Monday, 24 September 2007

spirit and matter

Spirit and matter interact, or intertwine. According to the Gnostics, spirit is trapped in matter and needs to break free. According to Paganism, matter is good because it is infused with the Divine; and in mainstream Christianity, matter was originally good because created by the Divine (but then was corrupted by the Fall, it seems, depending on which tradition you ask).

So is the aim to break free of matter, or to infuse it with ever more spirit? The aim of the Jewish practice of Tikkun Olam is to repair the shattered vessel(s) of the Qliphoth. To me, it seems that the aim is to restore matter to its Divine status by infusing it with more consciousness - as Jung put it, to bring unconscious material into the light of day. This happens as part of a collaborative effort between humans and the Divine.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Yvonne,

This post touches on why I find myself straddling the Pagan-Christian "illusory pair of opposites."

The either/or-ness just doesn't make any sense to me. It seems to arise from the mistaken human assumption that what is mortal and (possibly) associated with suffering is "evil" and "fallen," while what is not is divine.

Poo!

You write:

"So is the aim to break free of matter, or to infuse it with ever more spirit...? To me, it seems that the aim is to restore matter to its Divine status by infusing it with more consciousness...."

Or, maybe, to restore our consciousnesses to the divine status of matter?

I'm being a bit flippant, but I believe the "fallenness" is in our penchant for drawing boundaries, rather than in the nature of matter or spirit.

Blesséd Be,
Michael

Yvonne said...

I believe the "fallenness" is in our penchant for drawing boundaries, rather than in the nature of matter or spirit.

Yes, Amen to that!!!! It is our consciousness of separateness (as in discreteness) that causes us to go against the flow of the universe. However, we are distinct beings within the great All. In It "we live, move and have our being" as Saint Paul said.

Or, maybe, to restore our consciousnesses to the divine status of matter?

Yes, I like that too! CS Lewis says something about that in his sermon The Weight of Glory.