultures but is as well, the foundation of various archaic cosmologies. Panikkar, relates this telling anecdote about a Native American peoples’ objection to the construction of a new atomic site. To the natives, the intrusion of the atomic site would cut their common relationship with their ancestors. The engineers, however, could not understand their position. Panikkar explains:
In fact, ancestors, spirits, etc., are all absolute nonsense unless one is ready to undergo that emptying of self, to enter into that kenosis about which we have spoken. Otherwise, we are not ready for dialogue. Dialogue does not consist in offering hospitality. It may perhaps consist in asking hospitality, and asking it without sandals, without money, without preconceived ideas, allowing the right hand not to know what the left is doing. Not thinking beforehand what one will say, but receiving it with one’s whole heart.10
This research about the nature of satisfaction reviews three religious traditions and one sub-topic which is pertinent to all three religions: (A) Shamanism, (B) Buddhism, (C) the Christian Hesychasm, and (D) the Energies. By the time this material has developed and displayed its influence,
…the most ancient religious traditions of mankind [will have met] the most modern trends of secular Man…[sic.] When comparing our contemporary situation with problems of the past, we have to take into account the different horizons of intelligibility; in other words, we have to consider the different myths which underlie the cultures we are discussing… our culture not excluded.11
ART AND RELIGIOUS AESTHETICS
Icons, Mandalas, and Abstract Expressionism contain elements important to this discussion; i.e., such art bridges opposite realities as temporal and non-temporal worlds. In fact, such art can be an active, animate agent to make these connections necessary for satisfaction. Panikkar, who is both traditional and progressive, stands together beneath this aesthetic valence with the more traditional Hans Urs von Balthasar, a Catholic apologist of eloquence. Both are masters of influence in reference to the arts operative in religious culture. Von Balthasar’s theology of aesthetics is founded upon a self-justifying, inner-radiance of the divine in-dwelling that expresses itself in the image, and images of God, i.e., in art and sacramental religious perception.9 Most simply, art, by its physical nature and gestalt content, can make the connection between spirit and matter, between the non-temporal and the temporal.
Panikkar, appreciating both traditional and contemporary world-views, proposes a schema that allows human culture to maintain the threads of tradition while addressing the concerns and realizations of modernity. From a literary perspective, according to Panikkar’s “response” to Paul Ricoeur, the subject- object epistemology fails to provide a valid tool for understanding the central, hermeneutic problem of human knowledge. According to Panikkar, “a text is only a text when it is interwoven with the texture in which we live and understand.”10 An integration of perception is necessary in many areas of analysis in order to appreciate the meaning of a text, or those who produced the text.
Such a cross disciplinary approach is also commented upon in George Landow’s book, Hypertext11 as it describes the function of such thinking in: (1) a Shamanistic milieu; (2) with certain modern artists such as James Joyce; (3) in computer and media-generated approaches that have resulted in a revolution in critical theory. Hypertext compares Shamanistic thinking with computer-generated approaches to the processing of knowledge in that both use similar methods of association as the connecting function that accesses/uses knowledge in a network of associative relationships to produce understanding. This is opposed to solely, linear, scientific logic.12
Thus, my eventual conclusions, as well as the process that produces them, should properly reflect such a network of reasonable, interdisciplinary relationships to present its point of view. Otherwise, we are asking the wind to keep the flag from flapping by trying to fit these particular patterns of human knowing associated with the shift of consciousness into a solely discursive format. In other words, I use this approach because I believe that this is the only reasonable way to approach this topic.
This perspective reflects how religious histories in the past have expressed themselves about this intricate connection between temporal matters and eternity. For instance, for thousands of years there has been a tendency to interpret the co-incidence of natural phenomena– earthquakes, storms, etc.– as spiritually significant to a particular person or people. History becomes folktale, fiction mixes with fact, to become sacred scripture. An example would be the plagues in Egypt that preceded the Exodus of the Hebrews. There is substantial evidence indicating more than one exodus of Hebrews from Egypt over a period of time during which Egypt was subject to various natural disasters.13 Yet, this overall experience has been poetically and mythically re-interpreted since ancient times in a way typical of religious literature/histories that try to come to terms with the interaction between time and non-time, the world and God. Whatever the motivations of various peoples who might use or abuse such literature, this artistic format is a most effective vehicle for evoking certain invaluable states of consciousness. One can find the same format in much Shamanistic experience. A ritual is performed or asceticism practiced and a storm happens. Therefore, the gods are thought to have responded. Nature is not merely mechanical.14 The universe does not have to respond only according to scientific precepts. Science must respond according to the precepts of nature. For example, what to some might rightfully just be a breeze, or a gust of wind, to another might be a valid form of communication from an ineffable quarter of reality. That scenario has been expressed in various ways according to the means available in any given culture. Both the scientific and the mystical interpretation must be important for the evaluation of any perceptible phenomenon.
