Nondual christianity
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Like this? Share it with your network

Share

Nondual christianity

on

  • 463 views

 

Statistics

Views

Total Views
463
Views on SlideShare
463
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Nondual christianity Document Transcript

  • 1. Shalom Place CommunityNondual Christianity - what could THAT possibly entail?This topic can be found at:http://shalomplace.org/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/15110765/m/614408711814 December 2011, 08:05 AMjohnboy.philotheaNondual Christianity - what could THAT possibly entail?Some of the following material was presented in the context ofdiscussion of our political dysfunctions and religiousshortcomings inthis Shalomplace Discussion Board Thread.I now present them here because they have implications in ourliving out of the Greatest Commandment, both with regard toour contemplative practice (considered in this ContemplativePractice Support forum) as well as in our experience of thevarious modes of Christs presence (personal, ecclesial,sacramental, cosmic, etc) in ourGrowing in Christ.The optimal nondual (contemplative) approach to reality ismultifaceted in that it aspires to 1) intersubjective intimacyvia our unitive strivings whereby different subjects/personscelebrate coming together 2) intraobjective identity via ourrealization of unitary being whereby all realities present assomehow intricately interconnected as objects/functions withina divine matrix 3) intrasubjective integrity via eachsubject/person’s growth in human authenticity or true-selfrealization and 4) interobjective indeterminacy wherebycreated and Uncreated subjects/persons and objects/functionspresent as also somehow distinct. The nondual approach isprofoundly relational as it seamlessly, hence optimally,realizes the truth, beauty and goodness that ensues from thesedifferent eternal relationships.The dualistic (empirical, logical, aesthetical, practical &moral) approaches to reality represent our imbibing ofeternity from a temporal eyedropper that our finite existencemight not be drowned in God’s ocean of truth, beauty andgoodness, a heavenly tsunami that no earthly finite realitycould withstand or contain! Our dualistic approach does notrepresent a theoretical capitulation or departure from ournondual aspirations, only a compassionate and practicalaccommodation of our radical finitude, while we take thetransformative journey.Dysfunctional religion presents in many ways, primarily froman overemphasis of the dualistic and underemphasis of thenondual. For example, on the journey to intrasubjectiveintegrity, we recognize it as our clinging to the false-self.In moral theology, some have overemphasized the procreativeand under-emphasized the unitive dimension of conjugal love.In spiritual theology, some have overemphasized the moral andascetical at the expense of the mystical and contemplative. 1
  • 2. If we look through a Lukan prism, we might see a fivefoldChristology, which recognizes that Christ came to orient,sanctify, empower, heal and save us. As Luke’s narrativecontinues in Acts, we see the Spirit continuing this divinework. A nondual approach inspired, indeed inspirited, by apneumatological (Spirit-related) imagination sees the HolySpirit infusing each realm of our temporal reality, always andeverywhere, historically orienting humankind, culturallysanctifying us, socially empowering us, economically healingus and politically saving us. This is not to deny that, fromtime to time, place to place, people to people and person toperson, the Spirit’s work has been variously amplified orfrustrated in matters of degree; it is to affirm, however,that all good gifts have One Source, Who has coaxed all ofhumankind along on the journey!Less transparently, perhaps, but more clearly manifest throughthe eyes of faith one can discern the Spirit orienting us notonly, generally speaking, historically - but alsoeschatologically , sanctifying us not merely culturally butalso theologically , empowering us not only socially but alsoecclesiologically , healing us not only economically but alsosacramentally , and saving us not only politically but alsosoteriologically - as we proleptically realize various eternalvalues. It is the gift of Third Eye seeing, which affirmsthese eternal nondual aspirations and their prolepticrealizations even while compassionately accommodating ourtemporal dualistic situations within their historical,cultural, social, economic and political contexts. Itcelebrates the fruits of our prayer that the Kingdom willcome, indeed, on earth as it is in heaven.14 December 2011, 08:23 AMjohnboy.philotheaImplicit in the above-considered categories are answers tosuch questions as 1) What and who is wo/man? 2) What isreality’s basic stuff? 