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6.

REASON: THE CLASSIC EXPERIENCE (1974)
Reason as a historical event.
The circumstances and consequences of the differentiation of thenous, when reason was discovered as
both the force and the criterion of order.
The epochal consciousness of the philosophers.
No retreat from the new differentiation. The central symbol of the new structure in history was the
"philosopher", parallel to:
 Plato's "spiritual man"
 Aristotle's "mature man"
"Myth" represents the old compact consciousness and "philosophy" the new differentiated one.
Plato's and Aristotle's balance.
They realized that reason existed in human nature before its differentiation and that the new
discovery would not prevent disorder. Plato particularly was open to new differentiations, such as later
occurred:
 theophany
 pneumatic revelation of the Judeo-Christian type
 mysticism
 tolerance in doctrinal matters
Classic reason sees no apocalyptic end.
It resists disordering passion through persuasion.
The newly experienced force of the nous.
The tension of order and disorder illuminated by dialogue and discourse.
I. The Tension of Existence
The definition of man as a zoon noetikon referred to the reality of order in man's psyche. To
it correspond the definition zoon politikon. The definitions should have included zoon
historikon.
Man's reason exists in the personal, political and historical dimensions, none of which is valid without
the others. Man also has a "synthetic" nature which includes the animal, vegetable and material
realms. His "integral" nature, comprising both the psyche with its three dimensions of order and man's
participation in the hierarchy of being from nous down to matter, is what Aristotle calls the subject
matter of the study of things pertaining to man's humanity.
This is the comprehensive field of human reality where reason is the center of order in existence.
Man is not a divine causa sui.
Man exists in a state of unrest, lacking the meaning of his existence within himself.
Characteristic of man is the unrest of wondering, the beginning of philosophy.
First recognized and articulated by the philosophers. Myth expresses the same truth more compactly.
Feeling moved or drawn. The desire to escape ignorance.
The symbols of questioning and of ignorance.
The underlying experience is the key to an understanding of nous in the classic sense. The
experiences of Parmenides and Anaxagoras.
Parmenides differentiated the noetic faculty to apperceive the ground of existence. Anaxagoras
identified the nous as the source of intelligible order in the cosmos.
The exploration of the soul contributes the dimension of critical consciousness.
The compact symbols of myth are challenged by the new questioning.
The ground is a divine presence that becomes manifest in human unrest.
"The questioning unrest carries the assuaging answer within itself inasmuch as man is moved to his
search of the ground by the divine ground of which he is in search." The pursuit requires the
articulation of the experience through language symbols; this effort leads to noetic insights into
the psyche.
The unrest becomes luminous to itself in Plato and Aristotle.
The structure of the psyche can be unfolded either by ascending from the existential unrest at the
bottom of the cave to the vision of the light at its top, or by descending from the consciousness that
has become luminous down.
Movements of the divine-human encounter form an intelligible unit of meaning.
This unit of meaning is man's tension to the divine ground.
Classic philosophy does not speak of "tension" in the abstract, but of specific modes such as love,
desire, faith and hope.
II. Psychopathology
The nous symbols express the reality of man attuned to the divine order in the cosmos.
Reason is differentiated from the experience of the "love of God", not the "love of self."
Reason has the existential content of openness toward reality.
This context has been lost. The bond between reason and existential love or openness to the ground
must be made explicit.
Closure toward the ground of reality affects the rational structure of the soul. The analyses
of Heraclitus, Aeschylus, the Stoics and Cicero.
Heraclitus: the distinction between those who live in the one common world and those who live in the
private worlds of their passion and imagination.
Aeschylus: The Promethean revolt against divinity as a disease or madness.
Stoics: invented terms for conciliation and alienation.
Cicero: mental diseases caused by the rejection of reason.
Anxiety as a variety of ignorance. In the states of both health and unhealth.
The first references to anxiety. Questioning unrest can either follow the attraction of the ground and
unfold into noetic consciousness, or it can be diverted and follow other attractions into pathological
derailment.
Cicero lists some symptoms of disorientation:
 restless money-making
 status-seeking
 womanizing
 overeating
 addiction to delicacies and snacks
 wine-tippling
 irascibility
 anxiety
 desire for fame
 stubbornness
 rigidity of attitude
 fears of contacts with other human beings such as misogyny and misanthropy
But: "there is nothing wrong with passions as such, nor with occasional indulgences or excesses." The
problem is when habitual passions imbalance the rational order of existence.
Mental disease as a disturbance of noetically ordered existence.
It affects both the passions and reason, but is caused by neither. It originates in the questioning
unrest and in man's freedom to fulfill his potential or botch it.
There is no Aristotelean term for "anxiety."
The classic experience of unrest is distinctly joyful because the questioning has direction.
Heidegger, Hobbes, Hegel, Marx built alienation into their system, and Freud and Sartre
reject the openness to the ground. Modern writers claim for their mental disease the status
of mental health. Schelling's modern characterization of this condition as
"pneumopathology", and Doderer's term "refusal of apperception."
III. Life and Death
The "in-between" character of human existence.
The metaxy as developed in the Symposium and Philebus. In-between life and death, knowledge and
ignorance, god and man. The practice of dying and activity of immortalizing.
Historically, the experience of immortalizing in the unfolding of the rational consciousness has been,
