Friday, 15 January 2021 at 09:43
From Massimo Scaligero’s standpoint, is not the thinking ‘I’ an act of reflected thought, i.e. thought thought and therefore an abstraction?
I ask this, because Gentile faced the same paradox. Reflected thought is presuppositional, i.e. abstract. By starting with the ‘I’ that thinks, Gentile did in fact allow a presupposition, an abstraction, there by losing the ‘I’. But if he had started with the pure act* of thinking, hewould have lost the very ‘I’ that was presupposed to have done the act of thinking in the first place. Losing the ‘I’ means that thinking takesplace without the thinker.
What is doing the thinking? Where do the thoughts come from?
If the truth lies in the thinking act, which is autonomous from the ‘I’, then the thinking act is truth, i.e. the Logos.
But are not thoughts uniquely attached to man?
Add Rudolf Steiner into the mix as Scaligero did then a new dimension to the discussion opens up, because whilst Steiner would argue that thoughts are uniquely voiced by man, they do not originate in man.
Does this mean that thinking adopts the individual in order to think? And if thinking is pure Logos, then are we not looking at the Logos incarnated?
'I think therefore I am.'
But what am I?
I am the I am.
In John 8:58,Jesus answered the religious leaders, saying, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am’. This was a clear reference to Exodus 3:14, where God revealed His name to Moses as ‘I AM’.
*Benedetto Croce objected that Gentile's "pure act" was nothing other than Schopenhauer's will.
© John Dunn.
Thought thought on thinking thought
Wednesday, 13 January 2021 at 16:26
Massimo Scaligero’s distinction between living and reflected thinking recalls the logic of thinking and logic of thought in the philosophy of Giovanni Gentile. However, Gentile was content to remain within the parameters of Hegelian philosophy, taking it to the outer extremes of idealism, rather than seek any esoteric implications from these extremes.
Scaligero took Gentile’s idea of thinking thought in contrast to thought thought, but broke through the boundaries of idealism to formulate an esoteric foundation, in which the thinking thought, which he called living, taps into an all-encompassing cosmic force that gives man access to the Logos. Similarly, the logic of Gentile ’s thought thought becomes the limit of reflected thought in Scaligero, or rather of a dialectic end in itself which is wholly earthbound.
Scaligero took Gentile’s pure act of thinking thought and turned it into an interior exercise with an initiatory value, usually translated as concentration, though it seems to me to be somewhere between concentration and meditation.
By contemplating the synthesis of perception and concept in a man-made object, the individual should arrive at the experience of thinking thought, or living experience that would allow him to transcend that dialectic of thought that limits him to the reflection of the world, or to its maya or appearance.
The question for me is - can access to the Logos beyond the limitations of thought thought be opened by personal experiences limited to the self, by acts of will? Or does there have to be an external intervention, an encounter of one sort or another?
© John Dunn.
Poetic human love
Tuesday, 12 January 2021 at 20:27
I never really understood what feeling alone meant, because always, realising inner loneliness, actually looking for it, I found myself with the inner life of others, so I felt solitude not as an isolation, but an ascetic path to communion with the actual reality of beings. Feeling alone has alwaysbeen a way to serenity for me.
However, we all know that there is a difference between solitude and a condition of loneliness. The latter is related to having no-one to love, more so than being loved. It is akin to being incapable of poetry, not as aesthetic activity, but as a breathless and free spirit. The whole inner climate of the communion with the other must be poetry or it is valueless; it must be an encounter that sinks into a healing harmony. Everyone is called to the restoration of ancient harmony, the original Eden of the human couple, the crystalline marriage. The human condition is to face a world of entangled forces and lusts, ethnic struggles, wars, classist fanaticisms, equal levelling etc. This is related to the faltering of faith and honour in the spirit fighter. A failed spiritual commitment gives calculating and materialist forces pseudo-legitimate powers over the world. Beyond all compromises, overcoming fears and obscure human limitations, we need to bring all this to its end, forcing spirit to rise above what is ordinarily feared. Until such a time loneliness will hold sway. The era is difficult, but heroic and holy. One day the door to sacred and poetic human love will be opened.
© John Dunn.
Know the reality
Monday, 11 January 2021 at 17:58
There follows a summary of how Rudolf Steiner might have described man’s position in our epoch. There is only one path open to a description of this type and this is highly metaphorical. However, the descriptive force of the message wrapped in metaphors depends on the reader first knowing the reality of the world.
Overtime it has happened that man has descended, for different degrees of consciousness, to physical thought. He had to carry out an inner activity in which the divine-spiritual beings no longer acted. In ancient times he acted with the imagination and intuition that were given to him by the invisible Masters, the Gods, but later he had to lose this help, in order to win his freedom. Having lost his true inner dimension, he is currently in such a condition that no matter how much he can grasp the whole outside world with his thought of him, he cannot grasp the depth of inner reality. The superficiality of his intellectual level does not allow him to find the Gods, but he finds a being who gives him the answers, gives him the possibility to organise the world, knowledge, the economy, the future, everything that can be understood and organised through fallen thought. The being he finds is the one that Rudolf Steiner defines as the most dazzling intelligence on Earth: Ahriman. At that same level, that of fallen thought, however, man can also encounter Christ. It can be said that at that level man encounters the presence of Christ and the presence of Ahriman on the same level. Of course not because Christ and Ahriman are on the same level, but they are for the man who thinks with the thought of him fallen. Man has the possibility, through Christ, of rediscovering the I as he was originally. However, on the level of reflected thought he finds more easily a force that gives him everything organised: knowledge, physical, mathematical, philosophical knowledge, ethics, logic, administrative capacity, and also politics, the judiciary, medicine, even art, religion, metaphysics and meditation. It is all in the kingdom of Ahriman! Man is put in a position to know this dazzling power, but he also has the ability to perform an act of freedom and reject the easy path of Ahriman, to find the more difficult one of Christ. But he can't find Christ if he first doesn't know the reality of the world.
