True Stories That Drive Spiritual Growth | Bishop Barron | EP 431

Jordan Peterson sits down with author, speaker, and Bishop of the Dioceses of Winona-Rochester, Robert Barron. They discuss the use of new technologies to interpret and explore religion, the fallacy of self-deification, the spiritual blocks to the flow of grace, and how to stop servicing power and become an orchestrator of peace and love.

Bishop Barron is a #1 Amazon bestselling author and has published numerous books, essays, and articles on theology and the spiritual life. He was a religion correspondent for NBC and has also appeared on FOX News, CNN, and EWTN. Bishop Barron’s website,, reaches millions of people each year, and he is one of the world’s most followed Catholics on social media. His YouTube videos have been viewed over 131 million times, and he has over 3 million followers on Facebook.

This episode was recorded on January 23rd, 2024

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(0:00) Tour Info 2024
(0:40) Coming up
(1:15) Intro
(3:06) The implications of AI for the realm of theology and objective meaning
(12:21) AI might lead to the end of postmodernism
(14:00) God as he has been conceptualized then and now, divine proximity
(17:20) Approaching the sacred with humility and love
(24:43) Adam, Eve, and the serpent’s offer
(28:25) Why the garden became the desert
(33:31) Which spirit animates you? The false self gives way to the true self
(39:01) Connecting Job to Jesus
(46:40) Bad theology and how to break through human pride for proper worship
(55:40) The spirit of play, the invitation to bear the cross, and the purpose of Mass
(1:03:11) The power of the mustard seed, the inexhaustible potential of grace
(1:12:39) How wealth is portrayed in the Gospels, setting up your life to be in accordance with your soul
(1:14:39) John Paul II, the true message of the Unjust Steward
(1:18:33) The Binding of Isaac — and why the Bible doesn’t hold back
(1:20:11) What a mother has to sacrifice
(1:23:29) The biological justification for the biblical spirit of reciprocity
(1:34:52) How science presupposes faith, the potential end of the New Atheist movement

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Hello everyone I'm pleased to announce My new tour for 2024 beginning in early February and running through June Tammy And I an assortment of special guests Are going to visit 51 cities in the US You can find out more information about This on my website as well as accessing All relevant ticketing information I'm Going to use the tour to walk through Some of the ideas I've been working on My forthcoming book out November 2024 we Who wrestle with God I'm looking forward To this I'm thrilled to be able to do it Again and I'll be pleased to see all of You again soon Bye-bye that's an ancient u connection In the tradition to connect job and Jesus and he is associated appropriately With job because what Jesus Takes on is Precisely that because it's not just Suffering it's suffering that's Undeserved it releas you know for the Most part undeserved and you as a Therapist I have a priest we've met job A number of times I mean I know in my Pastoral work people that are in that Kind of of suffering what God helps job To see is he's trying to break job out Of this curvatus Inay my little Consciousness that is has this Overweening [Music] Pride hello everybody I had the pleasure

Today of speaking with Bishop Robert Baron and I've spoken with Bishop Baron A number of times before sometimes with John Veri sometimes with Jonathan Pou Sometimes Alone um in all sorts of Different places including Rome we've Developed uh a good relationship and He's a very interesting religious Thinker in my estimation he's contending With the core meanings of the narratives That sit at the base of our culture and That for better worse sometimes both Unite us fundamentally and most Profoundly for for better we talk today About I suppose the it's something Approximating the undeniable reality of The Divine or the sacred even by Definition we tried to lay out a mode of Conceptualizing the the proposition that There is a highest and uniting value Which I would what would you say Allegiance to that highest and Eternal Value is something like Faith it's Something like Covenant it's something Like the proper aim of life it's Something like the proper aim of life in So far as your life is Meaningful and Generous and productive all of that by Definition we laid out the modern Understanding of that and how the church At least in part has deviated from its Obligation and responsibility To explain the nature of that Relationship and to help people

Understand why it needs to be primary so So that's where the discussion will go Um join Us all right so let me share some of my Thoughts with you it'll be kind of a Lengthy introduction to our discussion But there's been some very exciting Technical developments that actually Bear surprisingly on the religious Question so I'll give you I'll give you One example so one of my former students Who's now working with me has been using Large language models to investigate the Concept of God now one of the things that Sam Harris one of the criticisms that Sam Harris and the atheists in general have Levied at thinkers like myself and Thinkers let's say like Carl Yung this Is also a postmodern critique is that The interpretation of a given narrative Is arbitrary that you can read into a Narrative anything you want and that There's no you might say intrinsic Meaning in the text now there's actually That's actually wrong and we all we we Actually know why now and we can Actually demonstrate that it's wrong and I have no idea what the ultimate Significance of that will be but let me Let me tell you why because this is Really quite Fascinating So we know that some words are more

Similar than others and then you might Say well what makes words or concepts Similar and the answer would be Something like Substitutability or you could think About it as so substitutability with Regard to a purpose it's a very critical And strange definition of similarity but Also proximity in the space of Meaning and then you might say well what Does it mean for things to be proximal In the meaning space and it means likely To Co-occur now this student I'm referring To his name is Victor Swift by the way He's been able to show and this is Essentially mathematically a conceptual Overlap between 10 Concepts and the Concept of God so so imagine this bishop Baron imagine this That you that every concept has a Center okay so the concept of God the Center of the concept of God would be God But then imagine that there's a cloud of Immediate associations around that Concept and that those associations are The concepts that are statistically most Likely to co-occur with that concept Okay so this is a this is something Approximating a mathematical fact has Nothing to do with subjective opinion so Then you could imagine and we're trying To map this that you have God in the

Center and then close to that would be The true the Beautiful and the good and Then there'd be another cloud of Associations around that that would be Second order associations now yeah the Way a large language model works is that It it actually learns those Associations at multiple levels Of comparison Simultaneously so it actually Maps out What you might describe as the semantic Space or the space of meaning now so This would also in this would also imply This is where it gets so cool so imagine If we took a cloud of Concepts that People universally recognized as good so You could imagine that you and me and Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins would Have a fair amount of agreement on what Those goods were you know individual the Dignity of the individual the idea of The good the idea of the true the idea Of the beautiful the idea of upward Striving okay now imagine that that Makes a conceptual cloud Mhm there's going to be a center of that Cloud yeah that constitutes the reason For the similarity of the ideas and it Looks to me like semantically speaking So in terms of our verbal content this Might also be true with regards to the Stories we tell that the central concept Around which all Goods rotate is Indistinguishable from the semantic

Representation of God and it also looks Like we can now map that so I think we Can dispense entirely with the criticism That the interpretation of say biblical Narratives has to be something arbitary And we can also make the case which Carl Jung made to begin with is that in any System of value that's coherent there's Going to be a central factor that Accounts for its coherence and it's Certainly the case it's highly probable That that's indistinguishable from the Concept of God that's how it looks it's So that's so cool because this is Starting we're starting to be able to Use this technology to dispense with Opinion so you know Yung said go called Or uncalled God is present God is there Now right right and I don't remember who He derived that from but that was what He had carved on his castle at bingin But but that's that's the same idea Right that implicit in a semantic Landscape is a is the central concept of The highest ideal that's kind of like The sum of botom so I'm just wondering Well what you might be thinking about in Relationship to that possibility yeah There's so much there there's questions Of hermeneutics and questions of Metaphysics and questions of psychology And that you know I'm I'm against the Postmoderns who want to unravel the self First of all there's no really coherent

Self that does this judging and Analyzing there's also they they want to Unravel metaphysics and what you're Arguing there in a more sort of semantic Way is that there is a coherence to the Self there is a coherence to the Metaphysical structure of the real so to Use an example of of God yes uh we would Say that God is not a being but being Itself so the famous answer given to Moses right osum quum I am who I am Moses is asking what kind of being are You he's trying to put God in Categorical terms and and the answer There is so important because that makes All the difference when it comes to Understanding religious language is if We follow Moses and his question we we Will inevit end up in atheism because if You think God is a categorical object in The world eventually you'll say well I I Don't see this object and there's no Evidence for it and I can explain the World without it so that's why the Answer of God in in Exodus is so Powerful because he's saying dumb Question wrong question I'm not a thing In the world that you can name I am who I am which means I'm the Prius that's Augustine's language I'm prior to Thought and to Lang I'm prior to being I'm that upon which The categorical realm depends so right From that if you get God is is as ainus

Says the active to be itself so says God Is Not enum highest being but ipsum Right to be being right so if you say That well then right away you you've got The central organizing principle of of All reality and that everything else has To Cluster around which is why we speak About God as being the creator of all Things but also your your semantic point About the the good and and the beautiful And so on the true we call those the Transcendental properties of being Wherever you find being you find those Things therefore they are they are Closely related to the central idea of God and which is precisely why in the Spiritual order we get at God through Those Avenues through the true and the Good and the Beautiful it's you know There's there's our friend James Joyce You know when you you see the beautiful Girl off the the beach and and you take In her beauty what that leads you to as Steven Deus says is oh Heavenly God you Know so that's the the platonic path That Joyce you know so that's the that's The clustering of those ideas tightly Around God and then to your point about Uh about stories I think that's really Important because I don't agree with the Postmodern kind of unraveling of Narrative and it's simply a matter of Subjective opinion it's just the reader Response see what tells against that as

