“Self-limitation” is a contradiction in terms. What this phrase really signifies is the affirmation of the “self” (whatever self is in question) as the only and absolute authority to which the “self” must ultimately answer. Depending on what we define as the self this can be a good or a bad thing. It affirms that whatever IS, must be, at its root, the singular and utter source of its own being. That it “causes” and is “caused upon” because it is able to BE itself FIRST; and thus it is inexorably and categorically actual and infinite. Not easy stuff to grasp, granted. But we cannot underestimate the vast and tedious work involved in redirecting our thinking from its thoroughly ingrained Platonist roots, which infects every facet of our way of life like a cancerous tumor larger than one’s very body. It is a cancer which, to quote Yoda, surrounds us and binds us.
That’s right. I submit that the the same philosophical assumptions under-gird both the atheist and the reformed protestant, the scientist and the mystic, the liberal and the conservative, the government and the governed in our world today. The most significant challenge facing us then is the learning of how to separate what is actual from what is conceptual. When these two things are confused and fused, human beings become little more than lunch served to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the unobservable, all-determining forces beyond our senses. This results in tyranny and all manner of death…physical and spiritual. And as we are, by inherent nature, conceptual beings, and function almost wholly by abstraction, it is a given that there are many who, at this point in human evolution, simply cannot understand the difference. They have evolved to be completely blind to it. I’m not sure if this is their fault or not; whether they refuse to acknowledge it at some point, deciding that someone else is always in a better position to define themselves for themselves according to some usually difficult-to-understand construct (like the laws of physics and their mathematical corollaries; or the rational larceny (thanks to John Immel for that phrase) of Augustinian Christian theology which cannot be learned but must be divinely “revealed”)…or, do people simply fall into their Platonist reality by virtue of osmosis? Beyond the “age of awareness” does the blurring of the distinction between the concepts which exist in man’s mind and the objects he observes with his senses just become the default process by which everything in life is vetted? Perhaps this evolutionary change in mankind’s brain is “the fall” which necessitated God’s intervention on man’s behalf for salvation. I believe that this is not a wholly irrational supposition.
But regardless of whether TRUTH is purposefully rejected by us or not, I believe that we are simply NOT born this way. I submit that the “faith like a child” Jesus requires is the very understanding of the distinction between actuality and conceptual abstraction. For I have yet to see a child who does not first and foremost understand that his or her life is GOOD. That is why they cry when they are hungry and avoid the fire of the oven once they have been burned. Inherently children understand that that which hurts them is BAD, and that which comforts them is GOOD. In short, they instinctively recognize themselves as the root of all TRUTH, from which they are able to efficaciously and truthfully organize their surroundings into the concepts of morality (good vs. bad) and value (helpful to SELF vs. antithetical to SELF).
At any rate, back to “self-limitation”. Like I said, this notion confirms that the self is the singular and infinite authority by which it acts or is acted upon. And this then means that there can be no violation of any self-imposed limitation because there can, of course, be no breach of the limit of the self which is imposed by that same self. Why? Because the very authority appealed to as the right to set the limit is no greater than the authority which is appealed to as an excuse to violate it; the authority is the same in both instances.
The idea of self-limitation is ironically an extension of the self’s power. Think about this the next time you decide to trust the “state”–be it the Church, or the Government, or whatever flavor of collective–to police its own power. To police its SELF. For in actuality, self-limitation is merely a euphemism for self-authority…the limitlessness of the authority of the self to act in whatever way it chooses. The (misunderstood) notion of self-limitation is really the proclamation that all power proceeds from the self. And whether the actions of the self in question are qualified as an extension of its power or a restraining of it does not change the absolute and infinite metaphysical singularity of the self, and therefore its categorical authority to act on its own behalf, infinitely and absolutely, which it MUST and cannot help but do, which again makes every act of the self an extension of its power of being, regardless of how an observer qualifies that act.
I told you…this blog is not for the faint of philosophical heart. Well…I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but this is necessary medicine. There is no easy cure for the cancer of Plato. We must understand and integrate these ideas into our thinking if we ever want to be free. We must make the fundamental distinction between infinite, absolute CONCEPTS and infinite, absolute OBJECTS. And then we must learn how they interact. And then we must define which one gives value to the other. There is only one answer, but getting there is hard work. And the answer is literally the difference between life and death; that is, does man exist to DIE as his greatest act of GOOD, or does man exist to LIVE as his greatest act of GOOD? Is life the way to TRUTH or is death the way to TRUTH? It’s a choice…and it must be informed.
