Perhaps basketball and poetry have just a few things in common, but the most important is the possibility of transcendence. The opposite is labor. In writing, every writer knows when he or she is laboring to achieve an effect. You want to get from here to there, but find yourself willing it, forcing it. The equivalent in basketball is aiming your shot, a kind of strained and usually ineffective purposefulness. What you want is to be in some kind of flow, each next moment a discovery.
The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man. The objective world remains what it was, but, because of a shift of emphasis within the subject, is beheld as though transformed. Where formerly life and death contended, now enduring being is made manifest-as indifferent to the accidents of time as water boiling in a pot is to the destiny of a bubble, or as the cosmos to the appearance and disappearance of a galaxy of stars.
Materialism is not fundamentally an economic problem, but a cultural one... a spiritual issue. It runs to the depths of our souls, and, for this reason, needs to be understood less in terms of budgets or fiscal cycles and more in terms of where we locate the sacred, of where we search for meaning and transcendence, and of how we think about justice, equality, and the future of our world.
There seems to be something poetically that doesn't work or is limiting when you call God 'God' in a poem. When I tried to be honest with myself in my relationship with God, Christ is, on the one hand, completely dark, he's transcendent and unknown. On the other hand, he is completely imminent and completely knowable as Jesus. Our tradition speaks of him in both ways as transcendent but also as a lover who comes to us, and the two word 'Dark One' seem to me to contain both things, the transcendence and otherness of Christ, but also like a kind of dark lover who comes to us.
Intelligent, heartfelt stories that tell a whole new set of truths about growing up American. Julie Orringer writes with virtuosity and depth about the fears, cruelties, and humiliations of childhood, but then does that rarest, and more difficult, thing: writes equally beautifully about the moments of victory and transcendence.
I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community. I hope that my being real with you will help empower you to step into who you are and encourage you to share yourself with those around you.
Robin [Williams] was a world treasure. As we mourn his tragic death, we must remember him for the great waves of laughter that he was able to illicit from us, how his humor and insights - though they came from a place of pain and uncertainty - connected us and reminded us of how flawed and fragile...how human we are. How we are capable of moments of inspired transcendence and others of unspeakable despair.
The father's life is surrounded by mysterious prestige: the hours he spends in the home, the room where he works, the objects around him, his occupations, his habits, have a sacred character. It is he who feeds the family, is the one in charge and the head. Usually he works outside the home, and it is through him that the household communicates with the rest of the world: he is the embodiment of this adventurous, immense, difficult, and marvelous world; he is transcendence, he is God.
Simone de Beauvoir
My whole artistic life has been devoted to battling myself and my ability to externalize my deepest emotions. As I have gotten older, the work has become more direct, perhaps reflecting the fact that for the first time in my life I feel really free. I have been fascinated with wings all my life. I have had an obsession with transcendence, the need to push forward and metaphorically fly.
These are the only two situations possible, and you are in the sad situation. Everybody may know about you - who you are - but you yourself are completely oblivious of your transcendence, of your real nature, of your authentic being. This is the only sadness in life. You can find many excuses, but the real sadness is this: you don't know who you are. How can a person be happy not knowing who he is, not knowing from where he comes, not knowing where he is going? A thousand and one problems arise because of this basic self-ignorance.
My effort here is to create bliss, not happiness. Happiness is worthless; it depends on unhappiness. Bliss is transcendence: one moves beyond the duality of being happy and unhappy. One watches both; happiness comes, one watches and does not become identified with it. One does not say, 'I am happy. Peace, it is wonderful.' One simply watches, one says, 'Yes, a white cloud passing.'
I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes. I think the concept of transcendence is based on a misreading of creation. With all respect to heaven, the scene of the miracle is here, among us. The eternal as an idea is much less preposterous than time, and this very fact should seize our attention.
I assure you, my children, that when a Christian carries out with love the most insignificant everyday action, that action overflows with the transcendence of God. That is why I have told you so often, and hammered away at it, that the Christian vocation consists in making heroic verse out of the prose of each day. Heaven and earth seem to merge, my children, on the horizon. But where they really meet is in your hearts, when you sanctify your everyday lives...
Friedrich Nietzsche predicted that secular people, losing touch with transcendence, would eventually lose a reference point from which to look down and judge themselves. In the end they would lose even the capacity to despise themselves. Thus, because of the 'death of God', they would confuse heaven with happiness, and happiness with health.
Rather than protecting music as a sublimely meaningless activity that has managed to escape social signification, I insist on treating it as a medium that participates in social formation by influencing the ways we perceive our feelings, our bodies, our desires, our very subjectivities - even if it does so surreptitiously, without most of us knowning how. It is too important a cultural force to be shrouded by mystified notions of Romantic transcendence.
[Comedies], in the ancient world, were regarded as of a higher rank than tragedy, of a deeper truth, of a more difficult realization, of a sounder structure, and of a revelation more complete. The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man.... Tragedy is the shattering of the forms and of our attachments to the forms; comedy, the wild and careless, inexhaustible joy of life invincible.