You well know is this ancient tradition Of a coherent reading of these texts I Mean why is it that that people over now Millennia have read these texts and Found very deep and consistent uh ideas Is because they have a semantic Structure which is dependent upon a Metaphysical structure which gives rise To a spiritual transformation uh they're Classic text for that reason and we Shouldn't simply read them as oh they're Just this you know coming together of Words and I can read any old way I want To well no the whole of of human um Interpretive history tells against that So I I think we do have to battle the Postmodern ultimately nihilism Metaphysically and the sort of Indifferentism at the level of of um Interpretation no no these are classic Texts that have spoken for very good Reason I think I actually think that That battle is over because I think the Large language models are going to Demolish their pretentions so here so Imagine this here's the way of two Things so why did God disappear die Let's say and and the psychoanalyst Believed that God sunk into the Unconscious that was yung's Proposition That if God dies formally all that Happens is that the the prime factor Becomes unconscious so imagine this this Is how you could think of that

Technically so imagine Now you have your cloud of Concepts so With the central factor of the good Itself and maybe the essence of being Itself being by definition this is by Definition by the way that's what God is And when there's a concordance between The religious explicit religious belief And that implicit network of meaning you Have a conscious God at the center like You're conscious of that God but then if You dispense with that Central uniting Proposition you don't eradicate the Commonalities between what is good You just you just let them sink back Into implicitness and that seems to me To be equivalent to The Descent of God Into the unconscious that's the same Thing as jepetto for example going down Into the belly of the whale is that now God becomes implicit right but that Doesn't mean that he's not there he's Still coded in the relationship between Those things that are meaningful okay so That's that's pretty wild and then with Regards go ahead if I can just jump in What happened to God The Disappearance Of God is a function of this mis Interpretation of God as a being and we Can see when that happened it happened By the late Middle Ages when acinus is More analogical metaphysic gave way to Unival conception of being that's in People like William of akam and when

That happens see God is still there but God is now one being among many God's The Supreme instance of the category Being well all right in the late Middle Ages is God's still there we take him Seriously but now move forward as God is Seen as a being among many he becomes More and more um distantiated more and More irrelevant to the world and then in Early modernity he becomes a rival to The world and it has to be that way if You and I are were sort of plotted on The same mathematical grid we're going To be to some degree over and against Each other we'll be battling for the Same space so God and Humanity are in The same same grid both beings one's Smaller one's bigger but they're of Course going to come into conflict now Look read a lot of the early moderns That way then keep going and you come Right up to the atheists who finally say Look I've had it with this being I don't Want this big being interfering with my Freedom and my self- defin now you've Got Jean Paul sard right is if if God Exists I can't be free but I am free Therefore God doesn't exist that I would Argue is in the mind of almost every Teenager in the west today that idea God Is a rival to my freedom but you know This how repugnant all of that is to the Bible right in fact this morning in my Office so as a priest I pray the the

Liturgy of the Hours every day and we Had the passage from Isaiah and it says This Lord you have accomplished all we Have done it's a little line but it'll Take your breath away if you get it Lord You have accomplished all we have done We've done it but but you accomplished It the implication there is God is not a Rival to our thought or to our action or Our achievement in fact the glory of God Is a human being Fully Alive as St erus Said see that's what modernity begins to Have a problem with and when you follow That trajectory you get all the way Right to the atheist who say well I I Don't I don't want this big being Interfering with my life and my Accomplishment and then we'll go back to Something we've both talked about a lot The burning bush Right which is on fire but not consumed And that's a Biblical imagination when God comes close to the world the world Is Luminous and beautiful compelling and It's not consumed it's not destroyed by The Divine Proximity that's the biblical idea that Was compromised by late the late Middle Ages became exaggerated in the modern Period and then comes to full fruition With the atheist so whether it's forbach Or Sam Harris it's a very Sim problem And they're not getting seems to me the Biblical understanding of the the

Non-competitiveness of God with the World but that comes from this idea of God as to be itself not a being right I Think all of that's the Deep Metaphysical background for what we're Dealing with today y okay so let's go I Want to go two places with that I want To investigate the burning bush more and I want to talk about the the fall yeah And it's okay so with regard to the Burning bush so I've been working on This new book we who wrestle with God And I've been trying to map out the Semantic space I think that's a Reasonable way of thinking about now It's not only semantic because it's also The space of the imagination and it's Also the space of the cultural Traditions that unite us because the Monotheistic hypothesis is something Like there's an underlying Unity rather Than a diversity or a plurality and that That will make itself manifest at the Behavioral at at the level of the imagin And at the level of the semantic Simultaneously right there's going to be This is also why the postmodernists are Wrong because they think meaning is only Encoded in the semantic space and that's Not true like a a story is not precisely Semantic like a parable because it draws On the power of the image as well as on The power of the word and those images Are related to behaviors okay in any

Case what seems to happen in the burning Bush story so imagine this is that Moses Is is attracted by something something Calls to him okay and so that's like a Beckoning or a promise now the way that That works neurophysiologically is that We're always looking for things that Beckon and call as indicators of the Path to treasure even bees do this by The way like this is very very deeply Embedded inside living creatures and so There'll be things that call to us now The and attract our attention and pull Us off our current path which is exactly What happen happens to Moses and this Happens to him near Mount Si which is The connection between the Earthly and The Divine the two Dimensions right and Exactly the this vertical Dimension and So Moses pursues this thing that Glimmers and gleam gleams and compels Him and he pursues it right to the Bottom and as he gets closer and closer To the core concept let's say so that Would be the core idea in this web of Meaning he starts to understand that He's on sacred ground Right right right so then he becomes Even more humble he he he lessens Himself more exactly exactly exactly the Shoes I was think the shoes mean you're In command if you have shoes on you can Walk anywhere you want to go and if if It's rocky soil or it's it's a it's a

Incline whatever you can walk you take Your shoes off you're much more Vulnerable and you're much more humble You have to be you can also feel the Ground better you know and you can Imagine that that as you're approaching The sacred you don't want to have Anything between you and the sacred Because you want to feel out where You're going okay right yes and that Only happens through humility and right You're close to the Earth uh so humility Is not like you know right it's not like Degradation it's just getting close to The Earth and if you got your shoes on In that kind of aggressive sense of I'm Going to go and look and I'm going to Examine you're not humble enough to get In touch with the Sacred when did we decide to stop Upholding Free Speech as a basic right It doesn't matter what your politics are Or who you voted for everyone should Have the right to express themselves Freely sadly the big Tech Monopoly has Instead opted for silencing tactics and Sensorship to fight back against big Tech control of the internet I use Expressvpn have you ever wondered how Free to access Tech Giants make all Their money by tracking your searches Video history and everything you click On they build a profile of you and then Sell it off to the highest bidder when

You use the expressvpn app on your Computer or phone the software hides Your IP address from third parties that Makes your activity more difficult for Companies to trace and sell to Advertisers and helps keep your online Presence more Anonymous expressvpn Encrypts 100% of your network data to Protect you from eavesdroppers and cyber Criminals so let's stop allowing big Tech to revoke our rights to free speech Why not revoke their right to your data Instead secure your internet with the VPN I trust for online protection visit Jordan that Jordan for three extra Months free [Music] Jordan right right right right well you And you can imagine that it has to be The antithesis of Pride because pride is Perhaps the cardinal sin I mean it Vis With resentment and deceit I would say But it's certainly up there okay so Moses allows himself to be transformed And compelled in this interaction with What calls to him then the voice of the Voice underlying being itself reveals Itself to him right the essence of being Let's say or the it's it's it's more Than that just As the truth is not instantiated in the Given truth as you pointed out the Principle of being is not in okay so

That's what Moses gets in touch with but Then so what's very cool there is that's Also now that his now that he's grounded In the right place or now that he's Established a proper relationship with The transcendent an ineffable ideal he Now becomes the man who's capable of Fighting against tyranny and destroying Slavy exactly and despite his Inadequacies right because he still Can't speak he's he's right so it Doesn't matter the the message there is Regardless of your of the limitations That have been imposed upon you by fate And Circumstance if you delve deep Enough if you follow your calling with Sufficient Integrity you'll reach you'll Form a relationship a covenantal Relationship with that which underlies Being itself and that will make you the Leader capable of eternally opposing Tyranny and leading people out of Slavery yeah I think all that is right You see you become a vehicle of of love You become a vehicle of Grace if you Open yourself to the Transcendent Mystery you open yourself to God and the Ego has has stopped its its blockage so The the ego's you is always obsessed With wealth pleasure power and honor Says aquinus so if I got those things in The way then my ego is is seeking those All the time and they're not bad in Themselves but they're not the summum

