On Being Oneself
Sku: 11400A0E050
Archival Number: CD/mp3 114
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): English,
Decade: 1950

Description:
CD/mp3 114, part 2 of lecture 1 on existentialism. Corresponds to CWL 18, pp. 234-46. Sponsored by Thomas J. Farrell. We are not concerned simply with being any general human being but with being the human being that I am. Lonergan's presentation in the lecture is more or less Scholastic, and is preliminary to treating the technical issues in existentialism itself. The issue of being oneself has to do with the subject in the psychological sense of the subject of the stream of consciousness. Lonergan summarizes his notion of patterns of consciousness. The significant flow of consciousness for existentialism is oriented to choosing. And so the practical pattern, which demands the intervention of the subject, seems most relevant. Even a decision to drift is a decision. The choices made in the practical pattern are not settled by lower determinants or by intellect. Choosing not only settles ends and objects but also gives rise to dispositions and habits, and so makes me what I am to be, gives me the 'essence' that for existentialists is consequent to existence. These characteristics of choice give a meaning to the expression ' being oneself,' that is, 'being myself.' Jaspers' notion of limiting situations is appealed to, in order to emphasize the inevitable restrictions, and especially the four characteristics of death, suffering, struggle, and guilt. The oneself is the irreducibly individual element whence spring the choices of the decisive person and the drifting or forgetting of the indecisive one. In existentialism there is a tendency to exclude consideration of what does not pertain to the concrete flow orientated upon the individual's choice. In fact, though, we need the intellectual pattern as well, and Lonergan suggests the withdrawal-and-return pattern as a way to integrate the intellectual and the practical. There are several elements of significance of existentialism for Scholasticism. It breaks through positivism, idealism, and pragmatism. It sets more fundamental problems that can be handled by clearing up Scholastic disputes about subsistence and the person. It brings into our ethics the notion of kairos, or my situation , my opportunity, my duty. Lonergan's writing of Insight is mentioned as an instance of what he is talking about. But a full understanding of the existential introduces theological questions that demand an advance in Catholic philosophy. The issue of conversion, reorientation, reorganization of self involves both the speculative and the practical, truth and will, truth and resolution.

 

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Transcription:

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