The Garden Party (Part II): The first answer explained

The answer to the first question. The answer to question 1. P = Prophecy (East), S = Speech, J = Judgement (Fire, North) and L = Love (Water, South)
The answer to the first question. P = Prophecy/the Masculine (East), S = Speech/Language/the Feminine (West), J = Judgement (Fire, North) and L = Love (Water, South)


When the news of the arrival of the Prophet at Medina reached ‘Abdullah ibn Salam, he went to him to ask him about certain things.
He said, “I am going to ask you about three things which only a Prophet can answer:
What is the first sign of The Hour?
What is the first food which the people of Paradise will eat?
Why does a child attract the similarity to his father or to his mother?”
The Prophet replied, “Jibreel has just now informed me of that.”
Ibn Salam said, “He (i.e. Jibreel) is the enemy of the Jews amongst the angels.”

The Prophet said, “As for the first sign of the Hour, it will be a fire that will collect the people from the East to the West.

We now are able to discuss this first answer of the Prophet to ibn Salam.

When the news of the arrival of the Prophet at Medina reached ‘Abdullah ibn Salam, he went to him to ask him about certain things.He said, “I am going to ask you about three things which only a Prophet can answer: What is the first sign of The Hour? What is the first food which the people of Paradise will eat? Why does a child attract the similarity to his father or to his mother?”

The Prophet replied, “Jibreel has just now informed me of that.”

Ibn Salam said, “He (Jibreel) is the enemy of the Jews amongst the angels.”

The Prophet said, “As for the first sign of the Hour, it will be a fire that will collect the people from the East to the West.”

The Professor began to explain the meaning of the answer to the first question. He spent a long time explaining the difference between the Real and the Symbolic and the nature of Symbolic Functions. Essentially he said that the Real is what actually is, while the Symbolic is our differentiated, linguistic relationship to the Real, made possible through a life consisting of assembling the signs in particular ways (speaking, thinking, acting, proving, judging). And essentially by symbolic function, he meant something very much like a Jungian archetype. The group of Muslims were very patient listening to him, but he could tell already that many (both the more mystically inclined and the progressive types) were not warming to his rather academic style.

Nevertheless, he battled on with his tafsir. He spoke  as follows:

  • The signs “West” and “East” and “Fire” and “Final Hour” are arranged in such a way that they regulate all other judgements and proofs we might make in the space of the Symbolic. They are universal Symbolic functions.
  • The West is the symbol of the space of the Symbolic itself, understood as femininity (who, if married, becomes Sakina/the Bride). This regulates all other symbols because it represents the space of all symbols. It is a symbol of the Symbolic and an felt effect of the Gifted Body. In the latter sense, in crazy reflexivity, the West is a symbolic function that regulates our life by the possibility of a Real contact with the Symbolic Wife through any Symbolic contact with the Real! (This is because the west exists as an effect of the Real, that which the Symbolic — the West — inscribes herself upon and potentially illuminates through marriage).
  • The East is the symbolic function of the Light of Prophecy, which again predicates over all symbols, because it is through this symbol that all symbols’ deferral, their inherent fragments and sparks of light, may be made apparent and the judgements formed within the Bride are rendered righteous. Self-reflexively, this symbol (like all signs) must have the Light of Prophecy apparent within it in order to be understood as the Light of Prophecy.
  • Fire is the symbolic function of judgement, the arrangement of symbols and signs and the living through of arrangement through life-as-signification, life-as-proof. This kind of arrangement the exact nature of judgement — and therefore whenever we judge, we are in the fire, and the fire is our judgement, the fire is our choice, our selection, our proofs of theorems.
  • The Final Hour is a possibility that drives judgement — it regulates judgement (and life is judgement) — as the possibility that all judgement might become illuminated: when the fire moves from east to west.

Now, saying this, in such a configuration as the Prophet gave, provides the meaning for everything else we say and do in life. Specifically, their configuration, understood in faith, encountered through the agency of Sophia, is exactly a moment of identifying for ourselves a prime contour upon the Gifted Body that is the cause, the motivating force behind our actual journey to the final hour.

Their configuration allows us a sense of the what the final hour is like and allows us to understand the nature of our journey toward this hour.

In the East is the Name of Prophecy: it is where the light of God emerges into the worlds. To the West is the Name of the Speech, Creativity, Imagination, Language. We are all Western people, because our existence is one in which we speak, create, imagine and linguistically negotiate our paths through life. The East is masculine, because it is the source of divine inscription, it writes God’s message on to us. In contrast, the West is feminine: it is like a blackboard or a sheet of paper, onto which the inscription may be written. In the East lies the name of Prophecy, while to the West exist the Bride of Prophecy.