3) What do we value? 4) How do we getwhat we value? and 5) What and who is God?One could think of these questions in a manufacturing metaphorwhich would include, respectively, 1) the end user 2) rawmaterials 3) end products, by-products & waste products 4)processes and 5) the producer.Alternatively, one could employ these categories: 1) people oranthropology 2) relationships or phenomenology/ontology 3)values or axiology 4) methods or epistemology and 5)hermeneutics or theology .In discussions here as well as material one will encounterelsewhere in publications and internet discussion forums, Iwould challenge the reader to further disambiguate each andevery use of the term, nondual, because, in jumping from oneof these above-listed categories to the next, it can take onvery distinct meanings.— When talking about people, it can refer to theories of 2
  • 3. consciousness: Is consciousness another primitive alongsidespace, time, mass and energy or somehow emergent therefrom? Itcould also refer to our conceptions of the soul: Is the soulphysical or nonphysical, temporal or immortal?— When talking about ontology or metaphysics, it can refer tothe nature of reality: Is all of reality natural, physical,material? Does reality also include the supernatural andimmaterial? Does reality include one, two or even more kindsof thing, substance or stuff?— In axiology, what are the categories of value? What aboutdisvalue and evil?— In terms of epistemology, is there more than one way ofknowing reality? How does science differ from culture,philosophy and religion?— And, theologically, what might be dual or nondual about God?Furthermore, one reason we don’t simply use Oneness in theplace of nondual is that, in addition to the above-listedcategories where it can take on distinct meanings, there isalso more than one way, by strict definition, to be nondual:Threeness, for example, works, as well as an infinity of othernumerical approaches. A nondual way of playing jacks, then,would be to only skip twosies and nothing else! One needn’tplay only onesies.At the same time, who would want to abandon the dualisms ofaxiology as if true & false, beautiful & ugly, good & evil,free & bound were simple illusions? However much anythingbelongs, as they say, does not necessarily negate the need foreither its transcendence or transformation?In my view, to realize reality’s values, one needn’t get tothe bottom of all of these non/dual riddles anthropologically,ontologically or even theologically.* note below. We alreadyknow enough from evolutionary epistemology and our, more orless, universal human values to live in relative abundance!So, in that regard, I believe we can seriously overstate theperils, dangers and pitfalls that might result from ourmetaphysical errors and ignorance. As I see it, our problemsmore so result, rather, from epistemological mistakes or whatit is that we erroneously imagine that we just positivelyknow, thus frustrating our journeys from is to ought, thegiven to the normative, the descriptive to the prescriptive.What is more so at stake, rather, is our possible realizationof superabundance , which is to suggest that the onus is onvarious religious practitioners to demonstrate that they canjourney toward transformation (human authenticity) much moreswiftly and with much less hindrance precisely because oftheir formative spiritualities.How, then, do different nondual approaches interface with yourspirituality in your living out of the Greatest Commandment?What difference do they make? 3
  • 4. * note – Not to be coy, my survey of the inter-religiouslandscape does lead me to a tripartite anthropology, triadicphenomenology, trialectical axiology, trialogical epistemologyand trinitarian theology (panSEMIOentheism), which is beyondour present scope.16 December 2011, 10:20 AMPhil quote: The optimal nondual (contemplative) approach to reality ismultifaceted in that it aspires to 1) intersubjective intimacyvia our unitive strivings whereby different subjects/personscelebrate coming together 2) intraobjective identity via ourrealization of unitary being whereby all realities present assomehow intricately interconnected as objects/functions withina divine matrix 3) intrasubjective integrity via eachsubject/person’s growth in human authenticity or true-selfrealization