How can I think my own death? Will my ‘soul’ live on? The text I’d like someone to read at my funeral mass is from Revelation:14:13: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, they rest from their labors, and their works follow after them.” Toward where, and into what, does the selfhood of the dead go, and their works follow? One answer might come from asking, out of what did the person come? Perhaps out of Wisdom the ‘daughter of God,’ Sophia, our Lady of meaning. The book of Wisdom says, “Within Sophia is a spirit, intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, shrewd, irresistible, dependable, all-surveying . . . Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion, she pervades and permeates all things. She is a breath of the power of God . . . . Generation after generation, passing into holy souls, she makes them into God’s friends . . . Strongly she reaches from one end of the world to the other.”
So maybe, out of and into wisdom we come and go—wisdome as the process of particularizing selfhood. Some people speak now of the earth as a unitary biosphere, reverenced as the goddess Gaia–the Gaia hypothesis. Teilhard de Chardin saw that biosphere as indwelt with Christ and called it a noosphere. What if there is, coterminous with the whole universe, something like a valosphere. Experiences of ecstasy tell us that our selves, fragile and randomly grown as they may be, are nodes within Sophia. From within our scientific discourses of the outside, they appear to be discrete, unconnected, and bound for annihilation–this is a function of our sensory mechanisms (particular sight, hearing, smell, etc.). What we can find “real” must have only a certain morphology. That is, it can be viewed only from a supposed cut through/across the universe at a given time”–even though we know from special relativity theory that this particular ‘take’ is a fiction. There is no (as presumed) spatial absolute place, to serve as a fixed point of reference for such a single “given time/given place.” Yet in our objectifying view, only someone’s (but whose?) particular here-and-now is “real.” “The past” (from that reference point) has been annihilated, “the future” is quite amorphous. But in fact, there is no such thing as the past and the future, only someone’s (or something’s) past and future.
If we become capable of some other ‘take,’ we can see each self as an instance of the valosphere. Instances of special intensity of valorizing, from ‘the past’ and ‘the future,’ might on that plane be adjacent, and connected. So the logia of faith appear when we view them from certain angles: they can be instances of repeated valorizing, infusing of value into matter and social connections. The logia, the sayings, become layered, erratically, along some historical time line—and along geographical lines from point to point of transmission of a faith. So our praying for something now might be in touch with a moment of ten years ago–or ten years in the future, to which it is, in psychic time and valosphere time adjacent, though the person in question might “now” be spatially or emotionally distant–or dead.