It’s a happy time! My godson and his wife have had their first child, the sun is for once really hot in gloomy England, the wife and I are pottering round together amicably not doing much but enjoying it, and even my recent illness is getting better. I want in this brief Coda to assemble some further contemplations on Eros as Static Quality, which functions through the ‘supra real origin of everything’, called in Sanskrit ‘RTa.’ This builds on Static Quality as Eros, and Dynamic Quality as the Daemonic.
Is there only one religion in the world?
Yes and No.
The Hindus claim that there is only one religion in all the world, and any specific religion that gets to its own core will uncover something that is common to all other religions at their core. If you shed peripheral things and get closer to the centre, you will find all religions revealing the one and same reality. The different religions use different images and words, but as the divine reality manifest in the cosmos, manifest in nature, manifest in humanity, it is always the same reality and there is always the same pattern of manifesting it. The manifestation invariably has a certain Shape and a certain Dance, or it could not manifest the divine. You can read that shape and flow in that dance either ‘back’ to its divine origin, or ‘out’ into its created, and phenomenal, manifestation. This manifestation is like transparent glass: the divine Light shines through it, yet the colours and figures on the glass are also lit up as this happens; thus both divine and its manifestation ‘come to life’ conjoined. You can say the Shape conveys the formlessness of the divine, the Dance conveys the stillness of the divine, the Colourful Figures convey the undifferentiated brightness of the divine. Infinity in finiteness, Unity in diversity, the One in the many, the Opposites Balanced in a Harmonious Whole. This whole is all inclusive; the cosmic space that ‘makes room’ for all things is both exalted [high] and vast [broad].
The reality and its manifestation is RTa.
I know many people who agree with Hinduism’s claim that there is One Proto Religion — though this can also promote lazy syncretism in those who need over simplified metaphysics to console them. Hinduism’s claim is true up to a point, for it only works in a specific context, but in that context it is absolutely on target. What is the context that affirms and limits the single ‘universal religion’?
Eros, or Static Quality as Robert Pirsig names it, runs from Mother India eastward into Asia, where RTa becomes Dharma, but also runs westward into Greece, where RTa becomes Arête, and travels on to the Danube River, where it stops. Eros did not go into the West of Europe, England, America, but halted in Eastern Europe at a fault line defined by the irreconcilable gap between Roman Catholicism which rejects Eros, and Eastern Orthodox Christianity which embraces Eros, though in Christianising it, Orthodoxy also personalises it, rendering God as Lover and creation as Beloved. None the less, this Eros is the ‘one religion’ Hindus say is tacit in all the religions of the world.
It has a foot in Shamanism, which calls RTa ‘the Sacred Origins.’ Yet in an important sense the religion of Eros/Static Quality is Oriental, not Shamanic. It is the Light from the East..
This Oriental Light runs from Hinduism into Buddhism, from Hinduism into Pagan Greek religion, and later a version of it appears in Temple Judaism, and goes on to indwell Eastern Orthodox Christianity and even infiltrates puritanical Islam in the mysticism of Sufi-ism which, like that in Orthodoxy, is personal and ecstatic. Though it undergoes real modifications in all these different places, in some version RTa runs almost seamlessly from Japan to Eastern Europe.
So the Hindu claim is right within limits, but wrong about the other religion in the world, the religion kindled by a wound, the religion of the Daemonic. Judaism and the Cross of Christ are Daemonic, or Dynamic Quality. The Daemonic/Dynamic Quality is ‘dramatic’ because it is about change in time — non evolutionary and non natural, or non organic, growth — and ultimately about what forces will drive time, and so the direction in which time will, or will not, go.
The Daemonic makes history the arena of existential action in the world, for redeeming the world. The Cosmic Order of Static Quality is spatial. The Fight for the Future of Dynamic Quality is temporal. In the Orient, time is cyclical, and this is an attempt to reduce Dynamic Time back into the Circle of Space that is Static. The Daemonic exposes the Oriental stance on time as fallacious. Time is not the nightmare of ‘Western Progress’, yet it has a linearity that is spiritually significant. It has, like all true story telling, a Beginning, Middle, End. Or in Aristotle’s account of drama, an Act 1, Act 2, Act 3.
Static ‘mothers’ us, by containing us ontologically;
Dynamic ‘fathers’ us, by destroying our containment but making us free existentially.
Static shows its love not only by an abundance of gifts, but by its constancy;
Dynamic shows its love by a wound necessary to where it calls us.
Eros= the generosity of what is;
Daemonic= the gamble over what will be redeemed by sacrifice.
There are times in the history of the world when a crazy making, or evil, situation must be brought to an end. That is the task of the hero’s sword. You risk something, to do something, and be done.
If you commit to action, it could cut different ways. You never know how it will turn out. But that is what you surrender to, and submit to. Sometimes that is preferable to the Round Circle Dance of Eros/Static Quality. You leap into the unknown, as an act of faith. That decides something, once and for all; the time before it differs from the time after it.
Thus, Hinduism has missed the fact that there are two primal religions in the world, an Oriental pan-Hindu religion of Eros as Static Quality, and a Middle Eastern specifically Jewish religion of the Daemonic as Dynamic Quality. I have recently started studying the Sikh religion that started in India about 1600 AD, and found to my utter surprise that it is more Jewish than Hindu or Buddhist. I have always respected and liked the Sikhs, and now I know why. Their religion is strong in Daemonic themes: justice, warriorhood, communal brotherhood.