The myth-making function in the intellect and imagination of human culture is a vital issue within the operation of perception. For instance, it is important for me to be a priest to understand this consciousness from within. A Catholic priest functions as a living symbol, a person ontologically changed15 to mediate in service, the mercies of God. This maintains a necessary mythos that is by its very nature, symbolic. Being what it is, ultimate reality is unknowable in the sense that it precedes anything conceptual. This might be experientially perceived according to religious or philosophical intuitions, but can only be referenced metaphorically.
Art is the intuition of the whole.16 Religion is re-connecting to the original and eternal “moment” of consciousness. Mythic thinking creates a visionary consciousness more open to the color and neg-entropic meaning important in both worlds. Symbol or sacrament is the bridge between different things or worlds. The satisfactions associated with ancient symbolic traditions that seek integration of consciousness– discursive and non-discursive–are described in terms of bliss, ecstasy and love.
Such a symbolic lifestyle as lead by the shaman, priest or monk, for example, encourages a shift in cultural attitude, evidenced in the re-structuring of reality, of time itself, into a sacred reference. In this, one is living the myth in which the whole culture participates. This might be found also in the seasonal feasts and calendar observances of cultures like the Zuni of New Mexico or the Highland Guatemalan Mayas; observances that also make the connection with the sacred. This might be further exemplified by the seasonal cycles found in the festive and ordinary cycle of Masses and the Divine Office of the Church.17
If I may speculate more freely about art for a moment, perhaps Abstract Expressionism is at one end in a spectrum of possibilities for spiritual art, that includes artistic development back through the Renaissance to the classical and primordial worlds.18 Existentialists felt it necessary for human society to start over somehow. The Western world and therefore the entire world,19 is quickly becoming a technocracy and has, since the end of the medieval period in Europe, increasingly rejected a theocratic/centric social and cosmological model for society and the universe. I have re-explored the beginnings of art and religion– shamanism, yogic mandala, fetish, icon–given obvious limitations–from the personal experience of practice and study, so that I can know what we have done now that the Renaissance has run its course. Now that the high satisfaction possible in symbolic systems of practice, such as those of Tibet or medieval Europe, fades more and more rapidly.
Attitudes towards the human body as primary symbol of the person are of pivotal concern here. The Tantric operation, if practiced in full, would involve a whole cosmology of associations in which the body is the central symbolic model. In particular, it involves the circulation through the whole body and personality of a system of vital, psychic energies, analogous to the system of the universe. Raising these energies from the psychic center at the base of the genitals or perineum (Muladhara) up through the psychic central nervous system to the crown chakra (Sahasrara) at the top of the head is the action that re-unites heaven and earth, (Kundalini and Shiva) female and male–all dualities in fact–to produce the Nirvanic condition of Enlightenment. In the Hesychasm, something comparable is in progress when the Great Robe Monk, or the thaumaturge,20 draws the sexual energies up, and pushes the intellectual energies down, into the heart–the symbolic center of the personality–to experience a spiritual Eucharist of the divine indwelling. Panikkar proposes something similar, on a universal level of human consciousness,when he tries to draw together the elements of time: past-present-future, into one moment of trans- temporal, eternal consciousness.21
There are also certain disreputable elements in spiritual lore that are important to our topic as well. Among these might be: torture motifs such as found in the Plains Indian Sun Dance; and others that involve extreme physical, emotional, or psychic exertion, including transsexual trauma; and various other asceticisms and yogas; psychoactive substances such as peyote, San Pedro cactus, alcohol, etc.22 Extraordinary as these might seem to some, they are secure in the anthropological inheritance of sincere religious practice.
