A relatively new book edited by Catherine Keller and Laurel C. Schneider (Taylor and Francis, 2010). See sneak preview at Google Books. From their Introduction:

"In recent years a discernible movement within theology has emerged around a triune intuition: the daunting differences of multiplicity, the evolutionary uncertainty it unfolds, and the relationality that it implies are not problems to be overcome in religious thought. They are starting points for it. Divinity understood in terms of multiplicity, open-endedness, and relationality now forms a matrix of revelation rather than a distortion, or evidence of its lack. The challenges and passions of theological creativity blossoming at the edges of tradition and at the margins of power have show themselves, far from being distractions from doctrinal or doxological integrity, to be indispensable to its life. And this vitality belies at once the dreary prophesies or pure secularism and the hard grip of credulous certainties."


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I had a few similar thoughts in my last post in another thread.

There is also a way in which metaphors, representative of our own lived experiences, are "more than" comparisons and similes.


Yes, I agree; Mary.  I am pretty sure that's how Borg views this -- as exceeding the bounds of straightforward, rational (or literary) comparison, flowing into participatory mystery at the outer edges of our knowing.

Metaphors arise from our embodiment, and yet it is not quite accurate to oppose metaphor with reason. What the critics call reason L&J would call false reason. Remember the baby and its bathwater. I will re-post this, originally posted in the Bortoft thread:


Getting back to the quote that begins this thread about imagination, Lakoff & Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By (available online at this link) talk about an experiential synthesis of reason and imagination called imaginative rationality.

“What we are offering in the experientialist account of understanding and truth is an alternative which denies that subjectivity and objectivity are our only choices. We reject the objectivist view that there is absolute and unconditional truth without adopting the subjectivist alternative of truth as obtainable only through the imagination, unconstrained by external circumstances. The reason we have focused so much on metaphor is that it unites reason and imagination. Reason, at the very least, involves categorization, entailment, and inference. Imagination, in one of its many aspects, involves seeing one kind of thing in terms of another kind of thing—what we have called metaphorical thought. Metaphor is thus imaginative rationality. Since the categories of our everyday thought are largely metaphorical and our everyday reasoning involves metaphorical entailments and inferences, ordinary rationality is therefore imaginative by its very nature. Given our understanding of poetic metaphor in terms of metaphorical entailments and inferences, we can see that the products of the poetic imagination are, for the same reason, partially rational in nature” (138-9).

To be clear, I wasn't opposing metaphor and reason or appealing to 'false reason' in L&J's sense, and I don't think Mary (or the author she was quoting) was either.  Yes, remember the baby in the bathwater!

I wasn’t saying you were Balder. My blog post was to point to Rico, who borders on it when he said:

“The richness is not reached through an analyzing intellect, which will insist on choosing either literal and/or metaphorical…. The spirit does not dwell in concepts but in deeds and facts.” 

There is no differentiation between this analyzing intellect and intellect, i.e., real and false reason. It seems intellect is just analyzing and concepts are apart from deeds and facts, whereas for L&J they are of not different in this way.

Hi, Ed, thank you for clarifying that.  Yes, I agree it would be problematic to try to separate intellect and concepts from deeds and facts in this way.  Reading Richo's quotation, what I picked up on was a critique of a particular mode of interpretation or thinking:  'insist[ing] on choosing either literal and/or metaphorical.'  I recently commented on a post by someone over on Facebook, where he was drawing a stark comparison between literal and metaphorical truths, and appeared to be insisting that science be seen as the realm of the literal and spirituality as the realm of the metaphorical and the two should be kept very distinct.  I remarked to him that this struck me as an "Orange"/rationalist distinction -- which, here, I would identify as a mode of thinking which subscribes to 'false reason,' in L&J's terms.  I took Richo to be criticizing such a rationalistic, non-participatory (non-embodied) dichotomy.

