- Saint Augustine - Confessions
- Michael Casey - Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina
- Tom Cheetham - World Turned Inside Out: Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism
- Tom Cheetham - Imaginal Love: The Meanings of Imagination in Henry Corbin and James Hillman
- Marc Lewis - Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs
- Meaning has three dimensions:
- Sense of coherence (nomological order). “The more coherent, the more intelligible, the more things fit together for you, the more real they are, the more meaningful you find your life.”
- Sense of significance (normative order). “How deep in reality, how good are the elements of your life?”
- Sense of purpose (narrative order). “Does your life have a direction? Is it moving in a course?”
- As reading becomes more and more a silent activity, a different model of thought emerges. “What they give priority to is coherence within a language rather than transformation within themselves in the world.”
Welcome back to awakening from the meaning crisis. Last time we were talking about this interaction and confluence between nascent Christianity, the transformation that’s undergoing the platonic tradition in Neoplatonism and Gnosticism. We had ended up by talking about Plotinus and how he brings about this grand unification of the best science of the time.
Aristotle, the best therapy of the time, stoicism, and as the best spirituality of the time, Platonism. And this has done all in a way that powerfully integrates mystical experience, achieving higher states of consciousness and rational argumentation. Things that we now experience is diametrically opposed: science and spirituality, reason and transformation, therapy and realness.
All of these things were not diametrically opposed, they were instead powerfully, mutually supportive. Now Plotinus is around 270 or so of the common era. And after him, of course, the Roman empire starts to go into decline. And we’re seeing the end of the ancient world. And there is a figure there, a towering figure who basically brings this configuration, this triangle that I’ve mentioned of Christianity, Neoplatonism, and Gnosticism together. He’s deeply influenced by all of them, although he will eventually give priority to Christianity and that’s Augustine.
So Augustine is a Roman and he’s alive in the fourth century into the beginnings of the fifth century as the Roman empire is entering its final stages. So as you can imagine, that impending collapse is bringing with it a very, dark vision of the world. And for that reason, Augustine is attracted to Manichaeism.Now this is a religion that was started in Persia. And many people argue that it is a Gnostic religion. Some people disagree with applying the term Gnostics to it. Again, it doesn’t matter. It seems to have picked up on a lot of the same kinds of ideas, about a machinery in which we are mashed.
As creatures of light and that light has to be liberated by a special kind of Gnosis. And Augustine is deeply attracted to this religion. He’s attracted to this religion, precisely because it is, as I said, it has Gnostic components in it and therefore promises to address, his own personal loss of agency, which I’ll talk about momentarily, but also to address what is becoming more and more, salient to people of Augustine’s time, which is a world that is darkening around them.
So he’s influenced by that, which means ideas of evil and evil powers and structures in the world. Are very salient to Augustine. He also deeply suffers. As I mentioned, personally, he is riven with inner conflict, to put it, I think in terms that would make sense to us today, Augustine is a sex addict.
He is deeply addicted to sexual behavior. He described it this way. And I think this is a particularly apt way of describing his addiction. He said I was always licking the open sore of lust, which gives you a very telling image of a compelling desire and yet, and something disgusting and degrading.
And it’s also exacerbating and making worse, the very affliction that you’re suffering. So he, he suffers tremendous self-loading because of this, tremendous loss of agency
and he struggles to try and find a way of getting free from his own personal, inner conflict and degradation. And also providing an answer to the evil that he sees in the world. He writes the first autobiography in the history of the West, The Confessions, and in there, he relates an experience which deeply, deeply affected him.
I would say it came close to traumatizing him. So when he was young, he relates this story. He and some of his friends broke into a courtyard and stole some fruit. And you’re thinking most of us would think, yeah. You know, a young adolescent performing, you know, a misdemeanor act of minor theft, stealing some fruit who cares.
But this is Augustine. He’s already inmeshed in Manichaem worldview. He’s already deeply becoming aware as an adolescent of how powerful his drives can be. And what affected Augustine about this very profoundly is he said he did not want the fruit. He wasn’t really trying to impress his friends.
He wasn’t desiring that. He came away with a very strong experience. It’s almost like a reverse of a higher state of consciousness. He came away with a very strong experience that he stole the fruit, simply because it was the wrong thing to do that he wanted to do this. That was something in him that was dragging him down.
And this is again, why this worldview appealed to him. Manichaeism is very much like the Star Wars mythology of the light and the dark side. There is a dark side and it’s dragging people down and it’s the side of desire and anger and destruction.
