In a way, interiority and relation amount to the same thing; they can be thought about separately but one never finds one without the other. A cosmos of pure exteriority wouldn't even be a cosmos, rather, a... a nothing, an absolutely inconceivable nonentity. And interiority is always related to something by which it recognizes its own interiority.
Which probably wasn't entirely clear. But just try to imagine an absolute interiority with no objects to contemplate or subjects with whom to dialogue and relate: no links to anything or anyone, just a center with no radii, or a circumference around no point.
This is very much analogous to "empty space," which isn't space at all, since what is space in the absence of the objects it contains and surrounds? Likewise, what is time without moments? Yes, timelessness, precisely. So, empty space is nospace.
Now, the first relation of any inside is to outsideness as such; consider your house, or even your coffee cup. Both have an inside, which is nothing but the exclusion of the outside. Ka-Ching! Exactly: according to the Taoist:
We shape clay into a pot / but it is the emptiness inside / that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house, / but it is the inner space / that makes it livable.
We work with being, / but non-being is what we use.
Wo. Can I buy some pots from you? Full of non-being?
A lot of new age types like to speculate about the nature of consciousness based upon the weird properties of the "quantum world." But they have it precisely upside down and inside out, for the q-world is the way it is because consciousness, or spirit, or interiority is the way it is -- or better, the way I AM. And the weird became flesh, but that's another story. Or the same story but another post.
I AM is the first principle, the Principle Without Whom. Nor does it matter one whit what physics has to say about the subject. In fact, physics can only say anything about any subject because there are physicists; to suggest that physicists are reducible to physics is to jump into a hole and pull the hole inside.
Or, to be literal, it's like trying to reduce the inside to the outside, which can't be done, because the two co-arise and are complementary. Even God himself has a kind of eternal inside-outness, AKA Father --> Son, or Creator --> Creation. A creator who doesn't create is an oxymoron.
Having said that, there are degrees of interiority: a plant has some but an animal has much more. And a human being has infinitely more than an animal -- literally, because the human station is defined by its access to infinitude and absoluteness.
Animals don't know anything about these two, while a human being can't know anything without implicit knowledge of them. Any knowledge is a kind of crystallization of the Absolute; and yet, we maintain an openness to the infinitude of truth and knowledge. A few of us, anyway.
Pieper discusses the animal subject, which is related to a world, but not the world. Rather, it exists in a kind of narrow cross section of the world, an environment. The animal sees what it needs to see and what it is programmed to see, and nothing else. It's why you can place a frog in an aquarium full of dead insects but it will nevertheless starve to death.
I'm tempted to leapfrog ahead, but this really is one of our main points: is there something analogous to the frogmind in human beings? Yes, like the frog we have instincts, but we're not referring to those. Rather, is there something in man that causes him to withdraw and shrink from the world, and inhabit a mere environment?
Ideology. Philodoxy. Ismism. Tenure. Fake news. Democrats. Epistemic closure.
In another sense, closure is fine so long as it remains open for isness, for a mind that doesn't close is like a house with no walls or nation with no borders. In other words, it's a semipermeable membrane.
I don't like to drop my g's, but I'm trippin': specifically, back to 7th grade biology with Mr. Albreezi. This proves Mr. Albreezi was wrong: I do remember something about biology after all: semipermeable membranes.
That and he once said "penis" in class, which was a highlight of the schoolyear, at least in the nobrow crowd I ran with.
Now I'm really trippin', because he mentioned the word while carving up a dead raccoon, giving new meaning to "raccoon member."
To back up a bit, one morning on the way to our semi-rural school he ran into one -- a raccoon, not a penis -- and decided to bring it in for hands-on lessons in vivisection. At the beginning of class he'd haul it out from refrigeration, and students would dig in. I think it was voluntary, because I don't remember wielding the scalpel. Besides, there's a little thing called brofessional courtesy.
Back to the present. Pieper quotes a noted biologist, who agrees that "The environments of animals are comparable in no way to open nature but rather to a cramped, ill-furnished apartment."
But the noted philosopher Kant -- and all his modern descendants -- would place human beings in exactly the same situation: yes, our environment might be larger than the animal's, but it's a matter of degree and not kind: we're still imprisoned by our senses and categories, so we can know nothing about the real world, whatever it is.
Like anyone could know that without transcending the very limits he says we can't transcend! C'mon, Manny! You're better than that.
We're almost out of time, but to be continued yada yada. We'll end with this preview of forthcoming attractors: the human spirit involves
the ability to enter into relations with the totality of existing things.... The spirit is, in its nature, constituted in the first instance... by the ability to enter into relations with Being as a totality.
The spirit does not have an environment, it has a world. It belongs to the very nature of a spiritual being to rise above the environment and so transcend both adaptation and confinement (Pieper).
Oh, and aphorisms:
Man today does not live in space and in time. But in geometry and chronometers.
Science cannot do more than draw up the inventory of our prison.
Even in the immensity of space we feel caged. Mystery is the only infinity that does not seem like a prison.
In order to abolish all mystery, it is enough to view the world with the eyes of a pig.