Personal Spiritual Advice available: Uncover, recover, discover your own personal secret in writing, perhaps, to one you trust, riting with your companions in the way, writhing for joy, righting your mistakes and wrighting all you can to create a new world NOW...
Colin James Hamer (Shivananda) is an English Roman Catholic and Tantric initiate deeply committed to communicating a new spiritual vision to thinking people of good-will. As a private individual, though an ordained priest and a life-long student of yoga, he cannot say in general or universal terms what ‘Catholicism’ or ‘Tantra’ is, but is uncompromisingly forthright in spelling out what It is experienced as Being in his Life and from his point of view.
His personal statement of both metaphysical philosophy and Catholic existentialism is especially valuable and fascinating because Hamer is not only a trained masseur, psychotherapist and theologian, but also a Doctor of philosophy and an experienced transpersonal psychologist.
Voice I+N The Darkness presents the essential core of his non-linear, multi-levelled, interdisciplinary explanation of how and why he commits himself I+N The Tantric Way to Catholic Truth in the world of today.
Undoubtedly, some will be shocked by the frankness with which Colin criticises certain aspects of the institutional Church. Others will respond with warmth to his heartfelt invitation to thought, meditation, and prayer. Agnostics and atheists will welcome the sensitivity with which controverted issues of belief are surveyed at the bar of reason. Women will be touched by the absence of male chauvenism, and fascinated by his remarks on the femininity of G-d.
Voice I+N The Darkness is one of a series of volumes Neith Network Library Primordial Wisdom Collection dedicated to: Catholicism I+N Truth - Primordial Wisdom for the New Millennium. This book is a new, revised, and augmented edition of "Voice In The Darkness - An essay in contemporary Catholic existentialism," which was first published in Great Britain in 1978.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,* “Since the beginning the Christian faith has been challenged by responses to the question of origins that differ from its own.” The words I have chosen to emphasise in the authorised English and Italian translations of the still not published authentic Latin text of this important document transport us to the very heart of a dialogue, most intimate in nature and yet essentially open in character, in which I now cordially invite you freely to participate helped, I trust, rather than hindered by whatever you find written in the following pages, some of which may not always be easy to interpret.
* Geoffrey Chapman, 1994, p. 66, § 285, translated from p. 69 of the French Mame/Plon (1992): “Depuis ses débuts, la foi chrétienne a été confrontée à des réponses différentes sur la question des origines.” The Italian version, however, also incorporates an implied reference to the Eucharist: “Fin dagli inizi, la fede cristiana è stata messa a confronto con risponse diverse dalla sua circa la questione delle origini.” (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1992, p. 88.)
Nazareno Camilleri, when he was a Professor of dogmatic, ascetical and mystical theology in the Pontifical Salesian University, used to teach that in the resurrection all human bodies will, as it were, come together to form one single Person, this being a natural exigency as well as the gift of Grace. Thomas Merton maintained, indeed, that we Earthlings are already all effectively related to each other as One - even if appearances often convey a very different impression of the actual Truth. Throughout this book I have endeavoured to make plain why and to what degree I have convinced myself that both of my fellow priests have reason on their side.
Save for a very few yet by no means insignificant variations in detail the main text of the Introduction and the first six Chapters remains as it was when first published in 1978, but all of the remaining text is being published here for the first time. One hundred and thirty-three notes enhanced the value of the original text; all of these have been retained, although several have had their contents augmented to take more recent developments appropriately into account and, for a variety of reasons, many entirely new notes have been introduced with the reader's benefit always in mind.
The contexts within which truth, goodness and love are known, encountered, experienced and expressed vary enormously. The genuinely human manifests itself in changing perspectives and is pluralistic in form. Growth in authenticity takes me beyond the narrow confines of my private world into the wider horizons of the real universe.
Individuality, however, is not a motive for fear but an opportunity for mutual enrichment. Our differences can be our most powerful social bonds. Persons may differ from one another as widely as animals of totally unrelated species. It would be ridiculous for the sheep to try and walk like the dog, or for the ox to attempt to trot like the horse. I shall be content to be myself.
I have described elsewhere how I was baptised into the Roman Catholic Church when I was only one month old, brought up by a Catholic mother, and educated in Catholic institutions from primary school on through grammar school to training college and a Papal university, living for seventeen years as a member of a religious order, and for six of those exercising the ministry as an ordained priest.1
I am writing this book to explain what I mean by saying I am a Roman Catholic in the world of today. Some, I know, profess themselves members of the Church while denying or doubting such dogmas as Papal Infallibility, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and even the existence of G-d. I acknowledge that the Resurrection of Christ from the dead is the focal point in the mystery of our redemption, and recognise that the various truths of faith differ in value and importance. I admit, too, that in certain moods I do not find Catholicism comfortable. Nevertheless, I am unreservedly committed to Catholic truth.
In the words of the Roman Ritual2: “I, Colin Hamer, having before my eyes and touching with my hands the Holy Gospels, kneel down and with a firm faith believe and profess each and all the articles that are contained in the Apostles' Creed, that is: I believe in G-d, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; he descended into hell, the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of G-d, the Father Almighty; from thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
I admit and embrace most firmly the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all the other constitutions and prescriptions of the Church.
I admit the Sacred Scriptures according to the sense which has been held and which is still held by Holy Mother Church whose duty it is to judge the true sense and interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures and I shall never accept or interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.
I profess that the Sacraments of the New Law are truly and precisely seven in number, instituted for the salvation of mankind, though all are not necessary for each individual: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders and Matrimony. I profess that all confer grace and that of these Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege.
I also accept and admit the ritual of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of all the above mentioned Sacraments.
I accept and hold, in each and every part, all that has been defined and declared by the Sacred Council of Trent concerning Original Sin and Justification. I profess that in the Mass is offered to God a true, real and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; that in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist is really, truly and substantially the Body and Blood together with the soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ and that there takes place what the Church calls transubstantiation, that is the change of all the substance of bread into the Body and of all the substance of wine into the Blood. I confess also that in receiving under either of these species one receives Jesus Christ, whole and entire.
I firmly hold that Purgatory exists and that the souls detained there can be helped by the prayers of the faithful. Likewise I hold that the saints, who reign with Jesus Christ, should be venerated and invoked, that they offer prayers to G-d for us and that their relics are to be venerated.
I profess firmly that the images of Jesus Christ and of the Mother of G-d, ever Virgin, as well as of all the saints should be given due honour and veneration. I also affirm that Jesus Christ left to the Church the faculty to grant indulgences and that their use is most salutary to the Christian people. I recognise the Holy Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church as the mother and teacher of all the Churches and I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ.
Besides I accept, without hesitation, and profess all that has been handed down, defined and declared by the Sacred Canons and by the general Councils, especially by the Sacred Council of Trent and by the First Vatican General Council and in a special manner concerning the primacy and infallibility of the Roman pontiff. At the same time I condemn and reprove all that the Church has condemned and reproved. This same Catholic Faith, outside of which nobody can be saved,3 which I now freely profess and to which I truly adhere, the same I promise and swear to maintain and profess, with the help of G-d, entire, inviolate and with firm constancy until the last breath of life.”
That is an English translation of the formula of the Latin oath I was obliged to take before being admitted to the academic degrees of bachelor and licentiate of theology and of bachelor, licentiate and doctor of philosophy in the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome. The form of words underlines the personal self-involving nature of my free commitment to Roman Catholicism, and expresses the fusion within my mentality of the subjective act of religious faith and the objective definition of its doctrinal content in ecclesiastical language within the context of the official Catholic system of liturgical worship, particularly since this profession of faith was made while kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament in a consecrated church.4 Thus, in my experience religious commitment is essentially prayerful, personal, social and objective.
When I wrote to Pope Paul VI on 15th May 1970 asking him to release me from all the legal obligations of my priesthood I said: “The present use of the non-infallible forms of the ordinary magisterium, the obtaining canonical institutions for the exercise of authority in the Church, the classical theory on religious life, prayer and meditation, the legal obligation of celibacy for the ministerial priesthood within the Latin rite, and the official doctrine on the relationship between the structures of the Church as a juridical institution and its charismatic reality as a living expression of the paschal mystery, are all quite incompatible with the explicit consciousness of their Christian faith already arrived at by the more progressive Catholic theologians, although not yet officially adopted by the magisterium.”
It will be clear from this that my acceptance of the formula of faith I quoted earlier is neither the parrot-like recitation of a meaningless medley of words, nor the uncritical and childish expression of naïve beliefs inherited from the past; it is an adult act that needs to be appreciated within its proper context, which is that of the Catholic Church in the world of today.5
In my letter to His Holiness I also wrote: “I accept the doctrine of papal infallibility, but must in conscience be free to express things as I understand them in my own context and my own situation. I acknowledge the value of positive celibacy but cannot accept that any positive law can substantially limit my freedom to marry. I worship G-d, but cannot reject the world.”
G-d alone is Truth and Christ told us to call no man our master. It was not any sort of megalomania that caused me to be impressed so forcibly by Saint Paul's description of himself in the Letter to the Romans as having the duty and obligation of preaching the Good News of Jesus to educated an uneducated alike.6 As a student of theology I had regarded it as among the chief duties of every priest to share with others the light of the Gospel, and it seemed to me that the priest was able to say like Christ his Master: “The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord's year of favour.”7
In my own particular individual situation within the Salesian Congregation and the official Roman Catholic ministry I had come to feel I was not effectively free to preach Christ's Gospel and so, after much heart-searching and with considerable grief and regret, I returned to the ranks of the laity, ceased to celebrate Mass, and hoped I would be able to serve the cause of Truth in some sort of educational rôle.
I am very sensitive to the fact that education is an interpersonal process, and that today we live in what we want to be an open and pluralist society. I cannot expect anyone to take me seriously when I write in favour of traditional Catholic tenets and values, unless I can show I have a genuinely open attitude towards the contemporary world, and unless I am prepared to lay on one side the mystifications of any so-called privileged status, and present myself simply as a human being living a life of pilgrimage and quest.
My truth may be another's fiction, my view of history some readers may dismiss as prejudice and legend, and all my claims to objectivity may be tainted with subjectivism. No doubt I am biased, and certainly I have my own presuppositions. However, others, if not myself, may be safeguarded against these to some extent by knowing in advance what they are, and whence they derive. I have mentioned that my mother was Catholic, and I remain orthodox in my faith, though my interpretation of some doctrines may seem highly personal. The account I wish to give of my position will be as frank and honest as I can make it, but I cannot promise it will be either short or simple.
As Sigmund Freud remarked, we may love simplicity if we like. But this will not solve any of our problems for us. We have to make up our minds at the outset to accept the fact of complicated relations. We need to be humble and put sympathies and antipathies in the background, if we wish to learn to know about reality.
Just as total openness to the gift of G-d's love requires a readiness to give a welcome to truth wherever it is to be found, so it spontaneously awakens a felt need to refine my personal sensitivity to all aspects of the concrete reality in which such truth is expressed.