An adjacent understanding that lends a cohesive effect to our study of satisfaction refers to a state of consciousness that sees all reality as a body of connections. At one end of a spectrum this might be represented by the sublime Buddhist teachings of subject/object unification, with detachment at the heart of one’s practice, or by the highly exalted Body of Christ that extends into both temporal and non- temporal worlds. At the other end, the unitive body might be seen in the more pragmatic effects of the thaumaturge, for example, who travels the full range on this spectrum between Christ and the Magi. A model for this is, of course, the Gospel miracle stories that provide evidence for the people that Jesus, as human paradigm and icon, had “other world” powers. (Some thought them Satanic then, and labeled him as a drunk and a glutton as well. Matt. 11:19) In some cases, perhaps because of the disreputable and inhibition-quelling qualities of inebriation, for example–Jesus’ first miracle was to turn water into wine– combined with deep-seated, often subconscious intentions and belief patterns, one’s conventions are circumvented and new realms open up.
Substance abuse is not the issue under discussion here… Beginning with the cultural and individual phenomenon of Shamanism, rooted in the early Stone Age, we can see a complex of insight, practice and techniques for achieving insight and power. Inebriation is one from a group of radical techniques not uncommon in Shamanism and many subsequent religions: transsexual trauma, terror, torture, alcoholic inebriation, use of sacred (psychedelic) substances, humiliation and sickness. All are “ingested” in combination with mythological belief patterns and perhaps used along with more moderate practices such as meditation, chanting/singing and others. The danger is initiation of psychological unbalance or even death. Some young Eskimo shaman novices, when forced into a transsexual experience, commit suicide, others adjust. (Eliade, Shamanism, p. 258) A positive effect, for example, would be to disorient one enough, or to separate one enough from one’s personal or cultural context to discover access to fundamental elements from the sub-strata of consciousness, the instinctual “stuff” of personality; i.e. Knowledge, Powers, and Transcendence arise. Jung might refer to what this process conjures as “figures” or “powers” that arise even spontaneously from the Unconscious. (Jung’s Introduction and Commentary, Secret of the Golden Flower, p.120.)
One can discover the use of such techniques simply by reading Casteneda, or by more laboriously doing comparative religious study and experience. For an example of radical personality adjustment, a male might be exposed to the archetypal feminine and thus display in one’s life transsexual behavior in such a way that loosens the vice-like grip of “ordinary” consciousness, allowing for the extraordinary archetypal experiences. Through experience of extreme alcoholic inebriation, for another instance, one does not just come to understand perceptive faculties that are not apparent when one is “in control” but one experiences these faculties in such a way that integrates and empowers both in the extraordinary world of the psyche and the ordinary world of “daytime” consciousness. This is not to claim that simply getting drunk or getting high or having unusual sex will do this for you, but in certain circumstances with certain individuals, unusual phenomena evocative of the satisfaction pertinent to this study sometimes occur.
An archetypal shadow of Dionysian ritual hovers about all this, with the maenads pausing in their dance just before the orgiastic dismemberment of their sacrificial victim. But the high altruism of many religious traditions might mediate the fury of being for us, such as in Tantra.
Let us conclude this erring introduction with a final note about just that, erring. An oft berated and sometimes exalted role in human society is that of the pilgrim. This is one who has given up on society and the domestic scene, and goes out on the roads of the world to abandon self. As mentioned previously, in India this would be the sunyasin. From Orthodox countries, accounts found in books such as the Philokalia, or even The Way of the Pilgrim, tell revealing and charming stories about being “On The Road…” This is also called “serpentine wandering,” or “sauntering.”
From Mark Taylor’s book Erring, we have in the first selection below a passage from Henry David Thoreau:
Sauntering: which word is beautifully derived from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre, to the Holy Land, until the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean.
The time and space of graceful erring are opened by the death of God, the loss of self, and end of history. In uncertain, insecure and vertiginous postmodern worlds, wanderers repeatedly ask: “Whither are we moving?… Are we continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we erring as through an infinite nothing?” While the death of God is realized in the play of the divine milieu and the disappearance of the self is inscribed in markings and traces, history “ends” when erring “begins,” and erring “begins” when history “ends.”
I believe what you will find herein are the essential elements of a complete cosmology. But, by the very nature of the creature, such a cosmoplan cannot be only a list of critical ingredients, but must also allow within and between such elements for the embrace of an intuitive grasp–aha! This is an opportunity for the reader, critic, or seeker that cannot be forced, only prepared. It lies in the construct of this total presentation of the Nepsis Foundation. But I hope the mix to be dynamic, pacific and not deadly– neither in the awesome, often terrible energies of the twentieth century nor the convalescent/evolving wisdoms that have guided our survival for fifty thousand plus years of Homo Sapiens Sapiens until this, our own volatile era.
