10/8/20

Comments on Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s Podcast (2020) “Myths, Monsters and Mysteries” (Part 9)

0082 Longenecker introduces a podcast entitled “Myths, Monsters and Mysteries”.  My guess is that he intends to proceed through these three topics using insights from Jungian psychology.  This is good, but not complete.

Jungian psychology addresses essence.  Longenecker may argue that if the essence is convincing, in terms of patterns of the human psyche, then esse_ce needs not be actual.  He may argue this even though his previous independent research locates the magi, not as Persians, but as traders living between Persia and Israel.

0083 Myth has a hylomorphic structure, requiring attention to both esse_ce and essence.  Without substance, the myth becomes a fantasy (pure essence) as opposed to a historical documentary (pure esse_ce).

0084 The doctrine of original sin rests on the esse_ce and essence of the Genesis stories of Adam and Eve, even though they are fairy tales.

Augustine paints Adam and Eve as the first humans.

The hypothesis of the first singularity pictures Adam and Eve as fairy tale figures that encapsulate the theodramatic appearance of the Ubaid culture.  Speech-alone talk is realized and sets the Ubaid on an irreversible course towards unconstrained social complexity.

0085 In terms of mystery, a single actuality forms out of two.  The Lebenswelt that we evolved in intersects with our current Lebenswelt.

Figure 21

0086 This intersection depicts the first singularity.  Adam and Eve stand at this intersection.  So does the esse_ce and essence of the doctrine of original sin.

The myth Adam and Eve is a fairy tale.  As such, the metaphor of grain of sand [hides within and gives rise to] a pearlapplies.  The oyster is the human mind.  The oyster is also our world of unconstrained social complexity.

0087 In sum, the stories of Adam and Eve bring us to the beginning of our current Lebenswelt

Ours is a world of mysteries.

Ours is a world of monsters.

Ours is a world of myths.

0088 A grain of sand hides within and gives rise to a pearl.

Figure 22

00892 The myth of Adam and Eve sets the stage for the two monsters that Jesus brings into one.  Roman rule2 is all about state power.  State power maintains order1.  Jewish legalism2 is all about the routinization of righteousness1.  Legalities2confer righteousness in the eyes of God1.

Jesus Christ stands as the single actuality2 containing Roman rule2 and Jewish legalism2.  This intersection serves as the starting point for all political theology.  In Roman rule2, the state does not serve the people.  In Christian political theology, it does.  In Jewish legalism, the deed does not stand for the intention1.  In Christian ethics, it does.

Jesus is the one who tames the two monsters of state and church.  One without the other leads to catastrophe.  Both without Jesus leads to devastating conflict.

0090 In sum, political theology transforms one of the mysteries of Jesus Christ into a hylomorphism, a thing to be discussed and explored.

Here is a picture.

Figure 23

0091 Myths are like pearls, expressing both esse_ce (being as existent) and essence.

Myths offer monsters to perceive.

Our perception of monsters allows us to appreciate imbalances between esse_ce and essence.

0075 The most horrifying monsters are articulated in the modern era.  They are existence0 (esse_ce without substance) and form0 (essence without substance).

They are not confined to the modern era.  Indeed, they have been here since the beginning.  They include Roman rule2and Jewish legalism2.

The life and passion of Jesus Christ takes on the characteristics of myth.  Jesus brings two historic monsters into a single actuality.  Jesus both contains and transcends these  monsters.  Jesus serves as their intersection.  All roads lead through Christ.

Political theology brings this mystery back into Aristotle’s hylomorphism.  The mystery becomes a field of inquiry.  That inquiry is called, “political theology”.

0076 This concludes my comments on Fr. Dwight Longnecker’s Podcast (2020) on myths, monsters and mysteries.The progression from myths to monsters to mysteries constitutes a profound insight that inspires these comments.  My gratitude for Fr. Longnecker’s intiative.

10/7/20

Comments on Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s Podcast (2020) “Myths, Monsters and Mysteries” (Part 8)

0065 Now, I proceed from monsters to mysteries.

Many Jungian commentators of the Matrix movies say that the hero, named “Neo”, is a Christ-like figure.

Is the comparison appropriate?

If it is, then Jesus gives substance to twin monsters through a human sacrifice.  In doing so, he humanizes them.

0066 What are the monsters?

The Roman empire is like the machine world.

The fixation of the Jewish law into ritual is like the matrix.

Here is a picture.

Figure 17

0067 Every monster is an actuality2.  Every monster is an ill-proportioned thing.  Esse_ce and essence are out of balance.  That tells us something.  It produces phantasms that serve as warnings.