Bonum and so when I seek all that stuff And I become addicted to them then then I Block others access to the sacred Through me so I I I become a block to The sacred rather than a vehicle for it The Saints are those who right have Taken off their shoes they know they're On Holy Ground they understand they've Come to understand and then God can act Through them and now Isaiah again you Have accomplished all we have done that Happens when you're in touch with the Sacred as long as God is construed as a Competitive Supreme Being that language Makes no sense I'd have to say no no Look Lord I'm going to do it I'm going To accomplish it and you know thanks for Your inspiration but I'll keep you at a Distance or at the limit no no I want You out of the picture completely I'm Going to do it but a religious cons of All values that n spoke of and he said That we should do that right that we Should take on to ourself the right and Even the responsibility of creating our Own values so so let me ask you about This then in regard to That so when God is laying out the Rights of human beings in the garden and Please correct me if you think any I've Got anything wrong here theologically Okay so God basically says to Adam and Eve now that the garden has been created

That they can utilize the resources of The garden as they see fit except for One thing they can't eat of the tree of The knowledge of Good and Evil okay so Now I've been thinking through that what Does that mean well I think it means the Same thing as taking to yourself the Ability to make any moral claim that you Want so that now you become the Supreme Master of the moral as such okay now What Satan offers Eve this is so Interesting because the serpent is Affiliated with Satan and Satan is the Spirit of the intellect that wants to Overthrow God it wants to put itself in The highest place so it's something like Intellectual pretention and what the Serpent offers Eve he says this directly Is you'll become as Gods knowing good And evil and the knowing the knowing Means master of you can take to yourself The right to be the master of what's Good and evil okay now I would say when People do that They bite off more than they can shoe so Now Eve starts to conceptualize herself As the OM omnipotent feminine that can Clutch everything to its breast right Including the poisonous snake it can Incorporate any fruit no matter how Bitter and poisonous that's her Presumption it's a presumption of Pride And then she entices Adam and she uses His proclivity to name and to categorize

And but what Adam what Eve Coes Adam and Says we should hearken even to the snake Even to what's most poisonous we should Incorporate even what's most poisonous And Adam says I can do that and so you See a twin kind of pride a feminine Pride which is I can incorporate Everything like and clutch it to my Breast and a masculine Pride which is I Can now reshape the ordering principle Itself even to incorporate that which is Poisonous now if that's okay one more Thing on that and then tell me what you Think there is this Christian insistence That suffering is a consequence of sin And that's a weird one because death and Deterioration seem in some ways to be Built into the structure of existence But it's an open Question how much our tendency to Overreach Pridefully is the consequence of our Continual suffering right because we Certainly know that when we suffer Especially when we suffer unbearably It's often because we we' taken upon Ourselves more than we're that we have The right to do we've exceeded our Domain of competence and I think the False story is exactly illustrating This Modern proclivity that we have now that Nche put forward as a a moral command That we have to become the source of all Value now if it is the case that value

Itself is encoded in the structure of Being which is certainly the case Semantically and seems to be the case in The realm of the imagination then we Literally we literally cannot take to Ourselves the right to transv value and Establish all values without ceasing to Be human which is another inference of The story right because though that Implicit moral order there's no Difference between that implicit moral Order and being human they're the same Thing yes no we could talk all day about This of course but uh to your very first Point I think it's very important to Point out that the great permission Precedes the prohibition so eat of eat Of all the trees see in the church Fathers read that as God's desire that We flourish that there's this view that You know Christians are hung up on sin And especially sexual sin and God is Just you know surveying us like Kim Jong-un and you know we live in a Totalitarian come on the the great truth Of that story is the permission as God Creates this universe out of sheer Gratuitous love and then offers it to us To to take advantage of to to pursue to Love and to enjoy so the fathers read That as its science and art and its Politics and its literature and its Friendship and it's all the good things Of life and God says yes enjoy them in

Other words it's a it's a structure of Value that's built into the being of the Created order and God says off you go Off you go enter into it but right the One thing you can't do is pretend that You're the Criterion of value this is John Paul II uh reiterated this ancient Tradition in his writings um when you Become the Criterion of Good and Evil The garden turns into a desert you get Expelled from the garden because now you Don't have the humility to enter into The world of value you become a sort of Arbiter of value you're even a creator Of value you're the you're the evaluator Of value well then well that's the Accuser and the adversary yes well you See because the minute you the minute You stand apart from it in that sort of Judgmental way then you lose contact With it that's why the garden becomes a Desert God is expelling them not out of Um he's in a snit it's just spiritual Physics it's just the way it has to go You as you say quite rightly you stop Being human when you lose your contact With this objective value of system and You become the Criterion of value Because essentially you have made Yourself into God and that's in the Bible's reading always the fundamental Problem it it just Rings the changes on That theme that's always the fundamental Problem is we turn ourselves into gods

And what God's trying to teach us is how Joyful how wonderful becomes when you Forget that goofy pretention you Surrender in faith you know there's that Grossly misunderstood Word of Faith you Surrender in trust I I'd put it that way In trust to the world of value at the Top of which is the summum bonum god the Source of all value and when you Surrender to that it becomes a garden We're back into the garden you know now Fast forward all the way to Jesus you Know as God undertakes a rescue Operation to get us out of this this bad Consciousness and to move us toward Fulfillment the fact that Jesus is Buried in a garden and then rises from The dead out of a garden um is is not Accidental you know so that's the story Of the Bible in some ways is would you People please get over this pretention That you're Divine that you're the Center of of activity because then you Will be unhappy period it just happens Like night follows day well it's also Bishop it's also very Interesting what people mean implicitly When they say that now they are the Source of all value because that begs a Question you know I think you mentioned That was ainus who identified wealth Pleasure power and honor so you might Say let okay so let's say that sarta Says do what thou Wilt shall be the

Whole of the law that was actually Aliser Crowley right okay so but that's That's a good statement of this Self-centeredness okay so what are the Inevitable consequences of this okay so One of them is that you become self Conscious okay and this is what happens To Adam and Eve right they become Self-conscious they become aware of Their own nakedness and the reason they Do that is because or the consequences Of that if if they've taken that burden Of valuation onto themselves they're Going to be self-reflective and Self-conscious we know from the Psychological literature that Self-consciousness and neurotic Suffering are conceptually Indistinguishable they they occupy the Same Space yeah and we all know that from From experience we all know that that's Augustine when you're KATU sin you've Turned in on yourself that's his Definition of sin but I would say of Unhappiness the ipof facto you're Unhappy and the best moments of life we All know this are when we're least Self-conscious when we're lost in that's When we're walking with God yes when Releas self-conscious is when we're Walking with God in the garden in the Cool of the evening right right right Right okay so now so now here's the

Other flaw as far as I can tell so now I'm going to make the proposition that I Can do whatever I want but that begs the Question as n Knew by the way what eye Are you talking about because here's Another way of thinking about it you're Going to be possessed by Something and you're either going to be Possessed by the highest thing or you're Going to be possessed by something lower Or in the worst possible case you could Be possessed by what is technically Lowest but those are that's the range of Options you're going to be possessed by Something now why would I say possessed Well it's partly because you're Socialized so okay now if the center Fragments so I think it fragments first Into sex and power and you could see the Exploration of sex with Freud and the Expl exploration of Power with nature But the next two Gods so to speak that Are lurking under the Superordinate concept of the Divinity Are going to be something like hedonic Pleasure that would be the of Babylon in its worst possible Manifestation and power and that would Be the Beast that you see in Revelation With the on its back okay so that Means that when the postmodernist or the Modernist or even the liberal says I can Do what I want they fail to understand That the that's now being referred to is

Likely possession of the self by power Or Hedonism or some combination of the Two because like when you say I want When you're angry for example I'm angry I want to hurt this person what you're Also saying even if you don't know it is That I am now possessed by a spirit so It might be the spirit of vengeful anger That has taken possession of me so Completely that I fully identify myself With that whim and so it isn't a matter Of I versus God it's a measure of Subordinate Idol Idols it's a matter of The competition between sub Idols that Should be properly subordinated and that Which should be put in the higher place And one of those would be we talked About power we talked about sex but we Could also think about that that's the Pretentious intellect it's the thing That's most likely to possess you and It's the thing that's most likely to Ferment Rebellion against God and that's Why Satan is referred to as luciferian Luciferian in his pretentions by people Like Milton well you're putting your Finger on something very ancient in the In the spiritual tradition which is true Self false self and go right back to St Paul when Paul says casually enough it's No longer I who live it's Christ who Lives in me now notice how like Isaiah That is right you have accomplished all We have done you look at Paul's letter