Shamanism is the third religion in the world, holding in its matrix both Eros [the divine Light] and the Daemonic [the divine Dark], in some prototypical partnership. The good red road of making sacred and spiritual understanding is ‘crossed’ by the bad black road of worldly difficulties and war. Thus at the centre of the Sacred Circle [Eros] is the Cross on which Christ was crucified as The Lamb Sacrificed Before the Foundation of the World [Daemonic]. Eros and the Daemonic are not yin/yang opposites, for the opposites all belong to Eros/Static Quality. Rather, Eros and the Daemonic are partners. Shamanism hints at that partnership, but it is more like William Blake’s ‘opposition is true friendship.’ It is a contradiction, a koan that cannot be solved. Eros and the Daemonic are opposed on fundamental issues, such as equanimity versus fear, peace versus war, ontological being a part of it versus existential freedom, and this must be acknowledged before we can discover any partnership. In the Daemonic there emerges a ‘hypostasis’, the personhood, different from both the ‘unity of all that is’ and the ego that separates itself from this.
Thus, the religion in the world not like the Hindu ‘Proto Religion of the Orient’ is the religion of the Daemonic that is most fully expressed in Judaism, but should come to its climax in Christianity. That it hasn’t is another story. But Judaism itself is complicated, for in a way that Hinduism does not, it combines Eros and the Daemonic, despite their tension. Eros flowers in temple Judaism, and its chief proponent is the priest. The Daemonic, the real heart and point of Judaism, is kindled in the king, or warrior king, primarily, but also manifest in his herald and mentor, the prophet-shaman. Thus, two of Judaism’s three religious figures are ‘dynamised’ by the Daemonic, only one is ‘planted’ in Eros. This makes Judaism more like Shamanism, in having both horns of the bull functioning at the same time.
Is Buddhism a revision of Hinduism, and thus still part of Eros/Static Quality?
I have friends who think Buddhism, especially Zen, has taken a step out of Eros and toward the Daemonic; if not exactly leaving Static Quality then trying at least to open it up to Dynamic Quality. Nothing I have seen in Zen convinces me this supposed transformation is more than a hint, and in classical Buddhism it is clear that Buddha’s enlightenment is a move within Static Quality, not a move beyond it. Revising Hinduism nuances Static Quality in a different way, and the difference is subtle, and meaningful. But this is still nuancing RTa. Moreover, such is Hinduism’s ‘integration of complexity’, it allows any and all permutations of its primal pattern. In a sense, Hinduism can assert that they are no more and no less than modifications of an extant melody, simply updates of an old tune: variations on a theme.
Buddhism reforms Hinduism, replacing a pure monism in which God virtually swallows the creation, a unity of fusion, into a more supple ‘non-duality’ where Void and Form are more ‘related’, because both Emptiness [Form goes back into Void] and Fullness [Void comes out in Form] are equally stressed. In a way, Hinduism overdoes the reality more than its manifestation, whilst Buddhism redresses this one sidedness by giving more weight to the manifestation– the phenomenal world is not so overshadowed by the divine reality: it is not so totally unified with the reality it manifests, though the price for this greater differentiation of Void and Form is a keener sense of the manifest as passing away, dying, being inherently impermanent. ‘Nothing lasts forever.’ Yet by stressing impermanence, Buddhism only manages to remind us of what is permanent, and that takes us back to RTa as the only constant. RTa never fails, never wavers, never falters, like a loving mother who will not play fast and loose with her infant, but will maintain a reliably consistent and dependable bond with the needy little creature. The manifest may pass away, but it still goes back into the unmanifest in some relationship between reality and manifestation. Buddhism is apophatically silent on this relationship in any detail, but it is present and constant all the same. Who goes into Nirvana? How does the manifest return to the reality? Buddha’s silence is not agnosticism, still less atheism, as foolish Western commentators claim; it is a silence that speaks volumes. Buddha is saying, ‘wait and see, you’ll find out.’ And to the disciple he loved most, he was also saying, ‘see you there.’
Hinduism squashes reality and manifestation too tightly in oneness, and allows reality to overshadow manifestation.
RTa is differently emphasised by Buddhism, but its ‘holding’ of us like a mother remains. I once read a Western Buddhist, obviously speaking from his ego rather than the Buddha-nature, claim that “theism is the conviction that there is a hand to hold.” This is silly beyond belief. ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ is the non holding offered by the Daemonic God. But RTa, in its Impersonal version no less than its Personal version, has a hand that holds the manifestation in the reality. Buddhism has not changed that ontological belonging one jot. It is always present in RTa, theistic or non theistic, impersonal or personal. Reality is the hand that holds all manifestation, and when manifestation passes away, it goes back to that undiminished and everlasting reality.
An Eastern Buddhist is more honest on this point: “Compassion is like the mother’s milk.” In all kinds of Eros/Static Quality religion, there is a ‘hand’, but it can be ‘grasped’ in different ways. Thus when you look into it, you see both that there is a gap between Hinduism and Buddhism, but also that the gap is not all that huge.