More from Metaphors We Live By:

“Metaphor is not merely a matter of language. It is a matter of conceptual structure. And conceptual structure is not merely a matter of the intellect—it involves all the natural dimensions of our experience, including aspects of our sense experiences: color, shape, texture, sound, etc…. Metaphors are not merely things to be seen beyond. In fact, one can see beyond them only by using other metaphors. It is as though the ability to comprehend experience through metaphor were a sense, like seeing or touching or hearing, with metaphors providing the only ways to perceive and experience much of the world. Metaphor is as much a part of our functioning as our sense of touch, and as precious” (235 - 8).

As Theurj mentioned earlier, Roland Faber, a Whiteheadian process theologian and theopoet, is a contributor to this text.  His essay is actually quite dense and neologisim-heavy, but it has a number of novel insights in it that I've been able to "cull out" once I acclimated to the dense language.  One idea that I liked (which I may bring into my recent revisions of my trans-lineage spirituality paper) is his use of the term, re-enactment, as a means of locating "universality" in religious traditions.  A re-enactment is at once a repetition or carrying-forward of the past, of an "orthodox intuition" that has served as a seminal inspiration for a tradition, but it also simultaneously introduces novelty and is always in becoming.  The universal is what is ongoingly re-enacted both within traditions, and even across traditions (if we look for homeomorphic equivalencies, for instance). I like how this resonates, linguistically and conceptually, with an enactive view, while also obviously relating to traditional religious terminology (liturgical dramas, etc).


In any event, I'm mentioning him now because I've recently been exploring some of his other work and wanted to share a link to his webpage.  His paper, De-ontologizing God: Levinas, Deleuze and Whitehead looks relevant for some of our recent discussions, for instance. 

Here's an interesting passage from Roland Faber's essay in Polydoxy, which I also just shared on the OOO thread.


"Khora names the paradox of multiplicity that always escapes determination into opposites.  This was already the fourfold insight of the late work of Plato.  In the Sophists, he realizes that the world is always only one of becoming and that even the Ideas are not eternally frozen classes of participation but living beings.  In the Timaeus, he realizes that it is false to think of reality in terms of oppositions of Ideas (forms, Laws) and sensible becoming (matter) but that such oppositions are embedded in the space of indetermination, khora.  And in the Parmenides, Plato deconstructs the very idea of the One as enshrouded in the paradox of self-reference and, hence, as in itself indeterminate, that is, not identical with itself.  Not only is Derrida's differance built on this paradox, but also Whitehead's reference to the space of mutual immanence.  Khora is the space of profound indetermination through the mutual incompleteness, reciprocity, and determination of everything by everything in terms of multiple multiplicities of differentiation.

Moreover, the paradox of khoric multiplicity in-determines a space for novelty.  "Reasons" are not grounding abstractions, but arising conditions of novelty that -- like Whitehead's "ontological principle" -- only call for acts of indetermination in which events of becoming become the only reasons for becoming of novelty.  Like a retrovirus of their own perpetuation as indeterminate, such events of becoming cycle back into their own becoming as the reason of their becoming such that the univocity of becoming is always and only the "ground" of becoming.  This is the polyphylic paradox:  where only becoming is the reason for becoming -- Deleuze's "univocity" -- there is no reason for becoming except becoming itself.  Without a transcendent rule or law or divine decree, becoming is not geared towards, or bound by, a repetition of the same (determination) but liberated for the becoming of novelty, that is, an indetermination in which only the unprecedented may be repeated.  Deleuze calls this process the repetition of difference itself.  "Reasons" as repetition of the same are, then, only self-determinations that always already assume the determinacy of of reasons repeated in actualities for "reasons" of security and control because of the fear of the intoxication from the indetermination (the becoming of what has no precedence).  Novelty, on the other hand, does not just fall from heaven -- not even Whitehead's heaven of possibilities.  Rather, it is itself introduced as a methexis, as a kind of "participation" in the fabric of the process of the repetition of the unprecedented into ever-new indeterminacies.  Indeterminations, by way of novelty, always appear in events of becoming multiplicity.