And Augustine sees this alive within his own body and his sexual addiction. He travels around the world. He teaches rhetoric and he becomes eventually connected and familiar with philosophy and something happens to him that’s quite profound.
He reads the work of Plotinus. He later writes in Plotinus Plato lived again, and he writes very glowingly of the Platonists. And especially in Plotinus Augustine sees a different way. He gets a worldview other than the Manichaem worldview, he gets Neoplatonic worldview, and he gets it.
I mean, this, in the Gnostic sense, he gets it. Augustine has a mystical experience while reading. He has that ascent to the one.He rises through the levels of reality and levels of his self. And he has this mystical experience, but he can’t hold it. He can’t stay there. The darkness in him has so much gravity and pulls him back down and pulls him back towards that of world of lust and addiction, that reciprocal narrowing that Mark Lewis talks about so powerfully. And he wonders: Why, why, why, why is the gravity pulling me? Why is there darkness that pulls me down? Why is it so powerful? Is there anything that can overpower it and pull me up? He says, I get what Plotinus is talking about, but the evil within me, it’s too strong. The darkness pulls me down too much.
He’ll later come to say that this is like a whole in being, and it’s just sucking the light away.
What some people have reported having after they have some mystical experiences, he has a rebound effect of despair. It’s like if I was to show you a beautiful place, this beautiful beach, and when you stepped onto the beach, you finally felt at peace, like the peace you’ve sought all your life, and there’s beauty around you and you feel alive and vital.
But you can’t stay. You can’t, you can’t somehow you just can’t hold and you’re drawn away and you can’t stay there.
Now, the place you’re in, the darkness and the squalor that you’re in, is so much worse because you have been in the light and you know, you were incapable of staying there.
So he’s falling into despair and he’s at his mother’s house and his mother is a Christian, and he’s in the backyard and he’s listening and he hears a child’s voice. Say, take it, pick up and read. And there’s a Bible there or an early version of a Bible and he picks it up just where it is.
And he happens to, of course, read the work of Paul.
And in Paul, he finds an affinity, a deep affinity that kindred spirit, because in Paul, he sees that same inner conflict, that same tortured inner conflict, and he sees a worldview that makes sense of that inner conflict. And Augustine has this insight.
He says, look, look, look, pay attention to Plotinus, pay attention to Plato. What are they saying? Plato and Plotinus are ultimately saying we’re driven by two powerful loves. We’re driven by the love of becoming one within and becoming one with what is most real is what’s driving all of our reason is love.
The love for what’s true. A love for what’s good. A love for what is beautiful. And then he says at the heart of reason is love and what’s damaged in me is my capacity to love, not my capacity to reason. That’s why I have this sexual addiction. My capacity for love has been thwarted and twisted by my sexuality.
So I need something that can heal. Remember the Gnosis, the healing I need to be healed.
There’s a love that is within reason that can help you grow beyond reason. To what reason always sought.
How do we grow in love? Well, agape. That’s what the Christian messag is. Agape by participating in agape. We grow in love. We grow in the love that is driving us to becoming persons, fully realized persons. So Augustine says Neoplatonism needs Christianity and the healing and the response to evil that Gnosticism was looking for can actually be found in Christianity.
And so he synthesizes them all together.
Notice what we now have. Let’s put this together very carefully in Augustine and notice the way he’s putting it. He’s not putting it out there as a theory. He’s writing an autobiography, he’s talking about it in a perspectival and participatory way. He writes the first autobiography, The Confessions, this is not a dry academic treatise.
This is an existential manual, how you can also go through the process that he has gone through. It is Gnosis through and through. Okay. So from Plotinus what do we have? Well, Plotinus already has given is the Aristotelian worldview because it’s part of his theory.
That’s the nomological order we talked about. The conformity theory, right? The geocentric worldview, the two things in attunement. This is the best science account of the structure of reality and how reality is known. From Plotinus, himself, we get now what I’m going to call the normative order.
So Plotinus gave us an account of how we can move in a coordinated fashion up the levels of reality, up the levels of consciousness, up the levels of the self, from what is less real to what is more real.
What’s Augustine going to do with that? Well, look, what’s less real what’s down here has less oneness, less integration. It makes less sense. Look, when I destroy something, what do I do? I take away its structural functional organization. I make it more disordered, right? As I go downward, things are fragmenting, having less and less form, they’re less and less intelligible. They’re less and less understandable. This becomes more and more pure chaos.
