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Re: Theos-World communion in the source

Apr 26, 2009 11:53 AM
by Govert Schuller

Dear Bill,

Are you a student of philosophy? 


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Bill Meredith 
  To: ; 
  Sent: Monday, March 23, 2009 3:16 PM
  Subject: Theos-World communion in the source

  "We have spoken of an analogy between the history of philosophy and the authority of religious tradition. True, philosophy has no canonical books such as those possessed by the religions, no authority which need simply be followed, no definitive truth which simply exists. But the historical tradition of philosophy as a whole, this deposit of inexhaustible truth, shows us the roads to our present philosophical endeavour. The tradition is the profound truth of past thought, toward which we look with never-ending expectancy; it is something unfathomable in the few great works; it is the reality of the great thinkers, received with reverence.
  The tradition is an authority that cannot be obeyed with certainty. It is incumbent upon us to come to ourselves through it by our own experience, to find our own source in its source.
  Only in the seriousness of present philosophical thinking can we gain contact with eternal philosophy in its historical manifestation. It is through the historical manifestation that we gain the profound ties that can unite us in a common present.
  Thus historical research is conducted on various levels. In his approach to the texts the conscientious student of philosophy knows on which plane he is moving. He must gain intelligent mastery of the "facts." But the end and summit of historical study lies in the moments of communion in the source. It is then that the light dawns which gives meaning and unity to all factual research. Without this centre, this philosophical source, the history of philosophy would be a mere record of fallacies and curiosities.
  Once it has awakened me, history becomes the mirror of what is my own: in its image I see what I myself think.
  The history of philosophy--a space in which I think and breathe--reveals in inimitable perfection prototypes for my own searching. By its attempts, its successes and failures, philosophy raises the question. It encourages me through the example of those men who have unswervingly followed its arduous path.
  To take a past philosophy as our own is no more possible than to produce an old work of art for a second time. At best we can produce a deceptive copy. We have no text, like pious Bible readers, in which we may hope to find absolute truth. We love the old texts as we love old works of art, our hearts go out to them, we immerse ourselves in their truth, but there remains in them something remote and unattainable, unfathomable, though it is something with which we always live, something which starts us on the way to our present philosophizing.
  For philosophy is essentially concerned with the present. We have only one reality, and that is here and now. What we miss by our evasions will never return, but if we squander ourselves, then too we lose being. Each day is precious: a moment can be everything.
  We are remiss in our task if we lose ourselves in the past or future. Only through present reality can we gain access to the timeless; only in apprehending time can we attain to that sphere where all time is extinguished."

  --Jaspers, Karl; WAY TO WISDOM, translated by Ralph Manheim, Yale University Press, 1954, p142-144


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