Thus, despite Buddhism’s subtle revision of Hinduism, Buddhism is still in Eros, or Static Quality. Its nuancing of Hinduism is by no means a step into the Daemonic, or Dynamic Quality. What Buddhism calls ‘wisdom’ is ‘the Light that enlightens every man who comes into the world’, the Logos of John’s fourth gospel, and what Buddhism calls ‘compassion’ is the Water paired with that Light, crystallising its meaning and sharing its loving kindness among all who can immerse in its flowing currents, and this is Sophia the mother of ‘the ten thousand things.’ Taoism clearly pairs the Light and the Water, as does Eastern Christianity in speaking of ‘the Marriage of Christ and the Church.’
Leafing through notes on Buddhism almost at random, I came across a host of quotes that show Buddhism to be working in Static Quality, not working with Dynamic Quality. Many are Tibetan, some from South East Asia, some from Western Buddhists.
“Homage to Buddha
compassionately acting on behalf of living beings,
the mere hearing of whose name offers sanctuary
from the sufferings of inferior existences.
Spiritual Master of Medicine,
dispelling diseases caused by the three poisons
of Attachment, Aversion, Delusion.”
Attachment is not bonding, but craving, or selfish desire [it is also described as ‘clinging, controlling, and fear’]; Aversion is not righteous anger, but bullying hatred, hostility, violent aggressiveness; Delusion is spiritual ignorance, mental confusion, sleep walking through existence. This trinity of poisons is often spoken of as, ‘Desire, Hatred, Delusion.’
This Tibetan prayer to Buddha, if addressed to Christ, would not change much in meaning. There are Eastern Orthodox Christian prayers to Christ not that dissimilar. Indeed, if Christ was both God and humanity joined in one ‘divine humanity’, then this prayer would work better for Christ, since Buddha was merely a man reaching toward the divine. In this prayer, Buddha virtually acquires a Logosic dimension.
Be that as it may, this prayer clearly shows that in Buddhism, reality offers ‘sanctuary, healing, awakening, superior being’, to the manifest. That the manifest passes away does not imply that the reality ‘acting on behalf of living beings’ will just throw them all away, or let the manifest wholly disappear. This is not the Buddhist message. Buddhism is not saying, ‘you can be touched briefly by the real in this world, but when you die, you lose the real because you cease to exist in any sense.’ The issue is less where we go after death, and more the Way which RTa establishes for ever and ever without end: a hand from reality holds the manifest. Reality will not let go. Buddhism has rejigged the nature of that holding in Hinduism, to allow it to become a more sophisticated and emergent relationship. The relation between Nothingness and Beingness is more opened up in Buddhism. But the ‘law’ of that relationship remains the same in Buddhism as in Hinduism, and in any religion of Eros/Static Quality.
The law in RTa — that reality holds the manifestation, and does not treat it arbitrarily — is the essence of Buddhist ‘salvation.’ When you ‘know’ with your whole being the join in RTa, linking reality and its manifestation, you are saved. Whatever passes at the level of manifestation can be accepted, can be welcomed in its vicissitudes, and not forced into becoming something it is not. This frees the manifest to be manifest. The manifestation cannot offer ontological security, it is inherently ontologically insecure– without foundation, without permanence, without anything to hold on to for certainty. Yet once we really know the insecure manifestation rests in the secure reality, then we can allow the insecurity of the manifestation its ‘natural’ flow. This is what looks like a step into the Daemonic/Dynamic, but isn’t. It is just freeing the manifestation from the overshadowing divinity, and letting it be itself, out of ceasing to fear, and worry about, whether the reality is there or not.
This acceptance of what is, at the manifest level, due to our experience of the unbreakable link between reality and the manifest, is peace, as well as enlightenment. This is salvation.
It enables Buddhists both to immerse more in the passing, yet let it be passing. The manifest is valued more, yet not wrongly valued, as when we grab on to its Form to avoid our sinking feeling about the Void. Once you know with your being, which is what enlightenment is, that Void is Form, and Form is Void, then you let go.. A huge relaxation of a previous cramp occurs. A clinging to a host of manifest things as if they were the ultimate reality is let go. But no one lets go just because they accept ‘you’re born, life is short, then you die.’ This is nothing to do with the letting go in enlightenment. You let go of the manifest as ‘the answer’, and let it be no answer at all, but just whatever it is, or is not, because you have accepted the reality that holds the manifest. This reality is the mystery, and by ceasing to fear and flee it, setting up your ego against it, mystery and phenomena are restored to a creative relationship. When you know the mystery, and do not force it to rescue you by ceasing to be a mystery, then you free up the 10,000 things to be, and show you what they can be, in their way, uninterfered with by you.
In a way, Buddhism allows more play with the manifest, because we are not using it, not forcing it, to be something it cannot be.
The old popular song, ‘you win a little and you lose a little, and that’s the story of love’ captures the acceptance of the flimsiness of the manifest, once its root in the solidity of reality is taken as read. In a real sense, we cannot really lose our root in reality, so there is nothing to find; it is always there, known or unknown. Thus even in delusion we remain enlightened. Yet this does not stop us from being like ‘the fish surrounded by water, crying piteously from thirst’ [Zen]. We have to reclaim our original enlightenment.