- Random House Dictionary, 1993, defines “discursive” as an adjective: “passing aimlessly from one subject to the other; digressive…” “discursive” is the term used by Panikkar in reference to logical rationalist domination of knowledge in Western culture. In this study, “discursion” refers to ordinary, linear, logical consciousness.” [↩]
- A major characteristic of this study has been that I personally experience as far as possible that which I study. Therefore, I should explain briefly what that has involved. The character of this background and my understanding of these topics and traditions is strongly influenced by experience lived within the fold of their wisdoms. This includes six years of formal art studies and twenty years of making art; five years of monastic studies, two of which were lived in Benedictine and Trappist monasteries; five years of Roman Catholic seminary training which allowed the M.A. project, including the first trip to India for Buddhist studies as well as Shamanistic study and initiation; subsequently, there were ten years of continued interest in Buddhism starting with the first trip to India in 1980 to study with a high Nyingmapa lama in Derha Dun, Utter Pradesh (U.P.), followed by two subsequent trips to India and Nepal, one to study the art form of the mandala with high Gelugpa lamas at the headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala and another high Nyingmapa lama, His Holiness Mindriling Rimpoche. This Buddhist research concluded with my Nepal excursion and the Manirimdu festival in 1992, which included Lama dancing and the construction of an elaborate sand mandala within the ritual pattern. As well, there were exploratory visits to Hesychasic monasteries and the related practice over twenty years of frequent and long pilgrimages as a technique of conversion and alteration of consciousness.
I chose Buddhism for this study because, among other reasons, it represents a certain distillation in the yogic traditions of India that contain many of the world’s important schools of metaphysical training. Buddhism reforms these dominant Vedic systems of India out of which also grew the later Hinduism. I chose the Hesychasm to represent the Western phenomenon of Christianity since the Hesychasm best incorporates art and yogic practice in one completely Christian and still extant system. I studied Animistic Shamanism because I believed it to be a universal matrix of perceptive capacities out of which grows most, if not all mystical experience. In the Spring of 1990, this study included a three month stay at Zuni, New Mexico, one of the best preserved Native American cultures in the Northern Hemisphere with important Shamanistic elements still operative. Zuni was the climax of many such visits to Shamanistic or partially Shamanistic cultures and an ongoing interest in Shamanism. Another long stay, this time on the Navajo reservation for about six months to one year, more or less, concluded my Native American studies. Certain Chinese martial arts refer in brief to the spiritual schools of the Far East, since Tai Chi and her sister arts are heavily influenced by both Buddhism and Taoism in the resolution of duality– stillness/action, empty/full… By exploring these vast territories under the guidance of some of the best minds and practitioners in each pertinent discipline, I hope to provide a more universal ground for the discussion of my topic. [↩]
- Though I will refer to many authorities, Panikkar’s format has proven the most effective in my research–thus, my studies with him. In fact, one might say that much of the statement here is to a degree, ‘as per Panikkar.’ Although I suspect, there are some aspects of my research that Panikkar would not like to claim–as Socrates to Alcibiades. [↩]
- Many anthropological studies have established the shift of consciousness as a nearly universal phenomenon. Eliade is one among these to describe this catholic quality. The shift as the operative function of the mystical dimension in human experience or of its exercise in modern consciousness, is necessary for a thorough discussion of human identity, or even for epistemological considerations. [↩]
- Raimundo Panikkar, Blessed Simplicity, (New York, 1982). 6. Mark Taylor, Erring, p. 149ff. [↩]
- P. L. Travers. “Le Chevalier Perdu,” Parabola, (Sp. 1991). Claude J., Peifer O.S.B., Monastic Spirituality (New York, 1966) p. 182. [↩]
- Eugin Herrigel, Zen and the Art of Archery (New York: Vintage Books, 1989) p. 39. [↩]
- “Atemporal” versus “historic” consciousness is a major theme here. Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice–the Sacrifice of Time and the Ritual of Modernity”, ed. J. T. Fraser, Study of Time III (New York, 1978) p. 689. As well, see Barbara Tedlock, Time and the Highland Maya.
For Panikkar, reality consists of the temporal world of matter and the non-temporal world unconstrained by time or matter.
Also for Panikkar, “full human activity” would involve the full employment of critical and non-critical faculties–mystically, sensually, intellectually, culturally. This is not only for persons but for culture operating in a cosmotheandric reality; cosmos, deity, humanity. Panikkar, “A Christophany for our Times”, Robert Cardinal Bellarmine Lecture (St. Louis: St. Louis University Press, 1991) p. 11.