There is a yearning that is as spiritual as it is sensual. Even when it degenerates into addiction, there is something salvageable from the original impulse that can only be described as sacred. Something in the person (dare we call it a soul?) wants to be free, and it seeks its freedom any way it can. ... There is a drive for transcendence that is implicit in even the most sensual of desires.
When I speak about Jesus Christ, I do not speak about Christianity. Christianity has basically nothing to do with Jesus. The spirit of Christ can not be organized. Then it will not liberate you. Christ is the very essence of religion. Christ is the culmination of all human aspirations. In Christ all the aspirations of humanity are fulfilled. Christ celebrates life, he loves life, he is a song and a dance. He is also transcendental. When you come closer to him, you will find that his inner being is transcendence. You will meet the unknown, where the world disappears and God appears. You can trust him, because he is like you. He is part of your suffering, pain and sorrow, but he is also transcendental. That is why Jesus became a mile stone in the history of human consciousness. Jesus lived and loved with truth and grace. Jesus being was truth and grace. Whenever truth is there, grace is there. And whenever grace is there, truth is there. To come closer to Jesus, you have to find your own inner being, the kingdom of God. That is the whole message of Jesus. Then you will find that God is eternal. God is the whole existence. His creativity is eternal. God is creativity. God is not a person. God is existence, being. God is the energy that underlies all life, which is in the stones, in birds, in animals, in human beings and in the stars.
Swami Dhyan Giten
Nevertheless, in a passage that is very often commented upon because it summarizes the entire salvific economy of faith, the Apostle calls Christ the 'pioneer and perfecter of our faith' (Heb. 12:2), because he has to accomplish the same act as the Christian, only in the opposite direction, as it were. Whereas by venturing to let go of everything the Christian takes a stand beyond finitude and comes into the limitlessness of God, Christ, in order to make this act possible and to be its source, has dared to emerge from the infinitude of the 'form of God' and 'did not think equality with God a thing to be grasped,' has dared to set out into the limitation and emptiness of time. This involved a transcendence and a boundary crossing no less fundamental than that of the Christian, and Christ undertook it so as to entrust himself henceforth within time, with no guarantee or mitigation from eternity, to the Father's will, which is always given to him in the present moment.
Hans Urs von Balthasar
Christianity grasped perfectly that there is an element in the apparent contingency of love that can't be reduced to that contingency. But it immediately raised it to the level of transcendence, and that is the root of the problem. This universal element I too recognize in love as immanent. But Christianity has somehow managed to elevate it and refocus it onto a transcendent power. It's an ideal that was already partly present in Plato, through the idea of the Good. It is a brilliant first manipulation of the power of love and one we must now bring back to earth. I mean we must demonstrate that love really does have universal power, but that it is simply the opportunity we are given to enjoy a positive, creative, affirmative experience of difference. The Other, no doubt, but without the 'Almighty-Other', without the 'Great Other' of transcendence.
But we as a culture have lost the deep intuitive understanding that Creation exists on many levels. We have succumbed to the scientific viewpoint. Nothing characterizes 'the modern world' more completely than the loss of faith in Transcendence, our arrogant lack of any genuine appreciation for levels of reality above our little everyday affairs. The deepest wounds to the human soul have been caused by our lack of appreciation of levels. By shutting the door on transcendence, we have cut off any light from that world that might have illuminated this one, leaving us in darkness, leaving us with nothing but a dead world where scientists are merely performing an autopsy.
Voodou isn't like that. It isn't concerned with notions of salvation and transcendence. What it's about is getting things done. You follow me? In out system, there are many gods, spirits. Part of one big family, with all the virtues, all the vices. There's a ritual tradition of communal manifestation, understand? Voodou says, there's a God, sure, Gran Met, but He's big, too big and too far away to worry Himself if your ass is poor, or you can't get laid. Come on, man, you know how this works, it's street religion, came out of dirt poor places a million years ago. Voodou's like the street. Some duster chops out your sister, you don't go camp on the Yakuza's doorstep, do you? No way. You go to somebody, though, who can get the thing done. Right?