Nor do I agree even that Buddhism is non theistic, or Impersonal, as Hinduism is in metaphysics– yet is not in devotional yoga where the soul yearns personally and ecstatically for God. Buddhism is simply apophatic rather than cataphatic, the negative way, not the positive way. It knows we spoil things by too many words, too many concepts, too many images. There is a lot more to be said– but Buddhism keeps quiet on it, inviting people to know it directly.
Buddhism, then, has revamped Eros/Static Quality, freeing up the link between reality and manifestation, turning it into a relationship.
“A bridge is revealed which connects the everyday temporal world of sense perceptions to the realm of timeless knowledge.”
“Reality, enlightenment, the divine, must shine through each moment.”
“With wise understanding we can live in harmony with our life, with the Universal Law.”
But this does not change the other, central theme of Eros/Static Quality, which is that when you know, as manifestation, your join with reality, then you also know your unity with all other manifestation. Buddhism introduces more of a relationship in this level, as well, the eros of ‘interdependence’ replaces mystical fusion. Manifest things influence each other, as well as being connected together. Clearly, RTa governs both the unbreakable link of manifestation to reality, and the unbreakable connectedness of all the differing manifestations. Reality not only upholds but also unites the 10,000 things.
“I move beyond the bounds of my own life and discover that I am an expression or form of universal life, of real divine energy.”
“The forces that move the cosmos are no different to those that move the human soul.
This paper is empty of an independent self. Empty, in this sense, means that the paper is full of everything, the entire cosmos. The presence of this tiny sheet of paper proves the presence of the whole cosmos.” [Thich Nhat Hanh]
“Everything that appears is singing one song.. We experience the world of phenomena playing themselves out in a dance without separation.”
The block on Eros/Static Quality is the ego, or the sense of selfhood that separates itself from, and indeed sets itself up against, the rootedness of phenomena in reality, and the connectedness of all phenomena. This two-fold unity is lost because of the ego, or selfish self, misapprehending itself, the outer world, and what holds both yet is neither. The three poisons drive this setting up of a separate selfhood, and thus the ego is constituted of Craving, Hatred, Delusion. Delusive Cravings and Delusive Hatreds dominate human psychological life.
“Obstacles to enlightenment: desire, anger, mental confusion, pride and jealousy..”
“Our suffering is due to ignorance, attachment to the self, and a false perception of reality.”
“We live a form of false perception of reality.”
“Pursuit of vulgar ambition is the height of confusion.”
“The real world is beyond our thoughts and ideas; we see it through the net of our desires, divided into pleasure and pain, right and wrong, inner and outer. To see it as it is, you must step beyond the net. It is not hard to do, for the net is full of holes.”
“Don’t be led and trapped by feelings, let them arise and pass.”
“Ordinary mind is the prey of external influences, habitual tendencies, and conditioning.. [It is] vulnerable to all the winds of circumstance.”
“No self, no problem.”
Another common misunderstanding of Buddhism fails to realise that, as a version of Eros/Static Quality, its Light expresses divine Love for what it shines upon, and brings to Life. Eros is the ‘Light of Love’, and this brings Life to the myriad of things held in the Light. To ‘intellectualise’ enlightenment as knowledge, but lacking love, is a Western tendency because Western people are, unlike Easterners, so very cold. Western culture is far too Mentally Abstract, soulless as well as heartless, and when this spirit gets into Western Buddhism, you have a perversion that fundamentally falsifies RTa.
RTa is reality and the ‘pattern’ of its manifestation. This pattern is the Way reality and manifestation inter-relate, but it is also a loving hand offered to that which it holds. The love is gentle, benign, non coercive, non judging, yet it is certainly love. Buddhism, like Christianity, stresses the kindness, or charity, of such love, the kindness of a greater for a lesser. St Paul’s famous description of ‘agape’ is very similar.
“Loving kindness is not attachment; compassion is not pity; sympathetic joy is not comparison; equanimity is not indifference.”
“Compassion is like the mother’s milk, love and affection.”
“Generous love leads to thankfulness.. Gratitude is necessary to enlightenment.”
This last is particularly significant: to be grateful for the way that reality is holding and uniting all manifestation is only possible if the soul is touched, even ravished, by the gift of Eros. Eros is entirely to do with an unconditional generosity that informs and sustains and flowers all being, all of What Is. Eros overflows, it is the well that is bottomless, and its generosity toward All That Is also creates its compassion for the sufferings of beings, especially those sufferings that beings bring upon themselves by a false way of ‘positioning’ themselves as standing apart from the Sacred Circle and its Round Dance. The Love in Eros is shown both by its primal care for all things, which is unstinting and never falters, and its solicitude in saving the beings who fall out of the arms of Eros, and need to be restored. Buddha’s enlightenment is medicinal, because it restores beings living in unreality and hurting from that to the reality that alone can make them content with their lot, no longer restlessly trying to redesign it, and this brings joy and happiness as the ultimate of being. For this, we feel grateful.
This is why, as is always the case with Eros/Static Quality religion, happiness and joy are more ultimate than sorrow and misery. Our distress is created by our resistance to the Way It Is, the Way Things Are. When we renounce our need to try to ‘improve’ on this Way, then we cease to be disappointed with what happens in our life. “Renunciation is being freed of dissatisfaction.”