and 4) interobjective indeterminacy wherebycreated and Uncreated subjects/persons and objects/functionspresent as also somehow distinct. The nondual approach isprofoundly relational as it seamlessly, hence optimally,realizes the truth, beauty and goodness that ensues from thesedifferent eternal relationships.JB, I like these four approaches, but am not sure I understandsome of them.1. Intersubjectivity is about relationships between people,human subjects, I-Thou, as it were, including relationshipwith God.2. Intraobjectivity is about ??? Example, please.3. Intrasubjectivity pertains to the Ego-Self dialogue and thequest for authenticity.4. Interobjectivity means object-to-object, but Ive neverquite understood how one can relate to other created things inthis manner. It seems were always relating as a subject, an"I", unless Im just not getting it, here. Its always seemedstrange to me when someone refers to themselves in the thirdperson: e.g., LSUs ex-football coach, Jerry Stovall, used toto this all the time, as did LSU pastor Richard Greene.Objectifying ones own Ego/self-image in this manner is an oddway to communicate. E.g., "a Jerry Stovall team will alwaysemphasize defense . . ." or "Dick Greene is not here to causedivision." (Actual statements I remember these people saying.)Im guessing that kind of weirdness is not what you mean,however.16 December 2011, 11:59 AMjohnboy.philothea quote: Originally posted by Phil: quote: The optimal nondual (contemplative) approach toreality is multifaceted in that it aspires to 1) 4
  • 5. intersubjective intimacy via our unitive strivings wherebydifferent subjects/persons celebrate coming together 2)intraobjective identity via our realization of unitary beingwhereby all realities present as somehow intricatelyinterconnected as objects/functions within a divine matrix 3)intrasubjective integrity via each subject/person’s growth inhuman authenticity or true-self realization and 4)interobjective indeterminacy whereby created and Uncreatedsubjects/persons and objects/functions present as also somehowdistinct. The nondual approach is profoundly relational as itseamlessly, hence optimally, realizes the truth, beauty andgoodness that ensues from these different eternalrelationships. JB, I like these four approaches, but am not sure Iunderstand some of them. 1. Intersubjectivity is about relationships betweenpeople, human subjects, I-Thou, as it were, includingrelationship with God. 2. Intraobjectivity is about ??? Example, please. 3. Intrasubjectivity pertains to the Ego-Self dialogue andthe quest for authenticity. 4. Interobjectivity means object-to-object, but Ive neverquite understood how one can relate to other created things inthis manner. It seems were always relating as a subject, an"I", unless Im just not getting it, here. Its always seemedstrange to me when someone refers to themselves in the thirdperson: e.g., LSUs ex-football coach, Jerry Stovall, used toto this all the time, as did LSU pastor Richard Greene.Objectifying ones own Ego/self-image in this manner is an oddway to communicate. E.g., "a Jerry Stovall team will alwaysemphasize defense . . ." or "Dick Greene is not here to causedivision." (Actual statements I remember these people saying.)Im guessing that kind of weirdness is not what you mean,however.A couple of distinctions. Rather than any robust ontology ormetaphysic, here, I am employing, instead, a vaguephenomenology that describes our phenomenal experiences moreso than any thing-in-itself or noumenon, to invoke a Kantiandistinction. (But I do not buy Kant, which is anotherdiscussion). But it would be silly to think that ourphenomenal experiences do not also say something meaningfulabout reality about which we could cash out some realpractical value, so I am suggesting a Goldilocks stance of notsaying too much but not saying too little either. So, heresanother helpful distinction. There are some realities which wecannot successfully describe but that does not mean that wecannot, perhaps, successfully refer to them. For example,something or someone caused that rock to come over my fenceand to smash through my window! We may not know whether it wasa kid who threw it or a lawnmower that launched it so as todescribe the cause but from the observed effect we can infer 5
