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.)

inert II, 404, 409

NC II, 474 (undeepened analytical function remains inert),

rest I, 13, 14, 62
II, 403, 409, 492NC I, 10 (no rest in logical meaning), 11 (philosophic thought only attains rest when it attains to the Origin)
resting II, 414

NC II, 474 (resting pre-theoretical intuition)

restless I, 13:, 62, 79
II, 422NC I, 11 (restlessness of meaning; tendency toward the Origin, our heart is restless and the world is restless in our heart)

The selfhood stands under a law of religious concentration, which makes it restlessly search for its own Origin and that of the whole cosmos. “Het dilemma voor het christelijk wijsgeerig denken en het critisch karakter van de Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee,” Philosophia Reformata 1 (1936), 1-16, at 14.


All temporal reality is meaning that refers beyond itself. It has no meaning in itself, and in fact no existence in itself. It is therefore restless. It is not self-sufficient, but rather dependent. It is relative in relation to the meaning that it points to.

Dooyeweerd speaks of the restlessness of temporal reality (NC I, 11; WdW I, 13). Expanding on Augustine, Dooyeweerd says, “Inquietum est cor nostrum et mundus in corde nostro!” The Latin phrase is not translated. It means that our heart is restless, and that the world is restless in our heart! So the phrase includes the fact that the temporal world has its meaning and existence in our heart, the supratemporal center or totality. In Philosophenspiegel, Spann refers to the restlessness of temporal reality, and also refers to Augustine.

Temporal reality is restless because it has no existence except in the supratemporal root of humanity (NC I, 100; II, 53). This root is also restless because it seeks meaning in its Origin, God.

The state of enstasis and systasis is a state of being at rest (II, 403). See my 2011 article,

Enstasy, Ecstasy and Religious Self-reflection:A history of Dooyeweerd’s Ideas of pre-theoretical experienceA history of Dooyeweerd’s Ideas of pre-theoretical experience.” One of Dooyeweerd’s first references to ‘systasis’ is in his 1928 article “Het juridisch causaliteitsprobleem in ‘t licht der wetsidee” (Cited by Verburg 115). He says that our knowledge depends on analysis and synthesis and is no resting systasis. Systasis is therefore related to rest and not movement. In his De Crisis der Humanistische Staatsleer (1931) Dooyeweerd speaks of naive thought as being “inert.” (102-103, excerpts in Verburg 143).

Since enstasis and systasis occur in naive experience, and since naive experience is itself restless, this being at rest cannot be a static rest. It must therefore be a temporary [temporal!] resting, a resting in potentiality.

Steen is wrong when he speaks of Dooyeweerd’s “scholastic view of God” as the “eternal present” (p. 22) and of the “fully-at-rest Origin” (p. 222). Dooyeweerd specifically denies that the religious centre of human existence is found in a rigid and static immobility (NC I, 31 ft. 1). Dooyeweerd emphasizes that a static supratemporality should not even be ascribed to God (NC I, 106 ft.).

Baader also speaks of the restlessness of temporal reality. Everything temporal is restless [Unruhe] because it is not integral, and wants to move to the beyond, the integral, to fullness and enjoyment of being (Elementarbegriffe, 549).

And Baader says that the ‘rest’ that is sought is not static. Such a mistaken view is caused by our abstraction, which views rest (Ruhe) as static and lifeless (Elementarbegriffe 535). Rather, eternity should be seen as always resting in its movement and always moving in its Rest, as always new and always the same. He cites St. Martin

In der göttlichen Region ist die Hervorbringung immer gewesen, die Erhaltung ist immer, und die Widereinung (Reintegration) wird immer sein.

[In the divine region, the generation has always been, the preservation is always, and the reunification (reintegration) will always be].

The ‘rest’ of the Center determines the free movement in the periphery.(Zeitbegr., Werke 2, 53). Both movements are necessary. The active is not only in the center. And the reactive, ‘feminine’ movement is not only in the periphery (Werke 4, 353, Note).

Baader says that ‘rest’ does not mean not doing anything. Nor does it mean that wonder ceases:

“…wie das Herz in der Ehrfurcht mit Liebe umgeben, so ruht sohin der Geist im Wunder, und der besseren Theil des menschlichen Gemuethes lebt und erhält sich am Leben durch diesen doppelten Affect.”

[…as the heart in worship is surrounded with love, so the spirit rests in wonder, and the best part of the human heart lives and maintains itself in life through this double affect].

We need both wonder and worship, otherwise we cannot consider what we love, and we cannot love what we must consider (Philosophische Schriften I, 83). In the same work he cites the following to show that the ‘rest’ includes a full and free development of all our faculties:

“…il n’y a de repos ou de sabbat pour un être, qu’autant qu’il ne peut librement développer toutes ses facultés.” (Ibid, citing Ministère de l’Homme-Esprit, p. 137).

[…there is no rest or sabbath for a being except insofar as he is freely able to develop all of his faculties].

The still state of rest is related to the seed state of potentiality. Baader also speaks of an unfolding from a previously undifferentiated unity or seed state:

Each embodied or realizing and fulfilling life proceeds from a Center, in which the individual limbs of the organism are still undifferentiated, as partial lives, and in a seed state, the still state of potential. [“Über Sinn und Zweck der Verkörperung, Leib oder Fleischwerdung des Lebens,” Philosophische Schriften I, 86]

See also epektasis and sparks.