If there were ‘no hand to hold’, then gratitude would not be part of enlightenment. But gratitude is crucial to enlightenment, and what we are grateful for is that hand that holds all things, and holds them together as one. Any Buddhist who has lost that hand, or delusively thinks they can do without it, will never reach enlightenment.
My personal stance is that, of all the religions in the world that focus exclusively on Eros/Static Quality, Buddhism is the most helpful. Personally, I would rather see Buddhism and not Islam bidding to become the world’s most popular religion. But that in itself might reflect my resistance, thus whether Buddhism waxes and wanes is also not to be fought over, but allowed to become whatever it becomes. ‘Let it be.’
Doubtless the Buddha just smiled when the Taliban foolishly and futilely blew up the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan.
How close is the Eros/Static Quality of Buddhism to that in Eastern Orthodox Christianity?
In a letter to a friend, I suggested this: “Hinduism is radically monist, Buddhism less so [neither monism nor duality, but a union that is non-dual and non-fused], and Greek Orthodoxy more ‘personal’ in Eros. Yet if you Christianise Eros, you still have Eros– and Eros runs from Mother India to Greece in greater or lesser continuity. The Logos is also the Light from the East, though in our tradition Logos and Sophia are paired [Christ and the Church] to make Eros about [inter-personal] marriage, not just about [merged] unity. Our tradition nuances Eros as communion, not just oneness. Yet both are obviously positions in Eros.”
Eastern Orthodox Christianity revises the non-duality/non-fusion of Buddhism into a more personal Eros of Lover and Beloved. Void and Form acquire a love relationship which is ecstatic, on both sides. Void goes out to Form, ecstatically, as Form yearns for Void, ecstatically.
None the less, the similarity of Buddhism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity over the Light, Love, Life, that dispels the darkness into which humans fall is remarkable.
Buddhist gratitude is no different in spirit to the Eastern Orthodox Christian ‘thankfulness to God’ expressed in liturgical worship. We go to the temple to be rejoined to the Light, whose Love gives us all the gifts of Life, and thank the Light for its generosity in creating us, and in saving us when we have gone astray. “My Light, My Saviour”, we sing.
Even the three poisons that ‘darken’ us are precisely echoed by the ascetic and mystic St Maximos, in terms so close to the Buddhist you could substitute either for the other and most scholars would not notice the swap. Hence in Greek Orthodox monasticism, the fallen desirous faculty spoils the ecstatic ‘love of God’ by creating ‘self-love’, and the fallen incensive faculty spoils the ecstatic ‘love of neighbour’ by creating ‘domination of the other.’ The fallen nous, or spiritual intelligence and direct seeing, is overcome by ‘illusion, fantasy, unreality.’
Eros is the Light that ‘shines on the just and unjust alike’, that benefits all, that excludes none; it is thus similar to what Plato called ‘The Good.’ Eros is by nature an abundant Goodness, the source of all the divine gifts flowing into our life [which we tend to be totally unaware of and ungrateful for]. Eros is certainly the ‘good’ in the Good News of the gospels. Jesus did not talk of Eros philosophically, but in Jewish style brought it directly into people’s lives by miracles, storytelling, encounters with people where healing and teaching in the encounter is vital to its meaning.. Encounter heals. Encounter teaches. The good life is the sharing of the gifts of God among people through all the encounters that comprise human existence. Eros has to be purged, ascetically, to restore its living reality and shed its deadened counterfeit, and Eros has to be shared, socially, given to all rather than stolen by a few, to keep its abundance overflowing.
The relationship of reality and manifestation, and among the different manifestations, becomes loving, in Eros.
Clearly, this relationship has to be non-dual and non-fused as a ‘channel’, or inter-personal love would collapse. The ecstatic Eros is not separation, not merging; ‘not this, not that.’ It is a third way. Martin Buber’s I—Thou requires this third way, this opening up of a space between things: an inter-subjectivity that rules out both objectivity and subjectivity. In this sense, Buddhism moves away from Hinduism and towards the personal and ecstatic Eros so marked in Eastern Christianity, and in the Sufi-ism influenced by Greek Orthodoxy.
That Eros is made more personal and ecstatic in Eastern Christianity is significant, for the Daemonic requires a distinct and free personhood to be involved in a different ecstasy. The ecstasy of Eros is yearning toward God and creation, whereas the ecstasy of the Daemonic is surrender to depth, and the unknown. Heart passion ‘surrenders’ itself to a dark and suffering, and ultimately unknown, Fate.
Equally, there is a surprising continuity between the Eros/Static Quality in ancient Judaism and in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Temple Judaism is similar to Liturgical Orthodoxy, in ethos and form, though there is a difference in content in regard to the former living in expectation of the Messiah and the latter living in the reality of his presence.
The Daemonic might be found in Hinduism and Buddhism in muted form, hinted at yet underplayed, not much developed. In Judaism and Christianity the Daemonic is, or should be, primary, not secondary. That should in turn affect the way that Eros is lived. This is another tangled issue..
Perhaps with Judaism and Christianity, what we should find, and sometimes do find, is Eros/Static Quality and Daemonic/Dynamic Quality side by side, despite the contradiction.