Carl Rogers has offered a marvellous example. Samuel Tenenbaum has described his seminars as being, typically, totally unstructured: “At no moment did anyone know, not even the instructor, what the next moment would bring forth in the classroom, what subjects would come up for discussion, what questions would be raised, what personal needs, feelings and emotions aired. Rogers in a friendly, relaxed way, sat down with the students around a large table and said it would be nice if we stated our purpose and introduced ourselves. There ensued a strained silence. Finally one student timidly raised his hand and spoke, then another. Thereafter, the hands rose more rapidly. At no time did the instructor urge any student to speak. Afterwards, he informed the class that he had brought with him quantities of materials - reprints, brochures, articles, books; he handed out a bibliography. At no time did he indicated that he expected students to read or do anything else. The classroom proceedings seemed to lack continuity and direction. The instructor received every contribution with attention and regard. He did not find any student's contribution in order or out of order. The members of the group felt joined together. They had communicated as never before. The instructor took many blows. Many times he appeared to be shaken. We all looked to Rogers and Rogers looked to us.”8
The emphasis in this approach is on sharing. Thomas Merton said: “What truly matters is not how to get the most out of life, but how to recollect yourself so that you can fully give yourself.” And an English Benedictine priest friend of mine has written: “Perhaps one is fulfilled only by walking a tight-rope over an abyss of nothingness and futility? And love might be simply a contact made across that abyss - but not a support to stop one falling (nor a hook to draw the Other to one's own side).”
My religious faith is too intimate and personal for me to write about it in purely objective terms, and I would see little value in anybody's reading this book with totally dispassionate detachment. In a sense, then, I am an existentialist.
The existentialist attempt to philosophise from the standpoint of the actor, instead of from that of the detached spectator is not new. The joy which art can arouse and has aroused from the earliest times owes its existence to the satisfaction afforded and yet denied by the overwhelming realisation of the irrationality of the universe in process, of its variegated splendour full of charms, its irreducible tragic antitheses, its variety of occasions - the joy of known contradiction.
Greek tragedy was a fantastic expression of the contradictions of reality. Gorgias, the sophists, translated into strict logical reasoning the Greek tradegians' appreciation that they knew no universal formula for good living, that deception had its advantages, that speech was not the neutral expression of some pre-existing generally accepted truth, but the magical, violent, persuasive creation of a possibly deceptive social reality.9 The sophists felt that it was deception which transformed our otherwise disconnected knowledge into a knowledge which creates or discloses links and relationships. For them, the difference between such knowledge and a merely erroneous opinion is the passive acceptance by opinion of alleged synthetic connections, whereas knowledge is a dynamic force translating thought into action.10 Knowledge is the achievement of a mind capable of listening to the innumerable voices of sorrow and joy, of a heart capable of experiencing the innumerable emotions of human being.
A similarly existentialist approach was characteristic of Job in the Old Testament. It found expression in Socrates' call to self-knowledge, and in his attitude towards death and immortality in the Apology and the Phaedo. I discovered it again in the Confessions of Augustine,11 who wrestled with his own temptations to succumb to dread, anguish and despair. Bernard of Clairveaux's cruel crusade against Abelard also gave testimony to his existential concern for what he regarded as Catholic truth. Pascal's later onslaught on rationalism was in the same tradition.12
Pascal believed that though ostensibly absorbed in external affairs men never really thought they could achieve happiness by their way of acting; nevertheless, they allowed their ‘practical’ activities to serve as distractions from attending to their own personal condition, from thinking seriously about the fundamental meaning of life. Because such serious inquiry might prove difficult or engender sadness, men used dissipation or divertissement as an excuse for this refusal to consider reality as they needed to.
Thus, Pascal believed the fundamental task of philosophy was to discern the goal of human life. He did not praise those who tried to do this in an abstract and detached way, but only those who set about this task in anguish and in a way that expressed deep, personal involvement.
He never tried to construct objectively grounded metaphysical arguments, but sought to indicate a path that everyone could take. Reason, by which he meant the rationalistic, a priori, deductivist esprit de géométrie, was of little use in dealing with the philosophical problems of living, in striving to discover man's intended destiny.
Pascal preferred to rely on what he called the heart, human consciousness taken as a whole, not just intellect, but affection, instinct, will. He claimed that the heart had reasons which reason could not grasp. His method of appeal to the heart he called l'esprit de finesse; it resembles connoisseurship, or what Polanyi calls subsidiarily conscious integrating intelligence.13
This gives knowledge of what cannot be proved, but of what the real man of flesh and blood experiences as certain - things regarding eloquence, morality, sound philosophy. Only the heart can overcome scepticism and provide access to first principles. The heart, too, prepares the way for conversion to a living religious faith, though actual conversion remains the work of G-d alone.
The titular founder of the existentialist movement in contemporary philosophy is Kierkegaard. He regarded the objective thinking of logic, mathematics and the natural sciences as being unsuitable for philosophical and religious purposes. Objective thinking was the work of pure reason, independent of faith, and did not involve the personality or freedom of the subject.14 It was impersonal, abstract, universally communicable, imbedded in a tissue of logical necessities, a stranger to the anxieties, tensions and hazards of human freedom. It steered clear of self-contradiction and offered a systematic account of everything, reducing everything to a deduction from a few leading principles.15 Such thinking could not master the concrete antinomies of reality, nor the freedom that constituted the originality of each individual. It did not give the subject his truth, the truth he could freely accept as his own.16
The subjective and existential method, by contrast, gave access to truth to the whole person, illuminated by faith, with all his conscious activities, with his freedom. This method was personal, incommunicable, free, subject to anxiety, precarious, fearful, a mysterious awakening to the contradictions of reality which baffled the human mind. Reality might be completely intelligible to G-d, but it was not to be systematised in any human reference-frame or set of reference-frames.
Kierkegaard saw faith as the peak-point of subjective thinking, not an intellectual act merely, but a relationship of the person's whole being, and especially of his freedom, towards G-d. Faith was not the logically necessary conclusion of certain abstract premisses. It was not logically justifiable at all. Faith was a move made in anguish, with fear and trembling, an act which was unique, out of the ordinary, the foundation of any genuinely human personality, a personal and free gift bestowed by a personal and Transcendent G-d.
Existentialists generally stressed the part of emotional motivations in philosophic speculation. They insisted that the realm of objective truth fell within the dynamic totality of subjective truth, not vice versa. The philosopher's task was not merely to clarify the ultimate choice that everyone was making in any case. Philosophers tried to entice others to make a wiser choice, to leave behind their inauthentic mode of existence, to become more genuinely human. At the same time they tried to persuade people to accept a certain view of what counted as wisdom and of what it meant to be authentically human.
The Christian philosopher Maurice Blondel shared this aim, and tried to show that Catholicism answered the problems set by our human condition. He argued that all human beings by their very way of acting are already necessarily asking and implicitly somehow answering the question of their life and destiny, whether or not they do any explicit philosophising. In the concrete, it is in terms of action that each man gives a personal answer to the metaphysical question. He does this by the totality of his movement towards fulfilment or frustration.
In analysing the structure of action Blondel pointed out that all man's relatively superficial, individual decisions or acts of choice were motivated by, and were very imperfect expressions of the dynamic tension of his whole being towards a certain ideal, destiny or state of salvation, which, for both objective and subjective reasons, he could never actually attain by natural means. He could not find anything to bring him complete satisfaction either in himself or in what he produced, so that if anything was capable of satisfying him, he lacked the strength to attain it.
Blondel suggested that this dynamism of action required the objective existence of the Infinitely Good G-d, and also the subjective possession of some more-than-natural help to enable man to reach G-d. To the extent that such a philosophy opened man to a Christian viewpoint, Blondel felt it might be legitimately considered a Christian philosophy.
Maréchal was a Jesuit thinker inspired by Blondel. In The Starting-Point of Metaphysics he tried to find a method of clarifying the ontological, absolute and unconditional value of human knowing. He felt that in the affirmative judgment of fact, such as the minimal judgment “a question is being asked,” the mind was referring subjective, mental, immanent notions to an objective, extra-mental, transcendent reality. His problem was to show how such acts of affirmation had absolute, ontological value, as distinct from their apparent subjective and psychological weight. He tried to establish this real, ontological value of knowing by means of a subtle analysis of its a priori conditions of possibility.
While Kant's Critique of Pure Reason had regarded a certain set of static categories as the ultimate a priori element in knowledge, Maréchal sought this a priori element in the dynamic orientation towards being of intellectual activity itself. Thus, by a deepening development of Kant's own method he arrived at conclusions diametrically opposed to the Kantian position.
Maréchal's work has been taken a stage further in recent years by another Jesuit philosopher, Coreth, whose line of argument I find attractive:17
Since childhood I have been engaged in the very human performance of questioning. Such questioning has expressed itself now as one question, now as another, with the emphasis depending on this or that aspect, according as I involved myself in any particular one among a variety of worlds of discourse, situated my question in a sometimes more and sometimes less restricted horizon, patterned my experience according to my mood and circumstances in harmony with my instinctual needs, or my aesthetic taste, or my intellectual demands, or my dramatic sense, or my mystical yearnings. However, at the heart of each and every one of these different questions, different emphases, different worlds of discourse, different horizons, and different patternings of my experience, I always experience the uniquely self-identical personal act of questioning itself.
The empirical givenness of my questioning is, it is important to note, an experience about which I have no doubt. For to doubt the reality of my questioning would be to engage myself in the experiential and conscious performance of asking whether questioning occurs. The necessary and at once the sufficient condition of the possibility of doubting the reality of my questioning is the occurrence of questioning itself. That questioning occurs cannot be doubted without self-contradiction, and cannot be denied by any person of intelligence, since to be intelligent is to experience the urge to grasp the many as one, to wonder how this and that are related.
Theoretically, at any rate, the most basic question that underpins all man's further questioning is this: why does questioning occur?
This question of why questioning occurs is quite distinct from the question of why I ask this or that particular question. In asking why questioning occurs, I am not asking why I asked the way to Rome. Information about the topography and amenities of Rome and my own location and circumstances at the time will, no doubt, shed light on the matter of my asking the way to Rome, but, important and interesting though it may be, such information does not absolve me from my quest for a personally satisfying answer to release my mind from the conscious tension experienced in the question, which is totally open and certainly real, why does questioning occur. Why does it?
Sense experience, however ecstatic, yields no answer to this one. It is true that there is nothing in my mind save what comes to me in sense experience. However, the emptiness of a mind deprived of sense experience is not remedied by the acquisition of sense experience, but merely re-emerges as the disenchanted emptiness of a mind fed on sense experience alone. My mind does not hunger only to experience, but to experience its own growth in understanding, to live its own life, to digest and transform experience into itself. In other words, the mind that is empty is a hungry stomach rather than merely an empty box. It feels its own emptiness. This emptiness, prior to and independent of all sense experience, is the basic need to know why I experience my basic need to know. Why does questioning occur? There is, in my experience, nothing abstract about this question: It is concrete, immediate, personal and existential.
This question of why my questioning occurs is a disguised form of the question: how does my questioning occur in the way it does? It follows that before I can tackle it, I have to get clear about the way in why my questioning does occur. Very briefly, my questioning occurs in my personal striving to go beyond an already known to an unknown that I am striving to know.
Knowledge is always this process of asking and answering questions. At each stage of this process I may distinguish the known, i.e., the range of questions I can raise and answer; the known unknown, i.e., the range of questions I can raise, find significant, find possible ways of solving but, in fact, cannot as yet answer; the unknown unknown, i.e., the range of questions that I do not and, in fact, cannot raise clearly as they lack significance for and are literally meaningless to me, because, even if they are still within my basic horizon as a questioner, they are beyond the horizon at present relative to my psychological, sociological and cultural development.
Basically what I already know is my immediately experienced, concrete, personal, consciously intelligent, rational and responsible actual performance, viz., my questioning, or me in my questioning. What I don't know is the reality my questioning is trying to unify intelligently and intelligibly, viz., the unknown, and my consciously as yet unexplained and unjustified but intelligent striving in my questioning to identify myself with that unknown in a personally satisfying way.