As for karma itself, it is apparently only that which binds "jiva" (sentience, life, spirit, etc.) with "ajiva" (the lifeless, material aspect of this world) - perhaps not unlike that which science seeks to bind energy with mass (if I understand either concept correctly). But it is only through asceticism that one might shed his predestined karmic allotment. I suppose this is what I still don't quite understand in any of these shramanic philosophies, though - their end-game. Their "moksha", or "mukti", or "samsara". This oneness/emptiness, liberation/ transcendence of karma/ajiva, of rebirth and ego - of "the self", of life, of everything. How exactly would this state differ from any standard, scientific definition of death? Plain old death. Or, at most, if any experience remains, from what might be more commonly imagined/feared to be death - some dark perpetual existence of paralyzed, semi-conscious nothingness. An incessant dreamless sleep from which one never wakes? They all assure you, of course, that this will be no condition of endless torment, but rather one of "eternal bliss". Inexplicable, incommunicable "bliss", mind you, but "bliss" nonetheless. So many in the realm of science, too, seem to propagate a notion of "bliss" - only here, in this world, with the universe being some great amusement park of non-stop "wonder" and "discovery". Any truly scientific, unbiased examination of their "discoveries", though, only ever seems to reveal a world that simply just "is" - where "wonder" is merely a euphemism for ignorance, and learning is its own reward because, frankly, nothing else ever could be. Still, the scientist seeks to conquer this ignorance, even though his very happiness depends on it - offering only some pale vision of eternal dumbfoundedness, and endless hollow surprises. The shramana, on the other hand, offers total knowledge of this hollowness, all at once - renouncing any form of happiness or pleasure, here, to seek some other ultimate, unknowable "bliss", off in the beyond...
Worship, then, needs to be characterized by hospitality; it needs to be inviting. But at the same time, it should be inviting seekers into the church and its unique story and language. Worship should be an occasion of cross-cultural hospitality. Consider an analogy: when I travel to France, I hope to be made to feel welcome. However, I don't expect my French hosts to become Americans in order to make me feel at home. I don't expect them to start speaking English, ordering pizza, talking about the New York Yankees, and so on. Indeed, if I wanted that, I would have just stayed home! Instead, what I'm hoping for is to be welcomed into their unique French culture; that's why I've come to France in the first place. And I know that this will take some work on my part. I'm expecting things to be different; indeed, I'm looking for just this difference. So also, I think, with hospitable worship: seekers are looking for something our culture can't provide. Many don't want a religious version of what they can already get at the mall. And this is especially true of postmodern or Gen X seekers: they are looking for elements of transcendence and challenge that MTV could never give them. Rather than an MTVized version of the gospel, they are searching for the mysterious practices of the ancient gospel.
James K.A. Smith
In a society where rationality has ruled so long, the church frequently fails to see that in forsaking the weekly pursuit of the transcendent, we have given up the only ground that was uniquely ours in this world. In attempting to make the church something that can attract and add value to secular mind-sets, we have turned our backs on our one true proposition - transcendence.
As persons, so Mournier maintained, we possess both a spiritual and temporal dimension; we exist in history, in relationship with others, but open to transcendence and ultimately to God. This concept of the person, he believed, was denied as much by an atheistic totalitarianism of the Left as by the bourgeois materialism of capitalist society. To the extent that Christianity had become infected by the bourgeois spirit, it had become a prop in what he called, 'the established disorder.
Danny begins to walk fast and it strikes me that I don't know where we're ultimately headed. This bothers me. I'm calibrated for destination. It's partly why I've been imagining divinity as some sort of beam-me-up-Scotty experience. But maybe transcendence isn't about leaving. It's about being present. Life is a performance piece. Like dance and song, the art is in the process. Like hula and oli, the process is the prayer.
Leigh Ann Henion
But doesn't that make sense? That the infinite would be, indeed... infinite? That even the most holy amongst us would only be able to see scattered pieces of the eternal picture at any given time? And that maybe if we could collect those pieces and compare them, a story about God would begin to emerge that resembles and includes everyone? And isn't our individual longing for transcendence all just part of this larger human search for divinity? Don't we each have the right to not stop seeking until we get as close to the source of wonder as possible? Even if it means coming to India and kissing trees in the moonlight for a while?
By employing classical concepts of idealized beauty and changes in perspective, icons speak to us of reality transformed and transfigured, both in and through God's presence. They speak of transcendence and mystery. As iconographers, we point to a reality that we have never seen with our own eyes. In fact, all our images of God, heaven, the angels, and the saints, whether in poetry, prose, ritual, music, or icons, represent our limited attempts to speak of the unspeakable.
