Things are not mute. They merely select their listeners. --Dávila
The difference between something and someone must be the most consequential and enduring question in all of philosophy. If not, it ought to be, because everything on both sides of the divide hinges on it.
In other words, if someone reduces to something, then anything and everything we can know about something is negated in that reduction.
Conversely, if every something is but a projected form of our sensibility, then we are confined to our own subjectivity.
The reduction of subjects to objects encases us in concrete, while the displacement of objects to subjects encloses us in a dream.
In yesterday's post we alluded to the idea that man is a link between creator and creation, or being and intelligibility. According to Schuon, "it is the object of [our] existence"
to be in the middle: it is to transcend matter while being situated there, and to realize the light, the Sky, starting from this intermediary level. It is true that the other creatures also participate in life, but man synthesizes them: he carries all life within himself and thus becomes the spokesman for all life, the vertical axis where life opens onto the spirit and where it becomes spirit.
That sounds about right: man is the most ambiguous creature in all of existence, since he is open on both ends and thereby "completely incomplete," as it were. In other words, our incompleteness isn't a bug, it's a feature. But how and why?
As always, I go back to the cosmic faux pas -- itself a bit ambiguous -- of Genesis 3, but one way of interpreting it is to say that man chooses vertical closure and completeness over open engagement with his Creator. In so doing he chooses poorly, because he is then indeed confined to his own impoverished dreamworld.
Now we're getting somewhere, because it seems that our cosmos is characterized by a kind of effusive openness on every level. For example, science -- any particular science and science in general -- is only possible because the objects of the world never stop speaking to the subjects who study them.
Going back to the title of this post, not only are the somethings that surround us not mute, they never shut up. They communicate their intelligibility, but obviously this intelligibility would mean nothing and make no sense if there weren't someone there to listen.
Now we're in a position to dig a little deeper into this question, because we're talking about a cosmos that is intrinsically related to itself in mysterious ways, and what is the ontological nature of relation?
What I would say is that the category of relation is prior to the bifurcation of something and someone: that these two are intrinsically related.
This is where the Trinity enters the picture. Even if this principle of ultimate reality weren't revealed to us from celestial central, we would be hard pressed to account for the structure of the cosmos in its absence.
Put conversely, if ultimate reality is an irreducible substance-in-relation, then perhaps this same principle explains why man is intrinsically related to everyone and everything. Something <-> someone isn't a duality but a complementarity.
I agree with Dávila that In each moment, each person is capable of possessing the truths that matter. And I can't think of a truth that matters more than this one, i.e., the nonlocal interior relatedness of persons to other persons, to things, and to the very source and principle of this relatedness.