For, when I am questioning, my questioning is an immediate experience not a theoretical assumption, just as my instinctual needs are not theoretical assumptions; my questioning is a concrete, not an abstract fact; it is personal, because it is my questioning; it is conscious, not unconscious; it is intelligent, not stupid, since I am questioning, instead of pretending to already know the answer; it is rational, because I am aware that only by entering more deeply into my real and personal experience of questioning can I grope towards any evidently justified hope of some final solution; it is responsible, since I realise that I would be untrue to my own experience as a questioner if I accepted anything less than real evidence as the basis for my personal answer, or if I tried to dodge the issue by losing myself in the details of some less central and more transitory merely particular question.
Similarly, Coreth argues, the unknown in question is real, since I am not just verbalising a grammatical question parrot-fashion, but consciously and intelligently involving myself in a real quest, and if the unknown were not real, such a quest would not be intelligent. The unknown is something or someone the whole weight of my questioning is striving to identify with, because otherwise, even if the unknown were real, I should not be concerned to give myself to such questioning. This unknown reality is already present to me as unknown, because my conscious striving to identify with it is not only intelligent in the abstract, but intelligent in my own personal concrete experience, so that it is justified in fact, even though the grounds of that justification remain obscure. If I ask G-d in prayer: “Who are you, Lord?” I hear at least the reply: “I am the answer to that.”
Thus, I know the fact that my questioning is truly justified, but I do not understand why it is justified, and for this reason I persist in my questioning. I know it is justified by the existential and obscure presence at the heart of my questioning of an unknown reality. Thus, without knowing why, I experience directly that in that unknown reality I love, and move, and have being.
Coreth acknowledges that, like my questions about G-d, my answers about G-d are no more than aspects of my own interior reality, but in my question I am questioning, and such questioning is interpersonal not private; it is to G-d as the ontic ground and raison d'être of that very questioning itself.
Miguel de Unamuno's philosophising was no less existential, but his self-confidence found its expression in quite a different way. Where the Austrian professor is methodical and architectonic, the Spaniard was original, individualistic, egoistic, agonised, fierce, strong, bitter, sincere, fascinating, sadistic, stony, problematic and passionate.18 His motto was: Let me suffer, but don't let me die; his problem - immortality. His philosophical programme was to shake up, agitate, stimulate, arouse, perturb and unsettle. He conceived it as his mission to arouse the sleeper. Refusing to be pinned down by the shadowy, scientific, logical style of argument in general favour among philosophers at that time, he preferred the unsettling, illuminating, dialectical method of self-contradiction. He regarded all explanations as, at best, post factum justifications for a fait accompli, the expression of man's resolve to give a human purpose to an otherwise senseless history.
Unamuno claimed man does not discover finality and purpose; he creates it. There is no blueprint for living, but full spontaneity. To be is to be free. To make a plan for oneself, to work out a way of life, is to become enslaved to the no longer existent past, to be no longer genuine. Each one is what he makes himself. What matters is not what a man is, but what he wants to be. Action is free, self-sufficient, autonomous.
Man is by choosing how to act, by his projects. He has no fixed nature, and existence precedes essence. Doctrines are never the foundation of action but only subsequently invented justificatory explanations; and motives are mere pretexts. Since man is essentially dynamic, stability is out of the question. Choice is doomed to self-frustration, since every choice annuls its predecessor. Life is a perennial suicide, a series of reincarnations, a flow of deaths which are abortive births. The soul is a cemetery.
Yet man must choose, since even to make no choice is itself a choice. Whatever man chooses in the fleeting moment of his choice is doomed to a tragic end. Moment by moment the present time annihilates the past, while equally it blocks off the future. A further tragedy of action is that the realisation of any project is a catharsis that destroys desire, and so destroys being, since man's being is nothing other than desire.
To be is to desire to be. To desire to be is to desire not to die. This is man's longing for immortality, for the unending continuation in time of his own selfhood. It is pointless to ask why man experiences this desire to be immortal. This is the root of everything.
It is cowardice to evade the issue of immortality by escaping into sociology, politics or aesthetics. Scientific specialisation is also dehumanising. To settle down to be a good European would be to prove false to one's vocation to be a human being. To treat life as a game, a play, an idle show, is to dodge the issue. To seek a substitute for immortality by having children to perpetuate one's name is merely to postpone and re-raise the question. It is death, not life, that marriage makes immortal. Neither can fame, celebrity, nor a high reputation purchase immortality. A man's fame cannot survive his death, since without him it could not be “his.”
Unamuno felt that religious faith, man's desire for G-d, should be seen as the expression of his immanent urge towards immortal, personal self-affirmation. This is the meaning of his dynamic tension towards a life of eternal union with G-d, his desire that G-d should exist. Catholic theology is a ruinous attempt to rationalise this faith, instead of recognising that faith is irrational, and that reason as such is hardly worthy of a moment's notice.
Reason, for instance, proves that man's soul is mortal, claims Unamuno, since the soul's activity, which is its being, depends on a very obviously mortal body of corruptible flesh. The true believer, however, will join Tertullian in his irrationalism, and claim that the soul's immortality is a certainty, precisely because it is objectively impossible.
The underlying attitude is that ideas must give way to life. The supreme law is humility and sincerity. Truth is all that fosters life; falsehood is all that stifles it. Truth comes from life and is for life. Action is the criterion and, indeed, the creation of truth. Spontaneity and the freedom to contradict oneself and to be irrational need to be defended against the inroads of self-identity, coherence, play-acting, hypocrisy, logic and rationalism.
However, as reason needs faith, without which there is no life, so faith and life need reason, without which there is no communication. If reason by iself is sheer insanity, faith taken alone would be sentimental madness. Contradiction is the substance of life. Too many people are still asleep in their dogmatic slumbers. To live in peace is sheer horror and absurdity. Unamuno wanted war. To be at peace with others he would have regarded as hypocrisy and cowardice. There is no greater way of loving both oneself and others than that of fighting a war against oneself and them. Man needs to enjoy the struggle for its own sake, not because of any hope of victory. Man's vocation is that of the explorer who knows he will never discover anything, but cannot renounce his burning desire to find something, because, without this desire, he cannot live.
Unamuno took human consciousness to be some sort of spiritual kinaesthetic sense. It was a general sense of one's own self-awareness. It was will. It was love. It was a flow of thoughts, feelings and affections. It was also suffering, sorrow, anguish, division, hypocrisy and self-deception. Just as no mirror could reflect itself, consciousness was never of itself, the subject as subject, but only of its objects, the non-conscious real objects or the abstract objectifications of itself or them. Thus, consciousness, which strove to be everything, wished to be infinite, yearned for immortality, could only exist for itself by admitting into its presence some non-conscious object as a limit to itself. Consciousness could only transcend this limitation in Unamuno's view by eliminating its object, but then it was conscious of nothing. Full self-awareness seemed to be complete emptiness.
In this dialectic of his growth in consciousness man, as a being in and about the world, progressively made the world his environment, while the world progressively made man what he was. Tools stood at the meeting of the world of external objects with the interior world of the self. Tools brought together matter and purpose. Tools both extended the self and provided a way towards its fuller realisation. Indeed, the idea of “mine” with reference to one's tools paved the way for the emergence of the notion of “I.”
For Unamuno self-awareness was not a pleasant experience. The realisation that the not-self was non-conscious, opaque thinghood, and that the apparent purposefulness of tools was merely a fiction of man's own devising, made the self terribly lonely and solitary.
Unamuno found that social life did not cure such loneliness. It multiplied it. It emptied men of their true selves. And yet it alone made possible that dialogue without which men could not exist.19 Without social life, man was mere earth or, at most, a vegetable. It was by throwing themselves against each other in society that men learned to penetrate themselves and so become conscious of themselves. If, instead, they conformed to other people's expectations, they betrayed themselves, becoming ciphers and empty masks. Society alone formed the authentic personality, but also could easily destroy it.
The only authentic human action for Unamuno is, therefore, social action and, in fact, speech. External action is fiction. What really matters in words are tone, expression, sound and movement - not sense nor static content. Rational communication is the prostitution of talking. Talking for talking's sake is the ideal, not talking in order to say something definite. To talk means to wish, and so to feel, and hence to think, which is to speak, in other words, to make oneself. Man makes himself by talking, talking to himself and others and to G-d, if he can find him. To talk together is to live together, to feel together, to understand one another. Words are the visions in terms of which men apprehend reality.
Reality is illusion, dream and nothingness. Fiction is the only real fact. History is legend and romance. All is merely nothing. Men are such stuff as dreams are made of.20
This reality of nothingness and dreams, which would have otherwise been impersonal and opaque, was rendered conscious and alive for Unamuno by the free play of his imagination.21 Great imagination to him meant great love. Love was the mainspring of life. It was the centrifugal expanding explosion that turned Don Quixote's windmills into giants. Don Quixote was not dead, Unamuno exclaimed (and I like to feel that every Spaniard agreed with him), but was alive and real: Fiction is more real than fact - “Give us your madness, our eternal Don Quixote!”
Such was Unamuno's faith. The loving way of life was for him fantastic, creative, poetic, imaginative experience. It was faith, confidence, trust, hope, pity, desire, self-affirmation. He invited everyone to live in such a way as to earn immortality.
However, the faith he recommended was hermaphrodite. Masculine faith, the aggressive urge to believe, was self-dissolving by itself, and needed to be linked with a passive aspect, grace, faith as gift, the feeling of pity enlarged to become compassion.
Having noted Unamuno's concern for immortality, let me consider further the reality of death. What do we know about it? Nothing. Shakespeare had some interesting things to say about the moment of life that comes before death, but even he revealed no secrets about death itself.22
It is very hard to imagine nothing at all, and absolute nothingness seems quite central to the notion of really dying. Dying is like loving, in that it involves my complete surrender. It is total self-giving. It is an unconditional and unrestricted personal act of self-abandonment. It is the supreme expression of unlimited trust, the ultimate test of the authenticity of my claim to personal freedom. Only in the mystery of my dying can I achieve total freedom, and only then, if I am prepared to have the courage to be free, to take the whole of my life in my own hands, and in that same moment to release my hold on it.
At present my death remains only a possibility, but it is a real possibility. Even if some advance in technology take away from death its present seeming inevitability, it will still remain concretely possible for each individual person. Dying, therefore, is something to do; only secondarily is it something to think about. Death is not an event that approaches me from the outside. It is my final possibility, my ultimate achievement or my ultimate frustration, the total disclosure of my personal freedom.
As a Christian I hope my faith in resurrection will enable me to conquer death by genuinely accepting it in a spirit of love. I, therefore, can look forward to my dying as the accomplishment of eternal life in Christ my saviour. My hope of eternal life in Christ is sincere in the precise measure that it leads me to freely embrace my own death now as an ever impending existential possibility. Christian living as being-towards-death is the existential trust that constitutes salvation history, the story of the encounter between G-d and man in Jesus Christ, who holds the key to my personal secret.
Others may prefer to seek salvation in sex, and today there is a desperate struggle to make sex meaningful, but this is not the answer. Sexual integration has always been hazardous. Some societies seem to have needed recurrent orgies to provide an outlet for vital energies otherwise insufficiently expressed. The Roman ogies involved a great deal of violence and strong guilt feelings. Mediæval orgies reflected the theological neuroses of the period, as did the witchcraft trials. During the Renaissance interest in orgies was rather superficial, and it has remained ambiguous ever since. Even if they provide relief from tensions caused by sexual abstinence, and arouse by contrast some sort of appetite for the humdrum temperances which are such a large feature of conventional social life, they are never a really satisfactory solution to the problem of human integration. The Greek ogies alone were pleasantly realistic in conception, but even Greek civilisation failed to solve the human question. The sexual revolution needs more than an ogy, and society needs more than a sexual revolution.
