Free at Last, Thank Matter Almighty I'm Free of Freedom!
I don't know if he meant that literally or ironically, but reader Julie responded that being "remembered by the world" is one thing, whereas "true immortality," i.e., being "remembered by God," is another thing entirely.
Or in other words, the first type of immortality is subjective, in that it resides in other subjects.
But no matter how many subjects there are or how long they remember, they are all mortal as well, so one is obviously just postponing the inevitable, which is total destruction and utter forgetfulness. Once the sun fades and the world freezes, it will be as if even the most famous person never existed. Therefore, subjective immortality is really just a brief stage on the way to objective mortality and total cosmic I-amnesia, so Michelangelo is as forgettable as Miley Cyrus. Or, each was an inexplicable miracle of equivalent incomprehensibility.
The second type of mortality is objective, in that it partakes of absoluteness. This relationship between objectivity and absoluteness may offer a clue as to the purpose of life, in that to participate in absoluteness on this side of death is to engage in a process of "immortalization." Conversely, to plunge into relativity and subjectivity is to fritter away one's life. We'll return to this idea later.
If the postmodern doctrine of relativism is true, then it is absolutely the case that there can be no escape from our subjectivity. Reality is perception and perception is an evanescent fog that burns off with the morning sun. Yes, that fog was your life.
We cannot see clearly through the fog, but not seeing clearly presupposes something there to see. If there were only fog, then no one could see it.
Speaking of fog, I can see that this cloudy metaphor is running out of steam, so let's just cut to Schuon, who forecasts that if there is indeed no escape from the fog of human subjectivity, then "the statement itself possesses no objective value, but falls under its own verdict."
The following sounds like a foggy tautology, but it is not: "It is abundantly evident that man can escape subjectivity, for otherwise he would not be man" (ibid.).
This is actually a sunlit axiom, or first principle: that man qua man is the subject who is capable of transcending his subjectivity. No other terrestrial subject can do this. We won't get into the question of whether God can also transcend himself, but we will someday return to that contentious subject, so near to our Hartshorne.
The question is not whether man is a subject, which he obviously is; rather, the question is whether he is only a subject, which strikes me as impossible.
For again, what defines man is the self-evident fact that he is "able to conceive of both the subjective and the surpassing of the subjective" (ibid.) Or in other words, as Schuon has expressed it elsewhere, it seems that man is "condemned to transcendence."
The phenomenon of man is not essentially a material proposition (or materiality is a necessary but not sufficient condition). Rather, everything that sets man apart first takes place in a higher, immaterial space. To quote Schuon again, our space of subjectivity "would not even be conceivable for a man who was totally enclosed in his subjectivity; an animal lives its subjectivity but does not conceive it, for unlike man it does not possess the gift of objectivity."
Thus, in one sense we have "more" subjectivity than other animals, in that we live in a much more vast interior space. But in another sense we must have less subjectivity, or in other words, the ability to "stand back" from our own subjectivity and view it from an objective standpoint. An animal can change its behavior but it cannot gain personal insight into it. A dog doesn't wonder to itself, "why am I always such an asshole to the mailman? It's like I can't help it or something."
So the question isn't whether we are subjects, but whether we are entirely enclosed in our subjectivity. There was a time, not too long ago, that psychology assumed a kind of closed mental system. I don't want to go into all the historical details, but this was essentially a result of psychologists trying to imitate the 19th century paradigm of classical (pre-relativistic) physics, in which everything in the universe is exterior to everything else, like a cosmic billiards table.
We now know that humans are intrinsically intersubjective. In fact, if we weren't intrinsically intersubjective -- i.e., members of one another -- there would be no way to become so after the fact. It is our own version of an instinct, only on a higher plane. For example, one can try to raise a grizzly bear as a child, but the bear has an unavoidable attraction to its own archetype and will eventually eat you.
There are, however "critical periods" of development, in which the organism must meet with an appropriate response from the environment in order to actualize the archetype (or clueprint). Thus, an infant deprived of maternal love, if he doesn't die outright, will grow up autistic, since his intersubjectivity wasn't engaged and drawn out during the critical period. Such a person will indeed be "enclosed in his subjectivity" (or "condemned to immanence," so to speak).
Since our horizontal openness is no longer up for serious debate, the more important question is whether man is also an open system vertically -- or in other words, whether there isn't just an intersubjective mygration from our own private Idaho, but whether there is also a vertical escape-hatching of the cosmic egg.
Here again, it would appear that this goes to the subject-object complementarity alluded to at the top of this post. For man's unique form of subjectivity includes "the gift of objectivity." Or at least we hope it does. If it doesn't, then there is nothing really to discuss, since we are just arguing over whose fog is better, with no reference to what is behind or above it.
Now, one of the mind parasites that corrupts leftism is the notion that truth is a function of class, or race, or economics, or some other subjective quality that is less than truth -- that "the background determines the thought and takes precedence over truth" (Schuon). If this is true, then it must always be true, so we are again hopelessly enclosed in subjectivity.
Thus, another kind of objectivity comes to the rescue, AKA power and violence. This becomes a literal object, e.g., a gun to the face, a boot on the neck, a tax on existing, etc. It is a truism that any philosophy that denies truth affirms violence. There is no question as to the "legitimacy" of the violence, because that goes to a truth that is humanly unknowable.
To put it another way, to deny objective truth is to give oneself permission to plunge into passion, which again defines leftist man. Machiavelli was apparently the first fellow with balls enough to come right out and say that politics involves only effective truth, which is to affirm the principle that might makes right.
Where would leftists be without this unprincipled principle? They would not only be freed from their own horizontal prison, but would no longer feel compelled to force the rest of us into it.
To be continued...