Sunday, June 27, 2010

Readings: Wisdom As the Artist of the Human

I have now finished Part I “Who Is Solovyov and What Is Sophia?” of Divine Sophia: The Wisdom Writings of Vladimir Solovyov by Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, a text to which I was introduced in comment boxes at Vox Nova linked to in this post, and first mentioned here.

In learning a bit of Solovyov’s biography, I was struck by several similarities between this Russian poet-philosopher and French philosopher, Simone Weil. And I was subsequently struck again by certain similarities that I saw between Solovyov’s thought and the ideas expressed by graphic artist J. E. L. Eldridge concerning his massive mural Vision Out of Golgonooza.

I took some notes as I read Kornblatt’s book, and I also scanned the table below, from Solovyov's Philosophical Principles of Integral Knowledge. His sets of priorities are worthy of note:

Then I scanned two pages of a chapbook on Eldridge’s mural, the first bearing the words to which I referred above, and the second showing a detail from his huge (1,370 sq. ft.) mural.

And now a glimpse of the mural:

I offer all of the above for you to compare and contrast. Below you will find a selection of the notes from my reading of Kornblatt, as referred to above:

p.40: In his life drama, Plato presumably fell into dualistic pessimism immediately after Socrates’ death. He could see “no connection between the perfect fullness of the gods’ ideas and the hopeless wilderness of mortal life. There was, indeed, no rational connection. But something irrational happened. An intermediate force between gods and mortals appeared—neither a god nor a human, but some powerful daemonic and heroic being. His name is Eros, and his task was to build a bridge between heaven and earth, and between those two and the underworld. Solovyov thus writes of love as a mediating force that can bridge alienating dualism and create a new whole, as he says, “in beauty.”


p.41: Perhaps the best way to understand this ongoing, nonrational process is to see the third element, or mediator—whether the daemon Eros, immaterial light, or Sophia—not as a thing, being, or even a state, but as a force or action that enables the potential for wholeness to emerge from the interaction of two opposing beings, things, or states. Solovyov uses the term podvig (heroic feat) for this activity; a word that typically refers to the action of saints and martyrs. The third member of the triad makes possible the interpenetration and transformation of the first two. …Recognizing the potential for transfiguration, Eros affects a union between two beings and through its divine-human podvig affects a divine humanity.

pp. 45-46: He calls the World Soul (WS) “the principle of humanity” – “the ideal or normal human” which is the “unity to which we give the mystical name Sophia”... “the universally human organism as the eternal body of God and the eternal soul of the world.” Here Sophia is identical to the WS, which itself is identical to the clearly paradoxical body of God.