Of course, every revolution is indecent. Revolutionary speech is defiant, not just because it is forbidden, but because it quite scandalously insists on uncovering what has been forgotten and wrapped up in respectability. Revolutionary speech denounces all sorts of hypocrisy and self-deception. It aspires to abolish the gap between violence in action and violence in words. For the revolutionary, as for Unamuno, words are deeds. The revolutionary makes us aware of our secret aspirations, helps us to understand the hidden dynamic of the historical process in which we are living, urges us to contemplate critically the situation in which it is our vocation actively to involve ourselves. Revolutions call us to commit ourselves to existential truth.
Victor Hugo believed that revolution has two slopes, ascending and descending, and that on those slopes they bore all seasons, from ice to flowers. Each segment of those slopes produced men adapted to its climate, from those who lived in sunlight to those who lived in lightning. He felt the uncanny strength of those vertiginous words which sometimes, unknown even to the person who has uttered them, had the fateful accent of revolutions, words after which material facts suddenly seemed to have a find of dissatisfaction and passion, as if they had taken umbrage at the things that had just been heard; what happened seemed to have been angered by what was said; catastrophes occurred, furious and as though exasperated by the words of men. In such a way a voice on a mountainside was sometimes enough to set off an avalanche. One word too many might be followed by a landslide.
I believe that only the mystery revealed in death can usher in a really genuine revolution. Only death can realise man's Utopian hope, make possible an unreservedly total change of system, and satisfy his penchant for taking the most painful extreme.
In Saint John's First Letter we read: “Don't love the old order or the things which keep it going. If anyone loves the old order it is not the Father's Love that's in him. For everything that's in the old order - the hankering for physical comforts, the hankering for material things, the emphasis on status - is not from the Father, but from the old order itself. And the old order, with its hankerings, is collapsing, but he who lives by the will of G-d moves into the New Age.”
Then comes the punch line, the revolutionary declaration that in Christ death is Life, while outside his life is Death: “Don't be surprised, brothers, if the old order hates your guts. We ourselves are convinced that we have switched from death to Life because we love the brothers. The man with no love still lives in death country. The brother hater is a man-killer, and you know that no man-killer has spiritual life residing in him.”23
While technologically oriented futurologists are struggling to perpetuate life by eliminating death, Christian love inspires the fantastic celebration of a future generous enough to embrace death itself into the very heart of community living. Authentic fullness of life is the ecstatic acceptance of being-towards-death. Death is the ultimate in revolution. As soon as we recognise our living as being-towards-death there is no more Jew nor Gentile, no more male nor female, no more slave nor free, but we are all one. Unity is better than orgy.
The orgy makes no real difference to society. It is an empty dream, a pointless exercise in repressive desublimation that domesticates revolutionary protest and betrays it with a kiss. My quest instead is for what unites human beings precisely as human. I believe that only in the context of a persistent search for the genuine community of all mankind can I hope to solve the question of my own personal survival and fulfilment. To cling to things is to be a slave; not to commit oneself to persons as absolute values is to be less than human.
The immediate need is not that we should begin to renounce the worst and choose the best; we have to improve a situation that is always ambiguous. As a Catholic I wish to involve myself in whatever happens to be my situation in a spirit of fidelity, trust and love. I regard the Church as ideally a fully human community - the community of those whose trustful living-towards-death transcends instead of repressing the tone, excitement and dynamism of human sexuality in climax. With such a resurrection in Catholic life, opium and LSD need no longer be the religion of the people.
Death is the law of human living, and in Catholic practice this law is not set aside, but brought to perfection in a fulfilment that annihilates it merely as law, by sublating it in a continuity which is revolutionary. The resurrection of the body does not make the body immortal, but to live in a risen body is to be totally and permanently dispossessed of one's body. In my risen life I am bodying so fully that I am quite without a body. Being everything, I have nothing. By dying in trust I do not escape the law of death, but I bring it to its transcendent fulfilment in a cosmic bodying that is eternal delight in the divine comedy of creative chaos and eternal praise of the divine mystery revealed in Christ, who spoke in Jerusalem of the temple of his body and of the fulfilment of the law, which, as his enemies realised, required his death.
Christian faith can allow us to accept emotional insecurity and physical death in a spirit of obedience to the heavenly Father's mysterious will and of supernatural love for all persons. Hope of resurrection will not nullify the dread of crucifixion, but it can justify it, and thereby transmute natural anxiety into Christian joy. In the midst of all her troubles Saint Theresa of Lisieux could say: “Lord, in all that you do, you fill me with joy.”
Such joy was the quest of the well known French existentialist philosopher and playwright, Gabriel Marcel.24
His fundamental distinction was between the objective and the subjective method or method of participation. Being was not to be considered as impersonal, objective and problematic, but was a personal mystery in which each was called to participate as subject.
By the object Marcel meant known truth, philosophy as something separate from the conscious dynamism of the subject, separate from his love. The object was something one “had,” rather than something one “was.” The object was universal, anonymous, the same for all, verifiable by all, communicable, even when it was problematic or doubtful, the achievement of humanity rather than of the individual person.
On the other hand, mystery was so involved in and bound up with the philosopher's personal, conscious living as to be quite inseparable from him; he “was” it, rather than “had” it. Mystery was intimate. It could not be expressed in abstract formulae nor understood apart from the subject. It belonged to his love. It was personal and unique, and, like the life of the philosopher of which it was an important dimension, it was incommunicable, unverifiable, yet indubitable, because it was metaproblematic, i.e., it entirely transcended the order of things in which problems arise.
Mystery was not known by looking on as a detached spectator, but by active self-involvement, by touching, contemplating, recollecting, communing with. For Marcel philosophy was the historical genesis of existential intellectual and emotional self-consciousness. Knowledge in the real sense, he might have affirmed with Rahner, is the being-present-to-itself of being, which being-present-to-itself is the being of any existent.25
The word “being” used as a noun has long been the focus of philosophical attention, and one could even claim that existentialism is simply an attempt to manifest the implications of the word's really having primarily a verbal force.
In ancient Greek times Parmenides took the noun to be both transcendent and univocal in meaning, concluding in the teeth of all apparent evidence to the contrary that there was only one, eternally unchanging reality, viz., being. Because, among other things, Aristotle thought of qualities such as wisdom as being realities of an essentially different category from substances such as himself, though he believed that both qualities and substances were beings, he decided rightly that “being” was not the name of a genus, and wrongly that it was an occasionally equivocal term.
In mediæval times Scotus suggested that “being” strictly and univocally meant “existing”; what existed might be authentic, valuable and integrated in nature, but all this was incidental to its being. “Being,” in other words, meant de-essenced existence, and could be predicated only materially but never formally of truth, goodness, unity and essence, so that it was a univocal but not a transcendent notion. Since, if truth, goodness, unity and essence are anything, they have to be being, Scotus's thinking, although ingenious, is wrong-headed.
Scotus had been a Franciscan friar, and in the sixteenth century a Jesuit priest proposed an alternative though, as it proved, an equally misguided theory. Suarez's view was subtle and complex, and emphasised the substantial meaning of “being” where Scotus has stressed its verbal force. “Being,” in other words, was de-existenced essence, and was a logically univocal notion, since though it was predicated of different beings, it was predicated of their differences as beings and not as differences; on the other hand, since the divinity of Christ, the substance of bread, and the appearance of bread are not beings in the same sense (G-d is self-existing, bread exists only if G-d so wills, and the appearances of bread exist only if bread exists or G-d intervenes to maintain them in being independently of the bread), the notion of “being” was regarded by Suarez as ontologically analogous by analogy of intrinsic attribution with regard to these major divisions of being. Obviously such casuistry would do little credit to anyone today trying to persuade a non-Catholic of the credibility of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. To me, at any rate, it is clear that if there ever are real differences, they are ipso facto differences in being.
Catholics, however, have no monopoly of this discussion. In modern times Hegel has favoured a univocal notion of “being” while admitting the reality of differences, but to make his notion universal in extension he was forced to pay the heavy price of leaving it with a zero comprehension, so that it really is the notion of precisely nothing.
Cajetan, a Dominican theologian who wrote commentaries on the works of Saint Thomas Aquinas, suggested that “being” meant different essences with proportionally similar relations to their act of being. This I believe to be true, but the facts need to be explained, and the precise problem is that of how the notion of “being” can carry this sort of meaning. Aquinas himself does not have26 but seems to deserve the last word on this point.
Being is that which exists in some way or other, in a certain mode, according to a certain nature, essence or quiddity. “Being” as a noun signifies essence and implies existence; as a present participle it signifies existence and implies essence. Essence is that in virtue of which a thing is what it is; the act of being is the intrinsic ground or raison d'être in virtue of which it is and ex-sists.
Perhaps such semantic problems can never be entirely avoided, but they leave me unsatisfied. My need is to move from the existentialistic to the existential, from the ontological theory of the world to the ontic reality of the world of common sense, from a theoretical erklären of thematic questions to their dramatic verstehen embodied in a commitment that is vécu, from explicit theorising about life to the historical appreciation of the concrete living out of man's sometimes rather implicit faith. Hence, my existential interest in Marcel.
Man, he says, is a mystery; he is unified, central, emergent being. He is in a situation, embodied in a given way in space-time and in reality as a whole. In this sense he exists, i.e., he belongs to the world of fact. Man also is said to be; he is, to the extent that he is free, because, although he cannot create, he is not determined. In other words, although man is always embodied in a situation (a situation which is individual, unrepeatable and incommunicable) he cannot be reduced to this situation; if it is a restriction, it is also an opportunity. Man can freely take it upon himself to follow his vocation, to accept the call that comes to him from the value embodied in his situation, and which is audible whenever a man is genuinely recollected.
To correspond with a vocation in this way is to commit oneself to testify to the truth of the correlative value, and to give a positive meaning to one's life in this way is to find salvation. Fidelity to vocation consists in renewing, reviewing and possibly transforming the creative choice of a world of being that transcends the flux of change.
The supreme vocation is that of love. Love can only be known by loving. It presupposes being at the disposal of the beloved. It is the reciprocal will of an absolute donation of oneself creative of an ontological communion. To love is to take delight in another person's company and to will that person's healthy development as one wills one's own. Love reveals not only its own nature, but that of personal, free and permanent selfhood. It brings about the emergence of the “I,” the “you,” and the “we,” the transition from the impersonal and objective “he” or “one.”27 Fidelity in love implies continual renewal, but because love is between persons, not abstractions, it fixes our attention, and true love is not destroyed even if we find our idea of the loved one was completely and entirely false. There is no real self-knowledge without love. Only in relation to a “you” is the “I” known as subject, wrongly taken to be an object, or known at all. Personality is the essential mystery.28
In the context of Marcel's emphasis on the place of interpersonal relations in the growth of love and self-knowledge, I want to mention how a loose-leaf file divided into nine sections may be kept as a sort of expanding diary. The format allows one to write in it as and when one wishes, possibly keeping some matters entirely private, showing others only to an intimate, and sharing the journal wholly or partly with a circle of friends, either by posting sections to them, perhaps on an exchange basis, or by meeting together in groups to read over the diary. The whole process takes place in an existential situation, so that the past never determines the present options, and each one has total freedom at all times to do as he decides.
The daily log is simply a record of each day's lived experience. I feel the direct and spontaneous expression of one's personal response to situations is even more valuable than any sort of objective description or summary analysis.
