1-20-18

1.) Perception and judgment: A speck inside the eye is perceived as an object outside the eye while needing to be judged as a symptom of something in the eye. All of the objects of metaphysics and theology are like this: we might perceive actions as interactions, God and the world as forming two parts of a pyramid of being, self action as opposed to being a secondary cause, one substance as one numerical unit, individuals as necessarily different from their types and types from their existence… but to judge that these perceptions (which are really the detritus of thinking with images) are the objects of thought would be to chase an illusion – a frantic attempt at muffling the room to stop the ringing in our ears.

2.) Knowers are not subjective as knowers: Describing cognition as subjective is fundamentally cartesian, and it presupposes the fear that, in fact, we might not have any objects at all. In speaking of a human subject we are implicitly saying “Even if I assume there is no world outside myself, at least I am a subject”. Well, sure, but all this means, as Descartes said flat out, is that even if we did not think of an exterior world we would still exist. 

But what happens when, like Descartes, we become convinced that we know an exterior world? Then it is no longer adequate to describe knowledge as belonging to a subject, except in the vacuous sense of saying “whatever knows, also exists”. What we now need is something that makes the knower more than a subject. It is precisely breaking out of subjectivity that constitutes knowers as such.

In other words, once we become convinced of an exterior world (i.e. that we know stuff) we are not constituted by subjectivity or consciousness but objectivity as such. It is only by our being another beyond our subjective selves that we are knowers.

It is not our subjectivity that constitutes us as knowers, but the exterior world itself giving rise to an objective existence in addition to subjective existence. One and the same form that makes cats exist (and which is more or less perfectly realized in its substrate) is the same form that gives rise to knowledge in those who know it (though it is, again, more and less perfectly realized in the diverse intelligences).

In human beings, this form is known by sense, and so is not entirely objective. Sensation can, in the end, only report its own alterations, and it is unable to tease out how much of the alteration is due to the object from how much is due to itself. In this sense, forms that we know are never purely objective but involve both taking form from the world and putting form back into it. Human knowledge is only purely objective so far as it is speaking by negation or so far as it says that something is. It must call upon sense to say what the world is, which always consists in reports the organ gives on its own alteration.

In angels, the single form is not taken from sense but from the angels own essence. The angel is thus infinitely closer to the sense world than human beings and is much more involved with its tending and care. Nevertheless, this world is drawn forth from the angel as given (whether to theoretical or practical knowledge) and so its existence is already a fait accompli. In this sense the knowledge of the angel can only come to a world that is already there and cannot give rise to its existence. This requires something analogous to subjectivity

 

 

 

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