I’m losing truth. I am losing goodness. I’m losing beauty. I’m losing what makes things to be and what makes them to be sensible and intelligible. This is evil. Down here that’s the whole, that’s the tear in being towards which things can fall, but I can also move up to what’s more true. More good, more real.
And of course, what Plotinus knows is that this is driven by a love, a love of knowing what is real and simultaneously becoming what is more real. And so for Augustine, and Plato even called it, if you remember, the good, this is the normative order.
The nomological order tells you how things are structured. The normative order tells you how you can become better, how you can deal with evil and how you can increase realness, meaning in your life.
Augustine takes that. And as I’ve shown you, the thing about Aristotle is, well, you know what? Everything was moving to get where it belongs. Right, but that’s all it is in Aristotle. But I think Augustine is basically saying that everything is moving in a way in order to try and move us away from evil towards goodness.
And so he says, I think, Christianity puts these two together. The world, everything is moving on purpose. And the purpose is to try and afford realization. Both cognitive and in the world, things are becoming more real. We’re becoming more real. We’re realizing that and then he says, and you know what? All of this is driven by love and about the transformation that happens in me, the Gnostic agape, that’s the narrative order of Christianity.
There’s this great narrative, there’s this great story about the course of history and the course of history is a course of moving towards a final consummation, the promised land. And that is the history of God’s love of God’s agape of God intervening and creating the open future.
But that agape isn’t just a historical force. It’s also a normative force in me. It’s also leading me upward towards the good. What Augustine does is he says Christianity can put all of these things together.
The world is organized this way so that it moves through history this way, so that all of us can self transcend this way. All three orders come together in a mutually supporting fashion. Now we know from current cognitive science that the three components of meaning that people talk about, the things that contribute to meaning in life.
And this is Hanselman’s work and others. Firstly, there is a sense of coherence. I’ll explain what this means in a minute. Moreover, there is the sense of significance and a sense of purpose. I got to talk to Samantha Hanselman about this.
The more coherent, the more intelligible, the more things fit together for you, the more real they are, the more meaningful you find your life. Well, that’s the nomological order. How things fit together and make sense in a coherent fashion.
What about significance? Significance is this.: How deep in reality, how good are the elements of your life? That’s the normative order purpose.
Does your life have a direction? Is it moving in a course? That’s the narrative order. Human beings want things to make sense. They need a nomological order. And Augustine says, I have the Aristotelian world world order. And I can give a Christian explanation of that. They want things to be significant. They want to satisfy the anagogic drives of inner peace and contact with reality.
And Augustine says, I can tell you that because I can tell you how to put reason and agape together. That’s what Christianity does. And the people want things to have a purpose. They want there to be a story. Christianity is offering the ultimate story. Augustine puts it all together. And he puts it all together as the Roman empire is literally collapsing. He’s in Hippo in North Africa. When the barbarians are literally at the gate laying siege to the city.
And he’s basically laying the foundations for what’s going to come next. He’s laying foundations for the medieval worldview. But what do we have from this? And we’ll come back to the cognitive science. Well, what we have is a very long and powerful history that tells us how our culture has articulated the axial revolution, how it has given a grammar, a way of understanding what the axial revolution has given us.
It has given us a system for interpreting and inhabiting a world view in which meaning and wisdom are understood by the axial revolution. They ave been developed and have been articulated in a sophisticated and compelling fashion.
Meaning is to have a nomological order that connects us to what is real, it is to have a normative order that connects us not intellectually, but existentially to what is good so that we can become better. Meaning is to have a narrative order that tells us how we can move forward through history, both collective and individual history.
But what I’ve tried to show you is that these are not three separate things. They’re like the three dimensions of the space of meaning, the three axes of the space of meaning.
This is a beautiful synthesis. It’s the combination of tremendous amount of historical development. It’s profound and it’s not just an intellectual thing. It is some, as I’ve tried to show you, it is simultaneously a scientific thing, a spiritual thing, a therapeutic thing, an existential thing.
This is why this is going to last a thousand years. Because it is such a powerful and enriching vision.
Imagine if I could offer this to you and make it deeply historically, scientifically and intellectually viable for you? What if I could offer to you a worldview that had the deepest scientific legitimacy? Totally integrated with the most profound spirituality, no antagonism, no irrationality in it, could join seamlessly with a personal project of therapy of therapeutic change and healing, and sappy essential education, the cultivation of genuine wisdom and true self and self transcendence. In community with yourself, your world, your culture, and other people. Would you not want this?
