The uncanny quietude of Orpheus Mediator

A few follow-up thoughts on previous post, before I conk out (it is Saturday night, after all).

We sketched out an idea of beauty as something we undergo, something we "suffer" in the old sense of the term : an effect, not a cause : an end in itself. A phenomenon whose source is (in some fairly inexplicable sense) spiritual, not material. And we suggest this "spiritual" origin is the root of all those aspects of art which we designate roughly as wholeness, fulfillment, "complete-in-itself", finish, the "sense of an ending", etc.... the pleasure we take in what Aristotle called a "whole action" (beginning, middle, end). Organic. Integral. Independent... & so on. Unwilled, uncontrollable, ungraspable...

& we argued that Orpheus exhibits a sort of passivity, a "quietude" if you will, a willingness-to-suffer (in contrast to Dionysius) which parallels the sensible stasis or static wholeness exhibited by works of art. & that Orpheus behaves in this way because he is at the crossroads of spirit & matter, spirit & flesh : he represents the union of the two, in the harmony of the art which he performs (music, poetry).

Let's extrapolate some of the consequences of all this. If we accept the foregoing, then the concept of an inherent dualism is inescapable : ie., spiritual and material, spirit and flesh. And at some level we insist on this duality, because without it there is no possibility of eternal life. And we sorely desire eternal life, in some form or another ("Eternity, O Eternity - that is our business!" Roger Williams exclaimed).

(This does not necessarily entail the relegation of matter to a secondary position. Far from it. We noted earlier that all beauty is necessarily embodied beauty. This state of affairs has its theological underpinnings in the notion that spirit fuses with matter for the sake of the "glory of God" : ie. the universe is being "restored" through the "providence" of God. Belief in a "resurrection of the body" expresses theological confidence that both spirit & flesh will be restored, somehow, to life.)

Let's make one further extrapolation. All these previous assertions depend on a single overriding metaphysical concept : the idea that the source of the physical universe resides, somehow, in consciousness, in "the spirit." How can we relate this to what we have been saying about Orpheus, and poetry? In the light of such a notion of "logos" - a cosmic order, in which spirit or consciousness pervades and orders matter & "flesh" - the myth of Orpheus taming nature with his song, and entering the underworld to restore the dead Eurydice to life, begins to reverberate as a symbol, an analogy... a myth representing the existential (human) condition in general. For if humanity is trapped in mortal flesh, subject to time and death, then a poetic word which signals a rescue from these existential limitations (ie., eternal life) is like unto Orpheus, calling Eurydice back from the grave.