Their co-existence is, and must be, uncomfortable.
Daemonic=black and white.
Eros= the Greeks who know a little about everything,
Daemonic= the Jews who know a lot about only one thing.
Eros= height and breadth of space,
Daemonic= depth and focus of time.
From the perspective of Eros, Einstein was right to equate space and time, yet that works only if time is curved, as the Orient always declared. From the perspective of the Daemonic, Einstein was wrong because time is different to space, it is not curved in its step into the unknown, gambling with what will turn out in the end. There is an arrow to time= the time ‘before’ cannot be treated as notionally equivalent to the time ‘after.’
Eros is naturally philosophical, in the best sense, whilst the Daemonic is not at all even remotely philosophical, but mainly psychological. It searches, ponders, challenges, the deeps over which we move, on the ground, in time.
Philosophy wants to know the whole, and our part in it. Psychology wants to know if the next step over an abyss into the unknowable is firm, trustworthy, will hold up, or will fall through the floor boards.
Eros= Greek philosophy,
Daemonic= Jewish psychology.
Is the uncomfortable difference between Eros/Static Quality and the Daemonic/Dynamic Quality only conceptual? Is this distinction just arbitrary, an interpretation of the mind, not necessarily a given of reality?
A friend puts this position thus: “In terms of static/dynamic, it is precisely because I am trying to relate the static to the dynamic that I am writing this. “I” is as it is — it is only when thought intervenes that the trouble starts. Both “static” and “dynamic” are abstractions [first-order, primal dichotomy] which help us deal with the undifferentiated reality of phenomenal experience, to stop the time, fight our own demise, find our bearings. Thus, paradoxically, labelling something as dynamic renders it stable and static — that is the way of thought — even Lao Tzu wrote thousands of words on the inexpressibility of Tao.”
Obviously you can attach words and images to a Static reality more easily than you can to a Dynamic reality. Yet that misses the key point. Both Eros and the Daemonic have unmanifest and manifest. After all, the highest mysticism of Eros is beyond any Light in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Hinduism has God as unmanifest Brahma and manifest Atman. RTa has its inexplicable source and its disclosure of that in the forms it generates.
Thus, only people too conceptual and abstracted think Static and Dynamic are ‘conceptual abstractions.’ They are not. Each is a Spiritual Power, and we relate to each Spiritual Power below the neck, in primary experience, relating to it spiritually and only then being able to partially communicate its spiritual quality in secondary thought.
Reality comes first, thought second; thought is not constitutive of any spiritual reality.
Static Eros and Dynamic Daemonic are two Spiritual Powers that pre-exist the thought that seeks to convey them.
 The thought that communicates the Static is visionary, or what the old Greeks meant by ‘theoria’: vision as contemplation, seeing into things, seeing the spiritual shape of things, that spans from the mystical to the mechanical.
 The thought needed to convey the Dynamic is clearly much harder, verging on the impossible.. The Dynamic is about action; thus there is a sort of understanding inhering in doing itself, but it can be ‘commented’ upon later in reflection [like Jewish commentary on Scriptures]. The Bible calls this thought ‘searching the heart’, and when Mary gets the Impossible News, it is said she ‘ponders in the heart.’ This is the only kind of thought that gets close to the Dynamic. David does it a lot in the Psalms, where ‘deep cries to deep.’
No one can talk about the Daemonic, much less search and ponder it where it strikes us without having been fatally wounded by the Daemonic God in their own existence in this world. People who have not been hurt by God will not be roused by God in heart passion. They will be left in Eros/Static Quality. Those called to the Daemonic are all chosen by God for that road, very specifically: God calls us by our true name, and this name contains the power we are granted to serve the Daemonic journey and battle for history’s outcome. Those not chosen by the Daemonic do not experience the blow that devastates a person’s existence. Some people love God intensely and irrationally, and this is necessary to sustain such a costly calling. For, the Daemonic keeps pushing us farther, and deeper, increasing the cost.
Thus, if either, or both, Spiritual Powers, Eros and Daemonic, live in us as reality, Eros animating the soul, Daemonic challenging the heart, then we will be inspired in what we think and say about them. If the Spiritual Power itself, Eros or Daemonic, does not inspire you, there is little point in talking about it or pretending you can ‘think it real.’ If we are struggling with either Spiritual Power in our life, that struggle can overcome the gap. Then we will have something to say and something to think about. So, are you doing your homework? If there is no practice in regard to either Eros or Daemonic, no struggling with a reality beyond our human apparatus, then we must shut up, for we have nothing to say, and nothing to think about. It all remains up in the air, whether we quote writers on Eros or quote writers on the Daemonic. If you are on a path, then the spade work done by others can help you with your own spade work. If you do no spade work, you cannot be helped by those who went before. Their living words and plugged in thoughts will just be conceptual abstractions to you..
If you only live in the head, and your head lives in conceptual abstractions, then every reality will be reduced to conceptual abstractions by you.
This can also happen when imagination takes the place of direct experience, and so images blot out reality, substituting for it, instead of playing the role of metaphors, or symbolic analogies, able to communicate the unknown in the known.
Eros/Static Quality abounds in the Beginning; falters in the Middle [and needs chivalrous protection by the Daemonic], but is restored more completely in the End. This is the hope, but it can have no guarantee..
