I'm not sure what the disagreement is about. I certainly didn't mean to speak down to you, but it's difficult to make any statement about one point in 4Q without bringing in several others, as you know. Am I saying that Eliot will meet them the way he might have met them in time or in a harps and halos kind of Heaven? No. The "Dead Patrol" section in LG is, I think, Eliot's attempt to demonstrate some features of beyond-the-temporal interactions. The phantom he meets is no one definite person from Eliot's past, yet he contains elements of Baudelaire, Browning, perhaps Verdenal, certainly Yeats, and surprisingly *of Eliot himself.* The Eliot-character "assume(s) a double part," speaking for the other as well as himself, although "knowing (him)self and yet being someone other." He speaks of their encounter as happening "at this intersection time / Of meeting nowhere, no before and after." Temporal and spatial coordinates are gone. Up down, forward back, before after, are the coordinates that enable us to work out the patterns of our lives. If none of these exist in the Absolute, it would be possible to say there is no pattern there, as I understand you to be saying.
But I am saying that there is a moral pattern there. I don't want to go into F. H. Bradley at length, but I am proposing that in 4Q Eliot is speaking of the Absolute as a pattern (following Royce's interpretation of Bradley) in which Christ is the center and the rest of humanity fills out that pattern around that center according to the degree of selflessness intended in their temporal actions. I speak of "humanity" because I don't think Eliot would be too keen on recognizably individual human persons being there. Bosanquet's saying about "When the Absolute falls into water, it becomes a fish. But what happens to the fish when it falls into the Absolute?" holds here, I think.
J. P. Earls, OSB
St. John's University
Collegeville, MN 56321
From: Ken Armstrong [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 11:12 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Temporal patterns/Eternity (was RE: More on Roses (was Milton,
Thanks, J.P., I more or less agree with what you've more or less said
below, with which any practiced reader of Eliot will be familiar, but for
the sake of accuracy, it does not address my question, which I do not want
to make too much of. Briefly, I think that Eliot would not endorse "The
ultimate pattern we will all fit into is the Absolute," at least not if you
mean anything specific by "pattern," and echoed perhaps in what TSE noted
of Bertrand Russell's views of our post-death destiny, that he (Eliot)
could never hold a view about it with certainty as BR did (or appeared to).
That is to say, Eliot would not equate (depending perhaps on our definition
of "is," but nevertheless,) the absolute with a pattern, ultimate or
Temporal patterns and their relation(s) to the eternal, I'm with you, I
think (are we using "ultimate," "absolute," and "eternal"
interchangeably?), but I just don't think a statement like "Eliot is
destined to encounter them in the atemporal reality of
the Absolute, hence they are 'in the future'" can be supported, or at any
rate, has been supported.
This may affect how we read 4Q.