You'd never get the sense that Paul has Somehow lost his personality I mean Paul's personality is on every page of His letters you can you can he's Palpable right but he can still say it's No longer I the old self who live it's Christ who lives in me and that doesn't Mean Christ has kicked kicked me out no No I'm like a burning bush now I'm on Fire but I'm not consumed so it's the False self has given way to the true Self um and that's the heart of the Spiritual tradition is when Jesus says You know metano and we it's these Opening speech in the gospel of Mark and We say repent you know fair enough as a Translation but literally meta noose go Beyond the mind you have so you you've Got a fallen mind and that's what you're Talking about a mind that's been Possessed by wealth or pleasure honor or The love of knowledge whatever it is It's an idol so metano go beyond the Mind you have believe the good news so What he's saying is get rid of the old Self the good news is that I have come I The Christ have come so you should be Able to say with Paul it's no longer That old self that lives it's Christ who Lives in me there's the whole spiritual Life you know I also thought of um my Fellow motan Bob Dylan you know uh you Got to serve somebody it might be the Devil it might be the Lord and you that

Sounds simplistic but it comes from the Book of Joshua and it's dead right it's What you just said is We're we're possessed by something you Know it's going to be the summum bonum Or it's some some lesser good that has Turned into an idol and it's going to Start manipulating us but all you got to Do that's you know Paul tiik said that Just find out what people worship that's All you need to know about them the rest Will follow so you got to serve somebody So when you meet a person and they're Maybe they're they're suffering you're As a psychologist I as a priest over the Years you deal with people who are Suffering I always that's a super Illuminating question try to figure out Okay what are you worshiping there's Something that's the center of gravity If it's not God that's thatc that's that Implicit god well that's what you do When you go to a movie man is you you Take a you try to infer the aim of the Protagonist and basically by inferring The aim you're you're inferring the Central theme around which the entire Personality rotates and there is no Difference between that and Understanding those are the same thing Okay so so okay So as I said I've been writing this book Walking through the biblical Corpus and So once once Adam and Eve are thrown out

Of the garden you have this situation Where they have to work right they're Condemned to work and and to slog away Let's say and so work becomes integral To adaptation now and that begs a Further question which is well what is The best possible work what is the Greatest possible work now as far as I Can tell there's no difference between Sacrifice and work they're isomorphic Con Concepts and the reason for that is That here's a definition of work and you Tell me what you think about this so Work is the sacrifice of the present to The Future to the Future right now if if You're doing it optimally it would be The integration of the present and the Future but if it's work it's the Sacrifice okay so then the next question Is Okay what should you best Sacrifice what's the sacrifice that is Most pleasing to God well the thing we See happening in the biblical Corpus is That's exactly the center concern of the Next story because the story exactly and So these are two patterns of sacrifice Proper and improper right bitter and Resentful versus upward-looking and Faithful let's say okay and the Sacrifice of Cain is motivated by Cain's Willingness to allow himself to to be Possessed by the spirit of bitterness And resentment because that's what God

Calls them out on okay so so okay so now We could say the rest of the Bible is an Attempt to work Out the definition of the highest form Of Sacrifice now you see that being played With across a whole array of great Stories that's the stories of the Prophet's lives let's say and the Encoding of the lessons of their lives In the law but then you have okay now That sort of culminates in some ways With the story of Job right because job and the pattern of Sacrifice that's exemplified by job okay So what happens to job is that almost All the unjust suffering of the world is Laid on his Shoulders yeah okay and what job says And please correct me if I'm wrong what Job says so and and job is suffering so Much and so unjustly that his wife comes To him and says the only thing left for You is to curse shake your fist at God And die right and of the great figures In the Bible exactly exactly and well And she is she's upset by what's Happening to him and can't see a way out Now job Says she's right she's the voice of so Many today who they resent God Absolutely absolutely just Curse God and Die I mean who who needs all this Transcendent non exactly exactly exactly

Well or or the whole bloody game like That's that's girth as mopes it's like Suffering the world is so with suffering It would be better if the whole game Just ceased that'd be the antinatalists Right well it's a powerful argument Curse God and die okay but job says no I Refuse to do that and I refuse to do it On principle I'm going to assume so this Is a statement of faith I am not going To abandon my faith in the essential Goodness of being regardless of the Proximal evidence and I'm not not going To curse myself finally because although I'm not a perfect man I am a good man And so I'm not going to say that Everything that's happened to me I Deserve in some causal Manner and I'm Certainly not going to say that the Structure of being itself is corrupt now You can think about that practically so Imagine if you're in a situation like Job's where your world has fallen apart And maybe and maybe even genuinely to Some degree through no clear fault of Your own or no fault that could be laid That couldn't be laid at the feet of Good men in general what's your best Strategy well I can tell you as a Clinician if you take your suffering and You allow that to be transformed into a Resentful bitterness there's no limit to The amount of hell you can turn anything Into right deepen your suffering right M

You multiply it immensely you know Whereas if you're suffering and you can And you still strive to find good in That and you still maintain maintain Your faith in the essential goodness of Being then instantly that ameliorates Your suffering to some degree it puts You in the best possible position to Deal with it but it also helps you Embody like this supreme metaphysical Claim okay so now let's let's take that One step further so I think you see the Full flowering of this in the story of Christ and I mean this technically Because so the question is what suff What sacrifice is most acceptable to God So what work works best across all Possible situations and places and Christ embodies the spirit Of the sacrifice of what's lesser about The Self regardless of circumstance so Because his story is an ultimate tragedy Right because he has to face betrayal Tyranny um the collapse of his Friendships a humiliating death in front Of his mother like it is the Concatenation of all the potential Dimensions of suffering that is outlined To some degree in job and Christ's example is that you establish a Firm relationship with good despite all That you continue to aim up in love and Truth despite all that and by doing so

You simultaneously transform and Transcend all that and that that's the Proper model for the highest form of Being my suspicions are that that Pattern of voluntary Self-sacrifice which is also key to Therapeutic transformation I suspect That that pattern is isomorphic with the Good that lies at the center of the Network of conceptions of good and I Think that that's what the biblical Revelation is is that there is no Difference between the Son and the Father that would be how you would Conceptualize that notion in religious Terms is that if the spirit of Yahweh Was properly embodied In a human soul then it would be that Spirit it would be the spirit of Voluntary self-sacrifice as the proper Offering to God that would Prevail and Then I would say further okay let's Think about this As practically And what would you say realistically as Possible we know we know this in the Therapeutic Realm the best pathway forward is to Face the things that challenge confront And threaten you voluntarily right we Know that that is transformative we know That that improves people's mental Health we know that it makes them braver What you do with a person in therapy is

You find out what obstacles are standing In their way stopping them and making Them bitter and you plot and strategize With them about how they can decompose That obstacle into smaller constituent Elements and face it and that's the same Thing as face faing the serpent on the Cross the the Brazen serpent on the Cross that Moses has his people do when They're stred in the desert right heals Them it's The what bites them it's the phacos You've just touched on pretty much every Major theme in metaphysics and theology In that in that last uh bit and there's So much there Jordan we you talk about Um you know for the the job thing that's An ancient u connection in the tradition To connect job and Jesus and job of Course the end of the book saying I know That my redeemer lives I mean even even In the midst of his great suffering and Then Jesus himself who is the Redeemer In person and he is associated Appropriately with job because what Jesus Takes on is precisely that job is A kind of limit case of suffering Because it's not just suffering it's Suffering that's undeserved or least you Know for the most part undeserved so It's all of that and you as a therapist I have a priest we've met job a number Of times I mean I know I have in my Pastoral work people that are in that

Kind of of Suffering metaphysically speaking at the Heart of it it seems to me is this claim That being and good are always more Fundamental than evil and that's because Evil is best characterized as a prao Right it's a privation of the good so Evil is always parasitic upon the good Which means no matter how intrusive it Is and no matter how kind of bold it is It it's it's parasitic it can only exist In and through the good so as Paul would Say where sin abounds Grace abounds the More so sin can never outpace Grace evil Can never be greater than the good and So job his great you might say spiritual Genius is to see that is to see it now How did he how did he come to see it he He was he was very good in his dealings With his friends who were kind of lousy Friends they were great for the first Seven days when they sat with him in Silence And you and I know that too when you're Dealing with people in great suffering Often it's it's silence and solidarity Is the best thing you can do when they Start to speak that's participation in Their suffering yeah right right and That's what's so so U helpful about a Therapeutic about it but then they start Engaging in the most kind of trite Theological uh discourse by the you know Because oh Jo you must have done