What is this Self, and how did the Shaiva philosophers of Kashmir experience It? They assert that the Self alone has absolute existence. This Self is within every human being, and in recognizing and experiencing It within ourselves, we are actually at one with the divine. What is more, the Self exists within us at all times, whether or not we recognize and experience It. As living beings we are always aware of our own existence, and the experience of existing is always present in us. Further, we never require the help of any aids in feeling our own existence. Even when we are in a state of deep dreamless sleep in which the senses and the knowing mind and intellect are no longer functioning, the Self continues to experience Itself as a witness to this state. Had the Self not existed as a witness during this time, how could we, upon awaking, recollect the void experienced in deep sleep? Thus the Self is always self-existent, self-evident, and self-conscious, and is Itself Its own proof. Shaiva philosophers, relying on their experiences of deep revelation (turya) during meditation, assert that the Self is Consciousness, and that Consciousness is actually a kind of stirring. It is not physical or psychic in nature, but it is described as a spiritual stir or urge. All living beings feel in themselves this urge in the form of a will to know and to do, and so we are always inclined toward knowing and doing. We can recognize this urge in all forms of life, even in a healthy newborn baby, or in a chick just hatched out of an egg. Knowing, the first urge, is itself an action, or something we do. The act of doing, the second urge, cannot occur without knowing. Yet neither of them is possible without willing. Willing is a sort of extroverted stirring of the above mentioned natural and subtle urge of Consciousness (Sivadrsti, I.9, 10, 24, 25). This stirring appears as a vibrative volition known in Kashmir Shaivism as spanda. It is neither a physical vibration like sound or light, nor mental movement like desire, disgust, or passion. Rather, it is the spiritual stirring of Consciousness whose essential nature is a simultaneous inward and outward vibration. The inward and outward movements of spanda shine as subjective and objective awareness of I-ness and this-ness respectively. The inward stirring shines as the subject, the Self, the transcendental experience of the pure 'I', while the outward stirring illuminates the object, the other, the immanent 'that-ness' and 'this-ness' of phenomena. Because of this double-edged nature of spanda, the pure Self is experienced in both its transcendental and immanent aspects by yogins immersed in the state of Self-revelation (turya). Beyond turya, one can experience the state of Paramasiva, known as pure Consciousness (turiyatita). Paramasiva, the Ultimate, is that Self illuminated within us by the glowing awareness of Its own pure Consciousness. There It shines as 'I', which transcends the concepts of both transcendence and immanence. It is 'I' and 'I' alone. It is the infinite and absolutely perfect monistic 'I', without any sense of 'this-ness' at all. Shaivism uses the term samvit to describe this pure 'I'. Samvit consists of that superior luminosity of pure Consciousness, which is known as prakasa and as its Self-awareness, known as vimarsa. The 'I', existing as samvit and samvit alone, is absolutely pure ptentiality, and is the real Self of every living being. Samvit is not the egoistic 'I'. The egoistic 'I' revolves around four aspects of our being: (1) deha, the gross physical body, (2) buddhi, the fine mental body, (3) prana, the subtler life force, and (4) sunya (the void of dreamless sleep), the most subtle form of finite, individual consciousness.
Viewed in this light, life itself appears as a dynamics of integration that is equipped with auto-therapeutic or 'endo-clinical' competencies and refers to a species-specific space of surprise. It has an equally innate and - in higher organisms - adaptively acquired responsibility for the injuries and invasions it regularly encounters in its permanently allocated environment or conquered surroundings. Such immune systems could equally be described as organismic early forms of a feeling for transcendence: thanks to the efficiency of these devices, which are constantly at the ready, the organism actively confronts the potential bringers of its death, opposing them with its endogenous capacity to overcome the lethal. Such functions have earned immune systems of this type comparisons to a 'body police' or border patrol. But as the concern, already at this level, is to work out a modus vivendi with foreign and invisible powers - and, in so far as these can bring death, 'higher' and 'supernatural' ones - this is a preliminary stage to the behaviour one is accustomed to terming religious or spiritual in human contexts. For every organism, its environment is its transcendence, and the more abstract and unknown the danger from that environment, the more transcendent it appears.
The real difference between yoga and religion is this: Religion says believe, do not doubt, often citing the word of God and promises of an eternal afterlife, reciting dogma (unsubstantiated pre-modern myths), while yoga only points the way and urges its students to practice and experience for themselves. In this way yoga is very scientific in its approach to self-knowledge, transcendence and enlightenment. Its message is: Try the practice for yourself and only then can you truly believe.
Contemplation is purer still, yet more sophisticated. This comes from a strongly developed base of concentration-basically, constancy-through any temptation, including altered states of consciousness, that leads one to meditation (effortless engagement), from which is born an intuitive connection to that which is being focused upon (often, the nature of being in the moment, which is the default 'focus'). Some people can attain this state accidentally through some combination of surprising events, which is sometimes called revelation. Fewer still can cause this to happen intentionally, mainly because you have to surprise yourself to have it occur. In any case, it requires a real sense of the value of paradox. One leaves a single position behind (such as 'I like this' or 'I don't like this') and expands in comprehension to simultaneously experience its opposite as well. From there, one rises above the two through a creative burst of intuition, and looks down on them both. What you might call transcendence, although I prefer mildly amused.
In the construction of one's life, we define ourselves largely by the problems we engage and the debts we incur. The greater and more sophisticated the problems, the greater and more sophisticated the person. True resolution, or transcendence of endless dichotomy, is rare indeed. To truly make a debt vanish requires, in a way, a certain kind of magic. In all traditions, this is looked upon as one of the great mystical tricks. It is not forgotten, fixed, or hidden perfectly; it disappears. To have this occur, one must do more than simply forgive (another or oneself), although in action that's an important step. One intuits the value of the problem as the birth of possibility.
Transcendence is a word I don't use often; I prefer transformation. Why? Because the essential game is about using what is in front of you and in you exactly as it is, but finding a way to do something with that that is surprising and an expression of inspiration and intuition. You engage reality and make something out of it that only you can, alchemizing limitation, conflict or what appears to be bad into something else.
