The Secret Life of Objects and the Cosmic Strip Show
In other words, the object serves as an occasion for our knowledge about it -- without which, neither the object nor the subject can ever emerge from the background of being. Or so it says in my margin notes. But what the hell was I talking about? That is the question.
Here's the problem. I think. On the one hand, we have the Kantian tradition that says that we can't even really know objects at all, only forms of our own sensibility; in short, we are like people inside of a submarine who only interact with various screens and gauges (i.e., our nervous system and its innate categories), but never actually touch the water. Whatever reality is in itself, we haven't a clue. Rather, we have access only to appearances, the phenomena, while the noumenon is forever dark and silent.
On the other hand, we have the naive "realists" (who should really be called "sub-realists") who conflate perception and reality without ever contemplating the metaphysical problems that arise from such a view -- for example, the relationship between mind and matter, and what kind of ontology permits the former to possess valid knowledge of the latter, or how object and subject become "one" in the act of knowing. The problem here, as described by Wolfgang Smith, is that this form of crude realism
"has no place for man, the human witness," so there is no explanation for "even the humblest act of perception." What is implicitly denied is "the very essence of man, which is the Intellect, the faculty by which he knows. If there were not within man something that transcends the cosmos in its entirety, something literally 'not of this world,' he would not be the witness in relation to whom the cosmos exists as an object..."
In fact, oddly enough, the scientistic world can never actually be known at all, for the simple reason that, once sundered into the cartesian categories of res extensa (the physical world) and res cogitans (the thinking being), there is no way to join them back together. But thankfully, as explained in the Coonifesto, modern physics has finally put this dysfunctional worldview to rest, for as Smith says, the so-called paradoxes of quantum mechanics are "simply Nature's way of repudiating a spurious philosophy."
Smith references Whitehead, who pointed out that knowledge is ultimate. If it isn't, I dare you to try and prove it with knowledge, knave! It's as if the materialist has his nose pressed against a black wall, behind which is "reality." Which is an absurd proposition.
No. We cannot make this knower and its knowledge go away that easily, unless we attend college. And even then, it usually requires several years of graduate school to complete the job.
I'll get back to Balthasar in a second, but Smith makes the utterly sound point that to absolutize the cosmos -- as materialists do -- is to exile the knower from the world, precisely. And there is no way to get him back in.
But the Scattered Brotherhood of the Eternal Wisdom -- i.e., Coondom -- does not see it this way. Rather, where the postmodern barbarians see either irreconcilable duality or a naive material monism, we see a sempiternal complementarity in which world and witness co-arise and mutually deepen one another. Anything short of this will be an incomplete cosmology, for it will exclude the very means by which the cosmos is known to itself!
Ultimately, the cosmos cannot be more real than our knowledge of it. Rather, it is that knowledge. This does not mean that we open our eyes and magically create the physical world, as the spiritually retarded Deepaks of the world believe. Rather, what it means is that there are various worlds implicated in the cosmos, and that only an act of knowing can "draw them out," so to speak; a way of knowing brings a world into being. (And as I have mentioned in the past, an authentic religion is most definitely a valid means of knowing worlds that transcend the senses. In fact, that is what they are here for.)
This is why I can affirm with complete confidence that, for example, the leftist inhabits a very different world than the one I inhabit. However, my world easily transcends and contains his little world, which is why my world is the more real. I know this because I once inhabited that little world, just as I once inhabited the world of the fetus, the toddler, the adolescent, the adultolescent, back to the adolescent, the angry leftist (I know, a distinction without a difference) and eventually the adult.
Anyway, back to Balthasar. Just remember, "We know the cosmos to the extent that we know ourselves; we are able, indeed, to know the outer world precisely because it corresponds to the inner" (Smith). And the inner world contains layers and levels unknown to the village atheist.
For Balthasar, truth is the unveiledness of being, which surely implies "a relation to the subject to which it is in fact unveiled." This amounts to the same thing I discussed above. Thus, it is only when this unveiling has occurred, "that being is inwardly illumined and measured." Furthermore, "measure and light are the two properties of truth, and they are inseparable."
You might say that we can only measure objects because they have already been measured within the infinite Subject. Thus, "a being that was not known by God could not be known by a finite subject, for the simple reason that it would not exist in the first place.... [B]eing unknown by God, it would have no measure for its being and thus no truth."
As above, so below. The same way that a cosmos comes into being for us through an act of knowing, it is precisely God's knowing-in-truth that is the origin of this hierarchical, many-layered, glass-onion cosmos, so that things and facts are always more than themselves. You might say that the cosmos stands naked before God, whereas for us it is veiled and reveiled in an endlessly O-luring manner. Thank God! For as Alan Watts once said in a slightly different and probably drunken context, when the stripper removes the last veil, she has surrendered what is left of her erotic mystery.
Nothing is knowable that doesn't already stand in the weird light that shines in the dark but which the dorks don't comprehend. Again: we do not measure God; rather, God is the measure of us, and of everything else. And the measure of a human being is uniquely located and disclosed in time, which is the time it takes for us to become who we are, which, if you are following me, has already been "measured by God." We just have to know into it. To conform ourselves to our divine essence is to live in a portion of the divine light that has been made-to-measure just for us.