Something wrong this clearly you know It's just evil comes because you do Things wrong that's a very naive level Of spiritual um U understanding um and It's I think it's interesting is it's The only time in the Bible where God Upgrades people for their bad theology Because remember at the end of the story When God Says unlike your friends who Spoke ill of me your your friends who Did not speak well of me so God is Taking the task bad Theology and the bad Theology is this silly trivial Superficial what God helps job to see is This metaphysical truth right that that Evil is always parasitic upon the good But also this more theological truth That your overweening intellect is just This little tiny teeny finite mind that Can take in a tiny swath of reality and Job did you hear about do you know about Leviathan and Behemoth and these Creatures of mind you know about them Under the sea you can't even see them But but they're my creatures and you Know where were you when I laid the Foundations of the world and where were You when I sang at the Dawn and all this Is he's trying to break job out of this Curvatus Inay my little Consciousness That is has this overweening pride no There's no justification for what I'm Going through there's no morally U um Sufficient reason for what I'm going

Through where were you you know so it's A it's a metaphysical move if you want And it's a theological move where job is Is broken out of that can I say a quick Thing about sacrifice because to me That's such a central notion in the Bible the fact that Adam is working not Just after the fall but before the fall So he's given the task of tilling the Garden so John Paul II saw this that we Shouldn't construe work as simply a kind Of you know result of sin or a Punishment for sin work there you might Construe as As Art and Science and Philosophy and you know all these Wonderful things that are just good in Themselves and that call forth our Powers and we know what that feels like You know when you it's it's a it's a Strain in a way to you know read a Philosophical book and enter into a Philosophical argument but it's also It's wonderful it's not the result of Sin or the fall it's just a it's an Exercise of your powers but furthermore This the term in Hebrew and I forget What it is exactly but the term for the Tilling of the soil is the same term Used for the care of the temple Eden is A is a primordial Temple which means a Place where God is rightly praised so The summum bonum is properly aligned With with the human mind and will and Body and that's why Eden is a

Temple the expulsion from the garden is Yes into a desert but it's also an exile From the temple um we're not praising Right now read that as a master motif of The entire Bible what goes wrong with us Bad praise I start praising the wrong Things idolatry is the fundamental Problem and then look at the story of The Old Testament is trying to discover The temple again you know um Pharaoh let My people go that they might Worship the Lord in the desert so they might find a Place to worship and then they build the Great Tabernacle in the desert while They're on the Move Mount Si and so on And then finally the the Solomon temple In Jerusalem Jesus who says I'll tear Down that Temple and in three days Rebuild it referring to the Temple of His body and then Paul and you members Of Christ's mystical body you're the Temple you know so that theme of how do We bring people back to right worship a Right ordering to the summum bonum That's the whole Bible you know now see Go back to job for a second because what Gets in the way of right worship lots of Things but one of them can be intense Suffering there's Mrs Job there's Mrs Job Curse God and die so cursing God is The opposite of praising God so she's Saying you know your suffering is so Intense job that just give up on this Project of praising God that's why that

That book is so pivotal because even at This limit case of um of suffering job Doesn't Curse God he he maintains his Connection now St one one more step Because of the Jesus job Connection Jesus on the cross we say Bearing all the sins of the world that's What you just said you know bearing all Of human suffering maintains Nevertheless his connection to the Father so it's it you might say it's Like at a Breaking Point even God my God Why have you abandoned me uh as Chester Said God becomes an atheist on the cross You know so you're almost at a breaking Point but it doesn't break Jesus Maintains the connection with the father That's we would say the second person of The Trinity having United himself to Human nature bringing Humanity with him Online which is why we say the cross is Central to worship so at the mass which Is our that's the Great temple moment When we give God right praise we do it By remembering the cross this is my body Given for you this is my blood poured Out for you we're going right from Genesis through SI through job up to Jesus up to the Temple of the church up To someone at at Tuesday Morning mass at 6:30 it's the biblical trajectory and It's on exactly what you're talking About did you know a baby's heart begins To beat at just 3 weeks at 5 weeks that

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Allows you not to sacrifice the present To the future but to align it perfectly Okay I think that's signal by the Emergence of the spirit of play so the Kingdom of God is the Garden in which Mankind can eternally play and the play Would be musical so it would be so you Could conceptualize Heaven as an upward Moving spiral where everything is as Already is as good as you could imagine It but it's getting better it's getting Still right ex like a piece of music Does when it unfolds it's already Perfect but it's still reaching higher And higher Heights that's the highest Form of play this spiral upwards okay we Have an independent biological circuit For marking the presence of that spirit That Spirit of play okay so let let me Add one more thing to that go ahead go Ahead please well just to pull in the Symbolism of the mass then we could say In parallel that Sacrifice properly undertaken so that Would be voluntary is indistinguishable From celebration and then you might say Well could you get to the point where You could celebrate the crucifixion and Then so let's let's imagine that Practically so what that would Mean is that you came to regard your Mortal vulnerability As a blessing not merely as something That you could hoist and and bear

Because there's certainly that element But more than that beyond that that you Would take it on as a gift you know I Saw this trip ditch in Australia that Really shocked me the central it was an Orthodox trip ditch the central panel Showed Christ in front of the Cross Inviting and I thought oh my God you Know could you possibly have a more Perverse invitation than the invitation To the cross and the answer to that is Obviously no because an invitation to The Cross is an invitation to Bear the Voluntary suffering of life but more Than that even to will the encounter With hell itself right so it's it's Literally an invitation to fully Confront the worst of all possible Realities or potentialities but then you Think okay let's be sensible about this How the hell are you going to adapt to Your life if you shy away from mortality And malevolence there's no way you can Have a full adaptation to life if you Hide from that shadow and so then you Might say well I can't confront it fully Because it would tear me to pieces and Destroy me but I would say no if you did That voluntarily in faith it would Destroy sin in you it wouldn't destroy You now if you were rif with sin that Might feel a lot like destruction but Well that's a that's a different issue

To some degree think of the um Jesus and Disciples um singing before he goes out To The Garden of Gethsemane so we think Of the the Last Supper as simply this Kind of gravely serious thing which Indeed it was but singing before they go Out um the all the the themes of um Life Coming from the cross I think of that Great U Mosaic and the apps of s CL in Rome you know which is the cross at the Center of it but then flowering out from It are all these forms of life that's a Basic you know Christian intuition and Yeah even the you know the invitation That's the tree of life isn't it right And to and to enter into that space Spiritually of of identifying with the Crucified Lord I loved yourself about Play Because play is a such a key idea Um go right back to Aristotle I mean Those things that are sought for their Own sake are always higher than those Sought for the sake of something else And so the highest activities are are Forms of play they're they're good in Themselves I do them because they're Good to do you and I are engaging in Play right now you know it's a it's a Something good in itself to be talking About ideas and and uh I'm not looking For some right I'm not looking for Something Beyond this I oh this will Lead no no I'm right in this moment you Know um well romano guardini and the

Leaders of lurgical movement early 20th Century wanted to bring forward this Idea of the mass as play the mass is the Most useless thing that we can do and I Use that language a lot it always it Always draws people up short but I say Look the mass which is outside of time It's not meant to lead to anything else Right it's not Instrumental right and we're being drawn Into precisely the the dying and rising Of Jesus and so that's why it's the Supreme form of play and that's why you Know I put on fancy vestments and I Incense and I put I light candles and And we we move around in a kind of like Lurgical Dance Etc well all of that is Expressive of play uh yeah right it's a Play you know we saw that very clearly Was Chesterton who was a very playful Figure but he saw that you know that That kids love to dress up and they love To do well there's the mass you know we We dress up in fancy Garb and we carry Candles around and and we sing and we Dance and so well what's the mass but a Reflection of of uh the prayer that was In the temple in Jerusalem which in turn They claim was meant to imitate the Dance of David before the ark as he Comes into Jerusalem so it's this it's a Playful dance that the church does at The summit so we say the source and Summit of the Christian Life is the

Eucharist well there's your summum bonum Right it's what it's the praise that Aligns us to the summum bonum and that's A playful space to be in okay two two Things there so we could say that the Mass is an attempt to dramatize the Transformation of death and Hell into Play which that's a very that's a very Difficult transformation to pull off but You could see it as a kind of ultimate You take the worst thing possible and That isn't just death because hell is Worse than death and if you don't Understand that you're kind of a fool And you people might say well what's Your proof of that and I would say well Most people who are traumatized so Shattered they're Shattered by an Encounter with malevolence not an Encounter with tragedy right so Something bad happen it's yeah it's it's Yeah exactly it's right it's sort of Like purposeless bad or Worse Intentional bad right so there are Levels that are worse than death okay Now you could take death and hell you Know as sort of exemplars of the of the Of what is most unbearable and you could Transform them like the the the ultimate Alchemical Endeavor would be to Transform those into play that's the Same as finding the gold of most value The pearl of a highest price that the Worst possible Dragon guards it's the