The period logs charts and explores the main phases of each one's pilgrimage, wanderings, drifting about or being swept along in life by the tide of events. In my own experience the events of my first day at primary school, my reception of the sacrament of Confirmation, my first holiday away from my parents, and a spiritual retreat at the age of sixteen are so many mile-stones in my life. With regard to any such event we can say that what preceded it is past in some sense in which what followed is more a part of our spiritual present. It can be helpful to become aware of the various themes and stages in one's own life process.
The third section records dialogues with persons - how I talk with and listen to others, what phrases I use habitually, how my way of interacting with Mary or John differs from the conversations I hold with Harry or Susan, my children, the dentist, a shopkeeper, or a friend or enemy of long standing. I may not record every conversation in full, but some fairly complete transcripts may prove useful, entertaining or enlightening - bearing in mind Unamuno's claim that what is said does not matter, but that it is said and how it is said.
“Dialogues” with work have another section to themselves. How I feel about washing-up, driving, writing, working in the factory, checking accounts, delivering milk, or whatever. It is not merely how I regard the specific task, but also what response it evokes in me, how I operate in that particular rôle, to what extent I identify with my behaviour in that setting, how fully I feel alive in this or that situation.
There are also dialogues with events, be these such private occurrences as passing a driving test, having a birthday, or suffering from a bout of toothache, or public occasions like the State opening of parliament or the unveiling of a statue in the school grounds. Here again there are personal attitudes of interest or indifference to be explored and expressed.
Dialogues, too, with one's own body. I may see myself today as beautiful, but yesterday I felt ugly. In the summer I am strong, but in the autumn weak. Perhaps I would prefer to be of the opposite sex, and I would certainly love to be handled and treated differently than I am. Driving makes my feet sore, and waiting my turn in the post-office gives me a pain in the neck. Each has his own internal conversation with his body, and the lull in that conversation can be significant as well.
The seventh section is for my group experiences. How I feel about myself and others and what I experience in morning assembly, the class-room, the chapel, an encounter group, during group therapy, at a conference with my peers, travelling by underground, in a dance-hall or a swimming-pool.
The section for dreams and fancies will contain what I remember of my dreams and day-dreams, together with my pipe dreams, private musings, hallucinations and communicable aspects of mystical experience.
The final section is for enlargements or additional notes, ideas and associations connected with the dreams that come to mind while writing down a dream, or when reading over one's account of it at a later date.
Just as nobody is obliged to keep such a journal, so no one need feel compelled to re-read what he has written. Some may wish to look over their journals from time to time, and two, four or more like-minded friends may choose to meet, say once a week, to read out all or some portion of their diaries, always on the understanding that each remains free to stay away some weeks, or come along just to listen, or to read out only a censored version of his journal. Any compulsion, however indirect and diluted, lessens and can destroy the value of such gatherings. The tone of voice and the use of gesture while reading may vary a lot in the same individual, depending on his feelings at the time. It can be useful to say - “I noticed that you wiggled your toes a bit while reading about your dreams,” or “I feel less distrustful of you than I did before I heard you say that.” However, no direct discussion of the contents of the diaries need be embarked upon. The process of sharing has its own dynamics, and once such a group gets under way, quite a lot may happen. It does not matter if this is not always so.
We can be ourselves. We can make it without being perfect. We can feel like we feel, and don't need to be strong. We can finish or stop without finishing. We don't need to try hard. We can please ourselves and go where we like. We are not in the world to shield others from themselves. We can take life at our own pace, and needn't hurry. So long as we stay in touch with ourselves, we are always where we belong.
Marcel kept a journal, though not a systematic one. Indeed, his philosophical position as he expressed it was rather elusive, and he acknowledged that the Belgian Jesuit, Troisfontaines, had succeeded in expressing his thought for him far more coherently than he himself could ever have managed.
Another existentialist, Karl Jaspers, was much more systematic.29 He changed the focus of his attention from psycho-pathology30 to philosophy, because he had become convinced that empirical science could never provide a complete account of the human self.31 The authentic decision-making self was something over and above the inauthentic, empirical self created by our physical constitution, genetic origin, social framework, as studied and partly explained by psychology. Modern society, he realised, puts us in danger of identifying ourselves with the inauthentic self, at least until suffering, guilt and death compel us to recognise our shallow-ness. He strove to cure man of this philosophical malaise of objectivity, to lead him to appreciate the possibilities of free authentic existence.
This, of course, is not to deny the possible importance of our physical constitution, genetic origin and social framework. As an unborn fetus and then a very young infant I had to rely entirely on my immediate environment in order to survive. I could not sit up, or crawl, or hold up my head. If I wanted to be fed, or made a fuss of, or kept nice and warm, my only way of making my wishes known was to cry, hoping my mother would get the message. To the extent that she managed to anticipate my needs, of course, I did not have to cry.
In the first three months after birth every change in the brain seems to trigger off some bodily movement, and the conditioning of our reflexes is the most obvious way in which learning takes place. The infant familiarises himself with certain cycles of experience, such as the way in which uncomfortable sensations in his stomach followed by crying leads to his being fed and becoming warm with the consequent disappearance of the pangs of hunger. If it happens that a particular child crying with hunger is usually not fed, he or she will tend to develop a more passive attitude towards life and its challenges. Attitudes in adult life deriving from such early childhood experiences can often be modifed only with the greatest difficulty, even when a person is very strongly motivated towards change.
Data-processing emerges in the child when he is about ten weeks old. Conscious feelings and thoughts multiply as a result of developing experience, the child expects causes to be followed by effects, and having realised there is a point where he ends and the world, principally his mother, begins, he decides how to behave. By six months he will have some idea of the extent to which he is in control of his environment, and of the limitations and constraints to which he is subject. He has to rely on others to satisfy certain needs. At eight months he may realise completely that his mother is separate from him, become upset if she leaves him, and refuse to be comforted by anyone else. More generally, if the child's needs remain unsatisfied, he will distrust life, distrust others, distrust himself. When such an emotional climate prevails the child ceases to seek further insight into life, no longer has any clear apprehension of his needs and the way in which they could be satisfied, and becomes confused about the difference in identity between himself and his environment. Confusion carried over into adult life from this period is also hard to disentangle, and is at the back of a lot of our superstitions.
If the child's parents and siblings are in practice open to the gracious mystery of G-d's presence, the child will feel free to respond to G-d's call to an ever increasing spirit of openness and trust.32 On the other hand, if such authority figures are bogged down in rules of conduct or in the externals of religion or, alternatively, are encapsulated in some narrow form of humanism, the child may not feel encouraged to grow religiously.
The view I am advancing here is that the family is normally equipped to fulfil the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of growth in infancy.33 These include the beginnings of moral formation and the development of personal judgment. Right from the start, a child's growth is in zigzags rather than in straight lines. Interaction with parents and siblings is mediated by physical sensory pathways, and especially sight, sound and touch. However, subjective emotional experiences accompany, and appear to the child to influence, these physical events. He feels a need to avoid isolation and compulsively seeks to relate to others. The time from two to three years is the time for socialization. As this advances, the child grows to acknowledge in the other members of his family an authority which is benevolent and good. At this stage a well-defined boundary to love is established, in these specific relationships, through a collusive exchange. He gives up testing the boundaries in return for the security of a reliable ongoing relationship. He conforms, and his conformity brings rewards. His demands are limited to appeals within the boundaries of love; and because they are appeals only, carrying no real intention of physical force, they do not test the authority of his parents and siblings, whose behaviour is, indeed, the catalyst in his moral development. Pathology can develop if the parents demand either too much or too little, with the result that the child becomes over compliant or shamelessly selfish or confusedly both. Toilet-training is the main issue around which this general question of authority commonly revolves.
The child, as I have said, is now capable of data-processing, but while at an earlier stage it was sufficient to compute how to behave in order to satisfy his personal needs, he now has to calculate the most rewarding balance between immediate self-satisfaction in terms of instinctual needs and compliance with the real or imagined requirements of authority figures, notably his parents and siblings. If the latter mainly manifest a nurturing attitude towards him, the conflict will be usually less than if they take up a predominantly critical stance. On his side, the child may try to achieve direct satisfaction for his natural needs in some way acceptable to authority, or he may prefer to seek to modify and adapt these needs to what he considers realistically obtainable goals. In the language of transactional analysis,34 the adult in the child works in the interest of either the free, archaic child or of the adapted child, and programmes himself with information about his environment in the light of the message he receives from nurturing and critical parents. All the authority figures in his world transmit such messages verbally and even more importantly by their behaviour and attitudes,35 the messages being a function of their own spontaneous or adapted instinctual needs, or their own beliefs about what nurturing or critical authority figures in their lives would expect of them in such circumstances. In other words, during these pre-school years, a lot of important things are happening. Ideally, the child is learning to reason things out and remember, but in practice he may overgeneralise or else become unduly attached to minor details, and negative attitudes may develop, including an unhealthy sort of competitive spirit.
Between the ages of one and three the child will establish his basic sexual identity, and here, too, the behaviour and attitudes of significant others have lasting importance. If his parents are sexually immature or confused about their own rôles, the child's writing of his own sexual life-script may pave the way for many difficulties in later life.36
While the three-year old may be happy to please and learn from others how to order his world, the four-year old knows that order often breaks down, that temptation is frequent, and that control is hard. He finds it easy to believe in the existence of evil beings, whether human or not, who seek to make things go wrong. Nightmares are common, imagination is lively, and the world is a magical place, about which there are many interesting stories to be told.37
Here, I shall not attempt to tell the whole of the Catholic story, but I shall analyse the main plot, which theologians call the supernatural economy of salvation. This is a reality distinct but not separate from the natural order-and-disorder of the universe, and can be appreciated only by supernatural faith, which is distinct but not separate from rational knowledge. It is all, in other words, suitably mysterious.
The whole of this economy of salvation centres on Jesus Christ. Perhaps the simplest way in which to clarify this is by means of the less romantic Aristotelian theory of the four causes of reality, viz., the final, the efficient, the material and the formal.
For example, the end to be achieved in building a block of flats is the particular form to be imparted to the materials. This is the final cause of the building which is intrinsic to the building itself, and also exists extrinsically and prior to the completed building in the mind of the architect. Such priority in time is not, however, essential to the idea of the extrinsic final cause, since while an architect usually has a plan, a creative sculptor develops his idea in and through the actual execution of his work, and, in the Christian scheme, G-d develops his providential plan for mankind in and through the actual process of our free historical development. It would be hard to over-emphasise this point.
The agents proportionate to the production of the form of the finished building in the raw materials are the architect, the contractors, the builders, fitters and decorators working together. It may well be that the architect handles none of the raw materials himself, nevertheless, he used the construction team as his instrument, so that he is more the efficient cause of the finished building than the builders are, and will be the first to be called to account if the building collapses. However, even more than the architect, G-d is the first efficient cause of the building, and not of it only, but of all that exists and occurs. This is not to say that G-d, any more than the architect, handles the construction materials. He does not; indeed, he cannot, since he has no hands. To say that G-d is the first cause is to say he uses all creatures as his instruments in the creative process, just as I use my typewriter, the architect his construction team, or the developing mind the world of its sense-experience. “Like flowing water is the heart of the king in the hand of Yahweh, who turns it where he pleases.”38 G-d is the immediate, efficient cause of every emergence and of every event in the sense that G-d never is a means, not in the sense that he can never employ a means.