So here’s the question now have to ask yourself why don’t you have it? Because we know from the science, that’s what you want. We know from the history that that’s what our foundational culture from the axial revolution built for us. Why don’t we have it?
Is it irredeemably lost when we lost the Gnostic mythology. When we lost the axial mythology, the two worlds of mythology. When we lost the mythology of Christianity, are we now bereft forever?
So the short answer for a long series of arguments that are forthcoming is no, I think there is a response. That’s why this series is entitled awakening from the meeting crisis, not despairing because of the meaning crisis. But we’re only halfway through, right?
We’re only halfway through posing the problem we have. We need to understand we’re getting an understanding of this meaning and this wisdom we’re getting how it was articulated and developed and woven into our cultural framework, our cognitive machinery, the very grammar of our existential modes,
But we still don’t know why does it all fall apart? How does it all come apart? And where does that leave us? We need a better understanding of the genealogy of the crisis. Now that we have a better understood historical understanding of the nature of the meaning that was lost. We need to understand the process of loss.
As I said, this world is the world that Augustine bestows, and this is what you need to understand that there’s tremendous loss. When the Roman empire collapses, it’s not as great as the bronze age collapse, but it is major. But it’s only in the West, by the way, not in the East, the Byzantine empire survives. But nevertheless, there’s a traumatic loss, traumatic, not dramatic. Traumatic loss of cities, literacy, sea trade commerce.
The standard of living that was lost in the Roman empire is not recovered again until 1750 in London. It takes that long for that standard of living to be recovered again. So this is very traumatic, but the heritage given by Augustine is so powerful that it serves as, and I’m using this word very carefully, as a home for people throughout all of this turbulent turmoil.
But some things start to happen. Let’s start to pull that apart.
The sacred canopy. It starts to be torn apart and can no longer shelter us from our terrors and our despair. So one of the first things is in 1054 there’s a division. And I’m not going to go into any details but it has to do with that the Roman empire in the West collapses, but it doesn’t collapse in the East.
The East is Greek speaking. The West is Latin speaking. That in addition to Augustine, the East is deeply influenced by Dionysus, Pseudo-Dionysus. Also the case in the West there’s a lot of cultural, historical socioeconomic differences in how Christianity was understood. And… they split apart.
There’s what’s called the great schism. So Christianity splits between an Eastern Orthodox and what’s going to be called a Catholic version of Christianity. This ,of course, weakens Christianity. It also has an impact on it by separating itself from the East. Christianity loses some of the connection that leads to Christianity in the West.
Western Europe, Christianity loses some of its deeper connections to that Neoplatonic mystical theology that starts to have an impact. The West starts to become less and less platonic and more and more Aristotelian.
As always, this starts with a change in psychotechnology.
So looking at the work of St. Victor who was around from 1096 to 1141, and Cheltham talks about this in his books and Corbin talks about this, there’s a shift in reading, in how people read.
And it’s after the schism. So before that, and this is something I can speak to from first person, before that reading is done largely aloud, people read aloud. They read the Bible, for example, because that’s mostly the only thing that can be read, and some of the church fathers, people like Augustine.
For example, aloud reading is often done communally. So, first of all, you’re embedded in a cultural context, you’re embedded in a sapiential community. You read aloud and more than you read aloud, you’re reciting.
So let’s try and get something in your experience that might bring this out. Think of the difference between reading a poem and reciting a poem. And it’s no coincidence by the way that when Gabriel spoke to Mohammad, he told him to recite not to write.
Let me tell you about something wonderful. Last Saturday was my birthday. And so it was a surprise party. My partner, she organized a wonderful party for me, and I’d always said that, instead of gifts, I would prefer it if people, brought, one of their favorite pieces of poetry and read it aloud. So it was a poetry party and people read it aloud.
And there’s such a difference between reading a poem silently and reading it aloud because the intonation and the sharing it with others makes it very different. What was particularly beautiful is, my girlfriend actually, she’s a gifted singer. She actually sang her version of the poem by Robert Frost.
It’s a famous one about the two roads diverged, and I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference. But when somebody is singing a song, and most songs are poems, if you think about it is appealing to you, not just propositionally, it’s not just that kind of knowing, it’s not just trying to create beliefs in you. First of all, by reciting the poem you’re trying to communicate it to others, you have to bring in all your knowhow of communication. Being able to share with other people. You have to all your ways of paying attention, much more embodied.
