Understanding and Pursuit of Cosmotic Nature

Nature is endowed with an odd meaning in our civilization. Rather than applying the word to the entirety of the Cosmos, we use it to single out our biosphere, particularly that which clings to the surface of the land masses. By mixing the components of this nature to enhance our survival structures, we create reorganized nature, and an overindulgence in nature of this sort requiring a retreat into "nature" (usually of some green variety). From a Cosmotic outlook this is meaningless. Nature is not destroyed by the tilling of land, the burning of forests or the spread of civilization. These are surface changes in a particular biosphere which will someday be subsumed by the sun.

    To an ass, a thistle is a delicious fruit.
    The ass eats the thistle. It remains an ass.

        -- Habib al-Ajami

There are regions of our biosphere that best resemble Cosmotic Nature: Cold, empty, peaceful, sublime. These are the virtues of the Cosmos. Many people will develop a low-level appreciation of these virtues, but it is no different than the "retreat into nature", where a particular ratio of vegetation, water, stone, altitude and topographical breadth are sought, merely to counterbalance an existence that is permanently rooted in reorganized nature. That person remains insoluble to the Cosmos.

    He who conquers others is strong.
    He who conquers himself is mighty.

        -- Lao Tze

Granted, there are some who apply themselves most diligently to a confrontation with Cosmotic Nature in our biosphere. High-altitude mountaineering, glacial exploration, Arctic seacraft, Siberian resettlement -- these are quests that inspire admirable courage, intelligence and resilience. Those who embark upon these adventures certainly open themselves to the sway and song of the Cosmos. But at the critical moments they fail to disrobe and enter her bosom. They are not prepared to enjoin, and their confrontation with Cosmotic splendor degrades to a test for survival, or a so-called triumph of man over Nature.

It is a natural human trait to prize matter and warmth as the essence of life. Likewise, the general civilized concept of the Cosmos centers upon the stars emitting light and heat. Humans may marvel at the distance between those stars, but hold little esteem for that space. Worse yet, they may consider the Cosmos as a faceplate for an ultimate reality, mythically generalized from the warm, lit biosphere -- suffused with light and vibrant energy. They champion the pressed material clumps of the universe. Hence the common (even understandable) misgivings in chasing enlightenment in childish notions of energy, and in homeostatic environments conducive to calming the material flesh.

    The happiness of the drop is to die in the river.
        -- Ghazal al Ghalib

We, of the Cosmotic Order, exalt a Reintegration with the Cosmos. Reintegration is like the transformation of a water droplet into a snowflake. The vulnerable water mass, exposed to the Cosmotic Cold, assumes wondrous patterns as it settles to the snow field. At that point, no one would argue the field to be a pile of snowflakes, but rather a single field of snow -- pristine, undulating and breathtaking. As warm material, we are prime to enjoin the Cosmos. This is our greatest mission and joy: to be born as something limited and incomplete, looking forward to embracing Cosmotic virtues and becoming its substance.

Of course, most people are not ready for this sort of serious departure. They need not be. There are levels of Cosmotic Appreciation that may be cherished and contemplated in the Winter seasons and Cold climates, regardless of the retention of life in reorganized nature. In our view, a glass half full -- or even a quarter full -- is still a drink of water.

In Winter, sunlit warmth and vegetation subside. The air is cleared of spores and the clamor of animals. We are given the temporal space to allow our instinctual warmth-drives to mature into Appreciation the Cold and peaceful emptiness of the Winter landscape. If one learns to enjoy the glitter and gentleness of snow, or the excitement of a blizzard, one can later learn to enjoy the resultant lifelessness (regardless of coporeal discomforts in observation). If we can revere the lifelessness, we can begin to glorify Cold and emptiness as Cosmotic virtues. We then take steps toward the highest act of expanding beyond our flesh and enjoining the Cosmos.

Modern life has given us the good fortune to embrace Cosmotic Nature soberly. Accepting Winter and Cold without prior choice demands tremendous fortitude, but most people in modern settings are in a comfortable position to determine the time, place and pacing of their advancement through the stages of Cosmotic Appreciation. Some may prefer a pilgrimage to the coldest regions of the Earth. Others may be content with a park or backyard at Wintertime. Whereas the alpinist or Arctic seafarer must possess great physical stamina to insure their return to reorganized nature (spiritual fortitude as well, for those in the most Cosmotic regions of our biosphere are most prone to the call home), the matured Seeker may take a more feasible approach: opening the senses wide, trusting perceptions to the Elements, and conquering the marsupial instincts toward biospheric warmth.

Presented by the Cosmotic Order, Chicago Chapter

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