Wednesday, 18 March 2020 at 17:33
Beatrice by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Augustine knew that the mind must have the capacity for God (capax Dei) in order to recognise the presence of God, let alone even imagine that presence; and that this capacity for God must have something to do with the dialectical relationship with God, which is described by John as one of mutual indwelling, but only, and this is the key point, when love is accepted. ‘He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.’ (1John 4:16) (from John Dunn, Child of Encounter, p.236)The dialectics of love noted in my reading of John in the Bible find a precursor in Dante’s dialectical penetration of courtly love into the Bible and theologising of courtly love.
Dante’s La dispietata mente is a secular poem with latent theological content. There is a conflation of the human and the divine. In the poem, Dante compares the duty of the lady to the lover, who carries her image painted in his heart, to the duty of God to human beings, created in His image:
And more intensely is its pain inflamed
when I reflect, my lady, that it’s you inside
who’s painted by the hand of Love.
And so indeed you must devote
to its wellbeing much greater care,
for He from Whom we learn about the good,
holds us more dear because we bear His image
(La dispietata mente, 20−26)]
At the end of the Paradiso the image of the lady painted in the heart of the lover becomes the human image painted in the “heart” of the Trinity, that is, our image painted in Christ.
In Dante’s poem Donne ch’avete, Eros, or Love, affirms that the ‘cosa mortale’ (mortal thing) that is the Lady is so wondrous and pure that God means to make of her a new and wondrous thing ‘cosa nova’. She is a miraculous being but who has simultaneously the characteristics of a mortal woman.
Dante’s love for Beatrice was such that he regarded her as ‘cosa mortale’ and ‘cosa nova’, both part of and beyond the natural order. This is an implication that is carried over to the whole of humanity, as implied by the human effigy painted in the ‘heart’ of the Trinity, i.e. that human beings are simultaneously inside and outside of the natural order.
It is the definition of ‘human’ found in the ‘heart’ of the Trinity that is tied up with the experience of Eros, the saving devotion of the loverto his Lady; saving in the sense implied in Dante’s poem Lo doloroso amor in which he writes that if God does not pardon the soul its sins, it will depart with the punishments it deserves, but that in Dante’s case his soul will imagine his lady to such an extent that it will not feel any pain.
This same saving grace of Eros reappears in Paradiso 7
Beatrice didn’t let me suffer for long, and she began, dazzling me with a smile such that would make a man happy in the fire... (Par. 7:13-18)
The dialectics of love and mutual indwelling found in I John is reworked by Dante as the rhetoric of Eros in Paradiso. Speaking to Beatrice, Dante’s language expresses an erotic and divine co-penetration:
“God can see all,” I said, “and, blessed spirit,
your vision is contained in Him, so that
no wish can ever hide itself from you.
Your voice has always made the heavens glad
as has the singing of the pious fires
that make themselves a cowl of their six wings:
why then do you not satisfy my longings?
I would not have to wait for your request
if I could enter you as you do me.”
(Par 9: 73-81)
The poetic codes of courtly love in Paradiso express the mutual indwelling of Eros and divine love.
© John Dunn.
Eternal, wild, and infinite
Sunday, 15 March 2020 at 20:32
The chance encounter connects our physical, sensible Erotic love with a cosmic love that is eternal Logos. In awakened passion, the eternal and the present truly find a meeting place. The first touch is sacred.
One of Rossetti’s paintings of Beatrice. Jane Morris as a goddess-like figure worthy of worship
Desire for Beatrice led Dante from the dark wood of Chaos to a conscious state of being. Before the chance encounter there was only the state of pre-being, i.e. the Chaos from which Eros burst free. Dante’s journey was one of Eros and first Creation.
It was in a brief meeting of eyes with Beatrice, a specific woman with her own peculiar existence, that the arrow hit. She was the particular creature through whom the divine revealed itself. Chaos, Eros, passion and new life was the Creation that resulted from the chance encounter.
Love is not abstract. Love is a specific person, living at a specific time, inhabiting a life of his own. Love is the passion and pain before new life. This was Dante’s journey as he was led by desire for Beatrice through the heavenly spheres, each of which perfected Eros
In the first canto of Paradiso, re-imagining the arrow of Eros as something received, Beatrice describes love as an arrow shot to heaven. Awakened to Eros, the true essence of Love escapes the human imagination. Love is eternal, wild, and infinite. God is Love.
© John Dunn.