The Daemonic/Dynamic Quality quests and contests time, from Beginning through Middle to the End. The victory or defeat of the Daemonic will decide what becomes of Eros.
Eros invites us to come back to the Circle Dance of Being, in its bounty and excellence, its supreme quality and its constancy. It never plays fast and loose, but is constant as a truly loving mother.
The Daemonic is a tough father, for it invites us to join God in the risk that gambles existence. It is stranger and darker.. It permits no gurus, only elder and younger brothers. If it has sages, this is because there is a ‘wisdom of the heart’ — but it is so hard won, it is rarer than hen’s teeth.
This gamble requires us to be free in a radical way not comprehended in Eros, for it is neither the whole, nor a part in the whole, but a personalness that stands apart, and is free to place the world in its heart, and give its heart for the sake of the world, or not..
The personhood is neither ego or selfish self, a false separation from God and creation, nor is it God and creation. It stands apart and it stands alone. It stands on the abyss, which renders it no more contained by the maternal milk of Eros, but standing in existential freedom that is radical. The Russian Orthodox Christian existentialist Berdyaev has written of this abysmally groundless freedom as no other writer has managed, even Kierkegaard. Buddhism offers freedom from self-created error, based upon resisting, denial, avoidance, of what is. But that freedom is not the existential freedom of the personhood. Buddhism is ‘freedom from’; but Berdyaev is referring to ‘freedom for’– the freedom to personally give the heart through its passion. To act from the heart, we must be free as person, and this means, ‘Other’ to everything. At times, we stand alone, abandoned by God, and quit on by our brothers.
The Spaciousness of Eros is fine, as the backdrop of Goodness we all rely on from start to finish, but Time’s Edge cuts us with its risk, and calls forth a deeper pain and a deeper love. In the Daemonic, only suffering leads to the deep love.
On two further points, then, there is no compromise, but stark opposition, between Eros and the Daemonic.
These two points are  war, and  suffering.
 Eros pronounces this in Buddhism: “The wars between people are a reflection of our own inner conflict and fear.” The Greek Orthodox Fathers often said the exact same, claiming that the many passages in the Jewish Bible where the righteous, the kings and warriors like David, fight outer wars in the arena of the world are ‘really’ about the inner warfare inside us. In Eros, this warfare is between ego or selfish self, on the one side, and being a part in the whole, on the other side, if nuanced Buddhistically. In Eastern Orthodoxy, the opposition would be stated as ego/selfish self against love, light, life. There is no substantive difference. The stress on peace as spiritual, and war as fallen, worldly or delusive, is the net result.
The Daemonic repudiates this perspective entirely. Christ said, ‘I bring not peace but a sword.’ In Judaism, there is an inner spiritual warfare, but it is between the two hearts, the heart of flesh and the heart of stone, and it decides which heart we give to the world, power lusting and dominating, on the one hand, or making the leap of faith and sacrificial, on the other hand. Moreover, war in the world, for the destiny of the world, is real and holy: it is the hero’s calling, the calling of those royal and noble in heart. We must fight ourself, and fight God, to be made ready to fight the world, for the sake of the world.
There is a war going on for the world’s destiny, and its protagonist has to be deeper in love, because the antagonist is an objectively existing evil spirit who wants the world’s redemption stopped, and the investment God made in the world as other, and free, to end in ruin. In Eros, the demonic is our own shadow, projected outward; in the Daemonic, the demonic is other to us, and is a real adversary of the gamble God is co-enacting with us. In the Daemonic, we have to overcome both our own nerves, given the difficulty of the task, and we have to stand up to real intimidation trying to break our passion emanating from a malicious spiritual source. This is not an aspect of our unconscious not sufficiently integrated and transformed. Celtic Shamanism referred to spiritual evil as “the grim dread, the great horror that is hateful to all.”
The Daemonic is ‘anti-pacifism’, and only values peace as the state of ‘it is completed’ experienced by a heart that has done its duty, at cost to itself. On the Cross, as he died, Christ uttered ‘it is finished’, meaning ‘I did what I was called to do’, and that is the peace in death.
The inner warfare is less important than the outer warfare. The outer warfare is part of the redemption of the entire world process, thus it counts supremely, and the inner warfare is only valid as necessary to helping, and clarifying, the outer warfare.
 Suffering is even a greater difference than fighting. In Buddhism, and all versions of Eros/Static Quality, we suffer because we resist the way things are, we look for permanence in the impermanent, we deny the mysteriousness of the permanent. So, neither reality nor its manifestation allow us to seize it in our tight fist as we wish to do, and this causes our suffering. Frustrated wishes, frustrated ideas, frustrated ego/selfishness, is what causes us to get depressed, and constantly bemoan our fate about the way things happen. Why can’t they happen as we want? Only acceptance of that which does not give us ‘what we want’ frees us from suffering.
In the Daemonic, this account of suffering as self-inflicted is true, but only up to a point. For there is real suffering in existence that has nothing to do with denial, or resistance, and insisting ‘things be this way, rather than that way.’ The deep suffering comes from existence and hits the heart deep. Buddhism is talking of the mind and soul, but knows nothing of the heart. The purer and more innocent the heart, the deeper the suffering. Suffering that affects the heart, inescapably, deepens it. Not to be affected is not to have a heart. To be affected deeper and deeper forces us ‘down’ into the heart.