When East and West are not aligned — when they do not flow into each other — when they are not married — then the names of Prophecy and the Bride are not manifest and the human body is left in a state of confusion. When this occurs, the West is not the Bride, and is simply femininity (language itself), which might be chaste or might be promiscuous.

Marriage is half the Deen. It is through marriage that we approach God’s light.

The marriage takes a particular form of receiving a kiss or returning a kiss. First the husband must kiss the Bride. Prophecy’s Light must illuminate our speech.

The important form for this first question is the feminine form, one of reception. Here, the Bride is manifest within us (the tranquility of Sakina descends upon us) and light is channeled from Prophecy down to the Bride.

How? Through Fire. Fire must travel from East to West: this is the sign of the Final Hour.

Recall the discussions we have had previously on judgement and Time. The philosophers of the previous century said that Death, the termination of existence is precisely the meaning, the totality that grounds existence. All signification is basically deferral to Death. And Time, as a logical movement of signification, is precisely a movement towards death. When we live inauthentically, we live in denial of this fact. When we acknowledge that life is, essentially, all about Death, that Death, absolute Alterity and cessation of existence, is what grounds our journey, then we live authentically, freed from the various constructs our minds develop — social conformance, religion, etc — in order to hide from Death. We become heros, authentic. This is the closest thing the philosophers came to a morality.

And recall that we agreed with them, but in place of Death, we say God. God is the absolute Alterity that all signs defer to. And life is indeed a process of signification, a process of judgement — judgement that {\em we make}. Judgements are always made with respect to a language game, made with respect a particular logic — but logic is multiplicitous, not unitary. Depending on our culture, our particular activity at hand, our context, history and point of journey, we will be involved in any number of different logics, different language games. But what we do with these games is judge: we make proofs in the sense we described earlier.

All perception, all human understanding, everything we say, do, and think — all is our signification, all is our judgement, our proof, our playing through whatever logic we are born into or create for ourselves. Time is the construction of a robe of days, a book of deeds: Time is the construction of a trace, a proof that records our movement through the games and logics we played. Life is this proof.

We said that illuminated judgement is something like authenticity: a proof that is aware of its own status in relation to this journey, aware of the signs it inhabits in their deferral to the ultimate Divine destination.

Now, the sign of the Hour is the sign of our destination in True Time. The sign of Time. The sign that regulates Time. What regulates Time? We have said before, it is judgement. Judgement is a logical proof toward the final theorem. What regulates this? That is, how is this movement something that might be deemed authentic, illuminated, Divine, a straight path, a fine robe of days? It is exactly the process of illuminated judgement — a passing through the fires of judgement (beginning on the left hand side of the body), channelled through, filtered by God’s illumination, through the agency of Prophecy, which, in turn, marries the Bride.

This configuration forms a “sign” that, if we were atheists, we would call “death”: it constitutes a death drive that underlies all logical reasoning. Death is the meaning of life. But because we believe this is illuminated, we say that the Hour is our Theorem’s end, our perfection in potential, the meaning of the path, that which is always intimated by our judgements: to abide with the Beloved (the upper half of the Deen, a possibility that is arrived at through the lower half of the Deen, through human marriage).

The curious thing about this answer (and its source of potency to engulf our entire field of perception with self-awareness), lies in the fact that each symbolic function predicates upon another. Prophecy (the East) consumes Judgement of the Fire. Both these functions are then operated upon by the agency of the West.

Thus we have the algebraic graph (and with this the Professor sketched the graph shown above).

What exactly does it mean for Prophecy to become a function over Judgement, for judgement to be comprehended and contained by Prophecy? And for Prophecy to be married to the Bride?

Judgement regulates all signs (because they are judged by us). But Prophecy regulates all judgement (either through its absence or presence,
through illumination or lack of illumination). Prophecy’s relation to judgement is always one of a function — its output varies according to the language game being played out, exactly how the signs illuminate — but the mode of illumination is always the same. And it is this mode of illumination which we know and recognize as the emergence of the Bride. So her symbolic function predicates open the previous two.

The Fire travels from East to West.

The possibility of this travel is the fuel that drives our engine toward the Final Theorem (why else do we do proofs, if not to experience the descent/emergence of certainty and faith?)



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