The touchstone for the understanding the Bible is the moment when Saul, soon after witnessing the stoning of Stephen, had a conversion. He realized that he participated in the persecution directed at enforcing the law for cultural order trying to keep his religion from contamination by heresy. The significance is that though he participated and approved of the stoning of Stephen he still has a revelation – a revelation of the innocence of the victim of the law and order campaign of his day. It tells us that the power of the crowd is unbelievable. The next we know of Saul he's on the road to Damascus and the cock crows. He realizes that he has been a persecutor and yet becomes one who tells the story.
In this session Gil looks at 2 sayings that address the 2 forms of power/influence that bring about order.
"The thoughtless man thinks that the will is the only thing that operates – that willing is something simple, manifestly given, and comprehensible in itself. He is convinced that when he does anything, for example, when he delivers a blow, it is he who strikes, and he has struck because he has willed to strike. Of the mechanism of the occurrence, and of the manifold subtle operation that must be preformed in order that the blow may result, and likewise the incapacity of the will in itself to effect even the smallest part of these operations, he knows nothing of these. (Arthur) Schopenhauer with his assumption that all that exists is something volitional has set a primitive mythology on the throne. He seems never to have attempted an analysis of the will, because he believes like everybody in the simplicity and immediateness of all volition. While volition is in fact such a cleverly practiced mechanical process that it almost escapes the observing eye." -- from The Gay Science
Notes from Bailie: The will is something that happens to us. We get caught up in it. The will that Nietzsche wants to revive cannot be revived by an individual – in the same way that, try as we may, we cannot revive myths, because the mental attitude which is, ‘I am going to find a myth and believe in it,’ is antithetical to mythological consciousness. Mythological consciousness is a consciousness of someone who has been caught up in it. Likewise the will, according to Nietzsche, for it to revive culture to the Apollonian order of its heroic tradition must be swept up into a power greater than what an individual can revive – so then when you deliver the blow, you may think it is your will, but it is not, something else is operating.
St. Paul realizes the need to become Christ-links whereas Nietzsche wanted to transform humankind into Ubermensch with enough will-power to revive the Apollonian order. The reason for the Ubermensch with will-power is because myth no longer has the lasting power of old. What Nietzsche saw was that to reclaim order culture would have to come from either the Dionysian impulse or Christ.
"God has provided that when his grace penetrates to the very center of a person and from there illuminates all his being, he is able to walk on water without violating any of the laws of nature. When, however, a man turns away from God he simply gives himself up to the law of gravity. Then he thinks he can decide and choose, but he is only a thing, a stone, that falls. If we examine human society and souls closely and with real attention, we see that wherever the virtue of supernatural light is absent, everything is obedient to mechanical laws as blind and as exact as the law of gravitation… Those whom we call criminals are only tiles blown off a roof by the wind and falling at random. Their only fault is the initial choice by which they became such tiles."
“The mechanism of necessity can be transposed to any level while still remaining true to itself. It is the same in the world of pure matter, in the animal world, among nations, and in souls. Seen from our present standpoint, and in human perspective, it is quite blind. If, however, we transport our hearts beyond ourselves, beyond the universe, beyond space and time to where our Father dwells, and if from there we behold this mechanism, it appears quite different. What seemed to be necessity becomes obedience. Matter is entirely passive and in consequence entirely obedient to God’s will. It is a perfect model for us. There cannot be any being other than God and that which obeys God.” Waiting for God (pg. 75-76)
The rest of tape 3 focuses on the play "The Bacchae" by Euripides. I will leave that for Athos and another post, but to end with Bailie's ending of the session: The romance of "The Bacchae" is that if one let’s oneself go, one can be swept away into this beautiful place – a golden age – where freedom is law and so one can go with the gravitational flow. We need to remember that we are under the influence of either the biblical God or it’s the influence of what Simone Weil called gravity and what Nietzsche called Dionysus.
For other posts on Gil Bailie's tape series, Let This Mind be in You:
Athos notes on tape 9B link here
Aramis notes on tape 2 here
and you can see our first post regarding this tape series by clicking here