Two mysteries of suffering are missing in Buddhism.
First, suffering reveals to us how to fight truly. Our personal suffering can drown us in self-pity, but it can also spiritually link us to the suffering of all mankind. It is only deep suffering that reveals what is at stake in the fight for the world. Only by knowing the deepest suffering of the world can we make the deepest fight for the world.
Second, there is a point in the long Daemonic Road of Judaism, changing over 2000 years repeatedly and hugely, where the link between pain of heart and love, the love that goes to the extreme, is forged. Only those who suffer deeply in the heart will ever love deeply, deeply enough to find that passion of heart that is redemptive. This is the passion that suffers a wound, carries a weight, pays a cost, to love the world.
These two points are reflected in ancient Judaism; they should have stormed into Christianity, but have instead limped in.
The Eastern Orthodox Christian monastic tradition, in being so close to Buddhist monasticism, has blocked the Daemonic most of all. Much of Eastern Christian monasticism is the yoga of Eros, rather than being the prophetic delving into and change of heart necessary for the heart’s mission to the world. Thus the doctrine of ‘impassibility’ of the Orthodox monks may work for Eros, but for the Daemonic it is the chief heresy, the heresy of heresies, the betrayal of the heart, the falsification of the human passion called by God to travel toward the Passion of Christ.
Points  and  go together, and cannot be separated. It is only suffering which reveals the true fight, and it is only the deep pain which reveals the deepest love. Until this is enacted and lived to the last drop of the cup — and even Christ said to the Daemonic God in the Garden of Gethsemane ‘let this cup pass’ — the Daemonic reality and calling of Christianity will remain halfhearted. Like Christ we have to say, ‘not my will, but yours, be done.’
However, it is also important not to confuse the true Daemonic intervention in time and the world process, with the travesty that Western Christianity has made of this, starting in Roman Catholicism, where Satanic things like the Inquisition were regarded as ‘godly’, but going much farther in Protestantism. It is Western Christian Protestantism that has profoundly falsified the heroic summons to the world, by engaging in a Satanic ‘crusading’ that says it is God-led and God-loyal, but is in reality the total betrayal of the Daemonic Spirit. Conquest by the sword, forcing people to embrace religion when they do not understand and assent to it with the heart, threatening people with fundamentalist teachings that are coercive and judgemental, are all the works of the devil who in Judaism is called Satan the Accuser. There is nothing redemptive in any of it. Protestantism, allied with colonialism and capitalism, has given ‘intervention’ a bad name. There are times when even well intentioned action can ‘make matters worse’, and so there are times for doing nothing. Yet there are other times when to let things be, and do nothing, is cowardice. Clearly, the heart must be purged, destroyed and remade, to be able to ‘act’ for the Daemonic God. This is why ‘God chastens those he loves’ is so crucial to the Daemonic Road. The Protestant buccaneers, who raped and pillaged their way through the New World, no different to the Roman Catholic knights who went to ‘liberate’ Jerusalem in the Crusades, were unchastened in heart, and therefore such people can never serve God. It is always the most unchastened in heart who are the most self-righteous, the most convinced they have God on their side, and want to win for God. All this ‘holy war’ foolishness is Satanic.
A major advantage of the monasticism so prevalent in Eastern Orthodox Christianity – and in Celtic Christianity – is that it tended to rule out the spreading of religion by tyrannical force; rather, religion was spread by the monastic ‘example’ of humbleness [toward God], non-greed [toward self], and non-domination [toward neighbour]. The monasteries fed the poor and became centres of art, medicine, learning= oases of refreshment from the desert of the fallen world.
But for Christianity this trade-off has a price, in that it encourages people to follow Eros as a way of avoiding the distortions of the Daemonic which have to be overcome.
In Eros/Static Quality, you can mystically experience God, and be enlightened; in the Daemonic/Dynamic Quality, you never know and must make the leap of faith into the unknowable. No one knows how time will go, and if it will end well, or catastrophically. Because persons matter, and the world matters, ‘going back to source’ cannot console, or in any way resolve, this possible final tragedy.
Eros is optimism, the Daemonic is pessimism.
The dark and suffering, and fiery, Daemonic Spirit has ‘forcibly’ taken hold of the human heart. Only of the Daemonic God is it true that ‘fear is the beginning of wisdom.’
Time, in its Daemonic meaning, is urgent, and it is still more urgent that Christians step up.
Christianity cannot afford to over value the ‘ontological-liturgical-mystical’ and under value the ‘existential-dramatic-historical.’ That one sidedness is the Greek heresy in Christianity. It points to the conclusion that Christianity must be more Jewish.
Only Christ really bore and plumbed, and reversed at depth, the ancient human tragedy; only he stepped up to it. But somehow his followers have contrived to be, among all men and women, among the least likely to step up to the human tragedy as Christ did..
This is beyond tragic, it is a disgrace.
For those of us who love Christ, the God of Eros will never suffice. We are, like it or not, given over to the Daemonic God. What he will do, with us and the world, remains in doubt to the last gasp, but the access to this mystery is suffering and fighting, from love, for the world.
That is all we have. It suffices.