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The New Age – Love-Makes-Right
By Carmine Gorga
The Era of the (Holy) Spirit, the Era of Responsibility Makes Right, the Era of Moral Action Makes Right, the Era of Love-Makes-Right
I have the impression that a golden age is coming.
I know it well. My birth name is Carmine; my Third Order Carmelite name is Carmelo, Carmelo is also what my father often used to call me. It was in Hong Kong that a calligrapher told me the meaning of those names: one means power, the other means love. I was a bit confused at first, but my Carmelite studies helped me realize that the reality stands in the fusion of those two entities, namely the power of love. A confession, my brothers and sisters: Way too many times I fail to practice this maxim. (Another confession: Those who care are entitled to know that I am a Catholic-in-pain).
I do not need to emphasize the importance of the fusion of the two life forces: Separate from one another, they tend only to create havoc. What holds each one of them in check and forever fused together is a third entity: Spirit.
Much has forever been said about Spirit. I have myself written two essays that deal with some technical aspects of Spirit. In one, published in 2007 by Transactions on Advanced Research, I have established the equivalence of Matter to Energy and to Spirit. In the other, published in 2010 by the International Journal of Mathematics, Game Theory and Algebra, I have established the equivalence of One to Zero and to Infinity. Posted at http://ssrn.com/author=856905, the reader will find two more papers that extend this line of reasoning. One, titled “From Rationalism to Relationalism: As in the Transformation of a Line into a Sphere,” establishes the equivalence of Being to Becoming and to Existence; the other, titled “The Equivalence of the Three Persons of the Triune God,” talks of the equivalence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
What is Spirit?
Spirit is what exists in the interstices of The I and The Thou. But Spirit is bigger than that. Spirit lives everywhere. Thus we find Spirit that has been identified in the East and Spirit that has been identified in the West. Starting at least with Father Merton, if one does not want to start with Swami Vivekananda, it is generally realized that the two conceptions of Spirit will have to be totally unified. My preference is to see them united in the conception of the Holy Spirit.
The Era of the Holy Spirit
Veni Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit. In accordance with refernce.com, this is an ancient invocation normally sung in Gregorian chant and is considered the “most famous of hymns." It was written in the 9th century. The hymn is normally associated with the Roman Catholic Church where it is often sung at occasions such as the entrance of Cardinals to the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope as well as the consecration of bishops, the ordination of priests, the dedication of churches, the celebration of synods or councils, the coronation of kings and other solemn events. Has the time of the Holy Spirit finally come? If you recall my earlier essay in which I dared to chastise Dante Alighieri, this is the moment for a fuller explanation. My position is this. Surely, as Dante advocated we are not made to live like brutes: That is the alternative to economic justice. Clearly, we are made to follow virtue. But, once the misleading redundancy advocated by Dante is put in its proper place, a new world opens up to us. The alternative is to live in the world of virtue and spirituality.
What does it mean?
As usual, it is up to us to recognize, to affirm, and to make the presence of Spirit real. Flying on the wings of the Transcendentalists, of Walt Whitman, and a whole host of advocates of the Spirit, notable among whom one certainly ought to mention Rudolf Steiner, New Age people have for quite sometime practiced the presence of the Spirit. To me, this is one of the easiest affirmations to make: Both historically and theologically, the conception of The Father was discovered and affirmed by the ancient Jewish Prophets and by Mohammed; Christianity, without denying The Father, concentrates on The Son. As I mentioned earlier, it is intellectually feasible for all religions to be unified in the conception of the Holy Spirit. Hence, it is natural to advertise to the whole wide world that we are living at the cusp of the new age, the Age of the Spirit.
The Era of Responsibility Makes Right
To me the essence of the Holy Spirit lies in the practice of responsibility, responsibility toward The Other, toward the sacredness of Mother Earth, toward the inscrutability of Our Maker. To me Responsibility Makes Right. I had circled the issue from a number of viewpoints, then it burst forth in my investigation of the “roots of property rights” (http://www.wirp.org/law/pres/497.swf, 2010): Property rights are born out of the exercise of economic responsibilities. Enough of this topic. But getting acquainted with the thought and practices of Brunello Cucinelli, who talks of "Work as an expression of human worth is also a part of spirituality, and pursues the higher purpose of Supreme Good," an old chestnut came to the fore: work → economics → Spirit.
The Era of Moral Action Makes Right
For the fantastic integration that exists in the right order of things, to say that rights are born out of responsibilities implies a simple but deep verity: The Moral Action Makes Right.
Right Makes Might
That is the force that, as he avowed in the Cooper Union speech, governed Lincoln through the tragedy of the Civil War. That is the secret force that governs America—even when America is misled in its definition of “right.”
Leaving aside the important issue of the proper definition of rights, this core verity has to be enlarged if we want to make it understood by a majority of the People.
We have to move from the narrow field of legality to the broad field of culture; after all, it is our culture that we need to change right now.
Toward a new culture
Lest we forget, it is not might that makes right; if by the fruit you shall know the tree, look at the havoc that the practice of this maxim has constantly made. As Einstein pointed out, to expect a different result from the practice of this maxim is insanity.
