realm

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

realm NC III, 33, 83
region

For Dooyeweerd, a key part of our pre-theoretical   experience is the ability to distinguish between different realms of being (NC III, 33). He distinguishes the material or inorganic, the vegetative or organic, the animal, and the human; the first three realms (or kingdoms) are each qualified by a different pre-logical aspect of temporal reality (NC III, 83).

But humans are not qualified by any aspect. Humans participate in all aspects, but their supratemporal center goes beyond all aspects (NC I, 51; III, 88). Humans are the religious root and only humans have existence in the sense of ex-sistere. And Dooyeweerd says that only humans can enter enstatically into time by means of their intuition. Other creatures are ‘entirely lost in time’(NC I, 32). They are ex-statically absorbed by their temporal existence Only humans experience cosmic or cosmological self-consciousness (II, 415; NC II, 480).

The inorganic materials, the plant and animal realms, have no independent spiritual or religious root. Their temporal existence first becomes complete [fulfilled] in and through Man] (Vernieuwing en Bezinning, 30). In fact, the temporal world has its existence in humanity, its supratemporal root.

For Dooyeweerd, a key part of our pre-theoretical experience is the ability to distinguish between these realms of being (NC III, 33).

Kuyper refers to the plant and animal realms:

As mere entities we share our life with plants and animals. Unconscious life we share with the children, and with the sleeping man, and even with the man who has lost his reason. That which distinguishes us, as higher beings, and as wide awake men, is our full self-consciousness, and therefore, if religion, as the highest vital function, is to operate also in that highest sphere of self-consciousness, it must follow that soteriological religion, next to the necessitas of inward palingenesis, demands also the necessitas of an assistant light, of revelation to be kindled in our twilight. And this assistant light coming from God Himself, but handed to us by human agency, beams upon us in His holy Word.(Calvinism and Religion. 56).

Baader also refers to the inorganic, organic and animal realms. He says that not all beings are subjects in the same way. In addition to humans, there are the realms of minerals, plants and animals (Fermenta I, ft. m; Werke 4, 150). Thesubject-object relation therefore concerns how subjects such as myself relate to other beings that are subject to God’s law. Baader’s idea of the Subject-Object relation has to do with the I and the Not-I . There is the Not-I above me, the “Thou” that is opposite me (gegenüber), and the Not-I that is below me (Philosophische Schriften I, 57 ft.; Werke 8, 66).

Baader distinguishes between created and emanated beings. Man was breathed out by God, or emanated, in distinction to the world that was created (Zeit 40). Humans have a supratemporal center, but animals do not. Because of this, an animal does not perceive time like we do; this also means that animals do not become bored (Elementarbegriffe 553; Zeit 27 ft.7). We share with the animals what Baader calls “purely outer seeing.” Animals do not share with us the inner seeing related to our central being (Zeit 56). Dooyeweerd says that man was first created and then subsequently formed. See creation.

All nonhuman realms are what Baader refers to as nonintelligent being; these realms are bound with Man in his unstable condition since the Fall, and they share in Man’s corruptibility [Verderblichkeit]. Humans must win and confirm in God the stability of these nonhuman realms. This is done if humans freely choose to be mediators for these nonintelligent beings–that is, to act as their center (Elementarbegriffe, 541, 544). Becoming the center of such nonintelligent beings is a ‘mediation of the unmediated’ [Vermittlung des Unvermittelten]. The superior being descends to the inferior and forms its foundation or support. That which is the center is the superior being; that which is centered is inferior; by being center, I reduce the being to my will, power and domination (Werke 1, 42; Susini II, 31). My true knowledge makes me the support, the pivot of the object known.

Fritjof Capra tries to integrate science and mysticism. He also emphasizes the importance of distinguishing realms, or what he calls “levels of being.” He reports an interesting discussion with Schumacher who said, “Physics cannot have any philosophical impact because it cannot entertain the qualitative notion of higher and lower levels of being.” Schumacher distinguished a fundamental hierarchical order of four levels of being: mineral, plant, animal and human, with four characteristic elements: matter, life, consciousness, and self-awareness. (Uncommon Wisdom: Conversations with Remarkable People, New York: Bantam, 1989, 215).

Can Dooyeweerd’s different realms of being be considered levels of being or levels of individuality? In “Kuyper’s Wetenschapsleer,” Philosophia Reformata (1939) 193-232, Dooyeweerd refers to Woltjer’s view that there are levels of individuality:

“Naarmate de sort hoger staat in trap, krijgt het individueele meer betekenis”

[As the kind is higher in level, it acquires more meaning ].

Dooyeweerd attempts to distinguish his own view from Woltjer’s view of levels of reality in that he holds to the idea of the religious root. But this alone cannot distinguish Dooyeweerd’s view, because he certainly holds to different levels or realms (inorganic, organic and animal). Perhaps his idea of root is different (1) in the view of individuality itself and (2) in there being no progress from realm to realm, as in evolutionary thought, but only a perfection of existence within a realm, as it is fulfilled in the redeemed root of the temporal world. In addition, Dooyeweerd criticizes Woltjer’s view of the logos doctrine, and says that Woltjer has no room for the place of the heart.

Baumgardt writes about the capacities of different realms. There is a coherence [Zusammenhang] or an analogy of nature among all natural beings. He contrasts Herder’s views with Goethe. He says that Goethe starts from the individual, and builds up his ideas from results over many years. Herder brings his material together much sooner. coherence among all natural beings. Goethe goes from individual. Herder from his intuition to the individual. Insofar as Dooyeweerd does not start with the individual, his method of classification of realms would appear to be closer to Herder.

Herder says that the Creator has given to each creature so much of natural power as it was able to have in its organization. But Man is the only being given the most natural powers; he is vegetative, animal and spiritual capabilities. (vegetative, animalische, geistige Fähigkeiten) That is why the other realms can be seen analogically. Animals have a vegetative side but also an animal sense and free movement. Man has vegetative and animal functions and also mental and spiritual organization. Herder Bd XIII, p. 86-92, cited by Baumgardt. See Baumgardt 63, 84, 93, 115, 117). Herder says that the human spirit is given the capacity to think analogically–to place himself [hineinzuversetzen] with his perception [Empfinden] in these Beings, in the meaning of different corporeal “organs.” There is also a second analogy between corporeal signs and mental meanings (gedanklicher Bedeuting). Baumgardt refers to Herder’s fourth book of Ideas. Analogies of nature extend even to truths of religion. See analogy.

Revised Dec 27/04

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