The formal cause is intrinsic to the building. It is that stable disposition and order of parts that is achieved by bringing, placing and gradually transforming the raw materials into the block of flats required. The material cause is likewise intrinsic to the building, being precisely the raw materials, the wood, stones, cement, metal, and so forth which require to be transformed into the finished product.
Coming now more directly to the economy of salvation. Its extrinsic final cause is G-d's infinite goodness freely communicating itself to creation centrally in the hypostatic union of two consciousnesses, utterly distinct though not separate from each other, one human and one divine, in the unique person of the Word of G-d, the second person of the Holy Trinity, and communicating itself to creation conjointly with the Word in the uncreated gift of the Holy Spirit and in the gift of itself to the blessed in paradise.39
The intrinsic final cause of the economy of salvation, as it is tentatively understood by Aquinas,40 is the order of the universe which he sees as consisting in the interpersonal communication of the divine goodness by means of supernatural faith and supernatural love.
The agent cause of this economy is the Son of G-d made man, particularly in his sufferings, his death and his resurrection, together with his followers as they participate in his transformation of death into glory by following the law of sacramental, moral, ascetical and physical crucifixion, i.e., by accepting baptism, doing penance for sin, subordinating their instincts to the demands of reason, and living through the experience of death in a spirit of trust: I know that my redeemer liveth.
The materials of the economy of salvation are, then, the members of the human race infected by original sin, burdened with actual sins, tormented by the penalties that follow upon sin, alienated from G-d, and divided in themselves both socially and individually.
The formal cause of the economy is the total Christ: Head and members - the fullness of Christ. Redemption is the state of those who have been freed from the power of darkness, from the fear of death, from the nothingness of multiplicity, from their sins, and from the punishment due to them; they inherit the promise made to Abraham, are reconciled with G-d, are justified, possess the Holy Spirit and the adoption of sons, approach G-d with confidence, are saved in hope, and look forward to the resurrection of the flesh, the crown of glory, and eternal life in Christ.
While theologians speak of the economy of salvation, the Bible refers to the covenant. “Covenant” is the English rendering of Berîth, in the Septuagint diathnke, in other Greek versions sunthnke. Berîth is a convention, concordat or treaty between two nations or persons. However, the word is reserved in the main for important conventions established with a sacred rite, having G-d himself either as a partner to them, or at least as their guardian, witness, judge and sanction.
The idea of stability is intrinsic to the notion of berîth, and the word itself is derived from the Assyrian word birtu or beritu, which means bond, or possibly from another Hebrew verb which means to cut, part or divide. Perhaps it first came into use in connection with the primitive rite of dissection of the victim and with the associated walking of the contracting parties to the covenant between the parts of the victim so divided. Certainly, there is no such thing as a profane covenant in the Old Testament. Every covenant includes the acknowledgment by man of his dependence on the will of G-d. A covenant is a stable union between G-d and a human community, or else it is the coming into being of a sacred community of men. A covenant in a poetic sense may also be created between G-d and some single person, the animals, or even some inanimate object.
Although the word “testament” itself, like “league” and “confederacy,” is sometimes used to translate the word berîth, and although the Old Testament often treats of the reality of the Covenant between G-d and his chosen people even when not actually using the word “covenant,” it would be an error to believe that the whole Old Testament religion could be reduced to the notion of berîth. In addition to the developing theology of covenant the Old Testament also contains theological reflections on other matters. However, the covenant is a main theme and in Isaiah 54:6 and Psalm 103:18 “covenant” is used as synonymous with “religion.”
Old Testament covenants in the juridical sense arose either by a political act,41 or by some individual's placing an obligation on himself or on others,42 or by men's entering into mutual obligations.
Thus, we find the covenants between Isaac and Abimelech,43 Jacob and Laban,44 the Israelites and the Chanaanites,45 Josue and the Gibeonites,46 Nashash and the Jabeshites,47 Jonathan and David,48 David and Abner,49 David and the Israelite leaders,50 and between Nebuchodrezzar and Zedekiah.51
The covenants between Jonathan and David were mainly expressions of personal love, but the common elements in the other covenants are an agreement to certain stipulated terms, the taking of an oath to observe them faithfully, the invocation of G-d's wrath for any violation of the terms, and the performance of some appropriate symbolic ritual, such as a sacred banquet, the erection of a public monument, the constitution of a sacred place, the creation of a sacred brotherhood, the making of a peace offering, or the sacrifice of a sacred victim with the pouring of fat on an altar and a ritual walking between the parts of the victim. Inviolability and immutability are the main qualities of the covenant,52 and the penalty of death is attached to its violation. The creation of a covenant brings into being a certain relationship of equality between the two parties to it, making of them one flesh.
Theological covenants retained the essential elements of their juridical models. The two contracting parties chose one another freely, the covenant aimed to establish a basis for some mutual good, viz., religious stability, a new relationship was created,53 and certain obligations came into being.
The special features of the theological covenant were that G-d always had the initiative, that the people acquired no rights over G-d,54 and that the aim was Shalom - peace, the salvation that comes from the Lord.
Old Testament theological covenants regard the promised land,55 a lasting monarchy,56 and an eternal priesthood.57 The central emphasis is on the immutability of the covenant, symbolically expressed in the loaves of proposition,58 Sabbath observance,59 and the concept of natural law.60 For the biblical notion of natural law is vastly different from the First Vatican Council's state of pure nature, which is abstract and hypothetical. As Hugh of Saint Victor wrote in his Didascalion,61 positive justice and moral discipline originate from the natural justice expounded in the scriptures, inasmuch as we, by observing how G-d himself acts, come gradually to realise how we, in our turn, ought to behave.
Before the Hebrews settled in Chanaan their probable lack of any explicit notion of G-d in himself was compensated for by their living experience of the one and only good, divine Lord of the world,62 freely choosing whomsoever he pleased.63 This experience was the basis for the national unity of the twelve tribes of Israel. The mutual choice between G-d and his people64 resulted in a covenant,65 a new relationship,66 and new rights and duties,67 with even a special book of the covenant.68
The Old Testament prophets stressed the importance of living love, and those before Jeremiah placed their hope of redemption in experimental knowledge of the divine nature, rather than in any extrinsic or juridical covenant.
Deuteronomy differentiated between the covenant of the patriarchs,69 the covenant of Horeb70 and the covenant of Moab, which replaced and extended,71 and in that sense was distinct from that of Horeb.72 History73 showed G-d's fidelity74 to the covenant, which had its nucleus in a mutual choice,75 centred on love,76 and constituted a relationship of grace.77
According to the authors of the Priestly Code the covenant between G-d and Noah78 arose from an oath made by G-d,79 bound all mankind,80 and forbade the consumption of blood.81 The penalty for its violation by either man82 or beast83 was death.
They also believed that G-d's covenant with Abraham84 arose from an oath made by G-d,85 and obliged men to be circumcised86 and to observe the Sabbath,87 with death as the penalty for the uncircumcised.88 The seed of Abraham was thought of as coexisting with Abraham,89 so that the history of the chosen people after his death was regarded as the unfolding of the meaning of this covenant,90 which historical evidence91 showed to be the eternal result92 of a mutual choice.93
The exile94 seemed to end the covenant temporarily,95 but it was soon renewed96 and linked with the covenant of David.97 This new or renewed covenant was peaceable,98 and for the gentiles as well as for the Jews;99 its basis was G-d's universal lordship and his power to sway the hearts of men who know him.100
In the Old Testament, therefore, the notion of covenant yielded a rich, profound and suggestive idea of G-d's nature and behaviour. It encouraged the Jews to try and imitate Abraham in his faith,101 David in his fortitude and longanimity,102 and Levi and Phineas in their zeal.
In the New Testament Saint Paul used diathnke of G-d's promise.103 Like the authors of the Priestly Code, he saw the covenant as a single covenant made with Abraham, with circumcision as the token of man's participation in its benefits, and he placed the Sinaitic revelation in a subordinate place. However, Paul also took over from Genesis 15 the idea of the extension of the covenant to all nations. It was for him a spiritual reality. The seed of Abraham was Christ.104
The unknown author of the Letter to the Hebrews distinguished between covenant and testament, the former being an unilateral act on the part of G-d.
The writers of the synoptic Gospels presented the covenant as the dynamic experience of the reign of G-d, the mysterious commingling of divine grace and human freedom.
In the measure in which we believe that all things are instruments of G-d, that all things, persons and events are the means in, with and through which G-d achieves in Christ the glory that is man's salvation, we may believe that every instance of mutual trust is also both the reality and the efficacious symbol of G-d's gift of himself to men, thanks to which we can say: Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief!
It will be clear by now that the Christian story is a story with a moral. We can see from the Old Testament that the Jews even before their experience of exile in Babylon, indeed from the very early days of their national history, appreciated that the living G-d had to be the very centre of their lives, that they had to walk continually in his presence, and that he was the source of all their material and social prosperity.
After their exile in Bablyon, they learned to relate their ordinary activities to G-d in a more personal way, and became more aware of their individual, as well as their national responsibilities. By the second century B.C. they had come to appreciate that moral behaviour in this life would be rewarded by a personal and eternal experience of union with G-d and by bodily resurrection.
As the true legislator of a new spiritual law already anticipated in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ observed the existing law perfectly while rejecting all forms of legalism, and he clarified its authentic requirements, showing it to be essentially the law of love.
The Synoptic Gospels affirm that the life of man, when lived responsibly, develops towards personal participation in the eschatological reign of G-d.
Saint John in his Gospel presents fidelity to the law as an expression of personal love of G-d, grounded in G-d's own living self-communication of himself to men. The goal of human life is our eternal experience of sharing in the life of the Holy Trinity, which is perfect joy, an experience which can begin here and now, but which is brought to its climax in the New Jerusalem in the community of all the elect of G-d.
Saint Paul in his writings both acknowledge the value of the existing law and rejects it as a thing accursed, praising instead the living law of the Spirit in Jesus Christ. Despite the continuing value of the natural law, the law of the flesh makes necessary the law of the cross, loving acceptance of which in a spirit of charity and obedience sets man free once and for all. Human life has to be orientated towards symbiosis with the risen and glorified Christ, and to the organic completion of his mystical embodiment in a material world.
1. Basically I stand by what I wrote in Ecstasy and Vendetta - the Making and Unmaking of a Catholic Priest, London, Peter Davies, 1973, but now feel I overemphasised the Freudian interpretation of situations intelligible simply in terms of working-class traditions inherited from the Victorian era.
2. The Small Ritual, London, Burns & Oates, 1964, p.74. However, the approved text quoted fails precisely to correspond with either of the two Latin texts actually used: cfr SCHÖNMETZER, Enchiridion Symbolorum (note 5) §§ 1862-70 & 3537-50 for both the Professio Fidei Tridentina of 13 November 1564 and the Iusiurandum contra errores modernismi of 1 September 1910.
3. Crucial to any proper understanding of my joyful acceptance of what for many of my contemporaries remains a hard saying is the distinction I attempt to elucidate in this book between Primordially Traditional Catholic Faith and traditional religious beliefs of various sorts, including beliefs sometimes identified by their proponents as being, indeed, the very heart and marrow of all they can acknowledge as The 'Catholic' or 'Christian' “Faith”!