Primordial God of Creation & Life
Thursday, 27 February 2020 at 20:35
Eros, primordial God of Creation and Life - symbol of the divine likeness of man, who is endowed with the capacity for creating technologies by which we exist on this planet in numbers far greater than the virgin resources of the Earth would otherwise permit. Eros is symbolic of the infinite nature of the human being and our boundless basis for growth and expansion. For out of a Chaos of equilibrium and entropic atrophy emerged the developmental potential of mankind that is without limits. This must be understood, or what appears to be love is but blind emotional enthusiasm. Global warming alarmism is one such blind enthusiasm that would lead us back to pre-Eros, pre-Love and pre-Being Chaos.
© John Dunn.
Tuesday, 25 February 2020 at 17:23
Decisions and deductions derived from artificial intelligence can be no more than a logical deductions, however clever and complicated they may be, from theset of rules and axioms of the initial programming. This leaves no possibility for the discovery of a new universal principle of science, together with the new higher-power technologies that could be derived from this.
The possibility of discovering new universal principles has been eliminated, because they are not discoverable through either logical deduction or induction, but only through the uniquely human act of creativity and fundamental discovery.
It has been creativity and discovery, followed by the integration of new universal principles, that have enabled mankind to continue to grow in population and increase living standards. Ever more efficient and power-intense technologies, such as nuclear power, with the corresponding increase in production potential, have used newly defined resource bases, such as uranium to supersede wind, water, coal and oil. This was a forward progression in energy.
Utilising oil or uranium as a resource base offers man the only chance of escaping the Earth’s orbit and breaking out into the Solar System and beyond. It won’t be done with wind power and batteries.
Given that increasingly energy-dense resource bases have allowed populations to increase, then the reversion back down the scale to medieval technologies such as wind is tantamount to promoting genocide, whilst logic-driven AI cuts off all means of escape.
© John Dunn.
The Human Use of Human Beings
Monday, 24 February 2020 at 16:46
Norbert Wiener wrote in The Human Use of Human Beings:
Sooner or later we shall die, and it is highly probable that the whole universe around us will die the heat-death, in which the world will be reduced to one vast temperature equilibrium in which nothing really new ever happens. There will be nothing left but a drab uniformity out of which we can expect only minor and insignificant local fluctuations.
What is expounded here is a Spinozist an anti-creative description of a universe that follows a closed and fixed logical consistency.
It is a kabbalistic belief in a universe on a path of return to originary Substance (Norbert’s ‘drab uniformity’), with its subsuming purposeless,and bestial view of man. In Spinoza’s rendition of Lurianic Kaballism, man is but a mode of existence of the originary Substance, an aberrationin a temporary state of exile, but on a journey of ultimate return.
It is in this Spinozist worldview, one which understands freedom to be the submission to necessity, that the true threat to mankind’s continued existence lies. Entropy as expressed in the Second Law of Thermodynamics, heir to the Enlightenment, or Counter-Renaissance, ‘doom-monger’ science that followed Spinoza, has been built into the dominant worldview that is guiding mankind to an inevitable ‘doom’.
© John Dunn.
Eros - Eris
Tuesday, 18 February 2020 at 17:39
Interesting that in The Timaeus, Ananke (Necessity) is the irrational element, which is opposed by Nous (Reason), i.e. reason seeks to impose order on a chaotic necessity.
This goes against the Spinozist principle that reason is the recognition of necessity, i.e. Spinozism is for CHAOS.
Yet necessity could also be seen as equililibrium, which needs the discordant intervention of Eris/Discordia.
Yet an equilibrium could also be disrupted by irresistible, i.e. necessary, Eros.
Eros, is the Hellenic deity associated with sensual love and desire. Eris (known to the Romans as Discordia), is the goddess of strife and discord. So we have Love and Chaos. Would it be too simplistic an explanation to conclude that the two are always close to one another - only a vowel apart?
© John Dunn.
Eros the pearl
Monday, 17 February 2020 at 17:59
The Orphic myth/metaphor suggested that Ananke (force, constraint, necessity in Orphic cosmogony) came first, fully formed with her consort Chronos (not to be confused with Cronus), and together they brought about the universe from an egg, and it is from this egg that Eros hatched.
Hatched from the cosmic egg, Eros, or Love, was the golden winged primordial being who was the source of the universe and the seed of gods and men.
Eros was also known as Phanes, which means ‘manifestor’ or ‘revealer’, and is related to the Greek words ‘light’ and ‘to shine forth’ as well as the Latin ‘Lucifer’.
Eros was also conflated by the Greeks with the great god Pan, meaning everything.
Love was everything.
But before Love was hatched, why the coupling of Ananke and Chronos? There was no irresistible irritant to form the pearl (to introduce my metaphor).
This was why Plato in The Timaeus modified the Orphic myth and paired Ananke with Nous (reason, intellect).
Nous was the irritant but never overcame Ananke.
And the pearl? For me, this was Eros.
© John Dunn.