  • 6. from and refer, vaguely, to the cause.These categories, then, begin with our phenomenal experiencesand take them seriously even while only making vaguereferences to rather than robust descriptions of the realitiesto which they point. They impart strong intuitions about thenature of reality that have practical consequences for ourresponses to reality. Like a myth, in some ways, they may notconvey literal truths but they may nevertheless evokeappropriate responses to ultimate reality, responses thatmight be judged as helps or hindrances to our growth in humanauthenticity.So were cool on the inter- and intra-subjective?The intraobjective (does not describe but) refers to ourintuition of the One, reality taken as a whole, a singleorganism much like that suggested by pantheists or like somecosmic-level Gaia hypothesis. It is the experience of realityas one self-subsisting impersonal thing, not unlike Advaita,lacking an experience of a separate self, much less an ego. Itexperiences no ontological discontinuities, which is to saythat everything not only seems to consist of the same basicstuff but is essentially the same basic thing without thelimit and boundary conditions we experience and refer to inordinary experience.You write: "Interobjectivity means object-to-object, but Ivenever quite understood how one can relate to other createdthings in this manner."Correct. To the extent there is any radical ontologicaldiscontinuity in reality where there are different thingsconsisting of wholly different stuff, how in the world couldthey interact? Hence we speak of interobjective indeterminacy.What we do not want to do, however, is to a priori rule outthe possibilty of multiple ontologies or many worlds.But there is a much larger issue here. What about Godsessential nature? Why would your critique not also applythere? If created things cannot relate to other created thingsinterobjectively, how could a created thing even begin torelate to an Uncreated Thing in this manner? This is also toask how can One to Whom we can only refer metaphorically andanalogically ever interact efficaciously with physical realityif that One is wholly of another substance, made wholly ofdifferent stuff, is wholly someThing else? So, I introducethis category as a placeholder for Gods indeterminate being,which refers to that nature of God which would exist beyondHis determinate being as Creator.It could also serve as a placeholder for other worlds thatwould be ontologically discontinuous and which we could notaccess in principle. It might also refer to aspects of our owncreated reality that exist alongside known givens: primitives,forces and axioms but which are radically unavailable to usepistemically. For example, if consciousness is a primitive 6
  • 7. alongside space, time, mass and energy and therefore part ofsome implicately ordered tacit dimension rather than anemergent reality born of biological evolution, then it couldconceivably be closer to us than we are to ourselves in amanner that would prevent us from being able to even objectifyit. Or what about putatively disembodied souls andpoltergeists that would occasionally manifest beyond ourmethodological and empirical access?To be clear, I use the category of interobjectiveindeterminacy for Gods indeterminate being and have no realuse for it vis a vis the created order as I do not believe indisembodied souls, ghosts or in consciousness as a primitivegiven. But neither would it rock my worldview if they turnedout to be real. If they did interact, then ontologically, theywould not be wholly discontinuous. We just cannot know apriori when it is that our ignorance is caused by epistemicindeterminacy or ontological vagueness.16 December 2011, 07:49 PMPhil quote: So were cool on the inter- and intra-subjective?Oh sure. And on intraobjective as well; your explanation of itearlier is pretty much what I thought you meant. Its adifferent way of putting it -- intra-objective -- and seems tobe what most people mean when they speak of nonduality orenlightenment.Interobjectivity? I need to think about this one some more.Seems similar to what Arraj is describing onhttp://www.innerexplorations.com/catchmeta/mmm3.htm (see thelittle graphic at the bottom of the page -- or maybe that fitsthe intrapersonal?).Taken as a whole, however, your approach points to a muchbroader "gnosis" than most teachers on nonduality are teachingthese days. Some dont seem to have much use for the intra-and inter-subjective approaches.16 December 2011, 09:21 PMjohnboy.philothea quote: Originally posted by Phil: Interobjectivity? I need to think about this one somemore. Seems similar to what Arraj is describing onhttp://www.innerexplorations.com/catchmeta/mmm3.htm (see thelittle graphic at the bottom of the page -- or maybe that fitsthe intrapersonal?). 7