4. For fuller statements of traditional Catholic tenets cfr. A. JONES, The Jerusalem Bible, London, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1956; H. WANSBROUGH, The New Jerusalem Bible, London, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1985; The Explanatory Catechism of Christian Doctrine, London, Burns & Oates, 1921; Pope Paul VI, The ‘Credo’ of the People of God, London, CTS, 1968; A. SCHÖNMETZER, Enchiridion Symbolorum, Barcinone, Herder, 1967; M. J. ROUËT DE JOURNEL, Enchiridion Patristicum, Barcinone, Herder, 1969; C. KIRCH, Enchiridion Fontium Historiae Ecclesiasticae Antiquae, Barcinone, Herder, 1960; D. R. CARTLIDGE & D. L. DUNCAN, Documents for the Study of the Gospels, Cleveland, Collins, 1980. It is also important to know how to distinguish betwen “tradition” and “Tradition”: cfr Pope JOHN-PAUL II, Splendor Veritatis, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1993, §§ 4-5, 24, 27, 36-7, 47, 49, 54-5, 69-70, 74-6, 80, 94, 102 and 109; Catechism of the Catholic Church, London, Geoffrey Chapman, 1992, § 83, etc.
5. For contemporary statements of Catholic belief cfr W. M. ABBOTT, editor, The Documents of Vatican II, London, Geoffrey Chapman, 1968; R. E. BROWN, J. A. FITZMYER, R. E. MURPHY, The Jerome Biblical Commentary, London, Geoffrey Chapman, 1968; A New Catechism, London, Burns & Oates, 1967; K. RAHNER, editor, Sacramentum Mundi - An Encyclopedia of Theology, six volumes, London, Burns & Oates, 1968-70; J. BLENKINSOPP, The Pentateuch - An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible, Anchor Bible Reference Library, New York, Doubleday, 1992.
Catherine Fearnley and David Farrant
According to Catherine Fearnley, writing in January 2005, my reason for applying for laïcisation in May 1970, in other words before she was born, was the discovery that personal fidelity to the obligations of life as a Roman Catholic priest was incompatible with my by then already "deeper interest in mysticism and tantric magic". Her honest but quite mistaken belief results, I suspect, from a misunderstanding of the Publisher's Note at the head of this very page. Carl Jung appreciated the Roman Catholic Mass as a Tantric Mystery, and the "12th Degree of Humility" on St Benedict's famous Ladder has been compared to what in Buddhism is Highest Yoga Tantra. As Bernard Lonergan appreciated better than most, interpersonal communication is seldom problem-free. For an excellent illustration of helpfully constructive and friendly relations between Christians and Witches consider the priest-in-charge of Boscastle with Davidstow, the Revd Christine Musser's and the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Bill Ind's pastoral response to the devastating flood of Monday, 16 August 2004.
6. Rm 1:14-15.
7. Lk 4: 18-19.
8. C. R. ROGERS, On Becoming a Person, London, Constable, 1961, p. 300.
9. Cfr. M. UNSTERSTEINER, The Sophists, Oxford, Blackwell, 1954. For existentialism cfr J. COLLINS, The Existentialists, Chicago, Henry Regnery, 1952; E. A. BURTT, In Search of Philosophic Understanding, London, Allen & Unwin, 1967. For the general history of philosophy, especially Western philosophy, cfr. F. COPLESTON, A History of Philosophy, eight volumes, London, Burns & Oates, 1946-66; P. EDWARDS, editor, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, eight volumes, London, Collier-Macmillan, 1967; F. N. MAGILL, Masterpieces of World Philosophy in Summary Form, New York, Harper & Row, 1961. Regarding the social creation of reality cfr P. L. BERGER & T. LUCKMAN, The Social Construction of Reality, London, Allen Lane, 1967. For recent studies of the part of language in this process cfr W. J. ONG, The Presence of the Word, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1967, and the works of his pupil, M. McLUHAN, The Gutenberg Galaxy, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962; Understanding Media, New York, McGraw Hill, 1965; The Medium is the Massage, New York, Random House, 1967, as well as G. STEINER, After Babel - Aspects of Language and Translation, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 1992. For the Sophist texts cfr G. S. KIRK & J. E. RAVEN, The Presocratic Philosophers, Cambridge University Press, 1964. For recent existentialist emphasis on the importance of the Presocratics generally cfr M. HEIDEGGER, Existence and Being, Chicago, Regnery, 1949, An Introduction to Metaphysics, New York, Doubleday, 1961, and On The Way To Language, San Francisco, Harper & Row, 1971.
10. For a recent parallel cfr J. DEWEY, Democracy and Education, New York, The Free Press, 1966.
11. Saint AUGUSTINE, Confessions, Penguin Books, 1961.
12.B. PASCAL, Pensées, New York, Dutton & Co., 1958.
13. M. POLANYI, Personal Knowledge, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1957. This whole book repays close study.
14. Regarding this existentialist theme of freedom cfr A. CAMUS, The Rebel, New York, Random House, 1954; M. CRANSTON, Freedom, London, Longmans, 1953; R. MAY, Love and Will, London, Collins, 1972; Man's Search for Himself, London, Allen & Unwin, 1953; R. M. HARE, Freedom and Reason, Oxford University Press, 1963. For a recent Catholic study of the Thomist view of freedom cfr B. LONERGAN, Grace and Freedom, London, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1971. Lonergan has been one of the main influences on my own development.
15. Regarding scientific method cfr B. LONERGAN, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, revised edition, London, Longmans, 1958; W. H. GEORGE, The Scientist in Action, London, Williams & Norgate, 1936; A. S. EDDINGTON, The Mathematical Theory of Relativity, Cambridge University Press, 1923; P. A. SCHILPP, editor, Albert Einstein: Philosopher, Scientist, New York, Tudor Publishing Co., 1951. For logic in general cfr H. W. B. JOSEPH, An Introduction to Logic, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1916; L. S. STEBBING, A Modern Elementary Logic, London, Methuen, 1963; P. F. STRAWSON, Introduction to Logical Theory, London, Methuen, 1952. For the ‘scientific’ approach to people and its possible outcome cfr J. GALTUNG, Theory and Methods of Social Research, London, Allen & Unwin, 1969; D. R. ARTHUR, Survival, London, English Universities Press, 1969; N. CALDER, Technopolis, London, McGibbon & Kee, 1969 and The Environment Game, London, Secker & Warburg, 1967; J. McLOUGHLIN, Urban & Regional Planning, London, Faber & Faber, 1969; A. TOFFLER, Future Shock, New York, Random House, 1970; R. WILLIAMS, Communications, Penguin Books, 1962. For a fundamental corrective to this whole approach cfr D. D. EVANS, The Logic of Self-Involvement, London, SCM Press, 1963.
16. Cfr B. LONERGAN, The Subject, Milwaukee, Marquette University Press, 1968; De Constitutione Christi Ontologica et Psychologica, Rome, PUG, 1961; C. D. EVANS, The Subject of Consciousness, London, Allen & Unwin, 1970; J. POWELL, Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?, Niles, Argus Communications, 1969.
17. For Blondel and Maréchal cfr G. GIRARDI, De Problemate Realitatis, Rome, PAS, 1962; E. CORETH, Metaphysik, Innsburck-Wien-München, Tyrolia Verlag, 2nd edition, 1964; Metaphysics, New York, Herder & Herder, 1968 - the English edition is more a summary than a translation, the original version being much longer. For a concise account cfr B. LONERGAN, “Metaphysics as Horizon” in Collection, London, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1967, which also criticises Coreth's abstract intellectualism. As well as Insight a useful counterbalance is G. GIRARDI, “Les facteurs extra-intellectuels de la connaissance humaine” in Revue Philosophique de Louvain, 62 (1964), pp. 299-346 + 477-500.
18. M. DE UNAMUNO, The Tragic Sense of Life, London, Collins Fontana, 1968; JOSÉ SANCHEZ-RUIZ, Razòn, mito y tragedia, Roma, PAS, 1962.
19. Dialogue has become a main theme in contemporary discussion. Cfr Concurrence: a Review for the Encounter of Commitments, nos. 1-4, 1969; Vatican Secretariat for Non-Believers, Dialogue with Non-Believers, Dublin, CTS, 1968.
20. For dreams in general cfr. R. DE BECKER, The Understanding of Dreams, London, Allen & Unwin, 1968; A. FARADAY, Dream-Power, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1972; The Dream Game, London, Temple Smith, 1975; R. M. JONES, The New Psychology of Dreaming, Pelican Books, 1978. For some recent presentations of reality as a dream cfr J. SINGER, The Unholy Bible, New York, Harper & Row, 1973; J. C. LILLY, The Centre of the Cyclone, London, Paladin, 1973; Simulations of God, New York, Bantam Books, 1976; L. WATSON, Gifts of Unknown Things, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1976; C. CASTANEDA, The Art of Dreaming, London, Aquarian/Thorsons, 1993.
21. Cfr R. Neville, Play Power, London, Jonathan Cape, 1970.
22. For a recent meditation on death cfr L. BOROS, The Moment of Truth, London, Burns & Oates, 1965.
23. Cotton Patch New Testament translation, and cfr A. S. DUTHIE, How to choose your Bible wisely, 2nd edition, Swindon, Bible Society, 1995.
24. G. MARCEL, Being and Having, London, Collins, 1965. Contrast J. -P. SARTRE, Being and Nothingness, New York, Philosophical Library, 1956. On this theme of Christian joy in the face of death cfr S. MOORE, God is a New Language, London, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1967.
25. For the difference between puzzles, problems and mysteries cfr E. MASCALL, He Who Is, London, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1966. For Rahner's view of Thomist theory of knowledge cfr K. RAHNER, Spirit in the World, London, Sheed & Ward, 1968.
26. Cfr J. J. SIKORA, Inquiry into Being, Chicago, Loyola University Press, 1965.
27. For the influence of interpersonal love on growth in self-consciousness cfr J. GOLDBRUNNER, Individuation, University of Notre Dame Press, 1956; K. C. BARNES, He and She, Penguin Books, 1970; E. FROMM, The Art of Loving, London, Allen & Unwin, 1962; G. GILLEMAN, The Primacy of Charity in Moral Theology, London, Burns & Oates, 1959; A. COMBES, The Spirituality of St. Thérèse, Dublin, Gill, 1952; M. C. D'ARCY, The meeting of Love and Knowledge, London, Allen & Unwin, 1958; R. VOILLAUME, Au cœur des masses, Paris, éditions du Cerf, 1953 and Brothers of Men, London, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1966; A. DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY, The Little Prince, Penguin Books, 1962; R. D. LAING, The Self and Others, London, Tavistock Publications, 1962; V. SATIR, Conjoint Family Therapy, Paolo Alto, Science and Behaviour Books, 1967; S. JOURARD, Self-Disclosure, New York, John Wiley, 1971; J. BOWLBY, Child Care and The Growth of Love, Penguin Books, 1965; D. W. WINNICOTT, The Child, the Family, and the Outside World, Penguin Books, 1964.
28. Cfr note 16 above and E. H. ERIKSON, Identity - Youth and Crisis, London, Faber & Faber, 1968; P. F. STRAWSON, Individuals, London, Methuen, 1959.
29. K. JASPERS, Way to Wisdom, New Haven & London, Yale University Press, 1967, is a good introduction to philosophising as Jaspers understands this vocation. For alternative approaches to the subject cfr J. E. RAVEN, Plato's Thought in the Making, Cambridge University Press, 1965; C. BOYER, Cursus Philosophiae Scholasticae, two volumes, Paris, Desclée de Brouwer, 1962; M. CLARK, Positions and Problems in the Theory of Knowledge, Heythrop, Athenaeum Press, 1966; E. CASSIRER, An Essay on Man, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1944; G. RYLE, Dilemmas, Cambridge University Press, 1962; J. WILSON, Philosophy - Thinking about Meaning, London, Hutchinson, 1968; E. R. EMMET, Learning to Philosophise, Penguin Books, 1968; F. WAISMANN, The Principles of Linguistic Philosophy, London, Macmillan, 1965. It is essential that one should study more than one introduction since there is no consensus of opinion about what philosophy is mainly about, or at least there is no obvious and superficial agreement. I have learned much from Bernard Lonergan's Insight, see note 15 above, and D. TRACY, The Achievement of Bernard Lonergan, New York, Herder & Herder, 1970.