and still is, the storm center of misunderstanding, fallacious misconstruction, and furious attacks.
A construction of man as a world-immanent autonomous entity destroys the meaning of
existence.
The poles of tension must not be hypostatized into objects independent of the tension in which they
are experienced as its poles.
Misconstructions:
 taking the symbol "rational animal" as a word definition
 reducing the metaleptic tension to physical being
 psychologizing the symbols of tension into projections of an immanent psyche
Or, noetic structures can be attacked directly, as in the systems listed previously.
Distortion of the classic analysis through a restrictive concentration of on the conflict
between reason and the passions.
A more subtle distortion which isolates both reason and passion from their context in the tension
between life and death.
The corresponding differentiation of Life and Death.
As the moving forces beyond reason and the passions. Refinements in the analysis of metaxy. The
mystery of being as existence between the poles of the "one" (divine ground, wisdom, mind) and the
"unlimited" (cosmic ground, arche).
"Behind the passions there is at work the lust of existence from the depth." In Christian psychology
this becomes pride and the will to power; original sin. Plato on the nourishing of mortal and immortal
parts.
A fully developed rejection of reason requires the form of an apparently rational system.
Else a man will fall into moods of dejection.
Hegel, Schiller as examples.
Schiller: the purpose of a progessivist philosophy of history is the achievement of imaginary
immortality through participation in an imaginary meaning of history.
The distinction between dialectics and eristics by Plato.
Dialectics: the movement of thought or discussion within themetaxy. Eristics: speculative thought that
attempts mastery over one of the poles of the metaleptic tension, over the apeiron or thenous.
Modern deformations as object-lessons of eristics.
Marx, Freud, Breton, Jung.
Hegel's misuse of an Aristotelean passage. And of a Pauline passage.
Hegel's "dialectic" is Plato's "eristic."
The modern egophanic revolt against reason.
The phenomenon of intellectual imperialism leading to mass murder has its origin in the destruction of
the life of reason in the metaxy.
Hegel's construction of a "dialectical process" belonging to an imaginary "consciousness."
"Reason can be eristically fused with any world-content, be it class, race, or nation; a middle class,
working class, technocratic class, or summarily the Third World; the passions of acquisitiveness,
power, or sex; or the sciences of physics, biology, sociology, or psychology. The list is not meant to be
exhaustive."
The contemporary preoccupation with depth, death, anxiety.
Caused by the mortalizing pressure of the apeirontic depth.
The truth of fantasy Systems is challenged when knowledge of content advances beyond that of the
System's creator. Methods of defending the System:
 revision within the imperial style
 taboo on questions of premises
 ignoring fatal criticism
 defaming critics
 jailing or killing dissenters, or building a wall around the country
IV. Appendix
The unfolding of noetic consciousness is not an "idea" or a "tradition", but an event in history. The
classic analysis was the first to articulate the structure of man's quest for his relation to the divine
ground:
 of the unrest that offers the answer to its questioning
 of the divine nous as the mover of the quest
 of the joy of luminous participation when man responds to the theophany
 of existence becoming cognitively luminous for its meaning as a movement in
the metaxy from mortality to immortality
The classic insights were gained as the exegesis of the philosophers' resistance to against
the climate of opinion. Reason is not a treasure to be stored away.
"It is the struggle in the metaxy for the immortalizing order of the psyche in resistance to the
mortalizing forces of the apeirontic lust of being in time." Existence in the in-between is not abolished
when it becomes luminous to itself, but attains a new level of critical consciousness concerning the
order of existence.
The classic philosophers did not foresee:
 the incorporation of philosophy into various revelatory theologies
 the transformation of philosophy into propositional metaphysics
 the radical separation of the noetic symbolism from its experiential context, so
that the philosophical vocabulary would be set free to endow the attack on
reason with the appearance of reason
The classic philosophers resisted the decay of cosmological myth and the Sophistic revolt; today we
resist the Systems of thinkers in a state of alienation.
More important than the insights is the resistance against the "climate of opinion." This essay is an act
of resistance. Its tactics:
 restore the forgotten experiential context on which the meaning of reason
depends
 establish the inner coherence of scattered pieces of analysis
 explore the psychopathology of alienation and the contempt of reason
 characterize the modern revolt against reason and the phenomenon of the
System
Principles to be considered in the study of human affairs: principles of completeness, of
formation and foundation, of metaxy reality.
Points to be considered in any study of human affairs:

->

Person Society History
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v
Divine Nous
^
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Psyche - Noetic

Psyche - Passions

Animal Nature

Vegetative Nature

Inorganic Nature

Apeiron - Depth

The order of formation of the left column is from the top down; the order of foundation is from the
bottom up. The order of foundation of the top row is from left to right.
Principle of completeness: a philosophy of human affairs must cover the entire grid without
hypostatizing any coordinate of it.
Principle of formation and foundation: the order of formation and foundation must not be inverted or
distorted.
Principle of metaxy reality: the coordinates determine metaxyreality, intelligible as such by the
consciousness of nous and apeironas its limiting poles. The poles cannot be converted to phenomena
within the metaxy.
False theoretical propositions can also be located on the grid.
7. ETERNAL BEING IN TIME (1964)