  • 8. I intend to be somewhat consistent with Robert Neville. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cummings_Nevilleespecially where it discusses indeterminacy and creatio exnihilo as a solution to the One and the Many. Some of what Jimwas saying does sound similar. quote: Originally posted by Phil: Taken as a whole, however, yourapproach points to a much broader "gnosis" than most teacherson nonduality are teaching these days. Some dont seem to havemuch use for the intra- and inter-subjective approaches.Heres a broad oversimplification that some may see some truthin.One of the important fruits of nondual realization in the Eastseems to be a compassion born of a profound sense of immensesolidarity.In the West, we seem to arrive at compassion as a response tohaving been loved so very deeply.Epistemically, a nondual approach goes beyond problem-solving,empirical, logical, moral and practical concerns andconceptualization processes to engage realitys truth, beautyand goodness in pure raw awareness. In the robustly relationalapproach of intersubjective initimacy, were simply enjoyingthe wonderful (and ineffable) gift of anothers mere presence.In the intraobjective experience of unitary being, weresimply enjoying ineffable solidarity.You are right that many do not engage or emphasize all ofthese aspects or that they overemphasize one or another at theexpense of underemphasizing the others. And, in that regard,they suffer, in my view, an impoverished gnosis.Once we come to grips with these categories and whether or notwe have established distinctions that make a difference, thenatural follow then, per our purposes here, is: HOW,therefore, might we best pray or approach God? and love Godper the Great Commandment? What are the implications of ourgnosis? or even agnosis?17 December 2011, 09:20 AMjohnboy.philothea quote: Originally posted by Phil: Taken as a whole, however, yourapproach points to a much broader "gnosis" than most teacherson nonduality are teaching these days. Some dont seem to havemuch use for the intra- and inter-subjective approaches.I think some teachers on nonduality have misappropriatedEastern traditions, in general, and, from what Ive come 8
  • 9. across, a lot of these facile mischaracterizations come fromAmericans, who are grappling with reform elements of theJapanese Soto school, which, by many accounts, does not soreadily accommodate devotional elements. It seems that manywere predominantly exposed to the Soto school, at least in theearlier years when inter-religious dialogue was really takingoff, and that they may have especially fallen prey tocaricaturizing the other living traditions of the East basedon their very narrow exposure to that “reform” element, whichwas otherwise somewhat aberrant and not truly representativeof the largest and most predominant Eastern traditions.The Advaita Vedanta and Bhakti schools of Hinduism, and theMahayana school of Buddhism, are now the major (larger)schools of these great living traditions and all haveprominent devotional elements. While the dualist and modifiednondualist Vedantic schools are primarily associated withBhakti thought, even the Advaitic school can be associatedwith devotional elements through its founder, Shankara. Evenin Zen Buddhism (Mahayanan), both Chinese (Chan) and Korean(Soen) schools integrate devotional elements.Furthermore, in my axiological epistemology, which has asimilar thrust to that of Neville, I more broadly conceivegnosis and try to correct what has long been an overemphasison conclusions and an underemphasis on practices. In additionto what people are believing, I ask also to whom is it theyare belonging, what is it they are desiring and how is it theyare behaving, when they arise from their practices.Finally, many in the West try to interpret Eastern literaturethrough Western metaphysical lenses and, in doing so, commit amajor category error because a lot of the focus in the East ismuch more so soteriological than ontological. In the East,there is a subtle distinction that is drawn between ultimateor absolute reality and phenomenal or practical reality, suchthat it is lost on many Westerners that variouswords/cognates, in fact, retain their conventional orpragmatic usefulness. Even the Zen movement might be thoughtof as, first, suspending our naive affirmations, then,subjecting them to philosophical scrutiny and, finally,returning them back to their conventional understanding withdeeper insights and with maybe a hygienic hermeneutic ofsuspicion.I will share an old blog entry of mine:In the story of Malunkyaputta, who queried the Buddha on thefundamental nature of reality by asking whether the cosmos waseternal or not, infinite or not, whether the body and soul arethe same, whether the Buddha lived on after death, and so on,the Buddha responded that Malunkyaputta was like the man who,when shot with an arrow, would not let another pull it outwithout first telling him who shot the arrow, how the arrowwas made and so on. Thus the Buddha turns our attention to theelimination of suffering, a practical concern, and away fromthe speculative metaphysical concerns. 9