30. Cfr E. BERNE, A Layman's Guide to Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis, London, André Deutsch, 1959; C. RYCROFT, Psychoanalysis Observed, Penguin Books, 1968; S. FREUD, Collected Papers - vol. III, London, Hogarth Press, 1943; E. FROMM, Sigmund Freud's Mission, London, Allen & Unwin, 1959; C. G. JUNG, Man and his Symbols, London, Aldous Books, 1964; F. FORDHAM, Introduction to Jung's Psychology, Penguin Books, 1953; W. STEKEL, Technique of Analytical Psychotherapy, London, Bodley Head, 1950; W. REICH, Character Analysis, London, Vision Press, 1950; M. KLEIN, Envy and Gratitude, London, Tavistock Publications, 1957; M. BALINT, The Basic Fault, London, Tavistock Publications, 1968; G. ADLER, The Living Symbol, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1961; K. HORNEY, Neurosis and Human Growth and Self-Analysis, New York, W.W.Norton, 1950 and 1942; D. J. WEST, Homosexuality, Penguin Books, 1968; R. D. LAING, The Divided Self, London, Tavistock Publications, 1961, Politics of Experience, Penguin Books, 1967 and Politics of the Family, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1969; F. LAKE, Clinical Theology, London, Longman, Darton & Todd, 1966; A. JANOV, The Primal Scream, New York, Delta Books, 1970 and The Anatomy of Mental Illness, New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1971; G. SEABORN JONES, Treatment or Torture, London, Tavistock Publications, 1968; T. SZASZ, The Manufacture of Madness and The Second Sin, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971 & 1974; R. DALBIEZ, La méthode psychanalytique et la doctrine freudienne, Paris, Desclée de Brouwer, 1936; A. WATTS, Psychotherapy East and West, London, Jonathan Cape, 1971; E. GOFFMAN, Asylums, Penguin Books, 1968. In the light of the disintegration of the concept of mental illness it is not too surprising to read the accounts of ‘psychotics’ who have ‘cured’ themselves without or in opposition to psychiatric interventions: cfr G. BATESON, Perceval's Narrative, London, Hogarth Press, 1961; M. COATE, Beyond All Reason, London, Constable, 1964; J. CUSTANCE, Wisdom, Madness and Folly, London, Gollancz, 1951; E. O'BRIEN, Operators and Things, London, Elek Books, 1960.
31. This is, in another way, Frank Lake's claim in Clinical Theology (note 30 above). Allan Watts claims instead that the self is an illusion, so that the whole problem vanishes. W. W. Bartley discusses Werner Erhard's related stance - cfr. note 107 below.
32. For the principles and methods of Christian education cfr Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, General Catechetical Directory, London, CTS, 1971; P. BABIN, Méthodologie, Lyon, Éditions du Chalet, 1966; G. P. GORDON, Let's be Catechists, supplément à Catéchèse, October 1962; G. MORAN, Catechesis of Revelation; Vision and Tactics; Experiences in Community and The New Community, New York, Herder & Herder, 1966, 1968, 1968 and 1970; M. VAN CASTER, The Structure of Catechetics, New York, Herder & Herder, 1965 and God's Word Today, London, Geoffrey Chapman, 1966; D. LANCE, 11-16, London, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1967; T. O'BRIEN assisted by C. HAMER, editor, The Companion of Youth, Bollington, Saint Dominic Savio House, 1961.
33. For the ambiguities of ‘normally’ cfr M. J. JOHNSON ABERCROMBIE, The Anatomy of Judgment, Penguin Books, 1968.
34. Cfr S. WOOLAMS, M. BROWN, K. HUIGHE, Transactional Analysis in Brief, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Huron Valley Institute, 1974; E. BERNE, Games People Play, Penguin Books, 1968 and What do you say after you say Hello?, New York, Bantam Books, 1973. For further theoretical background cfr J. PIAGET, The Construction of Reality in the Child, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1954; M. BREARLEY & E. HITCHFIELD, A Teacher's Guide to Reading Piaget, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966; D. EMMET, Rules, Rôles and Relations, London, Macmillan, 1966.
35. Cfr J. FAST, Body Language, London, Souvenir Press, 1971; G. LEONARD, The Silent Pulse, London, Wildwood House, 1979.
36. Cfr M. SCHOFIELD, The Sexual Behaviour of Young People, London, Longmans, 1965; P. RÉAGE, Story of O, London, Corgi Books, 1971; E. BERNE, Sex in Human Loving, London, André Deutsch, 1971; G. GREER, The Female Eunuch, London, Paladin, 1971; P. DALLY, The Fantasy Game, London, Quartet Books, 1977.
37. Such attitudes can survive in adult life. Cfr R. CAVENDISH, The Black Arts, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967; D. CONWAY, Magic - An Occult Primer, Frogmore, Mayflower, 1974; J. GRANT, Eye of Horus, London, Methuen, 1942; R. GRAVES, The White Goddess, London, Faber & Faber, 1961; P. HUDSON, Mastering Witchcraft, London, Hart-Davis, 1970; M. MARWICK, Witchcraft and Sorcery, Penguin Books, 1970; R. H. ROBBINS, The Encyclopœdia of Witchcraft and Demonology, London, Nevill, 1959; S. FARRAR, What Witches Do, London, Peter Davies, 1971; F. STRACHAN, Casting Out The Devils, London, Aquarian Press, 1972; K. GRAHAME, The Wind in the Willows, London, Methuen, 1961; L. CARROLL, The Annotated Alice, Penguin Books, 1970; D. DONNELLY, The Golden Well, London, Sheed & Ward, 1930; N. EARLE, Culture and Creed, London, Thames & Hudson, 1967; M. ELIADE, From Primitives to Zen, London, Collins, 1967, Images and Symbols, London, Harvill, 1961 and Myths, Dreams and Mysteries, Collins Fontana Books, 1968; H. FRANKFORT, H. A. FRANKFORT, J. A. WILSON & T. JACOBSEN, Before Philosophy, Penguin Books, 1949; E. A. WALLIS BUDGE, Amulets and Talismans, New York, Collier Books, 1970. I am not, of course, implying these are entirely infantile interests, but merely drawing attention to one significant aspect to the fascination they may arouse in us. A Catholic nineteenth-century saint devoted his entire life to the realisation of his childhood dreams: cfr A. AUFFRAY, Saint John Bosco, Tirupattur, North Arcot, Salesian House, 1959; J.-B. LEMOYNE, A. AMADEI, E. CERIA & E. FOGLIO, Memorie Biografiche di San Giovanni Bosco, 19 volumes, Torino, SEI, 1898-1948.
38. Pr 21:1.
39. Cfr B. LONERGAN, De Verbo Incarnato, 4 volumes, and De Deo Trino, 2 volumes, Roma, PUG, 1964.
40. Cfr Saint THOMAS AQUINAS, Summa Theologica, Torino, Marietti, 1950.
41. Ho 2:2.
42. Jos 24; 2 K 11:4; 2 Ch 23:1.
43. Gn 21:22,26:26.
44. Gn 31:44.
45. Ex 23:32,34:12;Dt 7:2;Jd 2:2. Cfr Gn 15; Jr 34:18.
46. Jos 9.
47. 1 S 11:1.
48. 1 S 18:3, 20:8, 23:16
49. 2 S 3:12
50. 2 S 5:3
51. Ezk 17.
52. 2 S 23,5; Lv 24:8
53. Jdt 8:33.
54. Cfr Is 64:9; Jr 10:24
55. Gn 22; 25; 26.
56. 2 S 7:23; Ga 3; Heb 6; Ps 89; 132; Is 55; 16; 7.
57. Ex 32:29; Dt 10:18; 18:5; 53:9; Nb 25:12; Jr 33:21; Ml 2:4.
58. Lv 24:8
59. Ex 31:16.
60. Jr 33:20.
61. PL, vol. 176, 805c.
62. Gn 15.
63. Cf. 2 S 7. For a very suggestive though speculative account of the nature of the Exodus events at the root of the Jewish national and religious consciousness cfr. I. VELIKOWSKY, Worlds in Collision, and Earth in Upheaval (London, Sphere Books, 1972 & 1973). Cfr. J. BLENKINSOP, The Pentateuch… (note 5 above), p. 28: "What should be affirmed at the present juncture is the need for coexistence between different interpretative systems with their quite different but not necessarily incompatible agendas."
For instance, I attach considerable importance to: Z. SITCHIN, The Earth Chronicles - I: The 12th Planet; II: The Stairway to Heaven; III: The Wars of Gods and Men; IV: The Lost Realms; V: When Time Began; VI The Cosmic Code (Santa Fe, Bear & Co., 1991-93: hardback I-V, and paperback VI: New York, Avon Books, 1998), Genesis Revisited (Bear & Co., 1991) & Divine Encounters (Avon Books, 1996); H. KNIGHT, The Hebrew Prophetic Consciousness (London & Redhill, Lutterworth Press, 1947); J. B. PRITCHARD, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 3rd edition with Supplement (Princeton University Press, 1969).
64. Ex 20.
65. Dt 5:1; 9:9.
66. Heb 9:19; Ps 50:5.
67. Ex 34; Dt 4:5; 5:30.
68. Ex 24.
69. Dt 1:8; 4:31; 6:10; 7:8,12; 13:18.
70. Dt 4:13,23; 5:2; 9:9.
71. Ex 21.
72. Dt 26:17-19; 29:1,9,12,14,21; Heb 28:69.
73. Dt 4:37; 7:7; 10:15; 8:18: 9:5.
74. Dt 7:9,12.
75. Dt 26:17.
76. Dt 6:5; 10:12.
77. Dt 4:37; 7:12.
78. Gn 9.
79. Is 54:9 .
80 Is 24: 5 (and “mankind” is in the sense of “humankind”).
81. Ac 9:5.
82. Gn 9:5.
83. Ex 21:28.
84. Gn 17.
85. Gn 17; Ex 6:8.
86. Gn 17:7.
87. Ex 31:16.
88. Gn 17:14 (and “uncircumcised” is in the sense of “uncircumcised males”).
89. Cf. Dt 29:14. A similar notion of Saint Peter as the paradigm of the papacy underpins Catholic belief that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ. Cfr A. M. JAVIERRE, El Tema Literario de la Sucesiòn, Zürich, PAS-Verlag, 1963.
90. Ex 2:24; 6:4; Ps 105:8-11.
91. Lv 26:41-45.
92. Gn 17:7.
93. Gn 17:7; Ex 6:7.
94. Jr 31:32.
95. Is 40:1; 49:14; 50:1; 51:6; Ho 1:9; 2:2,23; 3:3.
96. Is 42:10; 44:21-23; Ho 2:19; 3:1; Jr 31:33; Ezk 11:16; 16:59; 20:34; 36:24.
97. Jr 33:14-16,20-26; Ezk 17:22; 37,21-28.
98. Is 54:10.
99. Is 44:5; 56:1-8.
100. Is 41:8; 42:8; 45:23; 49:1-6; 50:4-9.
101. Gn 15:7
102. 2 S 7; Ps 132.
103. Ga 15:17.
104. 1 Co 11:25.
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