Panikkar’s doctorates in chemistry, philosophy and theology as well as his subsequent studies have given ((Raimundo Panikkar, “The Future of Mission”, Interculture (Fall, 1987) p.27. 11. Raimundo Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice…”, p.704. [↩]
- Hans Urs von Balthasar, Glory of the Lord, vol. 1 p. 18-20. [↩]
- Raimundo Panikkar, “The Texture of a Text: In Response to P. Ricoeur,” Point of Contact. (April/May, 1978) p. 51-52. “What I am contesting here is the application to a text of the physio-chemical method of analysis. What I am reacting against is the mirage of the natural sciences in the philosophical enterprise of reaching intelligibility. To understand a text we do not apply different tests and reactors and observe how the “stuff” reacts. Understanding a text is not like analyzing a chemical substance. It is not we alone who shiftperspectives; the text itself undergoes change when we approach it differently. A text is not a dead physical substance with which we experiment or manipulate ad libitum. A text is only a text when it is interwoven with the texture in which we live and understand.” [↩]
- George Landow, HYPERTEXT, (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992) p. 115. [↩]
- Ibid. pp. 27-30. [↩]
- Such demythicization is common enough to be included in an otherwise reasonable, recently published description of an archeological excavation in the eastern Mediterranean. Charles Pelegrino, Unearthing Atlantis, (New York: Random House, 1991) p. 78. [↩]
- Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice”, p.704. Panikkar reacts against the creationist model of reality as fanatical and childish. But he also reacts against the model of evolution as too mechanistic. Both of these concepts, along with the concept of history, come from the same root in early Semitic consciousness. [↩]
- Council of Trent: 23rd session, Chapter IVff, Canon #4. Rev. H. J. Schroeder O.P., Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, pp. 161-163. Also see St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews, 5:6 and 6:20. [↩]
- All of these references are founded upon the belief that there is an order in the universe, Ved in Sanskrit, that is, the rhythm of being. This becomes the overall topic of Panikkar’s Gifford Lectures. [↩]
- One may consult Making Holy the Day (Library of St. John Seminary, Camarillo, California) by Charles Miller; Or, The Mass by G. Jungman (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1976) for a general review of this topic. [↩]
- Hans Urs von Balthasar, Glory of the Lord vol. 1 p. 18-20.
Also, in a conversation with Dr. L. Rothkrug and Dr. Louis Lancaster, (Fall, 1993, GTU library), Dr. Rothkrug allowed as reasonable that the activities and interests of the Abstract Expressionists along with many other artists in the modernity were a continuation of the “battle for control of the penitential systems of Europe”, [how one reaches ultimate satisfaction or God] that he identified in his article, “Religious Practices and Collective Perceptions: Hidden Homologies in the Renaissance and Reformation.” Historical Reflections, Ontario, 1980, p..262. [↩]
- Panikkar believes that we now live in the world of technocracy that he calls the Fourth World. Second and Third Worlds are the world of the gods and the world of humans.* To Panikkar and most of humanity, both these worlds are realities, although they are the “worlds” of the past. Modern humanity no longer needs to appease the gods or even be on good terms with them in order to live peacefully. The same applies to our relationship to the tyrant, king, or the authorities that be. There is no longer a need to understand nature in its own terms, the sun, the climate, the elements, etc. We have created another world, “the meager machine which now we feel we are caught in and find more difficult than to appease the gods or to kill the tyrant or to tame nature.** The Fourth World [of technocracy] operates in autonomy. It does not leave room for freedom and spontaneity. For Panikkar spontaneity is the act of letting being be. Letting being express, without self-conscious interference.*** It is intimately related to and necessary for creativity, for art.****
*Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice”, p. 711
** See Cargas interview, p. 71. Harry James Cargas Ph.D., “Interview”, p. 81. Dr. Cargas conducted a long, recorded interview with Panikkar, January 6-11, 1982. It is from the text of this interview in my possession that these references are taken. There is a tentative publication of this interview being planned for1996 or 1997.
*** Cargas interview with Panikkar, p. 5.
**** Cargas interview, p. 83, story about “Alfaire X.” [↩]
- Wonderworker. [↩]
- Panikkar, “Time and Sacrifice–the Sacrifice of Time and the Ritual of Modernity”, ed. J. T. Fraser, Study of Time III (New York, 1978) p. 689ff. [↩]
- Mircea Eliade, Shamanism, p. 33ff. 26. Mark Taylor, Erring, p. 149ff. [↩]