© John Dunn.
Sunday, 10 January 2021 at 20:52
Thought which arises from the usual metaphysical encumbrances which fashion ourday-to-day negotiation of the world cannot be free. This is reflexive thought and leaves us trapped in the dark wood of a mythicised outlook, whether natural or supposedly supernatural. Massimo Scaligero make the case for there being a path to freedom.
In an article entitled Nishida and Living Thought, Scaligero argues that freedom begins where the spirit finds itself alone in sensory experience, deprived of metaphysics, of traditions and of visions, so that it may only know the world from its isolation, even though this is the sensible world, the world of disanimated objectivity. The act with which the spirit knows it is in itself super-sensible; it is the spirit continuing its history, even if it is not aware of it, even if it sees only material, bodies, quantity and multiplicity, the movement of thought in the world is super-sensible movement. In being aware of that super-sensible essence, the spirit experiments with freedom, an experiment which it could not undertake when it perceived the world metaphysically and the metaphysical vision of the world conditioned it.
Thought is the last-born of the spirit, through which, however, spirit begins to enter directly into the world; but it may only enter on the condition that it does not take for the content ofthe world that which rises before it thanks to its activity; the form of the world being already its penetration into it. Only the awareness of this surging entrance into the world can offer the spirit the means of avoiding the mythicising of nature or of the supernatural, and of observing these as contents that it reveals by offering them form.
© John Dunn.
In order for a society to live
Saturday, 9 January 2021 at 21:48
What follows is my attempt to distill my understanding of In Order for a Spiritual Association to Live, Massimo Scaligero’s appendix to On Immortal Love,and apply it more widely to society as a whole. There is much of Giovanni Gentile in Scaligero's writing, this I do know as a student of Gentile.
Spiritual endeavour in society with others only exists to turn us towards a higher reality.
It does not exist to become a body of knowledge and thus eliminate the higher reality that is sought.
Once thinking becomes a thought, it becomes abstract rather than concrete.
In order for a society to live, every day it needs the raw material that justifies its existence: the spirit. When this is lacking, a society canexist only as something that is not the spirit but rather so much dead matter.
This is the most critical aspect of association, because asociety cannot have its roots in the world that exists, but in that which is to come. These roots have to sought out afresh every day: because they are purely inner.
But it always happens that egotisic relations prevail and imitate the spiritual, in order to survive as egotistic states in spiritual clothing: i.e. as the abstract unification which is proper to profane societies.
In a spiritual society, the idea justifies the form otherwise the form is already an alteration of the spiritual.
Profane societies need laws, rules and institutions: they are those laws which, growing old as man progresses, constitute the force of the Pharisees of every age and the reason for the ideal struggle of the few who in each age attempt to renew them, whilst complying with them.
The error of believing that the existing society is true must not be committed, asonly that which is created and still has to be created can be true.
Any society in which its organic nature is real to the extent that it complies with the regulations, so that whoever is in compliance with the regulations is also viewed to be spiritually in order, cannot be true. This pharisaic attitude appertains to those societies that are not interested in people who have an inner life, but instead in those who observe the rules in formal orthodoxy, because they are more useful from the viewpoint of political or worldly interests.
A spiritual society can only be an agreement of souls in accordance with the demands of freedom realised as a living moment of thinking; but even in this case, this is not something that is already achieved, but something that has still to be done. The aspiration towards freedom is a fact that is continuing to take place: it is not an event, or something achieved onceand for all.
© John Dunn.
Act of freedom
Friday, 8 January 2021 at 21:40
Continuing my personal discovery of Massimo Scaligero’s thought as the bridge between Giovanni Gentile and Rudolf Steiner, I have to say how impactfulI found the preamble to Scaligero’s Logos and the New Mysteries, (Publisher: Lindisfarne Books).
The spiritual practitioner must overcome the interminable series of esoteric mirages to realize that initiation has only one source, the Christ 'certainly not the mystical or gnostic Christ or that of religion, but the cosmic Christ, the metaphysical principle of absolute individuality and freedom. In the living moment of thinking, the “I ” (true self) begins to experience the Light of the World, which has overcome the separation. This is the act of freedom’ the ultimate sense of dialectical freedom.I look forward to reading the book, but this preamble turned my thought to my ongoing reading relationship with Gentile’s The Theory of Mind as Pure Act. For example:
To find spiritual reality we must seek it. This means that it never confronts us as external ; if we would find it we must work to find it. discover mind. And if to find it we must needs seek it, and finding it just means seeking it, we shall never have found it and we shall always have found it. If we would know what we are we must think and reflect onwhat we are ; finding lasts just as long as the construction of the object which is found lasts. So long as it is sought it is found. When seeking is over and we say we have found, we have found nothing, for what we were seeking no longer is. Gentile's 'pure act' is Scaligero’s 'freedom'.
© John Dunn.