temptation

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.)

temptation

As far as I know, Dooyeweerd does not use the word ‘temptation’ in relation to theoretical thought. But as I interpret him, there is a temptation to see our logical function as actually independent. In the theoretical Gegenstand-relation, we set the logical aspect over-against the other aspects. We forget that this separation of our logical aspect is only temporary. This is the source of the dichotomistic belief of a distinction between body and soul:

…the traditional dichotomistic conception of human nature as a composition of a material body and an immortal rational soul is doubtless connected with the misconception, that the antithetic relation in the theoretical attitude of thought answers to reality itself (NC I, 44).

The dis-stasis of theoretical thought should be followed by a synthesis. We must re-integrate this experience with our selfhood. This can only occur by means of our intuition.

If we remain in the dis-stasis of theoretical thought, then our naive experience can become impaired (NC III, 145).

Baader specifically refers to theory as a temptation [Versuchung] (Zeit 27). Our freedom to be mediators for the temporal world can be used in two ways–either for or against God. Whatever we set free will continue to have either a liberating or a binding action (Elementarbegriffe, 544, 558). Thus, our theory can be used improperly. We can use our powers in an unlawful way, in order to hold inside ourselves what should remain outside (Zeit 44 ft 25). We can give ourselves over entirely to the temporal. But the temporal world will then empty us like a bloodsucker, or a ‘Heart-sucker’ [Herzsauger]. Such a person ends up believing himself or herself to be as empty as the world (Zeit 41 ft. 21; Werke 2, 89; Weltalter 385). I believe that this is what Baader means by ‘loss of Self.’ Although theory is a temptation, overcoming the temptation leads to a greater unity, and builds our character. A restored love is deeper than an ‘untested love’ (Betanzos 125).

Like Dooyeweerd, Baader sees the Gegenstand-relation as giving rise to a belief in a split between soul and body. He compares theorizing to a state of sleepwalking (somnambulism) or to dreams, where our inner sense becomes detached or dissociated from our outer senses (Werke 4, 137; Susini 378). There is an entzücken [enrapture], which is also felt as ecstasy. This is a feeling of separation of body, spirit and soul; it is as if one were raised up by a charm [verzückt]; transposed to a different world [hingeruckt] or partially absent (Werke 4, 155). This state is contrary to nature; there is the danger that man may think he can be liberated from nature, from time and space (Werke 1, 265-268).

If we remain with outer senses [Anschauung], or even worse, if we carry this over to our inner sense, we cannot know the nature of either (Philosophische Schriften I, 41). Dooyeweerd makes a similar point:

Naarmate het transcendente-besef van den mensch verzwakt, verzwakt ook zijn zelf-bewustzijn en zijn vermogen de perspectivische structuur van de tijd te ervaren. (“Het Tijdsprobleem in de Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee,” Part II 1940, 209).

[To the degree that man’s understanding of the transcendent is weakened, so also is weakened his self-consciousness and his ability to experience the perspectival structure of time].

Like Dooyeweerd, Baader also emphasizes that there is a good and a bad dialectic (Weltalter 129). The negative function of our abstracting, distinguishing reason [Verstand] is only a necessary moment in our thinking function; we must then restore the concrete (Philosophische Schriften II, 217).

Baader also stresses the importance of intuition. From our initial intuition [Schauen] we move outwards in our theoretical abstraction; but we must return to this Schauen. Otherwise, our thinking becomes an enemy; it then destroys and deadens our Spirit. Bad imagination is when what is outer in a way that is contrary to law and nature itself wants to elevate itself as inner. This is a heart-killing power. (Philosophische Schriften II,75). See also heart-sucker

Therefore for Baader, the mistake in theory is not in the antithesis involved, in thought, but in failing to return to a synthesis. Dooyeweerd makes the same point. He refers to Kant’s philosophy as showing what happens when we do analysis without returning to a synthesis. He says that that Kant and his followers opposed the logical function to the other modal aspects of the integral act of thought.

The only, but fundamental, mistake in their argument was the identification of the real act with a purely psychical temporal event, which in its turn could become a ‘Gegenstand’ of the ultimate transcendental-logical ‘cogito’ (NC I, 50).

Kant’s mistake was trying to find the starting point for synthesis in the antithetical relation itself (NC I, 54). In other words, Kant took the theoretical antithesis as fundamental, and regarded the antinomies as necessary. Kant did not take into account the synthesis with the supratemporal self.

Revised Dec 27/04; Dec 24/16

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