  • 10. This story of Malunkyaputta might thus help us to reframe someof our concerns, both regarding Buddhism, in particular, andmetaphysics, in general. For example, perhaps we have wonderedwhether, here or there, the Buddha was ever 1) “doing”metaphysics or 2) anti-metaphysical or 3) metaphysically-neutral. In fact, we might have wondered if the soteriologicalaspects of any of the great traditions were necessarilyintertwined with any specific ontological commitments.In some sense, now, we certainly want to say that all of thegreat traditions are committed to both metaphysical and moralrealisms. However, at the same time, we might like to thinkthat, out of fidelity to the truth, none of our traditionswould ever have us telling untellable stories, saying morethan we know or proving too much.One interpretation of Malunkyaputta’s story, then, mightsuggest that it is not that the Buddha eschewed metaphysics orwas even ontologically neutral; rather, it may be that theBuddha just positively eschewed category errors. This wouldimply that the Buddha would neither countenance thecategorical verve of yesteryear’s scholastics nor theontological vigor of our modern fundamentalists (neither theEnlightenment fundamentalists of the scientistic cabal nor theradical religious fundamentalists, whether of Islam,Christianity, Zen or any other tradition).Thus we might come to recognize that our deontologies shouldbe as modest as our ontologies are tentative, that we shouldbe as epistemically determinate as we can but as indeterminateas we must, that we should be as ontologically specific as wecan but as vague as we must and that our semantics shouldreflect the dynamical nature of both reality and ourapprehension of same, which advances inexorably but fallibly.The Buddha seemed to at least inchoately anticipate thisfallibilism and, in some ways, to explicitly preach andpractice it.17 December 2011, 02:06 PMPhil quote: Epistemically, a nondual approach goes beyond problem-solving, empirical, logical, moral and practical concerns andconceptualization processes to engage realitys truth, beautyand goodness in pure raw awareness. In the robustly relationalapproach of intersubjective initimacy, were simply enjoyingthe wonderful (and ineffable) gift of anothers mere presence.In the intraobjective experience of unitary being, weresimply enjoying ineffable solidarity.Lots of cards now on the table, JB, but I want to comment onthis observation of yours, for I think you have, here,affirmed the value of nondual awareness as understood in bothEast and West. Where I disagree with many is in their emphasis 10
  • 11. on this as the highest state of consciousness, or, in the caseof Wilber, the highest stage of development. I disagreebecause the human spirit has potential for more than simple,non-reflective appreciation. Would that this were our defaultmanner of perceiving, our manner of Being Attentive, a laLonergan. We are nevertheless created to also question,understand, and act upon our perception, the latter movementof consciousness entailing far more commitment andresponsibility than simply attending. For Aquinas, the highestform of spiritual activity was the apprehension of truththrough the process of reflection -- the fruit of BeingIntelligent and Being Reasonable, Lonergans 2nd and 3rdmovements of consciousness, with the reality of spirit beingdemonstrable through our ability to perform intellectualactivities several removes from sense perception. Hence,through the ages, Theology was considered the queen of alldisciplines. Nowadays, the kind of intellectual activityinvolved in "doing theology" (which, as you know, is not easy)is considered precisely the kind of thing that stands in theway of nondual consciousness, which is thought to be "higher."Indeed, some of these Easternish approaches seem anti-intellectual; some of our Western writers on nonduality do aswell, but theyre usually doing little more than mimickingEasterners.As noted above, Lonergan views "Being Responsible," the 