Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Owen Barfield Blog continuing...

My new Owen Barfield Blog is continuing to grow, daily. Today's post is about the great sweep of human destiny:

In the beginning Men were merely primordial selves immersed in the ocean of universal consciousness; and the history of everything has included the progressive and incremental separation of these selves from the universal primary reality.

We began as immersed in universal reality - joined with everything, and everything joined with us - with permeable selves... We end with a Self that is aware of its own separation from things, from other people, from memories - and even from its own thoughts...

Why? Because separation is necessary for freedom, for agency; we must first be separate in order to be free. And free in order, ultimately, to share the divine status of the Creator - because God is free...

So we begin by participating in the whole of reality - that was given. But our selves were only feebly independent, and not sufficiently separate that we could be free agents. Then a process began in the history of the human race, which is recapitulated in individuals - we developed agency by separation of the self from everything else.

At some moment the self is cut-off from everything else - and therefore unfree, because isolated. So there is a step beyond, which is a return to participation with universal reality...

The self now needs to - voluntarily and by an effort - engage with universal reality in a free relationship; knowing that this is happening...

This is not a matter of thinking about universal reality - it is a matter of thinking universal reality; in other words, by thinking in order to become part of it: by-doing-thinking to participate-in-it.



2 comments:

  1. "This is not a matter of thinking about universal reality - it is a matter of thinking universal reality; in other words, by thinking in order to become part of it: by-doing-thinking to participate-in-it."

    Honestly, it is difficult for me to understand what this means or how to go about it. Your posts on this topic simultaneously intrigue and baffle me.

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  2. @David - It isn't easy because it requires a fundamental metaphysical re-boot. If you can't do this (even as a thought experiment) then you won't understand it. Hardly anybody *has* understood Barfield so far - the best explanation I know-of is in RJ Reilly's Romantic Religion, which you would probably enjoy.

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