Joyce to my understanding shifts away from the notion of justice ( for either the individual or the universal). Joyce seems to understand that the God we have come to worship is capricious and cruel and cannot be relied upon. He speaks an incomprehensible language in the sound of terrifying thunder. At the same time it is interesting, as mentioned, that he continued to show up as a Catholic throughout his life. Joyce is showing us not just another lens through which to live and understand life and our lives but an entirely new (all things old become new again) viewing apparatus. For Joyce it is Love and the Feminine that is the foundation and refuge which we have lost and are in need of; and that the over reliance on Laws and contracts of the patriarchy have brought us to a place dry and inhospitable. Unlike personal justice or justice in the larger sense, Love and the ways of the Feminine are available to us always and do not necessarily require faith. Although by the end of his ordeal Job’s faith comes closer to Joyce in his letting go and allowing for mystery. Codifying what is acceptable human behavior has its benefits but it also can surely be abused and be the cause of suffering depending upon the Law giver(s). And thus while justice can be described by adherence to the letter of the Law it must always include a living sense of morality and compassion. Or in more mystical terms be tempered with Mercy.
Creation as the manifestation of Love and the domain of the Feminine does not exclude the more masculine function of Judgement and Law. But The Law devoid of the Feminine can at best impart a weak/shifting sense of security, as it can so readily be rendered, at best, useless in the light of deception and manipulation and, at the worst, the justifier of war and all manner of suffering.
One could argue that Joyce is asking us to return to a more nature based orientation which has its roots, of course, in paganism. In Judaism’s assertion against paganism through the focus on covenant and Law it jeopardized this connection. Joyce is an advocate for the restoration of what has been lost through neglect, aggression, and an over emphasis on logic and our thinking function. He is inviting us to what is retrievable if we but have the willingness to sharpen our senses and our innate faculties for creativity and a more intuitive relationship to our world along with the courage to question our cherished beliefs and institutions. Perhaps it is not so hard to understand Joyce’s abiding connection to Catholicism. Much of what he is pointing us to can be found in the ministry of another paradigm shifter who showed up to bring emphasis to an earlier scriptural message; the highest commandment as; “Love one’s neighbor as oneself.” And, I would add, everyone is one’s neighbor.
Finally I am left with a sense of the ongoing River of Life and of human thought and effort which in terms of humanity’s reaching for relationship with the unknown is, as in all things, an ever moving, ever shifting evermore forever and ever……..
But wait… where does this leave us now, at this particular moment in time, pondering the Guilt of Everyman. Let’s try and really sit with this and see this narrative (the OS of Original Sin) as also in a process of shift and change. I would suggest that whatever benefit has been derived from telling/believing this ancient story such benefit has been vastly overshadowed by its violent effects throughout history.
As a testament to Joyce and his labors, let’s see if we might not come up with a better more compassionate story, perhaps one that has lain in silence for too long, and in so doing become active agents in reestablishing the sense of the unifying power at the root of all Life.