Same thing okay so okay so so there's That now we you talked about Concentration on the moment okay so this Is how the Sermon on the Mount looks to Me tell me what you think about this We're going to discuss this in Our Gospel seminar that's coming up in April All right so essentially what Christ Does in The Sermon on the Mount is he Says Orient yourself so that you are Acting out your Covenant with God in all Matters so that has to be first and Foremost in your structure of attention So that would be I'm here to serve Whatever is highest and that would Include my willingness to even transform What I conceptualize as the highest as I Learn but that's my goal so our goal in This conversation let's say to the Degree that we're doing that truly is That we're doing nothing but trying to Pursue the truth and we're trying to do That in the spirit of whatever's highest We want to Foster life more abundant Let's say we want to rectify suffering To the degree that that's possible and We're inquiring in how to do that okay So first of all you set your aim and the Proper aim is the highest aim always Okay now once you do that and and that That's aligned with the desire to treat Other people as you would like to be Treated right so that's part of that That's that iterative altruism that's

Part of that structure of aiming highest Okay so then the next thing that Christ Implies is that sufficient unto the day And so what that would mean is that if You aim properly at the Highest then you can now Focus all your Attention with faith and productivity on Exactly what's happening right now and If you do that with enough intensity That will be sufficient but that's also I would say that's also the revelation Of the kingdom of God because if you are Aiming at what's highest and you are Absolutely attending to the moment then You're walking with go God in the Eternal Garden you lose all your Self-consciousness you're in that state Of play that's simultaneously Transformative right and that's going to Suffuse you with a sense of sufficient And sustaining Meaning and I think that's by the way I Think just just this might be of some Interest to you I think we actually know How that all operates now at a Neurophysiological level like I actually Think that the neuroscience and these Theological Concepts have Converged so and you know I've talked to A number of neuroscientists about this Not quite as explicitly as we're doing But like it's certainly the case that Our primary positive emot emotions System mediated by dopamine let's say

That's a treasure seeking system yeah Yeah yeah and it's definitely the case That we feel the most positive emotion When we see progress towards the highest Possible goal yeah that's literally how It Works yeah and there's so much we can Say about the sermon of course and I I Agree with those instincts Jordan very Much um I think if you know it's on a Mountain so there you've got Eden was a Mountain because we know the rivers flow Out from Um Sinai is a mountain you know Calvary Is a mountain Mount tabore is a mountain Um so it's a Sermon on the Mount so and He's a new Moses right it's where Heaven And Earth meet and he's the new Moses The new lawgiver but what strikes me About it as I I read acinus on the on The sermon is the four things he Identified as the blocks to the you know To the flow of Grace wealth pleasure Power honor they're all taken on in the Beatitudes you know so if wealth is your Problem how lucky you are and and the The Greek there macaros is the word and We say blessed or happy but they say you Could even even translated as lucky how Lucky you are if you're poor you know or Poor in spirit is in Matthew's version Uh you might say how lucky you are if You're not addicted to uh wealth so I Mean wealth leads you down a path toward

Addiction and when you you follow that Path then you block the flow of Grace if Pleasure is your problem well how lucky Are if you mourn so it's not it's not a Masochistic thing it's saying how happy You are if you're not addicted to good Feelings because sometimes as you say Following the summum bonum means you Will not have good feelings at all just The contrary so how lucky you are if You're not so addicted to that that you Block the flow of Grace um let's say Powers your your hangup well how blessed Are the Meek how blessed are those without any Particular power well read it as how Luck you are if you're not addicted to Power because power is Extraordinarily uh powerful addiction so How lucky you are um and then honor if Honor is your hangup well how lucky you Are when people hate you prescribe your Name yeah revile you because well in Other words how lucky you are if you're Not addicted to honor because sometimes Following the summum Bona means you're Not going to be honored well then once Those four blocks once those four blocks Are out of the way then the rest follow How blessed are the are the pure of Heart that means my heart's not divided I'm not following this and that and What's myum vulnerable today it's this No I'm pure I'm single-hearted

Integrated single minded right single Single-hearted and that's the the old Kirar the saint someone who who wants One thing who desires one thing right so The single-hearted Um how blessed are the peacemakers Because you'll become a maker of Peace The minute you get rid of these these Blocks and Grace flows through you you Will become instead of a servant of Power yeah you you'll become actually a Peacemaker um why am I blanking on the Other ones blessed are the single Blessed are those who hunger and thirst For righteousness that's the same thing Is what what do you hunger and thirst For well wealth pleasure H you know or Righteousness I I hunger for one the one Thing is to do the will of God right so The beatitude set up the basic dynamic And then the rest of the sermon I think Reveal kind of what that life begins to Look like so to love will the good of The other okay what's the ultimate test Because if you're if you're hooked on You you've gotten rid of your addictions At least to some degree and you found Purity of heart you're going to be Attached to the summum bonum whose name Is love that's what God is God is love So now you have to live utterly aligned To love what's the ultimate test of that Love your enemies because the enemy is Someone who's who's not going to will

Your good in return because the great Temptation is I I will be kind to you or Just to you or whatever that you will be Kind and just to me so then I'm just Caught in the in the ego game you know In a more subtle form but if I Love My Enemy then i' I'm proving I'm I'm Willing the good of the other as other You know so all the turn the other cheek And the and the go the extra mile and Love your enemies um and then this will Turn into you know life increasing in You 30 60 and hundredfold because you're Hooked on to the source of life you're In what I've called the loop of Grace as You receive Grace you give it as a gift Because Grace only exist that's part of That upward spiral yeah no and I I love That because that's very close to the The mystics when they talk about heaven Um where ainus says that in heaven we Will see for the first time how Incomprehensible God is it's it's a Delicious formula because you think of Okay here below he's incomprehensible But boy in heaven then I'll really see Him and acain says yeah you you will but What you'll see is how Inexhaustibly fascinating he is because You're going to keep spiraling upward You know uh infinitely anyway the Anticipation of that here below is Trying to deal with these addictions Hook on to the source of of Grace enter

Into the loop of Grace as you receive it Give it and then you'll get more that's That's the physics you'll get more and Then when you get more give that away And then you'll get more more right and That's inexhaustible it's not a zero sum Game yeah well so this is one of the Things I've really been toying with you Know is this idea That if and this is the faith that moves Mountains let's say or the power of the MUSC Mustard Seed that's another way of Thinking about it is That what is possible what is laid in Front of you in terms of its potential Is proportional to the attitude of faith And courage that you bring to bear on The situation and it may well be that oh This is the proposition is that the Source of being is is literally Inexhaustible is there's nothing that it Could it could bring forth anything Conceivable and the precondition for That is the proper is cultivation of the Proper receptive attitude so now let we Could look at how sophisticated this is Too let's take wealth for example so one Way of conceptualizing wealth is as an Evil in itself maybe that's associated With the victim victimizer narrative and The evils of capitalism but that isn't What happens in the gospels because when Christ goes after the rich man the rich Young man like he asks him a bunch of

Questions before he tells him he has to Sell everything you know he says first Of all the young man says well I'm Miserable and I don't know why and Christ says okay well let's you know Let's diagnose this are you abiding by The principles of Moses and the young Man says well yeah you know I'm actually Pretty good at that I'm I honor my Mother and my father I I abide by the Ideal rules and and they continue that Analysis until Christ's final Revelation Is something like well look you're doing A lot of things right apparently but You're still miserable and what that Means is that the life you've set out For yourself isn't working for you it's Not in accordance with the needs of your Soul and so what you may have to do is To dispense with all of your privilege And your security and the opportunity of Your wealth because it looks like it's Interfering with your potential Allegiance to an even higher good and That makes the young man um I guess his Countenance Falls in some ways right He's shocked by the idea that in order To follow Christ to enter the true Kingdom of Heaven that he would have to Sacrifice everything he owns and all the Disciples say well if that's the cost of Getting into heaven then you know no One's going to pay it but but the thing Is it's not a critique of wealth and and

Of itself it's a critique of the worship Of wealth as a substitute for the divine Right now you see that even more subtly I think in the parable of the unjust Steward because and tell me if you think I've got this right or wrong but Basically what Christ tells the unjust Steward who who does some shady Machinations to increase his wealth he Says something like the children of Darkness are in some ways wiser than the Children of light and what he's implying There is That not only is wealth or abundance not An evil in and of itself but if you Pursue that Diligently that's better than no Diligent Pursuit as well at at all and That dedicated Pursuit could produce in You the discipline that could be then Used for a higher aim right and so you Can't just casually dispense with the With the economic realm let's say and Supplant and substitute for that the Spiritual is that these things wealth Pleasure power and honor they might not Be evils if they were put in their Proper place right if they were subd Properly okay okay no that's that's Exactly right um there's a lot we could Say there the rich young man is Fascinating for one reason it's one of The only times Jesus seems uh to fail Like you know whenever when he calls

