Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Beyond Rational?

Has our modern passion for scientific rationalism become just one more déjà vu in the history of totalitarian ideas? As I listen to some of our most ardent, militant rationalists, the over- and undertones of tyranny are unmistakable. For many of these militants, there can be nothing beyond rational. They see only two options, rational or irrational, never seeming to consider there might be a further advancement of enlightenment toward the transrational. The recognition of such a possibility is older than Plotinus, the ancient philosopher (204/5-274 CE), but he said it so well:
You ask, how can we know the Infinite? I answer, not by reason. It is the office of reason to distinguish and define. The Infinite, therefore, cannot be ranked among its objects. You can only apprehend the Infinite by a faculty superior to reason, by entering into a state in which you are your finite self no longer—in which the divine essence is communicated to you. This is ecstasy [Cosmic Consciousness]. It is the liberation of your mind from its finite consciousness. Like only can apprehend like; when you thus cease to be finite, you become one with the Infinite. In the reduction of your soul to its simplest self, its divine essence, you realize this union—this identity.*
* http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/cc/cc13.htm
Creative Commons License
Déjà Vu ~ Times blog by SMSmith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.