Friday, August 27, 2004

Many Carry the Thursis but Few Are Pseudo-Dionysus

Ascribing agency to the ultimate ground of reality is no less an instance of zoomorphism than imagining God to have a gender. An eternal and ubiquitous entity cannot do anything or even move because whatever it is supposed to do has always already happened and there is no place for it to go. The connoisseurs of negative theology came to this conclusion long ago, though, unlike me, they seem to have thought that some residue of meaning persists after or perhaps during the evaporation of all the divine attributes. The point is not academic. Many educated people assume that the divine science fiction of popular religion somehow adumbrates a defensible doctrine of Being qua Being, albeit in a charmingly childish way. But it is far from clear that the plausible elements of the postulated perennial philosophy have anything very interesting to say. It’s surprisingly easy to get bored with Enlightenment once you get over its novelty value since the glamour of the thing is something left over from all the engaging mythology and nonsense that precedes the moment of terminal sobriety.

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