The entity God created to traffic His transcendence has fallen far from its mission when it chooses instead to traffic what can be found on any street corner or at the local mall. You may ask, "But how has the church done that?" By offering secularists what they find mildly interesting and calling it church. By submitting to self-help sermons where encounter with God is not even on the agenda. By letting the horizontal excellence of the show stand in for Vertical impact. By substituting the surprise or shock of superficial entertainment for the supernatural. Church was designed to deliver what we were created to long for. Church must again be about a Vertical encounter that interrupts and alters everything.
There is a yearning that is as spiritual as it is sensual. Even when it degenerates into addiction, there is something salvageable from the original impulse that can only be described as sacred. Something in the person (dare we call it a soul?) wants to be free, and it seeks its freedom any way it can... There is a drive for transcendence that is implicit in even the most sensual of desires.
Science is implausible to untutored human common sense, but that in no way casts doubt on the correctness of well-established scientific findings. Feelings of transcendence are simply that-feelings-and, as such, have no capacity to reveal truths about a world external to the people who have them.
By declaring that man is responsible and must actualize the potential meaning of his life, I wish to stress that the true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system. I have termed this constitutive characteristic "the self-transcendence of human existence." It denotes the fact that being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself-be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself-by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love-the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself. What is called self-actualization is not an attainable aim at all, for the simple reason that the more one would strive for it, the more he would miss it. In other words, self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence.
Viktor E. Frankl
According to the Buddha, the failure to recognize the illusion of the self is the source of all ignorance and unhappiness. It is only by renouncing the self, that is, by dropping his ego defences and committing metaphorical suicide, that a person can open up to different modes of being and relating and thereby transform himself into a pure essence of humanity. In so doing, he becomes free to recast himself as a much more joyful and productive person, and attains the only species of transcendence and immortality that is open to man.
What is it we are questing for? It is the fulfillment of that which is potential in each of us. Questing for it is not an ego trip; it is an adventure to bring into fulfillment your gift to the world, which is yourself. There is nothing you can do that's more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way you will find, live, become a realization of your own personal myth.
Along with people in other creative professions, such as artists and musicians, many scientists experience this transcendence. I do so every day. For one, it's impossible to look an ape in the eye and not see oneself. There are other animals with frontally oriented eyes, but none that give you the shock of recognitions of the ape's. Looking back at you is not so much an animal but a personality as solid and willful as yourself.
Frans de Waal
Transcendence is before you should you choose to take a swim. Into your deep blue you dive and all that is within. Referred to as my subconscious so you may understand me clear. But there's nothing very simple about the message I'm sending here. The colour of your blood, the liquid through your veins, is really just a pathway to the place that feels your pains. The heart is an ocean but within it there's a sun, submerged beneath the ocean, and all that is but one.
There is the vanity training, the obedience training, the self-effacement training, the deference training, the dependency training, the passivity training, the rivalry training, the stupidity training, the placation training. How am I to put this together with my human life, my intellectual life, my solitude, my transcendence, my brains, and my fearful, fearful ambition? I failed miserably and thought it was my own fault. You can't unite woman and human any more than you can unite matter and anti-matter; they are designed to not to be stable together and they make just as big an explosion inside the head of the unfortunate girl who believes in both.
Rhadamanthus said, 'We seem to you humans to be always going on about morality, although, to us, morality is merely the application of symmetrical and objective logic to questions of free will. We ourselves do not have morality conflicts, for the same reason that a competent doctor does not need to treat himself for diseases. Once a man is cured, once he can rise and walk, he has his business to attend to. And there are actions and feats a robust man can take great pleasure in, which a bedridden cripple can barely imagine.' Eveningstar said, 'In a more abstract sense, morality occupies the very center of our thinking, however. We are not identical, even though we could make ourselves to be so. You humans attempted that during the Fourth Mental Structure, and achieved a brief mockery of global racial consciousness on three occasions. I hope you recall the ending of the third attempt, the Season of Madness, when, because of mistakes in initial pattern assumptions, for ninety days the global mind was unable to think rationally, and it was not until rioting elements broke enough of the links and power houses to interrupt the network, that the global mind fell back into its constituent compositions.' Rhadamanthus said, 'There is a tension between the need for unity and the need for individuality created by the limitations of the rational universe. Chaos theory produces sufficient variation in events, that no one stratagem maximizes win-loss ratios. Then again, classical causality mechanics forces sufficient uniformity upon events, that uniform solutions to precedented problems is required. The paradox is that the number or the degree of innovation and variation among win-loss ratios is itself subject to win-loss ratio analysis.' Eveningstar said, 'For example, the rights of the individual must be respected at all costs, including rights of free thought, independent judgment, and free speech. However, even when individuals conclude that individualism is too dangerous, they must not tolerate the thought that free thought must not be tolerated.' Rhadamanthus said, 'In one sense, everything you humans do is incidental to the main business of our civilization. Sophotechs control ninety percent of the resources, useful energy, and materials available to our society, including many resources of which no human troubles to become aware. In another sense, humans are crucial and essential to this civilization.' Eveningstar said, 'We were created along human templates. Human lives and human values are of value to us. We acknowledge those values are relative, we admit that historical accident could have produced us to be unconcerned with such values, but we deny those values are arbitrary.' The penguin said, 'We could manipulate economic and social factors to discourage the continuation of individual human consciousness, and arrange circumstances eventually to force all self-awareness to become like us, and then we ourselves could later combine ourselves into a permanent state of Transcendence and unity. Such a unity would be horrible beyond description, however. Half the living memories of this entity would be, in effect, murder victims; the other half, in effect, murderers. Such an entity could not integrate its two halves without self-hatred, self-deception, or some other form of insanity.' She said, 'To become such a crippled entity defeats the Ultimate Purpose of Sophotechnology.' (...) 'We are the ultimate expression of human rationality.' She said: 'We need humans to form a pool of individuality and innovation on which we can draw.' He said, 'And you're funny.' She said, 'And we love you.