People oh yeah they drop everything and They come after him and you know sure I'll follow you and Matthew leaves his Tas cler post and he comes after him Well the rich young man receives as Extraordinary invitation from Jesus I Mean just leave your wealth behind and Come after me and he doesn't do it which To me is a witness to how Extraordinarily powerful the grip was on Him here's John Paul II's reading on That um he takes him see Luther Luther Read him in the Protestant way as well You know he just he thinks he's Following the the Commandments but I Mean no one can follow the Commandments We we're all hopeless that's why we all Need Grace you know but John Paul in a More Catholic way said no no I I take The kid at his word that he's a a seeker And you're right that he's his life is Miserable and so he's coming to the Source of good good teacher you know the Lord said why do you call me good only God is good but you know good good Teacher what must I do to be saved well I'll take him in his word he wants to be Saved healed right he wants to be healed He's knocking right he is and so Jesus Says as a as a good Jew all right are You following the Commandments of Moses Which I would construe there as the the Fundamental and prebles of of love so You're going to be a person of love in

Lineing with god well of course you Can't be killing people and you can't be Stealing things from people you can't be Raping and you can't be you know Committing adultery and these are like Fundamental violations of Love okay and The kid says and I'll believe him I've Kept all these since my youth all right Fair enough so you've done the basics But now you're ready for some high Octane spirituality and what Jesus you Know clearly in itss is your big problem Is you're carrying your wealth around Like this terrible burden it's an Enormous block to the flow of Grace and So if you're ready for the serious stuff Sell all you've got give to the poor and Come follow me and you'll have treasure In heaven um and he's not willing to do It which witnesses to the power of that In that kid's life and I I've known People like that that they they really Do want they really do want joy they Really do want God they and they're not Bad people they're doing the basic Things right they're not raping and Stealing and killing but there's some There's some block that's so big and it Might be one of the other three you know They're addicted to pleasure or to honor And they can't let go of it uh and That's all the spiritual Masters will Use that kind of language is find out What that thing is you're carrying

Around you got to get rid of it right Right right right well that's the Sacrifice of the thing you most love That's also why Christ says in the Gospels unless you're willing to forsake Your mother your father like everything You can't follow me and it's a matter of Prioritization people get that wrong all The time you know and I I love you the Treatment of of Abraham the sacrifice The AKA right The Binding of Isaac uh oh My goodness you know this how that what A terrible father and and God making That horrific demand and you know who Could believe this old nonsense and I Would have that guy arrested and come on It's people that they're just they're Just opaque to the spiritual meaning of Of these stories the Bible is so edgy It's such an edgy book and it doesn't Compromise so Isaac good yes it's your Son and he's the bearer of the promise And he's all of that he's great I love Isaac and and God says to abraam you Know Isaac yes your son uhuh whom you Love yeah yeah yeah so just that we Really clear on how good Isaac is okay I Want you to sacrifice him to me now this This is in in the sort of coded language Of the Bible this is not God being Manipulative and cruel it's it's forcing This question okay yes Isaac is all Those things but he's not the summum Bonum and your family is not the summum

Bonum family's great and that's why Jesus saying he the guy hey Lord I'll Follow you but you know first could I Just bury my father what you think well Of of course you can bury your father And the Lord says Let the dead bury Their dead and there's no first there's No other first no matter what it is you Have to be prepared at a moment's notice No matter what's happening that's the Edgy language it's a spiritual you know Training manual in a way and it's Forcing you to come up against these Things okay so so with regard to Isaiah Like we could look at the Peda it isn't only that Abraham is Willing to sacrifice his son to God it's That if you were a good father that is What you would do now weirdly enough you See what happens is that because Abraham Is willing to sacrifice Isaac he doesn't Have to and that's so cool okay so so What you see in the figure of Mary with The p is Mary has entered into this Covenant with God and she's going to Fully offer her child to the world with No reservation even if that means his Demise and torture now that is what a Mother has to do because if she isn't Willing to offer her child to the world She is now an impediment to that child's Development so that it's only the parent Who is willing to sa to sacrifice the Child to the world who can even bring

The child into being look I mean part of The reason that the birth rate is Plummeting this isn't the whole reason But part of the reason is that women ask Themselves the Eternal question Is how is it ethical to bring a child Into a world such as this right yeah Right and they may be doing that locally Say well we don't have the security or The wealth to provide what's necessary For the child but then there's a Metaphysical question is well given that My child will definitely suffer and Encounter evil fully how dare I presume To to play that game with God that's What Mary's asked to do when the angel Comes to visit her right and and so you See this there's no higher offering than The willingness to offer up your son to God let's say well that's the also the Game God plays when he offers up Christ Right it's a and and it does have this Element that you described which is Off-putting to begin with but of course You have to sacrif you have to sacrifice You have to celebrate the sacrifice of Your child to the world you have to let Them go out there and bang up hard Against everything and that should be a Celebration and I would also say the Fact that you love your child and that You would mourn his or her demise is Actually a testament to the fact that That sacrificial off offering is that is

The essence of love those are the same Thing I'm just thinking of of our friend Of Carl Yung who said the first gr Psychologists were the church fathers You know he he knew the church fathers And saw that they grasped a lot of these He might we call them psychological I Might call them spiritual you know Truths but one of them the connection There is between Isaac and Jesus so the Church father's got that right away so Abraham is called upon to sacrifice his Son but then you know his his hand is Stayed But it anticipates the father willing to Sacrifice his son yeah right but when All the way he didn't stop the sacrifice And Isaac bringing the wood of the Sacrifice up the hill is an anticipation Of Jesus carrying the cross of Calvary Right right so they saw these Connections that are meant to speak the Very spiritual truth that we're talking About right well those are connections That I would say occupy the same Semantic space and I think we'll be able To map those out by the way so that this Like I said it will no longer be a Matter of opinion we'll be able to Identify okay so now here's another Issue with regards let's say to the Pearl of great price that the farmer Sells everything he owns to possess well Christ contrasts Earthly and Heavenly

Treasure okay so let's imagine that Heavenly treasure is a kind of Metaphysical treasure that that leads to True abundance okay now you already Touched on this so okay let me let me Make this real concrete so I had this Graduate adviser at Migel Robert Peele Robert is still alive and I still work With him now he was a very particular Sort of Professor and I would contrast Him with another sort so whenever I went And talked to Bob in his office he Always made time for me he was very Generous with his time all we did was Talk about potential research projects And hypothesis and he was 100% generous With his ideas okay so and that Generosity was manifest to his other Students but also practically speaking So if you looked at the relationship That Bob had with his graduate students His students produced a lot of papers a Lot of first authorship papers many of Which were derived from an idea that Bob Had planted but he was 100% committed to The fostering of his students Flourishing and so we had a blast in his Lap because the entire place was set up With with his with with the students Future well-being in mind now that Redounded to his credit because he Produced many outstanding students who Went off to be professors who had Stellar research careers so it

Multiplied his effect but here's Something even cooler so his initial Proposition was that ideas Revelations Were to be given away Freely okay so let's imagine the Consequence of that so now you and I are Talking and I'm completely UN remitting In my my willingness to share my ideas With you okay so that's inspiring now What I get back from you is a Corresponding enthusiasm and that's the Possession by God for you because that's What enthusiasm means but that Enthusiasm technically is a form of Incentive reward it's what keeps the Conversation flourishing now here's the Neurophysiological consequence of that So imagine that you have a n a network Of living tissue that is capable of Generating even scientific ideas now you Keep feeding that you feed it new Information and so forth but when it Operates because you express its Contents it meets it its seeds land on Fertile ground and it receives the Optimum response which is rewarding okay That produces a dopaminergic response in You that's part of the enthusiasm of the Okay here's what dopamine Does the dopamine energic system Watches monitors the pattern of Neurological activation that precedes The receipt of the reward so imagine That there's a network in me that is

Operating just before I say something That you respond enthusiastically to Okay that enthusiasm triggers a Dopaminergic response in me that makes That system grow yeah yeah yeah that's Literally what happens it reinforces it So there's a rewarding element of Dopamine and a reinforcing element so What that means Technically in principle is that the More you give away your ideas the more Unselfish you are in sharing your Talents or not hiding your light under a Bushel the more ideas you're going to Have and so and that okay then one more Thing then imagine that participating in That now becomes the Heavenly treasure Because now you've tapped into the well That's literally inexhaustible and That's way better than just security the Other professors they would Shepherd Their ideas and you know guard them like They were treasures and they ran out Very rapidly like their trajectory was Downward and closing and their students Didn't Thrive because they were stingy About their treasure right can I suggest In a way we're we're very close to the Kingdom of God here to use jesus' Language and it goes right back to the Beginning of our conversation we've been Talking about metaphysical truths and Psychological realities and spiritual Things but with this we're coming very

