Monday, December 04, 2006

Let This Mind Be in You - Gil Bailie TAPE 2

The Massketeers press on with our look at the psychology of Christian conversion through a study of a tape series by Gil Bailie called "Let This Mind Be In You." This post will lead us into a discussion of tape 2 (we discussed tape 1 last month). Please join us as we explore the psychology of Christian conversion looking at metaphysical desire which can be either vertical (Real Transcendence) or horizontal (deviated); the former brings us into true personhood and love and the ladder leads to first scandal and then violence. Now don’t be shy, we are open to responsible comments.

The following are a few excerpts from tape 2.

Matthew 22:37,40 -- And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' "This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

We have heard this a million times, but I don’t think we have heard it enough, particularly the first commandment. He did not say to believe in God and love humanity. He did not say be nice and love others. He said these two go together and the first is to love God with all your heart, mind and soul. And the second is to love others AS yourself. Now historical Christianity's compliance with this injunction and the compliance with individual Christians down through the ages has been a hit and miss affair. But thank God the injunction is there as a reminder for us when we need a touchstone.

Partly due to the romantic view of basic human benevolence, which was retailed by Rousseau, and others and partly due to the rationalistic, ‘where there is a will there is a way’ spirit of the Enlightenment, the modern world came to believe that it could obey the second commandment without bothering with the first. …

In practice, if not always in professed belief in doctrine, the modern world enshrined only the second of the two great commandments, the one Jesus said was the lesser of the two and the one that was dependent upon the first one. The modern world has assumed that the two commandments could be separated. The creaking and groining, indeed the shouting and the shooting that you hear outside, is coming from the collapse of that assumption. …

Girard, in Things Hidden, says: "In reality, no purely intellectual process and no experience of a purely philosophical nature can secure the individual the slightest victory over mimetic desire and its victimage delusions.

… There is so much territory covered in this statement. It is precisely that arch between mimetic desire and the victimage delusion which Girard has made it his business to delineate…

He goes on: "Intellection can achieve only displacement and substitution, though these may give individuals the sense of having achieved a victory."

What he means with displacement and substitution – when we try to explicate ourselves from the mimetic desire and the victimage delusion we do so by being morally offended by the effects of someone’s victimage delusion and so we crank our own victimage operation in order to direct it toward the victimizer that we have just been scandalized by. So we have substituted or displaced the object of the victimage delusion, but we haven’t broken the spirit of the prince of this world (to speak in Biblical terms).

Going on to the last sentence of this Girard quote from Things Hidden: "For there to be even the slightest degree of progress, the victimage delusion must be vanquished on the most intimate level of experience."

This is where Christian conversion comes in. And that is where the first commandment comes in. ...

We are desire. This desire is metaphysical - not desire in a Freudian sense - this is not some impulse-response to a natural need of urge, because those desires can be satisfied, but ours can’t. What happens with that desire is the big question anthropologically? What do we do with this enormous desire? Well, we fool ourselves completely by thinking that it is animal desire or some version of it, like some materialists desire. However, Alexandre Kojeve, in his analysis on Hegel says, “Human desire must be directed toward another desire.” ... It must be directed toward another desire. So to speak metaphysically, could I love God if God was not love and did not love me? Human desire must be directed toward another desire. But there are plenty of other desires around. The world is filled with them and of course the most potent are metaphysical ones.

Now we come to the human socio-drama and the contagiousness of the desire – desire must be directed toward another desire and what happens when it is?


Athos said...

"Intellection can achieve only displacement and substitution, though these may give individuals the sense of having achieved a victory."

Yes, yes. Parrying and jousting. It is in the sword play one must make a name for oneself before admittance to the Massketeers ...

Find a worthy model - nay, Model - and lay one's sword at His feet. All else is psycho-drama and human funny business, Aramis. You know all this!

Get on to business, man! Otherwise, go back over and post on that benighted Girard list!

Athos said...

Enough ranting on my part, Aramis, mon ami.

The connection I am making -- and feel free to disagree, one and all -- is this:

Since the early 20th century, the tributaries that led back upstream to the authentic Sources of ontological substantiation have been diminishing, diminishing, diminishing until we see, today, a cataclysmic imploding in the decadent West. Evidence of this, its symptomology in faith and morals is as near as the morning newspaper. It is beginning to be noted with alarm by social scientists who study demographics, although with little or no clear understanding of the sources of the disease.

One whose work is admired by Gil Bailie is Mark Steyn, author of America Alone (2006). But for those who don't have a taste for lightning quick repartee and parrying can look at for a different perspective; namely, the Vatican's.

The vain attempts to rewrite Natural Law and erase the influence of the single source of hope and vitality for the West, indeed the only Hand that is outstretched to catch and save is spurned. Scorn and abuse come from the drowning West, like a man who resents Someone standing on the edge of a raging river, trying to help the one caught in the rock-strewn torrent below.

"Huh! You think you're SO high and special, trying to help ME!" shouts the drowning, dying man.

He is so filled with scandal that he would seemingly rather perish than take the sole means of rescue; namely, conversion.

David Nybakke said...

2 excerpts from Bailie in his talk, “Truth of the Cross”;

1) I remember reading, back in the 80’s when they were building nuclear weapons as fast as they could, there was this woman arrested for pouring blood on a nuclear warhead. She was interviewed while the nuclear build up was going just as fast as it could, the interviewer said, “Don’t you despair? Here you are serving 18 months for that, meanwhile these warheads are coming off the assembly line as fast as they can?” “Oh no,” she said, “the victory over evil was accomplished at the Cross my task is to live in the light of the victory.” Is not that something?

2) One of the things I said in the Violence Unveiled book is that the Gospel does two things, it destroys the old system of sacred violence and it teaches us how to live without it. To live without it we have to have another kind of community, one that keeps us keenly aware of our fallenness, our sinfulness, and our neediness and inspires us to help one another. So as the Gospel is destroying this old system the world becomes more and more paralysis. Our task as members of Christ’s church is to keep up with the Gospel. To Christianize ourselves and our world at the same pace at which the Gospel is destroying the old sacred system that used to keep peace, which used to create social and cultural harmony. But Jesus says if you think I came to bring peace, guess again. I am taking away; I am sticking a stick in the spokes of the machine that used to give you peace. So now, it is up to you. Now you have to go out and spread the Gospel, you have to Christianize the world to the ends of the world. You have to do it in pace with the Gospel’s destruction of that old sacred system.

The Gospel is working, gradually deconstructing the myths that justify the victimage delusion and we are called, through and by the Church, in faith, hope and love to spread the Gospel to all ends of the earth.

As a member of AA, my bias in fulfilling this is through attraction - not promotion. We are to be the change and have the faith, as that woman protester did, who said, "the victory over evil was accomplished at the Cross my task is to live in the light of the victory."

Isn't this part of the reason why we 3 Massketeers were brought together?

Athos said...

Aye, laddie, aye (admitting his Scottish lineage).

Must needs thou find and abjure to watch the 3 & 4 Musketeers en toto.

Aramis says therein: "Must life be so difficult. Why not go and die where we're told?"

Cheers and what ho, Massketeers!

Porthos said...

I've only listened to the series once, and it will be a while before I can listen to the whole thing again. Aramis' opening post was useful for me.

But I have no profound thoughts to share (a rather common shortcoming in my case, which I try to compensate for with Mahler and Dejohnette links).