0068 Remember the minotaur?

Do you have some money to invest?

Most investors have met a minotaur.  He is someone so bullish that it makes him dangerous.  He survives in a labyrith of rules, conditions, and documentation filled with fine print.  Once your money is in, it cannot come out of the investment. The financial minotaur is completely confident.  He is fully capable of losing your investment.

0069 Longenecker may talk about monsters like the minotaur.

0070 Perhaps, he will talk about the most horrifying monstrosities.  These monsters lack substance.  Such is the case for the monsters of Roman power and Jewish ritual law.

Roman power is like esse_ce without substance.  Rome serves the order that it imposes.  Sure, Romans pay tribute to their gods.  But, their gods did not order them to construct an empire.  Roman power survives because trade flourishes under its rule.  Romans place tariffs on trade.  Romans rule foreign subjects and tax their wealth.  Romans take slaves and sell them at their markets.  How does this serve Jupiter?

Jewish ritual law is like essence without substance.  Self-described scholars examine the Pentateuch for legal proscriptions.  By the time of Christ, scholars accrue lists with hundreds of regulations.  There is no way that a Jew could fulfill all these proscriptions correctly.  Of course, wealth provides options.  One can hire a scholar to manage one’s divine legalities for a reasonable fee.

That fee, of course, is unreasonable for the common person.

0071 Roman power is existential, existence0.

Jewish legalisms are formalisms, form0.

0072 Is there a relation between these two monsters?

At first, it seems that Roman rule2b situates Jewish legalism2a.  Standard histories of first-century Palestine make this assumption.  These histories try to establish what happened.  They propose material and instrumental reasons for conditions and parameters.

In the context of modern history, the following sensible two-level interscope applies.  The following configuration is one answer to the question, what does this mean to me3b.  That answer is proximate.  It addresses the esse_ce, not the essenceof history.

Figure 18

0073 There are other answers.  After all, history does not reduce to conditions and parameters.  Is there an essence to history?

These are the answers – or perhaps, the questions – that Longenecker addresses.

In the context of what it ultimately means to me3b, Roman law2 does not situate Jewish legalism2.  One monster cannot honestly situate the other, because something is missing on a higher level.  Rome does not have righteousness and Jerusalem cannot impose order.  What brings them into relation?

0074 The passion of Christ, depicted in the four gospels, is masterful.  It reads like a fantasy.  It reads like a historical document.  The four gospels embody and transcend myth.

Both Roman rule2 and Jewish legalisms2 play out in the contradiction-filled theological and political arenas of first century Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is a provincial capital for Rome.  Jerusalem is the center of message, meaning and presencefor the Jews.

0075 Two monsters occupy Jerusalem.  Each accommodates and resists the other.  Neither wants to see anyone like Jesus.  Jesus appears to threaten Roman order. That is easy to accomplish. Gathering a crowd will do.  Crowds intimidate the lion. Also, Jesus obviously undermines the letters of Jewish legalities.  He upsets the sheep.  He insists that the Jewish Law has a substance, a moral and theological vision.

0076 Monsters do not necessarily create mysteries.  No, monsters are drawn into mysteries.

One way to appreciate how Jesus unites both Roman rule2 and Jewish legalism2 is found in a permutation of the previous diagram.

Figure 19

0077 In the life and passion of Jesus Christ, Roman rule2 and Jewish legalism2one monster filled with esse_ce and the other full of essence, are drawn into a single actuality2.  For this moment in history, two monsters coalesce.  This is the type of event that eventually leads to myths.  It happens right before the eyes of the disciples.

0078 What is this single actuality2?

If Roman rule2 does not honestly situate Jewish legalism2, or visa versa, then they cannot align.  Their normal contexts3are mutually exclusive.  They may accommodate one another.  But, in the encounter with Jesus, they coalesce, forming a single actuality that resists Jesus.

This is the way of theodrama3The essence of history is theodramatic.

The theodrama of power3 appears independent of the theodrama of revelation3.  Until, of course, they are not.  They are never independent in the eyes of God.  They are never independent in the presence of God.

0079 Intersections are mysteries.  Intersections are described in the chapter on message in How To Define the Word “Religion”.

Here is a picture of the intersection.

Figure 20

0080 Indeed, before the eyes of the disciples, Roman law2 and Jewish legalism2 coalesce into one intersection, one mystery.

What is the single actuality that labels this intersection?

The most appropriate label is the name of Jesus Christ, who rises from the dead to defy Roman rule2 and who offers a pathway to the Father in defiance of Jewish legalism2.