In classical Aristotelian logic, such a suggestion was avoided because it seems to imply an infinite regress.  Aristotle, and any theistic derivation that aimed at the same instead of novelty, solved this problem by the "unmoved mover," a perfect act of origin that precedes any becoming-multiplicity.  Whitehead, however, as Deleuze after him, demonstrates that this solution is already based on the precondition of substantialism, that is, the elevation of abstraction to the status of an eminent reality with its participatory sovereignty.  Everything that becomes is always already something, a substance of which becoming is only a dismissible, secondary, or evil variation.  In using Zeno's paradoxes, Whitehead makes the point that only if we suppose that it is something (a substance) that (already in its essence is and then) becomes, infinite regress is absurd.  If, however, (substantial) continuity is itself in becoming -- namely from the passing events of multiplicities -- continuitiy (of substantiality) is not a precondition for becoming, but becomes itself.  Hence, the polyphylic paradox of undetermined multiplicities implies that if becoming is its own precondition, it has no precondition except its becoming.  Therefore, becoming-multiplicity is always unprecedented.

While the doxa of the logos of the One and the Many establishes the violence and enslavement of exclusive determination of truth, rightness, and righteousness, it is the peace-making proposition of the doxa of the paradoxal logic of multiplicities to invite to polyphylic embrace of the profound indeterminacies of multiplicity and to embark on a process of indetermination.  In de-legitimizing hierarchical power structures employed by orthodoxies that worship with a doxology of the One and the Many, the doxology of the paradox of polyphylia -- the non-precedence of becoming-multiplicity -- divines only the paradoxa, the pure expression of the polyphonic voices of infinite becoming.  Instead of presupposing the One that determines one (identity) and many (mere difference) with any form of pre-established harmony as its means of grounding, the paradox of para-doxy uses modes of communication, resonance, and mutuality that cannot be framed by any means of identity, universal generalization, or classification.  Instead of finding the divine in the abstractness of an eminent realtiy, established as the hierarchical reason for actualization such that actualizations were only instances of abstractions, polyphylic para-doxy seeks the divine (in) multiplicity -- a divine that loves multiplicity (polyphylia) and names the poly-harmonics of multiplicity, that is, divine multiplicity.  In reference to Deleuze's understanding of Whitehead's God, this divine (in) multiplicity names the process by which becoming-multiplicity never determines itself per logical exclusion (of "other" worlds of unfitting harmonics) but indetermately affirms the all of the polyphony of the chaosmos.  The paradoxy of the divine (in) multiplicity worships the divine insistence on/in/as the process of the always unprecedented affirmation of the rugged chaosmos of incompossible and unprecedented complexity."

Two findings this morning, a summary of a conversation and a book:


Poetics, Post-Structuralism, and Process


Apophatic Bodies

Here's a new book from the Polydoxy crowd:  Divine Multiplicity

Thanks. A free Google preview is here. Your reopening this thread led me to re-read the above excerpt from Faber's chapter in Polydoxy. How a kennlinguist can interpret this staff as relativist is simply a lack of the necessary intellectual software. I appreciate it now more than the first reading back then. His words on khora echo what I've written using Caputo and Derrida. I'm also reminded of recent posts on Murray and indeterminism. This appears as an infinite regress only to a Aristotelian logic, which I've accused the kennilinguists of using, and also accounts for their charge of relativism. He rightly points out that such a logic is based on substantialism (or essentialism), as is plain in kennilingus with its Causal ultimate and consciousness per se as forms of "an unmoved mover." I'd note that Bryant's version of substance does not fall prey to this logic. I also appreciate the correlation of such Aristotelian logic with hierarchical power structures that establish "violence and enslavement." And contra models of complexity like the MHC and consistent with the complexity of Cilliars and Morin, polyphiliac paradox "cannot be framed by any means of identity, universal generalization, or classification." And most of all I savor the irony of the likes of Faber and Keller writing this sort of stuff, coming out of Claremont, the home of David Ray Griffin, whose diatribes against postmodernism were taken up in toto by the Lingam and have since been soundly refuted, or transcended and replaced, by the polyphiliacs.

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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