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RE: In Christianity there is a dichotomy if not an opposition of the two

Perhaps in some post Cartesian understandings of Christianity,
but not in Christianity per se.

P.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Diana Manister 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Monday, December 18, 2006 1:45 PM
  Subject: Re: Four Quartets -- a reading


  CR wrote:
  "Incidentally, "to be conscious is not to be in time" does not imply the state
  of human soul without body -- it's an experience that saints have while living
  this life in time -- they are both in time and out of time. That is why this mystic
  moment is at the cross-section of time and eternity. TS Eliot recalls 
  a fleeting experience of this "timeless moment" which is available to saints 
  and sages at all times -- a state of detachment from earthly joys and sorrows,
  a state of detached action, and they enjoy all the attributes of this state while
  physically alive."

  Dear CR:  I understand that Indic mysticism reconciles body and spirit, but in Christianity there is a dichotomy if not an opposition of the two, except in the person of Christ. The Incarnation is the cental doctrine of Christianity, when timeless bodiless divinity becomes flesh in time. Eliot recognizes the duality by distinguishing between being in time and not being in time -- "to be conscious" seems to mean "to be spirit without a body" since it is a state of not being in time, and body is always in time. 


  In the Wordsworth passage Vishvesh posted, he posits a bodiless state of pure spirit before birth, which actually seems to be defiled by incarnating as flesh. This is a strange almost un-Christian vision, except as it maintains the separation of matter/spirit. As I mentioned, the strong Neoplatonism of Christian mysticism accounts for the dichotomy. This is absent from Indic mysticism. It seems that the rose garden and the church at smokefall reconcile the opposites in the mystic manner you describe, which I believe is Eliot's vision of the Incarnation as it applies to practicing Christians, " i.e., conquering" time while being in the body. Diana



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    From:  cr mittal <[log in to unmask]>
    Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
    To:  [log in to unmask]
    Subject:  Re: Four Quartets -- a reading
    Date:  Mon, 18 Dec 2006 12:44:52 -0800



    Dear Diana,
       

       
    I appreciate the warmth with which you receive the excerpt. I'm glad
       
    it stirs new insights. We have a long way to go, though. It's like Dante
       
    having lost his way in a dark forest in the opening canto of The Divine
       
    Comedy. Well, my hope lies in the kindly light that leads us from
       
    within. And it brings in coincidences as well that help.
       

       
    Incidentally, "to be conscious is not to be in time" does not imply the state
       
    of human soul without body -- it's an experience that saints have while living
       
    this life in time -- they are both in time and out of time. That is why this mystic
       
    moment is at the cross-section of time and eternity. TS Eliot recalls 
       
    a fleeting experience of this "timeless moment" which is available to saints 
       
    and sages at all times -- a state of detachment from 
    earthly joys and sorrows, 
       
    a state of detached action, and they enjoy all the attributes of this state while
       
    physically alive. AND, it is possible for anyone to cultivate a way of life through
       
    a recourse to, for instance, "Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata", and reach that state. 
       
    TS Eliot too aspired to attain to that state all his life -- he persevered. It was
       
    the goal of his life -- not that he attained it. [ According to Hindu philosophy, 
       
    it takes relentless efforts of many lives. Sometimes, this state is vouchedsafed
       
    to you in consideration of your childlike purity of heart, mind and soul -- a gift
       
    of Divine Grace.]  The Four Quartets defines the moment and charts out the
       
    course which we can take toward it.
       

       
    Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
    The world becomes 
    stranger, the pattern more complicated
    Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
    Isolated, with no before and after,
    But a lifetime burning in every moment
    And not the lifetime of one man only
    But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
    There is a time for the evening under starlight,
    A time for the evening under lamplight
    (The evening with the photograph album).
    Love is most nearly itself
    When here and now cease to matter.
    Old men ought to be explorers
    Here or there does not matter
    We must be still and still moving
    Into another intensity
    For a further union, a deeper communion
    Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
    The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
    Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning. 
       

       
    Diana, let me again draw your attention to the passage on "the still point".
       
    Let us mark the words I 
    emphasize: 
       

       
    At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
    Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
    But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
    Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
    Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
    There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
    I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
    And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
    The inner freedom from the practical desire,
    The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
    And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
    By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
    Erhebung without 
    motion, concentration
    Without elimination, both a new world
    And the old made explicit, understood
    In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
    The resolution of its partial horror. 
       

       
    Diana, we must contemplate these lines to get at their core.
       

       
    Best wishes,
       

       
    CR
       


    Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
       
         
         
         
      Dear CR: This part of the excerpt you posted strikes me as pertinent to the 4 Qts passage that asserts that only in time is time conquered: "A new inflexion/emphasises Incarnation... "
         
      Perhaps "to be conscious in not to be in time" is the state of the unincarnated soul or spirit. The rest of the passage could be 
      read as expressing Eliot's realization of the spiritual value of the Incarnation. Seen in this light, the very provocative passage from Wordsworth that Vishvesh posted would seem to be saying something quite different, describing a vision of the incarnation of spirit into flesh as "a death and a forgetting."
         
      Many thanks CR -- I begin to see the meaning of the smoky church at nightfall and the rose-garden a bit more clearly! Diana

         
         
           
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