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Re: Religious Self-Consciousness:

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  • John Anngeister
    Willy, and any other... re Purity of Heart, (Steere trans., Chap. 1). I see K by the end of this chapter (p 36-38) warning against a common wisdom of life
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 5, 2005
      Willy, and any other...

      re "Purity of Heart," (Steere trans., Chap. 1).

      I see K by the end of this chapter (p 36-38) warning against
      a common "wisdom of life" which temporalizes (or secularizes)
      the eternal. Willy, I assume you have a different spin on
      this clearly negative view of a worldly un-wisdom dissociated
      from the Eternal. In these pages I see K exposing two fatal
      errors built into this temporalized view of life:


      Fatal Error #1
      Argues that the God-relation is a passing phase of existence
      characteristic of childhood (either of the individual or of
      "mankind")


      I am reminded of a discussion I had off-list with someone
      who boasted that he had been an atheist "since the age of 12."

      I saw much irony in his representation of this early
      repudiation of Spirit as a mark of precocity. While I got
      him to agree that there were many life-choices which he would
      certainly not risk to the "wisdom" of a 12-year old boy, he
      could not bring himself to judge this one "eternal" decision
      even in the same light as he viewed those earthly concerns
      (and certainly was very far from viewing anything in the light
      of the Eternal).


      SK (p.37):
      "In relation to the Eternal, age gives no justification for speaking
      absurdly, and youth does not exclude one from being able to grasp
      what is true."


      I think Error #1 likewise offers a view of early religion's
      mythological setting as proof of its evolutionary and "passing"
      nature, as if it were a mere phase characteristic of the "childhood"
      of mankind.

      Whereas, on the contrary, I think we might as easily see religion's
      mythological period as an affirmation of its sponsorship by the
      Eternal, at least with regard to certain "timeless" religious issues
      of mankind. These appear to have strictly "mythological" origins
      simply because they manifest with the "morning dew" of man's earliest
      spiritual life, and take upon themselves the covering which is
      nearest to hand. They are first apprehended in "primal" or
      mythological dress because they are themselves primal and
      irrepressible, representing a relation in which mankind will always
      find a relatedness to the Eternal, and whose development may attain
      to a very high state without having need of waiting upon the advent
      of tardy science. When the human mind finally ushers in its
      scientific method, the augur is not for the end of the religious
      consciousness but rather for its material purification from
      superstition.

      SK (p.36 & 38)
      "If there is, then, something eternal in a man, it must be able to
      exist and to be grasped within every change... It must be said that
      there is something that shall always have its time, something that a
      man shall always do,... for in relation to the Eternal, a man ages
      neither in the sense of time nor in the sense of an accumulation of
      past events."


      Fatal Error #2
      Argues that penitence is a relation of oneself to his past misdeeds
      not in the Eternal but in a relation of a past self to a present time
      of weakness. I liken this to a cynical "wisdom" that views the
      elderly church-goer as one who has "returned" to God only because he
      no longer has the physical "strength to sin." Which to K. is of
      course not penitence but, when it happens, "impiety and folly,"
      and "a horrible thing." (p. 37)


      -John



      --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "Will Brown" <wilbro99@y...>
      wrote:
      >
      .
      .
      .
      > I would rather approach this dialogue as a mutual search for common
      > cloth in our understanding, using Kierkegaard as the wall we bounce
      > our words off of, and which imparts the existential spin I think we
      > are interested in. As it so happens, the first book I read when I
      > bumped up against SK was Steere's translation of Purity, which I
      > assume you also have, witness the page reference you gave. I still
      > have that book, albeit now in seven parts. It's still my favorite
      > read, and I still see it as his guide book to the transition. The
      > first chapter is a good as any to start. Mine is full of highlite
      > marks that have turned gold with age.
      >
      > I see a singular theme in the first chapter: the sign of the Eternal
      > is the presence of one to oneself. The question here is what it
      means,
      > to be present to oneself. What's your take on its theme? Let's start
      > with the first chapter. It is full of pithy SK terms that we could
      > plumb to bottom of them. I would be more than delighted to do so.
      >
    • Will Brown
      Hi John, I have appended a site that has the e-text of Steere s translation of Purity. It may help others to join in without having to obtain the book. Ok, to
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 7, 2005
        Hi John, I have appended a site that has the e-text of Steere's
        translation of Purity. It may help others to join in without having to
        obtain the book.

        Ok, to work. I do have a different spin, but it is not located where I
        see you as thinking it is. As we move through the chapters here, I
        will keep referring to this subject until I see that you see where I
        am spinning. I addressed this point in my last post, having to do with
        where we see the difference between us lying.