This is perspectival stuff. What does it feel like? What is it like to be here in this space? In this context with these people uttering these words.
And with that, it has the potential to be participatory. Cause these are poems that have changed them, have made a difference to their identity. They know these poems, not the way, you know, the words on the back of your cereal box. They know these poems because of the way in which they have been changed by them.
Their very sensitive identity has been altered by it. So when people were reading, then they’re reading the Bible, they’re reciting it. They’re reciting to a community. They’re also doing something. And I do this practice now and other people do right. It’s called Lectio Divina. It’s a way of reading a text in which the point is not to have the propositions and to speak. It is to let the text as much as possible, speak to you. It is to engage with the text in a meditative mindful fashion, opening yourself up to the possibility of it, transforming you. It is much more like going to listen to a piece of music and having prepared yourself for the receptivity to have a profound aesthetic experience. It’s analogous to that. You’re reading and you’re reciting in such a way that you’re trying to open yourself up to this text. Speaking to you, people that are religious will often talk about this as if God is present in the text and speaking to them through the text.
This is how people were reading it. A form of reading that is ontologically remedial, it’s designed to heal you transform you. It’s designed to trigger, activate and educate your procedural, perspectival and participatory, knowing not just give you propositions. It’s about helping you in your reading.
Remember the being mode and not just have beliefs and propositions.
But people start to read differently shortly thereafter.
What’s happening is people are shifting from, right.
So I have Avicenna, which is an Anglicised form of Ibn Sina who’s a great Persian, Philosopher. He was up until this time, the dominant interpreter of that Augustinian worldview, that whole Augustinian way. And he gives priority to the Neoplatonic and Corbin is going to make a lot of the fact that Persian philosophy was always trying to keep the Neoplatonic and Gnostic elements of spirituality alive.
Persia has played a much greater role and a world history and cultural history than we have properly given credit to in the so called West. But he gets replaced by Averroes who is more purely, purely Aristotelian.
And what that really means is a shift, a shift to give an exclusive priority to definitions. Remember Aristotle tried to understand essences the Eidos as essences and essences as definitions. And that’s very problematic because many things don’t have definitions.
So people now start to read silently to themselves and what they’re trying, what they give priority to is coherence within a language rather than transformation within themselves in the world. So what matters is how the various symbols, and I don’t mean that in a spiritual sense, the various propositional terms and logical connectives fit together, coherently.
So a new model for thought emerges. The old model was thought is a conforming to the world. And, and then we’ve got this articulated and developed and expanded into this whole process of Gnosis and anagoge. And self-transformation that model of knowing that’s also a way of being, that’s also a way of becoming that’s being taken away.
And it’s being replaced by a different model of thought. Knowing becomes to have coherent propositional language, thinking is to have a coherent set of propositions in your head. So Kranz talks about how we shift from the extensive self, the self that is transjectively connected to the world, that understands itself in terms of its conformity to the world, to an intensive self. This is a self that’s inside my head. It’s inside. My beliefs, myself is primarily the way I talk to myself, by affirming my beliefs through propositional language. So people start to think that the primary way in which we know things is to get as much coherence within our inner language rather than of conformity in our outer existential mode.
Now, why would people make this shift? People make this shift because the world is starting to open up again. People are starting to get interested in knowing the world scientifically. It’s just lowly beginning here. But we’re going to get the move towards the value of having - and by the way, I believe in this value, I’m a scientist, right? - the value of logically coherent, well organized propositional theories. The power of this is being discovered. So when I can read in this other way, I can empower my argumentative skills tremendously. But what am I losing?
What I’m losing is I’m losing reading as a psychotechnology of psycho-spiritual-existential-transformation. Reading is now becoming the consumption of propositions and their structuring in logical coherency.
Well, as I said, there’s the beginning of this reorientation towards the external world. And it’s being driven by the fact that Aristotle is coming into prominence because he’s being rediscovered because of the crusades.
There is a rediscovery of the works of Aristotle that had largely been lost to Western Europe. And in Aristotle, there is a problem for Christianity because the problem for Christianity is we have a figure that can’t be ignored. Aristotle is, is part of that whole ancient world that Augustine gave us.