0081 In mythic terms, Jesus tames two monsters.  The lion lies with the lamb.  The power of the state and the legalism of religious institutions come into conflict, but that conflict is contained within the object that brings us all into relation, Jesus Christ.Without Jesus, two monsters are set loose upon the world.

10/6/20

Comments on Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s Podcast (2020) “Myths, Monsters and Mysteries” (Part 7)

0050 The myth is hylomorphic.  So is the phantasm1b that the myth’s telling1a inspires.  

The hylomorphism of the myth1a is some real event [hides within and gives rise to] a story.

The hylomporhism of the phantasm2b is a configuration of matter and form by way of the imagination1b.  Matter or being (in Latin, ens) should substantiate the form.

0051 Here is how that looks.

Figure 13

0052 What does an independent corroboration of the stories of Adam and Eve accomplish?

It changes what is happening3a by revealing an esse_ce that lends the story2a a realness that we cannot ignore1a.

To the modern, the stories of Adam and Eve are suppposed to be fairy tales.  Adam and Eve are not supposed to serve as harbingers of civilization.  They are not supposed to be weirdly consistent with a scientific hypothesis on the potentiation of unconstrained social complexity, that is, the first singularity.  They are not supposed to be witnesses.

In light of the first singularity, the Genesis myth becomes counterintuitive to the modern imagination.  It becomes monstrous.  Essence without esse_ce can be ignored.  Essence with esse_ce cannot.

0053 Strangely, this may be one of Lonenecker’s subtle contentions.  As soon as one adds esse_ce to essence, a fantasy becomes more real than previously imagined.  Myths may become monsters.

The same surprise works for the phantasm generated by the myth.  The monstrosity of a monster comes from an unanticipated balance between esse_ce and essence.

0054 Premodern monsters have this character.

For example, the minotaur is a monster dwelling within the labyrinth of King Midas.  The minotaur is half-bull and half-human.  Its esse_ce is human.  Its essence is a bull.

What a monster!

But, there is something natural to this monster, because it informs us of a familiar actuality, the matter of a human [substantiating] the essence of a bull.  Here is a monster worth pondering.  Where does the word, “bully”, come from?

Premodern monsters have an imbalance between esse_ce and essence.

0055 Moderns take this imbalance to the limit, making two radical discoveries.  Both discoveries are built on one insight. We can lose touch with the contiguity between matter and form.  We have discovered (indeed, even actualized) worlds without substance.

I label these two discoveries, the zeroth order of existence and form.  I label then existence0 and form0.

This is how they work.

Figure 14

0056 Existence0 is esse_ce without substance.

Form0 is essence without substance.

Work serves as an example.

Humans are designed to work.  Work gives people purpose and honor.  Work goes with the essence of a civilized human.

So, what is work without humans?

What is pure work without substance?

May I mention the industrial revolution?

How modern can I get?

The modern era is full of monsters.

0057 Machines do work.  Then, humans work machines.  Sometimes, this takes great skill.

Now, with robots, humans get in the way.  The robot is awarded the status of purpose and honor.  Today, postmodern economists call the robots, “the fourth industrial revolution”.  Make room for the pure existence0 of robots and the pure form0 of robotic work.  Robots are not aware of what they are making.  Robots do not know why they are working.

0058 Here is a picture.

Figure 15

0059 How does this play out in our phantasms?

Humans become less than human.

Consumers are a type of monster.  We choose among flavors of peanut butter without knowing what a peanut is.

One may reply, “Robots manufacture things that consumers buy.  So this is an essence.”  

Here is an essence that denies humans the dignity of work, turning humans into things (that is, consumers).

Savor the word, “consumer”.

0060 A consumer dies, leaving an estate filled with manufactured momentos, icons of life as a consumer.  This monstrosity must be dealt with.  Maybe a robot can be designed to do the job.  The sheer bulk of the consumer’s life weighs down the world.  Imagine the cynicism required to build a robot that performs this work.

0061 The sequence of movies, titled “The Matrix” (1999), portrays a cyncial resolution to these two great philosophical discoveries.  The human becomes (1) a battery that powers a machine world and (2) the one who accepts the illusionary works of the machine world.  The matrix is the deception that allows humans to be used as batteries.

0062 Both the machine world and the matrix are monsters.

Figure 16

0063 In these movies, the hero’s journey gives substance to these twin monsters through a sacrifice.  This is not any sacrifice.  This is a human sacrifice.  In doing so, the hero humanizes the two monsters.  He provides substance, allowing the monsters to continue for another iteration.

If Rene Girard is correct, this plotline is as ancient as the most ancient civilizations.  This plotline begins with the first singularity.

