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The only contemplative

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The only contemplative

Transfiguration Fresco, Serbia

John, Peter, and James on Mount Tabor looked at another Man. And it was this contemplation, the contemplation of a particular Jesus, born in such and such a year in such and such a city, in such and such a family, that gave them the bliss that had once lost and tried in vain to find humanity. They did not contemplate the Unified Neoplatonism, surpassing any visible image, spiritual substance not spilled in space, not shapeless radiance of the universal mind. They looked at an individual known to them, and only with Him and through Him did they comprehend the mystery of the Kingdom.

An unprecedented business: choosing something private, people first acquired everything. How did this become possible?

Recently, on a Facebook feed, I met a phrase from a senior colleague: “I increasingly tell myself that this film or this book is no, not in this life.” There is something necessary and useful for the soul, for the profession, it seems to be good, but not having obvious benefits, there is, of course, and harmful. And each time, choosing an object for contemplation and comprehension, you have to rack your brains, have to regret the wrong choice and deal with its consequences, calming and persuading yourself, switching to more beautiful and useful, it seems. The older you get, the more experienced it is. For example, I have been experiencing attacks of burning neurotic guilt for a long time, when I am not just reading, but picking up fiction. “How dare you, you still have not mastered three more monographs on Ethiopian iconoclasm? I say to myself. “You already read slowly, the French won completely abandon, and also get distracted by all sorts of Umberto Eco.” I am ashamed. " Shamed, I put off the “Paris Cemetery” and take up the book “at work”.

It is unlikely that these are healthy experiences – a source of ill health should be sought in an undisciplined youth – but they reflect the real problem, rooted in anthropology, in the nature of a sinful person.

Once upon a time, tired of contemplating a single Source of all good, beauty and good, tired of comprehending God's presence in every creation, Adam, the first person, wanted variety, a variegated list of special dishes, colorful and random movement of objects of perception. The world froze, particles mixed up, the earth and the sky got out of his power, became alien and hostile, everything around Adam turned into an oriental market, persistently offering glass beads along with emeralds, genuine wisdom along with idle chatter, genuine miracles, coupled with cheap tricks. Choose, man, but you have little chance of success, because no matter what you choose, you will still receive some particularity and will not at all come close to that genuine wholeness that you lost before you were born.

You will not come near, because you forgot where it existed and whether it existed at all. The universal turmoil does not bring joy, it hurts, tires, fills with horror and anxiety. How to get rid of it, how to leave?

Mankind gave various incorrect answers, proposed theories and methods, which in the Christian tradition are called "temptations." For example, a Buddhist considers both unity and diversity as illusions, which can be eliminated, but only at the cost of self-destruction. And the atheist sees in them an irresistible reality, with which there is nothing to be done, you need to somehow learn how to live.

The most platonic temptation in the Christian world is the temptation to seek unity without diversity. He suggests that the restoration of lost integrity is a visit of a red commissioner to a merchant, a commissioner who prohibits buying and selling, destroys counterfeit goods, requisition bread and soap, establishes a rigid distribution system, giving out only the most necessary for coupons. Variety is declared evil and canceled, the buyer is offered a single, but super-reliable seller. Logical and simple.

But the question is: where did those goods come from, from which we could choose, who created the benefits that distracted us from the main and only? They were created by the Lord. It does not deprive us of the diversity of the universe, since we do not already have it, floundering in its private blessings and beauties, clutching at one piece of paradise happiness, then at another. We humans do not know how. The Lord breaks this logic, placing God incompatible into anything in a separate Person. We look at this Man, but see God. And since we have the same nature with Him, and the whole universe is enclosed in this nature, we find in some unknown and hidden point outside the comprehensible world all that we aspired to, moving away from it. And not as a sign, although this would correspond to the simplest interpretation of the gospel passage (Matthew 6:33), but as part of our nature.

Thanks to God, who, just like us, is now Man, the world in us and around us does not multiply and does not fall apart. We get a lot in unity. God, connecting with man, becomes what He created, but remains God, and man receives everything, absolutely everything that God possesses. From what and why now to choose?

Christ is the only object worthy of contemplation and knowledge, all other objects are good and bad only to the extent that they help or hinder the main thing. But it is better to say to what extent they are "in Christ" or "outside of Him." As before, until the light of the Transfiguration catches up with us, we have to choose what is more useful – a new Tarantino film or a walk under the moon, work on the text until eight in the morning or a healthy sleep, an evening rule or a conversation with an old friend. You have to choose the right turn on a short but winding path to the One who is waiting for you on Mount Tabor.

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