He’s the author of the nomological order that Augustine has baptized with Christianity’s approval. So Aristotle can’t be ignored, but Aristotle describes a world that does not have a lot of the Christian mythology attached to it and offers explanations for things that Christianity makes no effort to explain.
So there is this tremendous attraction to the power, the new explanatory power provided by Aristotle and the model he gives up. Getting clear definitions and clear, solligistic inferences and building up a very clear picture is immeshed with this new way of reading and this new way of experiencing, knowing and experiencing oneself primarily inside one’s head, inside one’s language.
So Aristotle can’t be ignored or rejected because of his eminent authority. But neither can he simply be assimilated into the Christian worldview because he talks about and explains things and does things in a manner that you don’t find in the Bible.
So more and more people are reading in this new way. They’re starting to emulate the new Aristotelian science. But this is starting to cause a crisis within Christianity.
And so there’s an individual who arises, who sees the looming threat that this poses. Who sees two things happening. There’s a change in the psychotechnology of reading, and there is a change and how people are starting to look at the world.
Both of these changes are associated with the difficulty of assimilating the rediscovered Aristotle into a Christian worldview. But Thomas Aquinas takes up the task of solving this problem and he’s going to be a pivotal figure precisely for that reason.There’s a whole group of people, both theologians and philosophers to mistake the volume of Thomas Aquinas, and there’s all kinds of controversy around how Aristotelian Aquinas is, how platonic he is. I’m going to, again, to try and present the way I think he was historically taken up and basically understood.
So for Aquinas, how do we salvage both? The Christian worldview and the new science, the new science of the rediscovered Aristotle? He does something really brilliant. He goes to the fundamental grammar of all of this. What’s the fundamental grammar of this? It’s the mythology of the two worlds.
The axial revolution is there’s two worlds. There’s the real world and the illusory world. And that has been a constant throughout all of this. And he comes up with a way of trying to assimilate it. So we have the two worlds, right? Here’s in the platonic and even in the Augustinian view, here’s the everyday world.
And then here is the real world. But what Aquinas does is he changes that. He says this world is real too.
There is real knowledge of this world possible.
This is knowledge that we can get through reason and science. So reason and science study this world and they can discover real truths about that through reason. But this world up here is still somehow more real. How do we do that? Well, he invented a distinction that we tend to anacronistically push back on people. And there are definitely precursors and Suda, Dionysus and Augustine, but the idea is this is the natural world. It can be studied by reason and by science, this is the world above the natural world. What’s the word for above? Super. So this is the supernatural world. And this is not a world that can be studied by science or reason. This is a world that is only accessible by faith.
So there’s now the two worlds that have been made sort of fundamentally two separate kinds of worlds. And there isn’t a continuum between them. Now, there isn’t a way of moving through them by. Love and reason united together. What now happens is that the notion of faith is going to be changed. So reason is down here and love is up here.
And the idea for Aquinas, is that love moves the will
And even for Augustine love moves reason. But for Aquinas love moves the will. Love moves the will to assert things that it can’t know through reason. So faith becomes the act of willful assertion. Now to be fair to Aquinas, this is not willful in the sense of my will. This is a will that is being driven by the love of God.
But nevertheless, what’s now happening is love and reason are being pulled apart. Faith is going from this participation in the flow of the course of history to the assertion of propositions, the assertion of statements, giving a creed. And more fundamentally, science and spirituality are now being divorced from each other in a profound way, such that if it’s scientific, it’s not spiritual.
And if it’s spiritual, It’s not scientific. And you can see the beginnings of romanticism. If it has to do with love then it has nothing to do with reason. And if it has anything to do with reason then it has nothing to do with love and all of these things are now being pulled apart.
Now Aquintas is a wonderful man, a wonderful writer. He is trying to save the actual worldview by reformulating its fundamental grammar of two worlds into a formulation that is now becoming familiar to you. But here’s the danger. And this is not a danger that Aquintas foresees, as this becomes more and more successful and we less and less find our assertions, our will being driven by love, but just by willpower alone, this world becomes less and less real to us, the supernatural world. And if there is no supernatural world, if it’s no longer - and listen to my language - if it’s no longer viable to us, we can’t think about it and imagine it.
But if it’s no longer livable to us, then the whole axial world mythology, the whole axial world grammar, that grammar that gave us the grammar of meaning and wisdom and self-transcendence that huge heritage is now threatened to fall apart. We’ll start looking at that next time together. Thank you for your time and attention. .