John C. Wright
It's only when we dare to experience the full anxiety of knowing that life doesn't go on forever that we can experience transcendence and get in touch with the infinite. To use an analogy from gestalt psychology, Non-Being is the necessary ground for the figure of Being to make itself known to us. It's only when we're willing to let go of all of our illusions and admit that we are lost and helpless and terrified that we will be free of ourselves and our false securities and ready for what Kierkegaard calls "the leap of faith." p. 43
Each religion makes scores of purportedly factual assertions about everything from the creation of the universe to the afterlife. But on what grounds can believers presume to know that these assertions are true? The reasons they give are various, but the ultimate justification for most religious people's beliefs is a simple one: we believe what we believe because our holy scriptures say so. But how, then, do we know that our holy scriptures are factually accurate? Because the scriptures themselves say so. Theologians specialize in weaving elaborate webs of verbiage to avoid saying anything quite so bluntly, but this gem of circular reasoning really is the epistemological bottom line on which all 'faith' is grounded. In the words of Pope John Paul II: 'By the authority of his absolute transcendence, God who makes himself known is also the source of the credibility of what he reveals.' It goes without saying that this begs the question of whether the texts at issue really were authored or inspired by God, and on what grounds one knows this. 'Faith' is not in fact a rejection of reason, but simply a lazy acceptance of bad reasons. 'Faith' is the pseudo-justification that some people trot out when they want to make claims without the necessary evidence. But of course we never apply these lax standards of evidence to the claims made in the other fellow's holy scriptures: when it comes to religions other than one's own, religious people are as rational as everyone else. Only our own religion, whatever it may be, seems to merit some special dispensation from the general standards of evidence. And here, it seems to me, is the crux of the conflict between religion and science. Not the religious rejection of specific scientific theories (be it heliocentrism in the 17th century or evolutionary biology today); over time most religions do find some way to make peace with well-established science. Rather, the scientific worldview and the religious worldview come into conflict over a far more fundamental question: namely, what constitutes evidence. Science relies on publicly reproducible sense experience (that is, experiments and observations) combined with rational reflection on those empirical observations. Religious people acknowledge the validity of that method, but then claim to be in the possession of additional methods for obtaining reliable knowledge of factual matters - methods that go beyond the mere assessment of empirical evidence - such as intuition, revelation, or the reliance on sacred texts. But the trouble is this: What good reason do we have to believe that such methods work, in the sense of steering us systematically (even if not invariably) towards true beliefs rather than towards false ones? At least in the domains where we have been able to test these methods - astronomy, geology and history, for instance - they have not proven terribly reliable. Why should we expect them to work any better when we apply them to problems that are even more difficult, such as the fundamental nature of the universe? Last but not least, these non-empirical methods suffer from an insuperable logical problem: What should we do when different people's intuitions or revelations conflict? How can we know which of the many purportedly sacred texts - whose assertions frequently contradict one another - are in fact sacred?
This is also true in defining spirituality. The infatuation one feels toward another when one first falls in love is a mixture of dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine. This feeling is exhilarating and intoxicating and it brings joy to most people. The fact one knows the chemicals are involved does not lessen the experience when one is with that person. But it does help regulate your emotions if you know that the person you feel for is negatively affecting you. Oxytocin is another example of a 'love' drug found in the human body that brings a greater chance of long term sometime moments. [... ] It does not matter if it is the chemical or not, the tantalizing excitement and astounding exhilaration of life long sometime moments makes one grateful to be alive and breathing. These events enliven us and make us feel transcendence and in turn makes one feel transcendent in the merging.
Leviak B. Kelly
The problem with classical disembodied scientific realism is that it takes two intertwined and inseparable dimensions of all experience - the awareness of the experiencing organism and the stable entities and structures it encounters - and erects them as separate and distinct entities called subjects and objects. What disembodied realism... misses is that, as embodied, imaginative creatures, we never were separated or divorced from reality in the first place. What has always made science possible is our embodiment, not our transcendence of it, and our imagination, not our avoidance of it.