The world seems to be tired of this malpractice. That is why I am ultimately so hopeful these days. The world is ready to experiment with new possibilities. Let us put some muscle behind the construct that right makes might or that it is the moral action that makes right—and might.
That is the reason for my excitement when I recently discovered that morality becomes an eminently practical affair as soon as it is realized that the moral action is an expression of three commands: do not do harm to others; do not allow other people to do harm to you; do not do harm to yourself. Is it not clear that whether you do harm to other people or you allow other people to do harm to you, you harm yourself?
Do not harm yourself!
Love yourself. You can be lovely.
And realize that to truly love yourself, as Jesus pointed out, you need to love your neighbor—including your enemy—and your God in equal measure. St. Thérèse of Lisieux lived the message as few ever do. Under her guidance one can say this: Where there is no love there is hate—or at least the possibility, the seed of hate and violence toward oneself and others.
The Era of Love-makes-right
The content of the New Age of the Spirit might still appear to be rather abstract and impersonal. It is not. This content is very up-close and personal. How then to transform this content into an up-close and personal verity? Let us go back to the beginning with our new understanding of things. The distance between The I and The Thou is at its greatest when the spirit between us is the spirit of hate. It is love that fills all the interstices between us and makes us so close as to fuse us into one.
Love today is split into two divergent entities: One part becomes sentiment; the other becomes sex. No wonder we live in a mental confusion about the right order of things.
Love, as I discovered rather recently, is a virtue. It can be exercised only in conjunction with all the other virtues. As Saint Thomas Aquinas pointed out, when we exercise our virtues we are at the peak of power. No more powerlessness, no more despair, no more subjugation of our souls. Onward, dear reader. The way is clear; it resides in the education (the bringing forth) of our inner selves.
Practice this maxim, dear reader, in all spheres of your life. You’ll like it. Love-makes-right.
With my wife Joan as guide, one recent afternoon we visited the Lilac Park in Lombard, IL. It was a glorious experience. We were overtaken by the flagrance of the lilacs, the subtle variations in their shapes and color; there were beds of tulips to enhance the palette of colors; a bird with an elegant posture walked across our path and flew away. It was a glorious experience.
At night, in the quiet of our hotel room, I revisited the park. Two memories were gnawing at me: first, the recollection of my observation, yeah, great for the family to donate the park to the public, but I wish they had not stolen wealth from their workers; second, I wished that silly science had not disintegrated the unity of the park, here were my senses and there, there was this vague knowledge of the interaction of the sun with the chlorophyll, and a little bit of faith in evolution—when did the flowers burst forth from the primordial soup?— and so on and so forth.
In the quiet of the night, I put it all together. The thought burst forth on silly me. There was one thing that held together me and My Moona, aka Joan, sleeping next to me and the life of the far away Lilac Park: the Power of God’s Love.
Concord, dear reader, is the word that encapsulates it all. May indeed concord reign supreme. May the New Age be the Era of Concord—in politics, economics, and even morality.
Suggestions for further reading
The message presented here is amplified by Andrew Harvey, The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism (2009). The tools necessary to effect the paradigm shift from Might-makes-right to Love-makes-right are being presented in scientific language by Deborah Rozman, Howard Martin, and Sheva Carr; see, www.yourheartsintelligence.com. The message is offered on an alluring sociological plate by Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality (2001). The message is put on a solid philosophical base especially by Jules Evans; see, e.g., his blog http://philosophyforlife.org/, esp. March 8, 2013. For an in-depth understanding of the broad historical trend we live in, see, e.g., John Lukacs, At the End of an Age (2002). Theologically, St. Thérèse de Lisieux reigns supreme.
A riddle for my friends, the incorrigible materialists
What does joy have to do with matter—or even chemistry? I mean joy, not a “high.”
Oh, everlasting and gracious God, take us back into Paradise, we cry.
Father, Who is in heaven,
Holy is Your Name;
Your kingdom come
Spirit to spirit
St. Augustine: Why does our human frailty hesitate to believe that mankind will one day live with God?
On the certainty of the Holy Spirit
If I ever have any doubts about the existence of God the Father and the Messiah, I have absolutely no doubts about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Relation between the Father and the Son. Thus, as I am certain that there is no Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or Hindu God, so I am that much more certain that there is no Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or Hindu Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is One.
Oh, the Spirit…
If there is no God, you will not have destroyed Him; and I will not be able to create Him.
But if there is god, you may regret denying Him now and I will likely rejoice in His presence.
And another thought. Even assuming that in the after life you non-believer and I will share the presence of the Lord in equal parts, you have to admit that you have deprived yourself of this ineffable joy in this life—together, perhaps, with a full appreciation of the culture this belief has created.
Are we really ready to deprive ourselves of the joy that comes from an appreciation of the Pieta' Rondanini, or Handel's Messiah, or Bernstein’s Mass?
Adapted from the author’s forthcoming What is at Stake: An integration of economics, politics, and morality or chaos.
Carmine Gorga, PhD, a former Fulbright Scholar, is president of The Somist Institute, a research organization in Gloucester, Mass. Through The Economic Process, To My Polis, and numerous other publications in economic theory and policy, Mr. Gorga has transformed economics from a linear to a relational discipline. He blogs at www.a-new-economic-atlas.com and www.modern-moral-meditations.blogspot.com.