All actions of the self must proceed from the absolute authority of the self to BE absolutely. The self in question then cannot be bound, in actuality, by any limitation; for “limitation” is purely a conceptual abstraction. It isn’t actual. The self is actual. So, as I said above, every act of the self regardless of how an observer qualifies/quantifies it is an extension, not a limitation of the self. The self is infinite and absolute. It has an infinite power to BE self, and every action is a function of this. Therefore, and again, self-limitation is not actually possible.
If we concede that the self in question is the individual human being, this metaphysical (and physical) truth is an unequivocally GOOD thing. We are all dandy, and treat each other with respect to the infinite value of the SELF of mankind. And all the values of conceptual abstractions are derived from human life…nothing is “true” unless it affirms man’s categorical ability to define his reality in accordance with his own existential perpetuation and affirmation; comfort, health and freedom from the violation of person or property. Life, liberty and happiness. Good old Enlightenment thinking.
But what happens if the roles are reversed, as they are in Plato’s world (and Calvin’s, and Luther’s, and Marx’s, and the Stoics’, and the Gnostics’, and Piper’s, and Mahaney’s, and Islam’s, and the Atheists’, and the Scientists’)? What happens when the concepts, which cannot be observed by man, are declared absolute, and man is given his value by them? Are you starting to get the problem? If man is defined by what man cannot ultimately observe, then man is defined by what he cannot ultimately know. And if man is defined by a “truth” that he cannot possibly know because it transcends his physical and epistemological ability to “see” then man cannot declare anything true, or good, or false or evil. Morality is relative. Man is subjugated to that which MUST own him and BE him, in a sense…that all-powerful, all-determining force outside of him. And how is this done? For if no man can apprehend TRUTH then who on earth can wield it? Who exactly can declare truth truth if it is beyond man?
Enter the notion of the Man in the Stead of God. The incarnation of the Law which Governs. The proof that the law is real is found in the willingness of those “called” by the Primary Consciousness to take the match, the guillotine, the firing squad, the iron maiden, the chemical weapon, the noose to those who would deny the absolute “authority” of the law which demands they live as if they are dead, in service to its “truth”.
SomeONE must BE the collective in other words, in order that people can be compelled to to die in service to it. You see, the “collective” or the “state” is not actually around to make its power known. The responsibility for making sure that it is absolute then is put, somehow, into the hands of the very men who proclaim that neither your nor I can be in a position to question its ineffability because we are mere human beings. Just like they are. Except, remember, your eyes perpetually deceive you. You can no more declare them hypocrites than you can explain your own existence in light of the absolute and infinite idea which they declare is TRUTH. They are always right and you are always wrong…the reason is not rational, it is existential. Because you ARE means that you cannot KNOW. Your very existence denies your ability to realize you exist. There is no definition for you outside of the abstract absolute which these men embody. The “how is that possible?” is not a rational question for you to ask, then; it is merely a perfunctory symptom of your perpetually un-enlightened position as a human.
The idea that there can be any limitation, even YOUR existence, to the conceptual abstraction declared TRUTH is a farce. It is a rational impossibility. Thus, your observation must be flawed. Period. Full stop. There is nothing more to say. For all your words are pointless…a product of the utter vacuum of your false existence.
Do you see why I spend so much time railing against the actuality of time and space; distance and speed; mathematics and measurements? These are things that cannot be observed. They are “revealed” through things in the world and universe which are observed, which must logically mean that these abstract concepts are given their value by the things which man observes, the preeminent one being man’s SELF. Not the other way around. And if this is true, then we concede that ALL abstractions are products of man’s mind, by which he organizes his environment. To what end?
The end of himself. Which is his own life. Which is his only context by which he can know anything at all. Thus MAN is the source of all TRUTH. Nothing else. Not even God.
Off with my head.
But I will wager my reason against your Platonism before God’s Throne any day. For my God declares the worth of humanity; and humanity which has worth is humanity which can be saved. If humanity is worth-less, then there cannot be any salvation nor any God to know.
If the equation is reversed…if man is given value by that which he cannot observe and thus cannot possibly know, then man is nothing at all, by definition. He is not life, he is death…he is, at his root, ultimately defined by nonexistence. Which means that the source of truth is not the presence of man, but the absence of him.
And this is a lie from hell; the root of all tyranny.