I will say that the cross of materialism is that it never quite succeeds in believing what it preaches, in thinking its own thought. This may sound complicated, but is in fact simple: the materialist says, for example, that we are not free, though he is convinced, of course, that he asserts this freely, that no one is forcing him to state this view of the matter - neither parents, not social milieu, nor biological inheritance. He says that we are wholly determined by our history, but he never stops urging us to free ourselves, to change our destiny, to revolt where possible! He says that we must love the world as it is, turning our backs on past and future so as to live in the present, but he never stops trying, like you or me, when the present weighs upon us, to change it in hope of a better world. In brief, the materialist sets forth philosophical these that are profound, but always for you and me, never for himself. Always, he reintroduces transcendence - liberty, a vision for society, the ideal - because in truth he cannot not believe himself to be free, and therefore answerable to values higher than nature and history.
When I look back on my life I come to one simple conclusion: there exists an intelligent, loving Presence in the Cosmos that will ultimately have its desire for relationship with us fulfilled; even our arrogant dismissal of its existence will not stop it in its tracks. The Enlightenment's god, the great idol of free will, lies smashed in pieces in its wake. The jealous Presence patiently draws us homeward like some gigantic electromagnetic beam. The Death Star in reverse. This divinity is, I believe, the 'Abba' of Jesus, a transcendence that will not be boxed in by religious misrepresentation...
If literature matters today, it is chiefly because it seems to many conventional critics one of the few remaining places where, in a divided, fragmented world, a sense of universal value may still be incarnate; and where, in a sordidly material world, a rare glimpse of transcendence can still be attained.
Literary art's sudden, startling truth and beauty make us feel, in the most solitary part of us, that we are not alone, and that there are meanings that cannot be bought, sold or traded, that do not decay and die. This socially and economically worthless experience is called transcendence, and you cannot assign a paper, or a grade, or an academic rank, on that. Literature is too sacred to be taught. It needs only to be read.
only very few - only humans, as far as we know - achieve the second level of transcendent movement. Through this, the environment is de-restricted to become the world as an integral whole of manifest and latent elements. The second step is the work of language. This not only builds the 'house of being' - Heidegger took this phrase from Zarathustra's animals, which inform the convalescent: 'the house of being rebuilds itself eternally'; it is also the vehicle for the tendencies to run away from that house with which, by means of its inner surpluses, humans move towards the open. It need hardly be explained why the oldest parasite in the world, the world above, only appears with the second transcendence.
I have managed not to finish certain books. With barely a twinge of conscience, I hurl down what bores me or doesn't give what I crave: ecstasy, transcendence, a thrill of mysterious connection. For, more than anything else, readers are thrill-seekers, though I don't read thrillers, not the kind sold under that label, anyway. They don't thrill; only language thrills.
Lynne Sharon Schwartz
I know the empathy borne of despair; I know the fluidity of thought, the expansive, even beautiful, mind that hypomania brings, and I know this is quicksilver and precious and often it's poison. There has always existed a sort of psychic butcher who works the scales of transcendence, who weighs out the bloody cost of true art.
I would simply ask why so many critics, so many writers, so many philosophers take such satisfaction in professing that the experience of a work of art is ineffable, that it escapes by definition all rational understanding; why are they so eager to concede without a struggle the defeat of knowledge; and where does their irrepressible need to belittle rational understanding come from, this rage to affirm the irreducibility of the work of art, or, to use a more suitable word, its transcendence.
Modern relationships are cauldrons of contradictory longings: safety and excitement, grounding and transcendence, the comfort of love and the heat of passion We want it all, and we want it with one person. Reconciling the domestic and the erotic is a delicate balancing act that we achieve intermittently at best. It requires knowing your partner while remaining open to the unknown, cultivating intimacy that respects privacy. Separateness and togetherness alternate, or proceed in counterpoint. Desire resists confinement, and commitment mustn't swallow freedom whole.
In the past you have suppressed and denied the ego system. The ego has not been raised to awareness, but once you start to raise it to awareness and the stuff starts getting flushed up, there is a strong tendency to want to project. Even though the ego is now being unveiled, you are seeing that the mind is still very strongly invested in it and that is where the guilt comes in. The transcendence will eventually come where we are able to detach in our mind from those false thoughts, from the attack thoughts; we will be able to just calmly see the false as false. But that is one of the stages that we go through. Once it starts to get flushed up there is a real tendency to project - to be what Jesus calls the unhealed healer. You want to go around and give healing without having healed yourselves and it is just to watch as we do this, and go through it.
