Thursday, 2 April 2015

Self-Knowledge, and Understanding

I am continuing here the point I was pushing in the previous chapter: the remoteness of serious understanding, and the problem, raised in the chapter on dialectic, of taking an honest stand about your stand regarding it. The honesty relates to the struggle towards genuineness, and it is sadly amusing to bring together two statements of Lonergan, one about the historian “at pains not to conceal his tracks,” the other talking about the self who “keeps matters some entirely to oneself, and refuses even to face others.”135 The “outer rind of the persona” 136 may well be eager to take a stand on the importance of understanding’s “bloody entrance,”137 but some hidden layer rejects this and, oddly, that hidden rejection can be quite manifest in that self’s attitude towards the effort to seriously understand, even going to the extreme of a certain stand about the inevitability of C.P.Snow’s two culture, a stand that fits nicely with “the substitution of pseudometaphysical myth-making for scientific inquiry.”138 So, one talks of feelings with disdain for chemistry.  
Such an exclusion of serious understanding is presently supported by the dominant traditions of contemplation, which are anaphatic. The new systematics, on the other hand, is to be increasingly kataphatic. Systematic searchings, in a later maturity, will, as a “Language of the Heart”, “as central feature of the world of sense, intimate its finality, its yearning for God.”139 (Philip McShane, p. 77) 

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