4thmovement of consciousness, as the highest expression of thehuman spirit as it flows from the previous three movements. Inlight of Christian revelation, he would summarize the goal ofour human journey as "being in love," which entails a 1.)Being attentive to reality and to Gods loving presence; 2.)being intelligent and 3.) reasonable in our inquiries into alltruth; and 4.) being responsible by letting love guide ourdecision-making. This being-in-Love is thus the human spiritoperating in cooperation with Gods loving Spirit. This isquite a different goal than the kind of nonduality soemphasized these days.I shared the following quote by William Johnston on thephilothea.net blog, as I think it says a lot about Christiannonduality. Johnston was very fond of Lonergan, and had alsostudied zen in Japan. quote: “So love is the way to Christian enlightenment and thereis no other. This love has a twofold thrust: love of God andlove of neighbour. In either case it is ecstatic. That is tosay, my consciousness expands and I go out of myself–I go outto all men and women who have ever lived or ever will live, tothe whole material universe of moons and stars and planets, toevery blade of grass and every grain of sand, to every livingcreature, and to the great mystery at the centre of all, thegreat mystery we call God–and God is love.” - Letters to ContemplativesI like that very much! 11
  • 12. 17 December 2011, 03:30 PMjohnboy.philotheaA few more things to think about ---It is important that we be able to offer an apologetic for anygiven stance toward Ultimate Reality on its own terms,stating, so to speak, what it is that we are for, what it isthat we value.At the same time, because of our finitude and the way we areevolutionarily wired to process reality via fast & frugalheuristics, it can also be helpful to engage otherperspectives as a foil to help deepen our self-understandingas well as to help us self-critique. Toward that end, beforemoving too quickly into the practical implications of ournondual heuristic for a contemplative stance, we mightconsider what happens when we variously overemphasize orunderemphasize different approaches. For example, anoveremphasis on the speculative and kataphatic results inrationalism, on the speculative and apophatic, encratism, onthe affective and kataphatic, pietism, on the affective andapophatic, quietism.What happens, do you think, when we over- or under-emphasizethe inter-subjective? intra-subjective? intra-objective? orinter-objective? approaches to Ultimate Reality? with ourdialectical and/or analogical imaginations? For descriptionsof the dialectical and analogical as well as other helpfuldistinctions, see http://www.wrmosb.org/schem2.htmlAlso, another distinction regarding our use of the wordprimacy. Sometimes, primacy might indicate merely what comesfirst, temporally; at other times, it might indicate what ismost valued? In an integralist or holistic approach, such aswhen I distinguish between belonging (community), desiring(cult), behaving (code) and believing (credo) in myaxiological epistemology, we might ask whether or not anygiven aspect merely comes first, developmentally, as well aswhether or not it must necessarily thus come first, or wemight ask whether or not saying that one or another aspectenjoys primacy otherwise would indicate that it is the mostimportant value to be realized.Now, in my view, in most axiological epistemology paradigms,such as the one in the above-paragraph, where it is that anygiven person will begin and how it is that they will thenproceed is not necessarily fixed because different humans aredifferently-situated (external environs) and also differently-wired (internal organism). Ordinarily, its seems thatbelonging precedes desiring which precedes behaving whichprecedes believing. This might be especially true for thosefaiths that practice infant baptism, for example. For thosewho come to the faith later in life, a more philosophicanalysis of competing credos might come first. For all,though, it would be expected that, optimally, each would makeones way around the horn, integrally and holistically. Forany given human value-realization movement, there do seem to 12