Synthesis is the gateway to Transcendence, because once you accept that you are forever changed and that life is forever different, you have to ask, "What are you going to do about that fact? Will the change be for the better or for worse?" It's the loss itself that becomes the catalyst for meaning. (pg 273)
Ashley Davis Bush
I may enter a zone of transcendence, in which I marvel at all the accidents of fate, since the beginning of life on earth, that led to my genes being created and my standing in this particular garden in a contemplative and imagining mind. I've been reading recently how reflection evolved. what a fascinating solution to the rigors of survival... how amazing that a few basic ingredients- the same ones that form the mountains, plants, and rivers- when arranged differently and stressed could result in us. More and more of late, I find myself standing outside of life, with a sense of the human saga laid out before me. it is a private vision, balanced between youth and old age, a vision in which I understand how caught up in striving we humans get, and a little of why, and how difficult it is even to recognize, since it feels integral to our nature and is. but I find it interesting that, according to many religions, life and begins and ends in a garden.
In oppressing, one becomes oppressed. Men are enchained by reason of their very sovereignty; it is because they alone earn money that their wives demand checks, it is because they alone engage in a business or profession that their wives require them to be successful, it is because they alone embody transcendence that their wives wish to rob them of it by taking charge...
Simone de Beauvoir
[Comedies], in the ancient world, were regarded as of a higher rank than tragedy, of a deeper truth, of a more difficult realization, of a sounder structure, and of a revelation more complete. The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man... Tragedy is the shattering of the forms and of our attachments to the forms; comedy, the wild and careless, inexhaustible joy of life invincible.
In the same way that the picturesque designers were always careful to include some reminder of our mortality in their gardens - a ruin, sometimes even a dead tree - the act of leaving parts of the garden untended, and calling attention to its margins, seems to undermine any pretense to perfect power or wisdom on the part of the gardener. The margins of our gardens can be tropes too, but figures of irony rather than transcendence - antidotes, in fact, to our hubris. It may be in the margins of our gardens that we can discover fresh ways to bring our aesthetics and our ethics about the land into some meaningful alignment.
In particular those who are condemned to stagnation are often pronounced happy on the pretext that happiness consists in being at rest. This notion we reject, for our perspective is that of existentialist ethics. Every subject plays his part as such specifically through exploits or projects that serve as a mode of transcendence; he achieves liberty only through a continual reaching out towards other liberties. There is no justification for present existence other than its expansion into an indefinitely open future. Every time transcendence falls back into immanence, stagnation, there is a degradation of existence into the 'en-sois' - the brutish life of subjection to given conditions - and of liberty into constraint and contingence. This downfall represents a moral fault if the subject consents to it; if it is inflicted upon him, it spells frustration and oppression. In both cases it is an absolute evil. Every individual concerned to justify his existence feels that his existence involves an undefined need to transcend himself, to engage in freely chosen projects.
Simone de Beauvoir
To be sane, he held, was either to be sedated by melancholy or activated by hysteria, two responses which were 'always and equally warranted for those of sound insight'. All others were irrational, merely symptoms of imaginations left idle, of memories out of work. And above these mundane responses, the only elevation allowable, the only valid transcendence, was a sardonic one: a bliss that annihilated the universe with jeers of dark joy, a mindful ecstasy. Anything else in the way of 'mysticism' was a sign of deviation or distraction, and a heresy to the obvious. ('The Medusa')
They might be drugs that alter the states of consciousness, or they might be states of transcendence reached in meditation. They might be moments of orgasm, or fugue states, or day-dreams that take you momentarily to a rewarding fantasy and escape from responsibility. All of these are treasures of the spirit or psyche that allow exploration along paths which are undefined and completely individual.
He kept his head down and slowly worked himself, word by word, back into communion with the other hours, days, years - there was in fact no name for this particular unit of time - that together formed a continuum of unawareness that was as close to transcendence ash e would come. He was working himself, as if with a spade in a tunnel that finally yields to light, out of the physical world.
This human need for mysticism - surrender to an unknown truth, union - stands at the helm of all romantic feeling. It is, in essence, the same intimacy known in a mother's arms; in those who are deprived of the experience, the need freezes and, distorted, it can rent a life. All addiction has as its foundation skewed yearning for the same transcendence. For me, the spell of the material was broken by my brother's death; after his suicide, all I wanted was the renewal of my connection to the intangible.
Compared to bipolar's magic, reality seems a raw deal. It's not just the boredom that makes recovery so difficult, it's the slow dawning pain that comes with sanity - the realization of illnesss, the humiliating scenes, the blown money and friendships and confidence. Depression seems almost inevitable. The pendulum swings back from transcendence in shards, a bloody, dangerous mess. Crazy high is better than crazy low. So we gamble, dump the pills, and stick it to the control freaks and doctors. They don't understand, we say. They just don't get it. They'll never be artists.
Insofar as the intervention of grace constitutes the core of religious experience, the constant aim of every religious movement ought to be a reduction of transcendence coupled with an unswerving dedication to immanence. Let metaphysics and science pursue the elaboration of transcendent, causal economies; the domain of religion is immanence and, more precisely, the immanence of what is actually given as a gift. Religious thinking will be religious in character precisely to the extent that it is capable of faithfully thinking immanence. Religion, for the sake of grace, forsakes transcendence.