Protection

In any genuine relationship, here’s no net gain in protectedness against the world. Certainly something positive is gained, but nothing negative is lost. Heraclitus said, “Nature likes to hide.” The retention of the negative (the desired shedding of the undesirable) in what seems to promise the shedding of the negative conceals an inconceivable gain. A sacrament is sacred for this seduction to the inconceivable, that is, to practical transcendence. (See note.)

A newlywed can become disillusioned in the discovery of suffering of the spouses pain. Pain is now shared. Overcoming the pain if it is to be overcome is a shared effort. One’s responsibility has expanded to that which cannot be directly controlled, only influenced, while consequences of the influenced are felt directly. It is as if the feeling nerves extend while the controlling nerves stay where they were.

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NOTE: Capital-T Transcendence is a magically pregnant “everything else” (a positive reflection of negativity) which gradually develops positive concrete meaning in lowercase-t practical transcendence. In this development, capital-T transcendence loses none of its magic, its pregnancy, nor its negativity. It is reality who changes. Knowledge about objects resolves into knowing relationships, and knowledge is liberated from the tyranny of the requirement to posess and master. This negative freedom-from, however, is secondary to — and exists for the sake of — a positive freedom-to: the freedom to relate.

One’s former beliefs about capital-T Transcendence were never wrong, but they can always be more right, and this increase in rightness is pragmatic.

It is hard to know if the purpose of the Transcendent is to call us to transcend, or whether all transcending is done for the sake of the Transcendent. It isn’t even clear if this is a question that needs asking. Really: Can we love God with all our heart, soul and mind without loving our neighbors as ourselves, or love our neighbors as ourselves without loving God with all our heart, soul and mind? Such things are not discrete, not object-form facts, not possessable, masterable knowledge. They’re expressible as dogma — they indicate truth — but dogma is not essential truth. Dogma is still object: true but not true enough.

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