Let's begin with some questions about ideologues, whether they subscribe to positivism, scientism, existentialism, psychologism, evolutionism, leftism, whatever. Let's just call it the modern and postmodern plague of ismism:
why do they expressly prohibit anybody to ask questions concerning the sectors of reality they have excluded from their personal horizon? why do they want to imprison themselves in their restricted horizon and dogmatize their prison reality as the universal truth? and why do they want to lock up all mankind in the prison of their own making?
Why do these narrow-minded assouls want to "engulf Western civilization in their political prison culture"?
Not only would answering this question require a lifetime, but we could say that this is what a "lifetime" is, precisely. I wish I could.... well, not literally, but for the purposes of this essay, I wish I could go through college again, knowing what I know (and unKnow) now, and thereby observe the whole pathological process from an objective standpoint. As it was, I internalized the pathology and then spent the second half of my life undoing it. Or with luck, the latter three fifths.
In this meditative essay on his own intellectual development, called Remembrance of Things Past, Voegelin says that he too was subject to the same pressures to conform to ideology:
A school [i.e., a school of thought] is a formidable force indeed. Considerable time had to elapse before I understood the situation and its implications.
For my part, it wasn't until well into graduate school that I began to realize that the relevant issue isn't so much the philosophy as the philosopher, by which I mean that "philosophy" is just the means for a great (or not so great) intelligence to grapple with existence.
In my specific case -- in the discipline of psychoanalysis -- I noticed that it was full of intellectual mediocrities who had simply internalized the catechism, sprinkled with a few great intellects who used the tools and concepts of psychoanalysis to express a much deeper and wider apprehension of things. You might say that they deployed psychoanalytic concepts to transcend the limits of the discipline from within.
The analogy to music, or religion, or painting is exact. Anyone can learn music. But how many can use it express great artistry? Anyone can learn theology. But how many great theologians are there? Isn't there an informal law governing all disciplines regarding the excellence-to-crap ratio? Some people say rock music is crap. Which is true, except for 1%. Same with TV, movies, books, blogs, whatever.
Here it is: Sturgeon's Law, "an adage stating that 'ninety percent of everything is crap.'" Clearly, Sturgeon had low standards.
Come to think of it, Sturgeon's Law must intersect with the Dunning-Kruger effect, such that the lower one's ability or expertise, the lower the perceived ratio of excellence-to-crap. In other words, a person with no musical discernment thinks all music is pleasant. He enjoys Harry Connick as much as Frank Sinatra, or Bruno Mars as much as James Brown. A person with no journalistic standards is satisfied with CNN or the NY Times. A wife with low standards is content with me.
Back to Voegelin: an analysis of the phenomenon of consciousness
has no instrument other than the concrete consciousness of the analyst. The quality of this instrument, then, and consequently the quality of the results, will depend on what I have called the horizon of consciousness; and the quality of the horizon will depend on the analyst's willingness to reach out into all the dimensions of the reality in which his conscious existence is an event; it will depend on his desire to know.
This is what you call a Key Principle. It is irreducible to anything else, although we hasten to add that it is necessarily complemented by the Divine Energies, so to speak.
In other words, our openness is either open to the transcendent object or it is actually enclosed within its own genetic, neurological, cultural, ideological, and/or philodoxical horizons. There are only two possibilities, but if you keep thinking through your limited horizon you'll realize there is only one. Break through that glass ceiling!
The resultant consciousness
is a ceaseless action of expanding, ordering, articulating, and correcting itself; it is an event in the reality of which as a part it partakes. It is a permanent effort at responsive openness to the appeal of reality, at bewaring of premature satisfaction, and above all at avoiding the self-destructive phantasy of believing the reality of which it is a part to be an object external to itself that can be mastered by bringing it into the form of a system.
Oh well. Didn't finish the book, and now playtime is over. I have to get some work done.