0064 Modern monsters are exemplars of things without substance.

Where does substance come from?All substance flows from God.  God’s grace pours into the interstices between matter and form, body and soul, and a real event and its myth.  Substance is the contiguity between being and form.  God is foundation of substance.

10/5/20

Comments on Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s Podcast (2020) “Myths, Monsters and Mysteries” (Part 6)

0040 The esse_ce and essence of myth coheres to the dyadic structure of Peirce’s secondness.  It also expresses Aristotle’s hylomorphism.

The esse_ce of myth is an intimation of a real world event.

The essence of myth is explored with Jungian psychology.

These two approaches complement one another.

0041 What does this have to do with monsters?

Monsters appear in myths.  And, we perceive them as monsters.

There are monsters in the content of myth.  Then, our perception constructs thier monstrosities.

0042 On the content-level, the myth, a story told by a story-teller, is an actuality2, emerging from the possibility of common attention1, in the normal context of what is happening3

The following formula is introduced in A Primer on The Category Based Nested Form.  In a normal context3, an actuality2 emerges from (and situates) the possibility of ‘something’1.  The subscripts refer to Peirce’s categories.

0043 Here is a picture.

Figure 10

A situation level emerges from (and situates) a content level, according to A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.

Monsters appear as content in myths.

This content is then situated by the human imagination.

0044 A myth2a is situated by possibilities inherent in the imagination1b, giving rise to a phantasm2b, in the normal context of what it means to me3b.

The two-level interscope is typical for sensible construction.

Figure 11

0045 Each column produces a virtual relation.

The imagination1b virtually emerges from (and situates) common attention1a.

Phantasms2b virtually emerge from (and situate) the telling of a myth2a.

What does it mean to me3b virtually emerges from (and situates) what is happening in the story3a.

0046 Jungian psychology studies the ways that imagination1b situates myth1a.  Imagination picks up on essence.  Essence associates to form.  More than that, essence goes with the filling in of a form (that is, [substance] form).  The way that form is realized addresses the question, “What do the various features of the story mean to me3b?”

But, the phantasm2b is not pure fantasy.  It is not solely essence.  The imagination also brings experience into the picture.  For this reason, the child perceives a myth as literally true and the adult senses that the myth is a mix of fact and fiction.  The more experience one has, the more important the matter that goes into the story becomes.  Or, should I say, “being”?

0047 Experience includes one’s own personal accounts.  Experience includes one’s traditions.  Experience includes encounters described in myth.  Experience is both practical and theoretical.

Experience tells us that something real is going into the essence of the myth.  The esse_ce may be taken to be literal (making the story a historical documentation) or figurative (making the story a fantasy) or any mix of the two (bringing us back to the continuum in the first blog).

There is a continuum between matter, which is material, and being, which is immaterial.

Both contribute to esse_ce.

0048 So, what is going on in one’s head when one encounters a myth?

The mind3b constructs a phantasm2b that appropriates the structure of Aristotle’s hylomorphism.  Actuality is dyadic.  A myth2a is actual.  So, the phantasm2b uses imagination1b to construct the same dyadic structure, but in a way that reveals the monstrosity1b in monsters2a.

0049 Here is a picture of what the phantasm constructs.

10/2/20

Comments on Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s Podcast (2020) “Myths, Monsters and Mysteries” (Part 5)

0026 Now, I want to offer an example. This example may take Father Longenecker by surprise.  It is the story of Adam and Eve found in the early chapters of Genesis.

Many argue that the temptation of Eve is pure fantasy.  It is pure essence.  There is no esse_ce.  Really, a talking serpent?

0027 Longnecker may speak of the essence, using Jungian psychology.

I will offer a picture of the esse_ce, using the evolution of talk, as opposed to the evolution of language.

Figure 09

0028 Two works shed light upon the esse_ce of this myth. One is a scientific proposal, The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace.  The other is the dramatic fiction, An Archaeology of the Fall.  The evolutionary backdrop for both is found in The Human Niche.

0029 What is the evolution of talk, in a nutshell?

Starting with the adaptation of walking, characteristic the genus, Australopithecus, the foot is enslaved and the hand is freed.  The hand is free to gesture.  Why gesture?  Manual-brachial gestures convey intentions during team activities.  Why engage in team activities?  That is how a band of walking apes survives.

Homo habilis and erectus adapt to the opportiunity that manual-brachial gestures offer. Gestures convey intent (message), content (meaning) and role (presence) during team activities.  The semiotic qualities of hand talk are iconic (images) and indexal (indicators).  So, a referent defines the message, meaning and presence of its word-gesture.