        An analogy is perhaps in order. Assume something to be viewed
        surrounded by four equally spaced viewing platforms. You occupy one
        and I occupy one. I see you as seeing me occupying the one opposite,
        while I see you as occupying the one next to me. You have us separated
        by 180˚ and I see us separated by 90˚. If you have the wrong view of
        my view in respect to your view, we can never get on the same page. I
        see you as seeing me as an absolute opposite, defined by the
        secular/religious distinction you have just posited:

        <I see K by the end of this chapter (p 36-38) warning against a common
        "wisdom of life" which temporalizes (or secularizes) the eternal.
        Willy, I assume you have a different spin on this clearly negative
        view of a worldly un-wisdom dissociated from the Eternal. In these
        pages I see K exposing two fatal errors built into this temporalized
        view of life:>

        I agree with everything you have said except your adding of the
        parenthetical reference to the secular, and your assumption, built
        upon that reference, that I will spin it differently. Let's set the
        notion of the secular aside for the nonce and see where we come out.
        In those pages, I too see SK exposing the errors associated with the
        temporalized view of life [TVOL]. I would take what you have said
        above, and in the rest of your post, and carry it into a general
        statement, to wit, the TVOL /is/ the Error, which is to say that I see
        the one who occupies that view as being the problem; i.e., the grasp
        of oneself in the temporal sense, where the sense of the eternal is
        missing.

        As I see it, our disconnect seems to be located in the way we are
        referring to the eternal. I see you saying, essentially, that it is
        that necessary ground in which consciousness, and the universe
        revealed by that consciousness, must rest. I would not disagree with
        that. What I am doing is adding that it, the eternal, is contacted in
        the consciousness that remains when the TVOL is negated, when the
        temporal sense of self is broken up, resulting in what I see SK
        calling the God-relationship. I would say that not only does the
        latter make concrete the former, but that the break-up of the TVOL by
        'Willing One Thing' is what the book is pushing. What I see added by
        that transition is the existential twist SK is giving to all of his
        religious terms.

        The way I interpret that chapter is that when SK says "only the
        eternal is always appropriate and is always present, is always true,"
        (p. 53) he is speaking to its actualization, in inwardness, in
        transparency, and what he calls later in the book, one's 'eternal
        consciousness.' As I see it, he is speaking to bringing that
        God-relation into being as the ground of one's sense of self. So my
        spin is only different from yours by the fact that I have offered a
        different hub around which to spin the same words. Our disagreement
        then only resides in our differing views of what inwardness means.
        willy


        http://www.religion-online.org/showbook.asp?title=2523


        --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "John Anngeister"
        <reader@v...> wrote:
        >
        > Willy, and any other...
        >
        > re "Purity of Heart," (Steere trans., Chap. 1).
        >
        > I see K by the end of this chapter (p 36-38) warning against
        > a common "wisdom of life" which temporalizes (or secularizes)
        > the eternal. Willy, I assume you have a different spin on
        > this clearly negative view of a worldly un-wisdom dissociated
        > from the Eternal. In these pages I see K exposing two fatal
        > errors built into this temporalized view of life:
        >
        >
        > Fatal Error #1
        > Argues that the God-relation is a passing phase of existence
        > characteristic of childhood (either of the individual or of
        > "mankind")
        >
        >
        > I am reminded of a discussion I had off-list with someone
        > who boasted that he had been an atheist "since the age of 12."
        >
        > I saw much irony in his representation of this early
        > repudiation of Spirit as a mark of precocity. While I got
        > him to agree that there were many life-choices which he would
        > certainly not risk to the "wisdom" of a 12-year old boy, he
        > could not bring himself to judge this one "eternal" decision
        > even in the same light as he viewed those earthly concerns
        > (and certainly was very far from viewing anything in the light
        > of the Eternal).
        >
        >
        > SK (p.37):
        > "In relation to the Eternal, age gives no justification for speaking
        > absurdly, and youth does not exclude one from being able to grasp
        > what is true."
        >
        >
        > I think Error #1 likewise offers a view of early religion's
        > mythological setting as proof of its evolutionary and "passing"
        > nature, as if it were a mere phase characteristic of the "childhood"
        > of mankind.
        >
        > Whereas, on the contrary, I think we might as easily see religion's
        > mythological period as an affirmation of its sponsorship by the
        > Eternal, at least with regard to certain "timeless" religious issues
        > of mankind. These appear to have strictly "mythological" origins
        > simply because they manifest with the "morning dew" of man's earliest
        > spiritual life, and take upon themselves the covering which is
        > nearest to hand. They are first apprehended in "primal" or
        > mythological dress because they are themselves primal and
        > irrepressible, representing a relation in which mankind will always
        > find a relatedness to the Eternal, and whose development may attain
        > to a very high state without having need of waiting upon the advent
        > of tardy science. When the human mind finally ushers in its
        > scientific method, the augur is not for the end of the religious
        > consciousness but rather for its material purification from
        > superstition.
        >
        > SK (p.36 & 38)
        > "If there is, then, something eternal in a man, it must be able to
        > exist and to be grasped within every change... It must be said that
        > there is something that shall always have its time, something that a
        > man shall always do,... for in relation to the Eternal, a man ages
        > neither in the sense of time nor in the sense of an accumulation of
        > past events."
        >
        >
        > Fatal Error #2
        > Argues that penitence is a relation of oneself to his past misdeeds
        > not in the Eternal but in a relation of a past self to a present time
        > of weakness. I liken this to a cynical "wisdom" that views the
        > elderly church-goer as one who has "returned" to God only because he
        > no longer has the physical "strength to sin." Which to K. is of
        > course not penitence but, when it happens, "impiety and folly,"
        > and "a horrible thing." (p. 37)
        >
        >
        > -John
        >
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