  • 13. be three indispensable methodological moments: 1) What isthat? - descriptively , 2) Whats that to us? - evaluatively ,and 3) How might we best acquire/avoid that? - normatively .It is nonsensical, in this case, to ask which moment is mostimportant, axiologically or value-wise, because the entiremovement is required for a distinctly human value to berealized. Optimally, a 4th moment asks 4) How do we tie all ofthis together (re-ligate)? - interpretively .Now, lets look at the different categories of phenomenalexperience and ask questions of primacy there. What might comefirst for most people, temporally and developmentally? Why?Would we say that any given category enjoys primacy in thesense of being most highly valued: inter-subjective, intra-subjective, intra-objective, inter-objective? [To furtherelucidate the inter-objective theologically, this is the Godof apophatic theology, Who, in His essential nature, beyondwhat has been revealed through creation, generally, andthrough revelation, specially, remains unknowable, theindeterminate ground of being, wholly transcendent, Whom oureyes, even when glorified, will not see .] If there does existan axiological primacy of some sort, would there be anydifference in what aspects of experience are most highlyvalued, now, in our temporal existence, versus what we mightexperience vis a vis primary and secondary beatitudes,eternally, as our summum bonum in heaven ?We certainly need a modicum of intra-subjective integrity visa vis human authenticity to enjoy beatitude but, in the end,how much we grow or how holy we get is very much Gods affair.Beyond that, in my view, both now and forever, the experienceof the inter-subjective, both vis a vis our primary beatitudeof being happy with God and our secondary beatitude of beinghappy with our fellow creatures, is our highest good and to bemost highly valued. Our experience of unitary being vis a visa realization of our intra-objective identity will certainlyround out and enhance our other experiences integrally andholistically and can even protect us from certain errors(overly dialectical imagination, deism, rationalism, pietism,etc). But I suspect that, because it usually follows in thetemporal order of things, developmentally, for many in theWest, who were not thus formed, some may erroneously imaginethat it must therefore be more highly valued, axiologically,and to be sought after at the expense of our unitivestrivings, intersubjectively. That would be quite heterodoxand simply not true. It just happens to come last for many,not at all for most, because of its general lack of Westerninculturation.17 December 2011, 04:05 PMjohnboy.philotheaHA!!! We cross-posted.See, though, the resonance of our general thrust.While you addressed the category that focuses more onepistemology and method or rationality (empirical, logical,moral, practical, aesthetical, prudential, rational, pre- 13
  • 14. rational, trans-rational), I addressed the category ofphenomenology and relationships. We both addressed intra-subjective integrity and precisely in Lonerganian terms ofhuman authenticity, which you fleshed out more completely.Our thrusts were the same, however, as we discussed whichaspects of epistemology and phenomenology we might more highlyvalue. And there is a parallel insofar as we used East andWest as foils to highlight the points we wanted to make.I think the cautionary note we both sounded was a caveatemptor not to become so enamored with the gifts of the East,which, while novel to many of us and helpful to all who wouldthus avail themselves, should supplement not supplant theriches of our Christian heritage. Over the years, we haveexhaustively addressed what often seems to be an embrace ofthe arational and an esteem of the nonrational in some ofWilbers writings, for example. Similarly, we have cautionedagainst any notion that Enlightenment realizations are in anyway more valuable (or even as valuable) than (as) Christianunitive living. We have not always used the same theologicaland metaphysical paradigms; for example, I dont much employ anatural-supernatural distinction or Thomisticmetaphysics/Aristotelian epistemology but inhabit a more vaguephenomenological perspective/Scotistic epistemology that isstill otherwise robustly pneumatological, but our moreessentially theological conclusions are the same.17 December 2011, 04:19 PMjohnboy.philotheaAn oversimplification that I think is helpful, anyway:1) Many make the mistake of imagining that what comes last,developmentally or temporally, is necessarily more valuable,axiologically.2) Many Westerners experience Eastern enlightenment AFTERtheir Western spiritual formation and erroneously concludethat it therefore is more valuable or higher.3) This is analogous to the pre-trans fallacy and I would callit the post-trans fallacy whereby one believes one thingnecessarily transcends another merely because it follows theother thing. 14