At 1:53 pm -0800 3/2/02, Lewis Vella wrote:
>But unlike what Tommy
>Beavitt at [Sartre@yahoogroups] suggested on Jan 29, I
>don't see these stages to be understood as some kind
>of chronological order of initiation to suit
>conveniently man's earthly purposes. In fact, in the
>higher stages I don't think time is even relevant. And
>should the Eastern idea of reincarnation lend us some
>creedence, then it is also possible that some souls do
>not experience all the stages in a single lifetime,
>that death is not necessarily trancendence, but maybe
>merely transference. Also, I find Beavitt's idea of
>transcendence, as something more appropriate for the
>dead to contemplate, to be a very anthropomorphic view
>of the divine, a view that gives itself over better to
>the idea of good and evil and monotheism, rather that
>a timeless, all-consuming, pantheistic consciousness
>encapsulating all within and without.
Hello Lewis, and thanks for your interesting post.
I am interested in your disagreement with my interpretation of
Kierkegaard's idea of stages. You say that you "don't see these
stages to be understood as some kind of chronological order of
initiation to suit conveniently man's earthly purposes" but I am
wondering how you can know in the philosophical sense what other
context they can be understood in? It has always been my contention
that by deconstructing and analysing the different perspectives
offered by people including oneself one can tend towards an
appreciation of the existence of what might be termed a universal
perspective. I am guessing that we would both tend to think of God in
terms of a universal perspective.
What excites me about Sartre's ideas of what existentialism means is
that it gives me a handle on this problem. Because I am a human, that
is always going to be my perspective. No matter how much I
deconstruct my own perspective both on myself and on "external"
reality I will always be stuck with my perceptual and sensory
apparatus which will necessarily colour what I see.
I believe that what we refer to as wisdom is what comes gradually as
we get to know ourselves. Paradoxically, the further we go into the
project of knowing ourselves the less it becomes apparent there
actually is to know. I do find some agreement in your ideas and mine
as I think that "getting to know the divine" will become increasingly
less coloured by my undoubted "anthropomorphism" as I become
increasingly aware of how little there is to get to know about
myself. How I rationalise death is that it is the point at which
there is nothing more of myself to get to know, I have entirely
deconstructed my own perspective, therefore there is no difference
between me and the universe. Death may be transference but not of
what I am refering to as "me". In what you refer to as the "higher"
stages I agree that time becomes irrelevant. Equally, it is obvious
that neither you nor I are at such a higher stage yet.
I don't therefore entirely disagree with your conception of a
"timeless, all-consuming, pantheistic consciousness encapsulating all
within and without" but I doubt that you are able to escape the
limitations of your perceptual apparatus any more than I can. I
entirely agree with you that my idea of transcendence is "more
appropriate for the dead to contemplate": the trouble is that the
dead will not be of much use to the ideas advanced within this
philosphical forum for the simple reason that they do not have a
It may be though that by accustoming ourselves to the limitations
currently inherent in our ability to attain to an universal
perspective we will at least learn to place such a caveat before any
announcements or actions that might erroneously indicate to others a
belief that we are already party to such an universal view.
My attacks on the nonsense coming out of Bush's America are precisely
founded upon this premise. I don't object to America's economic,
military and cultural dominance but I do object to Bush's assertion
that "terrorists are evil" as that would imply that he and his
henchmen are party to a universal perspective. Which from my
admittedly limited perspective it is quite clear that they are not.