December 28, 2009

AND SO WE SMILE:

Man Cannot Know Himself Objectively (Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Father Pat's Pastoral Ponderings, Third Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2009)

Man, however, is not a detached disembodied intellect. He can know reality only as an actor within existence, where he is a participant.

For starts, he cannot discern reality objectively, for the simple reason that he is part of it.

And he cannot know himself objectively. The notion is self-contradictory

Nor can man ultimately reduce even nature to a known independent object, for the plain reason that the consciousness of the knower is the discerning part of nature. The human being is the place where nature becomes conscious of itself.

Nor can the human knower be at all objective with respect to society, because society provides him with the interpretive language with which he reflects on it. He has no reflective cognition without that language. It is the means by which he steps into societal history as its heir and transmitter.

Above all, man cannot know God objectively, because he knows God only within the communion of God's knowing him. The objectification of the divine is arguably the essence of idolatry.

In short, man has access to reality by existing as a participatory being within it. In other words, "man is not a self-contained spectator. He is an actor, playing a part in the drama of being and, through the brute fact of his existence, committed to play it without knowing what it is" (Eric Voegelin, Israel and Revelation, 39).


At the core of Anglospheric exceptionalism lies this rejection of Copernicanism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 28, 2009 7:03 AM
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