Quos sex distinximus gradus
Archival Number: A546
Author: Lonergan, B.
5 handwritten schematic pp., dated Feb. 22. from spring 1963 course De Methodo Theologiae. Variations on the theme of moving from implicit to explicit, etc.
Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran
54600D0L040 – February 22, 1963
[Again, not an exact transcription but almost one, with a few things left undetermined -- RD]
Regarding the six steps that we distinguished [in 54500D0L060], A is to B and C is to D as the implicit is to the explicit, actus exercitus to actus signatus, the vécu to the thématique, verstehen to erklären, the existentiell to the existential, life to theory, experience to experiments, the practical-dramatic subject to the theoretical subject, the perceivable world to the intelligible world. E (historians) combine A and C into a history of religion, of culture, of economic life, etc. They combine B and D into a history of doctrine. And they combine A and C, B and D into the total movement. And with F we encounter a crisis with regard to the first history, the second history, and the third. Again, we have here a heuristic structure, telling us what is to be expected and anticipating a differentiation of methods. The a posteriori in this structure is from the fact of investigations, and these lead to the improvement of methods over the course of time. All this work becomes an a priori in relation to subsequent investigations.
What is investigated? Meaning. (1) The formal element is the ‘intentional’: ‘meaning’ corresponding to what is intended, to the very intending itself, and to the ones who intend: both sense and intellect both apprehending and desiring. (2) There is meaning as undifferentiated, total, superdetermined. Undifferentiated: distinctions are lacking between (a) sacred and profane – everything sacred is profaned and everything profane is sacralized; (b) the individual and the community – the individual does not think, judge, choose, act except as part of the community and within traditional structures; (c) the dramatic-practical and the theoretical – a theoretical interest is minimal, but myth and magic satisfy it in the dramatic and practical realms. Total: because distinctions are lacking there is a tendency to the whole, to everything, to being. Superdetermined: meaning is not restricted to one determinate meaning; thus it signifies this determinate thing in such a way that it also and simultaneously signifies a second and a third. (3) This indeterminate meaning occupied the whole life of man increasingly as we go back to the origins. Still, it is not eliminated in times of great culture and civilization either in the multitude or even in the educated. It can be overlooked, as in rationalism, but then it is just devalorizaed, not eliminated. M. Eliade, Images and Symbols. ‘Paradise Lost’ has degenerated into South Pacific, and the goddesses Artemis, Aphrodite, and Athena into movie stars. (4) The character of this undifferentiated meaning: symbolic (Durand), intersubjective (Scheler; Freud-Jung-
Binswanger-Cruchon); incarnate (Marcel, Olier); artistic (Langer, Huyghe).
Regarding the symbolic as in Durand, there exist dominant reflexes – equilibrium, swallowing, mating – to which there are associated images, affects, values, and to which almost everything gets associated by likeness and analogy. St George and the dragon: St George represents all the good elements: light, erect position, sitting on the horse, armed, master of himself and of the horse; he does not fear, he is ‘dexter et habilis’; he proceeds against evil. The dragon represents all the objects of fear, horror, repulsion, contempt. Jonah and the whale: Jonah descends, is swallowed, but emerges none the worse after three days and three nights. The whale again is a monster, but is euphemized. Tao, Tree, Swastika [other examples of symbols?]
Intersubjective: While Aquinas speaks of how the hand spontaneously moves to protect the head, Lonergan found the same reaction in himself with regard to another. When he was walking up to the Borghese gardens, a mother and her small child were coming down; the child began to fall, and automatically, L reached out. There exists a level of experience where ‘I’ and ‘you’ have not yet been distinguished. The laughter of others makes us laugh; weeping makes us sad; horror makes us fearful.
Two headings are left without comment: the incarnate, and combinations.