Hand talk is crucial for team activities, such as gathering seasonal vegetables and hunting or scavenging game.

0030 On top of that, word-gestures should differ from one another, fitting Ferdinand de Saussure’s definition of languageas two related systems of differencesparole (manual-brachial gesture) and langue (particular sets of messages, meaning and presences).

0031 The domestication of fire allows hand talk to become a team activity in itself.  Hand talk expands from team-activities to something more general (that is, conversation).  A full fledged grammar develops, all in the milieu of hand talk.

The generalization of talk is very successful, expanding brain volume and group size.  

0032 Humans evolve in social circles of increasing size.  Larger circles have different dynamics than smaller circles.  Bands are permanent.  Bands gather in community.  Communities are semi-permanent.  Communities gather into mega-bands.  Mega-bands are seasonal.  Mega-bands gather into tribes.  Tribes meet occasionally.  

Adaptation to gatherings of the larger groups includes the use of the voice for social synchronization.  When the tribe gathers, time is limited.  Everyone must quickly get in sync.  The voice comes under neural control for singing.  The Neanderthal and the Denisovan most likely practice lingusitic hand talk and sing.

0033 With the speciation of anatomically modern humans, around 200,000 years ago, the voice is exapted for language.  The voice joins hand talk.  From the very start, Homo sapiens practices hand-speech talk.

Hand-speech talk lasts for hundreds of thousands of years, until…

Something weird happens.

0034 Slightly before 7800 years ago, one culture drops the hand talk component of hand-speech talk.  The Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia forms when rising ocean waters fill the formerly dry-lands of the Persian Gulf, pushing a river and coast dwelling mesolithic culture into the same territory as a dry-land stock-breeding culture.  The cultures meld, despite thier vastly different traditions.  Their way of talking breaks down into pidgin. The resulting creole is unrelated to any family of languages.  This creole is the Sumerian language.  Sumerian is a linguistic isolate.

0035 The Ubaid culture is the first speech-alone talking culture.  Speech-alone talk has very different semiotic qualities than hand-speech talk.  Speech-alone talk cannot image or point to anything.  So, the referent cannot define the word.  Instead, message, meaning and presence is projected into the mind, as if there is a referent that is pictured or pointed to.

0036 Does that sound like the snake-like serpent talking to Eve?

The snake says speech-alone words and Eve projects message, meaning and presence into the forbidden fruit.

This is what we do in our current Lebenswelt of speech-alone talk.  Such projection is not possible in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, of hand and hand-speech talk.

0037 Needless to say, this shift in the semiotic qualities of talk potentiates the formation of unconstrained social complexity, including civilization.  Speech-alone talk spreads to the far corners of the Earth, on the wings of power and wealth, the fruits of unconstraind social and labor specialization.

0038 Yes, the key to the talking serpent is this: The serpent has no limbs.  It cannot engage in hand talk.  Therefore, it presents an image of the actualization of speech-alone talk.

How creepy is that?

The talking serpent is more real that anyone imagined.

The talking serpent is a clue to the esse_ce of the story of Adam and Eve.

0039 Fr. Dwight Longenecker is onto something.  The stories of the Bible have esse_ce and essence.

Longenecker’s work on the infant narratives stands at the threshold of the use of both Jungian psychology and independent inquiry to address revelation.  Real world events, like grains of sand, hide within Biblical stories, embodying pearls of revelation.  In myth, esse_ce meets essence.

10/1/20

Comments on Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s Podcast (2020) “Myths, Monsters and Mysteries” (Part 4)

0022 When Father Longenecker begins his discussion of myth.  It seems that he is discussing Jungian psychology.

Jungian psychology investigates the way that the mind works, especially in regards to the so-called “collective unconscious”,  mental habits common across civilizations.  This corresponds to essence.

Essence contributes to the realness of the story.

0023 However, there is the complement to essence, esse_ce, that is discovered through independent inquiry.  One could label this inquiry, “science”, but the modern term means building mathematical and mechanical models.

The premodern term for “science” is “natural philosophy”.  Natural philosophy seeks out a thing or process or event, tries to explain it, and reaches understanding of the thing itself, not the observable and measurable facets of the thing.  

The thing itself has a hylomorphic structure.

0024  So, an independent inquiry, having great compatibility with natural philosophy, may try to figure out the real event that hides within and gives rise to myth2.  The discovery of the event is prophetic, since it cannot be predicted by examining the story itself.  Only after the discovery of the event, does the myth become more that pure essence (fantasy).  The story gains esse_ce.

Esse_ce contributes to the realness of the myth in ways that essence does not.

0025 Here is a picture.

Figure 08