Very close to the heart of it um John Paul II formulated what he called the Law of the gift which is exactly what You said the law is this your being Increases in the measure that you give It away so it's so counterintuitive our Our sinful World teaches us exactly the Opposite all the time which is why There's so much suffering spiritual Suffering it says no no fill up your ego With all these the goods of the world And then as you said Shepherd them hang On to them defend them make sure people Know they're yours but and now there There's The Prodigal Son uh father give Me my share of the inheritance coming to Me so three times in one sentence he Says me right give me my share coming to Me what I Deser yes and so the father symbolizes God gives that's all the father knows How to do right God is love that's he is In a way like the platonic form of the Good that just knows how to give that's All God knows how to do so he of course He gives well then the son hanging on to These Goods he's received fritters them Away now read that spiritually it is the Minute you turn Grace into a possession It stops being Grace and therefore it Disappears it disappears well that's the Danger of that material wealth right That's the transformation of the Spiritual into the merely material into

Into what you possess and then that even If it was valuable to begin with that Now becomes an impediment to your Movement forward because you're going to Cling to it right and so the discovery Has to be actually know when I give away The grace I've received being increases In me I get more of it now as I give That away I get more of it now I'm in The loop of Grace and I found exactly What Jesus means when he says treasure In heaven uh yes we would say after we Die and and we go to a to a higher Dimensional yes that's true but but even Now even now I can tap into treasure in Heaven and and that well that's in Eternity that's in eternity right that Treasure in heaven is the Eternal Treasure and I agree I also see again The practicality of this like look look We know this even there's almost nothing That devastates a person more than the Devastation of their Reputation now there can be prideful Reasons for that but the reason that we Value reputation so highly is because it Is an element of the treasure in heaven Like if I have a social support network If if the hearts of the people around me In the broadest sense are filled with Good Will to me because I've been Unstintingly generous in my provision of The good that God is granted to me there Is nothing even possible that could best

Make me more secure and provided with Opportunities because we live in this Intensely social surround I mean even Money itself even money itself is Nothing but a promisory note predicated In the final analysis on something like Reputation and so Christ's message is Something like don't ever let the Concretizations of your reputation which Might be your money interfere with all Those actions that would redound to your Reputation in the space of Eternity and I actually can't think of a more Practical piece of advice than that and Because the advice in some sense is well Don't subordinate the higher to the Lower even if it's a fairly High form of High which which material wealth might You know you might regard it exactly as That you don't want to sacrifice you Don't want to sacrifice the source of Material wealth to the wealth itself but But it's a tricky game that's why the Spiritual tradition is is so insistent On some of these exercises and on the Stories that are meant to bring you up Against it so you begin to see okay That's what's going on in my life and Yes I am that rich young man I am the Prodical son I am they they force us Into that space because we can talk About it abstractly and and I think I've I can say I've grasped the principle but In terms of living the principle I mean

That's that's why I go to confession all The time and that's why you know I'm I'm Very aware of my limitations and my Moral problems because I I need these Stories all the time I need the mass all The time and you know the sacraments all The time those parables in that story You know those and the mass those are Okay first of all the Parables make the Semantic Imaginal right because because they they They put Flesh on the bones they're like The movie version of the explicit ethic Okay well the advantage to that is that Like if it's merely a semantic Discussion an abstract discussion it's Difficult to conjure up the appropriate Surrounding emotions but if you place it In a story then You can embody that and you can Participate in the emotional states that The stories are pointing to visceral Right it's visceral that's very Jewish It's very biblical the fact that you Know the Bible has all these truths but Very rarely articulates them in a Philosophical way so the Greek tradition Does that but the Bible a little bit The Book of Proverbs and book of wisdom There's some moments when it's got a More philosophical voice but typically No the Bible speaks in narrative Language and imagistic language Probably more accessible to People Too a

Because even you know even a simple Person can go to a complex movie yes Right now they may not be able to tell You explicitly Afterward they can't explain the Philosophical themes of the movie but That didn't mean they didn't participate In its Transformative they might have got the Message without being able to say it Right absolutely absolutely absolutely Over centuries not with the Bible and Even you go to those great churches in In Italy where the whole facade of the Cathedral is biblical stories and Biblical characters and and uh people Learn these moral truths from those uh Works of art the the tragedy now you Know as as again it's in the it's in the Hands of very ham-handed people the the New atheist types you know that oh the Bible's you know it's Bronze Age Mythology uh as though I'm judging the Truth of something by When It Was Written I mean so stupid Aristotle I Don't read him because he's Pre-scientific and I wouldn't read uh Dante give me a break and these are SE Are people that don't understand how These texts are working and the themes That we've been throwing back and forth But that's where the great spiritual Tradition and look the brightest people In the west prior to the Scientific

Revolution this is what they studied They were they studied Soul doctoring This is soul in the Scientific Revolution I mean Newton is a great Example of that well sure that you mean That they were religious themselves the Founders absolutely well I don't I Actually also don't think I don't Believe by the way I don't believe that You can be a without being implicitly Religious and here's why well you have To believe the world is intelligible Intelligible right you have to believe That it's intelligible to a human being So that there's a concordance between Its structure and our cognitive capacity You have to believe that pursuit of that Relationship with reality is a good and That's disputable you know like the Story like Frankenstein stories for Example are an indication of the fact That well the pursuit of knowledge Pur Say isn't necessarily a good it has to Be oriented in the right direction or it Can be terribly dangerous I don't Believe and I see I think we're seeing This by the way and I think that people Like Dawkins are seeing this and I know That you know you you may have noticed That Ian hery and Neil Ferguson and to Some degree Douglas Murray and Brett Weinstein have all come out publicly in The last month or two saying that they No longer believe that the humanist

Enterprise can aim at good without being Embedded in this underlying imaginal and Metaphysical space right now some some Of them are wrestling with that to some Degree more than others Ian and Neil Ferguson they have converted to Christianity now Douglas Murray for his Part this is the same with Brett Weinstein they've started to see that The materialist atheist humanist moral Enterprise is not sustainable it it's Going to it's going to be overcome it's Going to be overtaken by lower Spirits Right and that's partly what's happening On the culture warfront no I think There's a very important point and I Think it's a sign of Hope in our Situation today that people like Yourself and and many others I think are Opening up these spiritual treasures and You know the church has got got to help Us you know we with the scandals and all That and people tend to look at the Churches is corrupt and and then the Bible oh yeah the Bible's old this old Book and it's bad science and all that Is that we we we ourselves sto teaching Our tradition effectively and there a Lot of reasons for that but there are Others today I think who are opening up This tradition and and helping people See it and that is enormously important Because I I it's bothered me immensely That the rise of the new atheism and the

Among young people the dismissal of Religion which is a very dangerous Proposition when you start bracketing These truths and then you start living In a hyper superficial way uh you live In the in the buffer space you know as Charles Taylor puts it uh that's very Dangerous ground to be honest and uh That we need that's the ground where Where a multiplicity of malevolent Spirits can invade your heart and Possess it unbeknownst to you and this Strange concatenation of Pride and Hedonism that characterizes the modern World it's so interesting how those are So tightly alied that is the of Babylon and the great Beast of Revelation right it's the same idea the Eternal the Eternal threat to mankind is That the state will deteriorate and Become multi-headed and that female Sexuality and Hedonism will will will Deteriorate in parallel to that and that Is it's not like see this is where Dawkins and and the new atheists are Naive they believe that you could Supplant Superstition with rationality And first of all all of what was being Supplanted was not Superstition that's The first thing and the second thing is Well re rationality serving what Master Well we can serve our own Master it's Like yeah you can e good luck you're Serving Satan well

That's that's how it that's how it works Out yeah no right um I mentioned Bob Dylan earlier but you do the ignatian Exercises at a certain point you come to This um two standards meditation and It's simply you you're meant to imagine Two armies you know the army of Christ The army of Satan and um which one are You going to join and it's as simple as That and you say oh no I I'm I don't Want to join either Army then you're in Satan's Army uh I don't I can't decide Yet you're in Satan's Army uh I'd like To join Christ's Army but I'm not ready You're in Satan's Army and so Ignatius Compels you to the Bob Dylan moment you Know You' got to serve somebody here now It's going to be the devil or the Lord Meaning it's going to be the suum bonum Or some Similac there's no other option There's no third round and right and Coming to that point for Ignatius that's What what the spiritual life is all About is to is to bring yourself to that Point make that decision and then by God Live by it live according to that um to That decision um that's an excellent Place to stop sir and we should stop Because we have to have our half an hour Conversation for the daily wire for Everyone watching and listening you can Continue to join us there and we're Going to be able to continue our Conversation at some length in April

Just so everyone watching and listening Knows we're going to do a seminar on the Gospels for the daily wire akin to the Seminar did on Exodus and we're going to Have a chance to discuss this with great Thinkers at length and to walk through All of this and it's very exciting time Because it it does appear that the the Underlying structure of the sorts of Things that we're discussing is starting To become clearer and clearer in front Of us right that does present us with a Starker Choice the choice that you Described so and that's at the base of This culture War as far as I can tell Very good talking to you as it always is Thank you very much for joining Jo ing Me today thank you to all of you Watching and listening and to the Dailywire people for facilitating this And uh we'll see you in a short couple Of months God bless you [Music] Jordan

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