Being and Divinity

After having written my last entry, I had a long discussion with a friend of mine who holds not dissimilar views to mine. However, that conversation led me to realize that my own views, as previously explicated, require further refining.

I do firmly hold that the only useful definitions of Divinity are those which arise out of experience, however, I also feel that Divinity is not a thing which exists in the objective, formal world. It is my belief that Divinity is entirely entrenched within subjectivity, that it is a mode or aspect of the subject, and not a thing in the world, like a table or the sky. It seems to me that Divinity is a thing experienced, purely, in being.

As I stated earlier, I posit that being, as a verb implying continued action, requires a subject to execute it. Objects cannot be in the same sense as subjects. Objects subsist. Their presence is one without awareness, and therefore one without the sort of action which only the subject is capable of. Were I to posit a grammar of being, only subjects would take the perfect and progressive tenses, objects would be left with the simple present, the simple past & the simple future. Objects do not execute actions through time, but exist in successive present states, each moment a totality isolated from former and future positions. It is only the subject who presses itself against these objects which recognizes, through its own temporality, a temporality of objects. Objects subsist devoid of time.

Therefore, Divinity, belonging solely to the subject, cannot be constrained by the same sets of rules which apply to objects. This is not to say that there are no rules of the subject. There undoubtedly are. The subject, being within the objective world, is constrained by the formal nature of the world, yet, by its presence, radicalizes that world. That which would be purely formal, possessing no awareness or change, is transformed through the primary action of the subject, that of being through time, into something significantly queer. Within the objective world, all which can exist must exist. All relations are carried out explicitly and totally according to the natures of those objects in relation without variation or change: the initial conditions of such a world define explicitly the conditions of its conclusion. However, the subject, through the experience, mutates the world with the addition of meaning, quantification, categorization, organization and manipulation. The objective world is no longer simply formal, but thoroughly suffused with intangibles, theories, concepts which could never be present without the being of the subject. All of these are entrenched thoroughly within subjectivity, yet arising from the objective world as experienced by the subject, and, through that movement, pressing back upon the objective world in the reflexive nature of  being.

By its presence within subjectivity, Divinity possesses the mutable powers of the subject. The Divine, as mode of being, is given by pure experience: as the subject resolves itself out of the experiencing of the objective world, so does Divinity manifest through the subject. I suggest, then, that first we must have a subject, and then we may have the Divine. Divinity, then, acts upon the world in as much as the subject does, or through the same motion or set of processes: the action of the Divine is analogous to the action of the subject.

As yet, I have made no attempts to define Divinity, merely explore its nature in relation to subjectivity. In short, I am at this point merely attempting to establish the proper conditions in which the Divine can be explored. As a mode of being, as a thing which dwells in and resolves out of experience, I suggest that the only proper way to define Divinity is phenomenologically. Any definition of the Divine must begin within experience and then seek to clarify and comprehend, but, always and at every moment, maintaining its link to pure experience.

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4 thoughts on “Being and Divinity

  1. Alex Jones says:

    The problem with the word “divinity” is its so abstract that it comes across as a noise, or a set of scratches on a surface, a word to me that means nothing. In my case to understand this word I have to have a practical experiential memory to associate with it. Thus says I who is totally ignorant of the word.

    • eidolos says:

      I entirely agree with you, honestly, and a good deal of my project here is to come to resolve whether a word like Divinity can actually refer to anything, or if, á la Levi-Strauss, it is merely an empty signifier. Hence my interest here on attempting to narrow done the conditions under which the apprehension of Divinity is possible.

      I do agree that the majority of theological discussions take the Divine as something well understood and agreed upon, when in reality it is anything but. I feel like any understanding of Divinity must arise from personal experience, and that, prior to such an experience, the conditions for the apprehension of the Divine as such must be present. Someone, not understanding the nature of an apple, may stand in an autumn orchard searching for fruit and never find it.

      • Alex Jones says:

        Take colour blue, how does one convey meaning of blue to a blind person? Yes, I agree, personal experience must be the way of filling empty words with their meaning.

  2. […] of color has been utilized as an analogy for Spiritual Experience on this project: once by me, and once by a commenter. I find the analogy quite fascinating. Color does not, in fact, objectively exist, but is an […]

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