Freedom, Will, Truth, Love
Where to begin? How to possibly unpack all of the endless implications and hidden byways in HvB's use of the simple and yet "infinitely pregnant" word the?
Ho! Fooled you again, boy. That was just me pretending to be Iowahawk satirizing me.
To remind us of where we are, we're still in the mist of a foggy discussion of truth and freedom, the one being inconceivable if not in the general vizzinity of the other. Why is that? I have a note to myself. Or perhaps to you: "On what basis have you chosen what you have used to construct your worldview? For this can never be a merely 'rational' process, even if the resulting worldview is rational."
In fact, you could never possibly specify on any rational grounds all of the infinite particulars that have gone into the construction of your worldview, for in the end, you can't even explain why you prefer blue over red or szechwan over black bean sauce. Or, put it this way: anyone who thinks they are purely rational is the most irrational of all, for there are few things as systematically irrational as dividing thought from intuition and emotion.
What we notice and select out of the world is already conditioned by our irreducible freedom, so truth and choice cannot be separated. Again, facts are everywhere. So too is knowledge. That's not the problem. But a worldview is one's unique stance toward the world, and that stance is always refracted through the lens of the individual. The individual is not the sum total of facts, but more analogous to a river bed or ocean current through which the facts pass. For example, the identical "facts of evolution" pass through me as much as they do Queeg, but what a difference!
HvB: "Thus, what someone selects to know and use as material for shaping his worldview is itself already conditioned in part by his free, ethical attitude toward the world and the ultimate questions of existence." This is always "a matter of choice, insofar as the very sifting of the objects that present themselves to his mind does not occur without his freedom." Thus, at every point the will is already involved in the act of knowledge itself, which as such is from start to finish an act of sifting and accentuation (HvB). Indeed, "there is a limitless number of ways in which a single object can be considered."
Take the example of the word the. How many times have you said to an atheist or leftist, "I do not think it means what you think it means." But then take something a little more complex than that, such as "existence," or "the Constitution," or "economics," or "religion," or "the cosmos." The problem is, because the will is always involved in truth, it leaves a gaping hole for mere willfulness to jump in. The will should assent to truth, where willfulness is what opposes it, as the latter is to ego as the former is to Self.
Or, one could say that it requires an act of will to remain open to the world -- especially in its vertical aspect -- but an act of willfulness to close oneself to the transcendent. Obviously God gave Adam "will," or freedom. But it was Adam's willfulness that resulted in his exile from reality.
I have another note to myself: are you free to choose your worldview, or is it forced upon you by facts? I would say that the more the latter is the case, the less the will is involved, and therefore, the less real truth is accessible. For example, the truly odious thing about political correctness is that no one is free to assent to it. Rather, you are compelled through a labyrinth of illegitimate power to assent to its version of the "facts."
I know that in my own profession of clinical psychology, the mind is simply "forbidden" to enter certain areas under penalty of professional death. For behind this wall of "false truth," there is always the threat of violence. I won't rehearse all of the ways in which this is true, but to suggest that science itself is free of such coercion is disingenuous in the extreme. Look at what happens to people who question the crank science of global warming, or the impossible reductionism of metaphysical Darwinism.
The left has infiltrated and taken over virtually every professional group, so that it has the power to compel lies under the color of authority. Again, this compulsion is antithetical to freedom and therefore truth. The reason why the judiciary is so important to the left is obviously because that is the most efficient way to bypass democracy and impose such things as the redefinition of marriage. That a man cannot marry a man is simply a fact of life. But the real facts of life -- or economics, or science, or race, or human nature -- have never stopped the left in the past.
What is even more sinister is that under the reign of political correctness, one is forbidden to be oneself, so that the entire pneuma-cosmic economy is disrupted. I have mentioned before that I am still recovering from my leftist brainsullying, and probably always will be, for what we call the "left" is simply the most recent incarnation of powers and principalities that long antedate Marx. As Paul said, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. And don't forget to gird your waist with truth, or the "sacred truss."
Now, as HvB explains, "being for oneself" and "communication of the self" are one and the same, so that to forbid the latter is to damage the former. These two activities, the one passive, the other active, are but two modes of a single, "indivisible illumination of being." For to be is to radiate one's being, i.e., to communicate. But this radiation of one's self, or the desire to give of the self, is inseparable from love. This is not difficult to understand, if we return to the adage "as above, so below," for God surely wishes to communicate truth, but prior to this must be the love that radiates from the sovereign good.
For who wants to share lies? That was a rhetorical question. I assume you've all been to college or read a newspaper. The point is that because truth exists in love, there is always "an ever-new mystery beyond every unveiling," a "never-failing 'something more' than what we already know, without which there would be neither knowing nor anything to be known." Therefore, it is none other than love that ultimately "keeps a being from ever becoming a sheer fact," and always lures knowledge toward its fulfillment in truth.
But what about the knowledge (k) of the non-lover? Among other things, love warms, loosens, and illuminates, so that it melts the existential ice and undoes the ontological knots. But the intelligence of the non-lover is cold, sclerotic, and either hardened or dissipated. Therefore, his vision resembles that of "the nearsighted man: acute, even excessively so, in seeing details," but "incapable of surveying the broad prospects of truth." For in order for truth to disclose itself, we must simultaneously disclose ourselves, and this is again an intimate act that can only be carried out in love and trust.
You could say that the materialist merely lusts after facts instead of passionately loving truth. Again, willfulness can attain to a kind of narrow factuality, but only love gains access to the truth, where being can complete itself in the human subject, and vice versa.
Take the mundane example of "the."
Stop saying that!
Many wait only for someone to love them in order to become who they always could have been from the beginning. It may also be that the lover, with his mysterious, creative gaze, is the first to discover in the beloved possibilities completely unknown to their possessor, to whom they would have appeared incredible.... At love's bidding, the object ventures to be what it could have been but would have never dared to be by itself alone. --All quotes from Theo-Logic: The Truth of the World