Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Feeling of Utter Dependence

Decison Maknig Paraidgm."


Co-determinate: The co-determinate is like the Derridian trace, or like a fingerprint. It's the accompanying sign that is always found with the thing itself. In other words, like trailing the invisable man in the snow. You can't see the invisable man, but you can see his footprints, and wherever he is in the snow his prints will always follow.

We cannot produce direct observation of God, but we can find the "trace" or the co-determinate, the effects of God in the wrold.

The only question at that ponit is "How do we know this is the effect, or the accompanying sign of the divine? But that should be answere in the argument below. Here let us set out some general peramitors:

(1) The trace produced content with speicificually religious affects

(2)The affects led one to a renewed sense of divine relaity, are transformative of life goals and self actualization

(3) Cannot be accounted for by alteante cuasality or other means.

Argument:(this is my own sumamtion not Schleiermacher's)


(1) There is a prevading sense of unity in the life world

(2) The over all sense of unity produces a sense of the dependence of the whole upon a higher ontological level.

(3) The content of the experince is expressly sublime and evokes the sense of the numinous.

(4)The sense of the numinous is expressly religious and constitutes the co-determinate of the divine.



A.Religion not Reduceable to Knowledge or Ethics.

Frederich Schleiermacher, (1768-1834) in On Religion: Speeches to it's Cultured Dispisers, and The Chrisitian Faith .sets forth the view that religion is not reduceable to kowledge or ethical systems. It is primarily a phenomenoloigcal apprehension of God consciusness through means of religious affections. Affections is a term not used much anymore, and it is easily confussed with mere emotion. Sometimes Schleiermacher is udnerstood as saying that "I become emotional when I pay and thus there must be an object of my emotional feelings." Though he does vinture close to this position in one form of the arugment, this is not exactly what he's saying.

In the earlier form of his argument he was saying that affections were indicative of a sense of God, but in the Christian Faith he argues that there is a greater sense of unity in the life world and a snese of the dependance of all things in the life world upon something higher.

What is this feeling of utter depenedence? It is the sense of the unity in the life world and it's greater reliance upon a higher reality. It is not to be confussed with the stary sky at night in the desert feeling, but is akin to it. I like to think about the feeling of being in my backyard late on a summer night, listening to the sounds of the freeway dying out andrealizing a certain harmony in the lfie world and the sense that all of this exists because it stemms form a higher thing. There is more to it than that but I don't have time to go into it. That's just a short hand for those of us to whom this is a new concept to get some sort of handle on it. Nor does "feeling" here mean "emotion" but it is connected to the religiousaffections. In the early version S. thought it was a corrolate between thereligious affections and God; God must be there because I can feel love for him when I pray to him. But that's not what it's saying in the better version.

B.Platonic background.

The basic assumptions Schleiermacher is making are Plaontic. He believes that the feeling of utter dependence is the backdrop, the pre-given, pre-cognative notion behind the ontological argument. IN other words, what Anselm tried to capture in his logical argument is felt by everyone, if they were honest, in a pre-cognative way. In other words, before one thinks about it, it is this "feeling" of utter dependence. After one thinks it out and makes it into a logical arguemnt it is the ontological arguement.

C.Unity in the Life world.

"Life world," or Labeinswelt is a term used in German philosophy. It implies the world of one's culturally contructed life, the "world" we 'live in.' Life as we expeirence it on a daily basis. The unity one senses in the life world is intuative and unites the experiences and aspirations of the individual in a sense of integration and belonging in in the world. As Heidegger says "a being in the world." Schleiermacher is saying that there is a special intuative sense that everyone can grasp of this whole, this unity, being bound up with a higher relatiy, being dependent upon a higher unity. In other words, the "feeling" can be understood as an intuative sense of "radical constingency" (int he sense of the above ontolgoical arugments).

He goes on to say that the feeling is based upon the ontological principle as its theoretical background, but doesnt' depend on the argument because it proceeds the argument as the pre-given pre-theorectical pre-cognative relaitzation of what Anslem sat down and thought about and turned into a rational argument: why has the fools said in his heart 'there is no God?' Why a fool? Becasue in the heart we know God. To deny this is to deny the most basic realization about reality.

Now dont' think by any streach of the imagination that I think this proves the existence of God! No, no way. It is not "proof," it is freedom from the need to prove!

As Robert R. Williams puts it:

There is a "co-determinate to the Feeling of Utter dependence.

"It is the original pre-theoretical consciousness...Schleiermacher believes that theoretical cognition is founded upon pre-theoretical intersubjective cognition and its life world. The latter cannot be dismissed as non-cognative for if the life world praxis is non-cognative and invalid so is theoretical cognition..S...contends that belief in God is pre-theoretical, it is not the result of proofs and demonstration, but is conditioned soley by the modification of feeling of utter dependence. Belief in God is not acquired through intellectual acts of which the traditional proofs are examples, but rather from the thing itself, the object of religious experience..If as S...says God is given to feeling in an original way this means that the feeling of utter dependence is in some sense an apparition of divine being and reality. This is not meant as an appeal to revelation but rather as a naturalistic eidetic"] or a priori. The feeling of utter dependence is structured by a corrolation with its whence." , Schleiermacher the Theologian, p 4.

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