WITH PLATO ON IDEOLOGY AND NATURE
[This approach is different. Instead of discoursing myself, I have
allowed myself to invite Plato for a symposium.
When I have difficulties in grasping the fundamental, the root of the
problem so to speak, I occasionally evoke the spirit of Plato and simply ask
him: “You, Plato, tell me what is the real issue.” And obligingly, most of
the times, he does. So I shall have Plato help me with my discourse on ideology
problem of ideology vis-à-vis nature has little to do either with ideology or
with nature. Rather it has to do with people being lost.
After this explanation, I was a bit puzzled. I asked:
HS: What do you mean by people being lost, Plato?
Plato: That is simple [he replied]. You Western people are lost. You
first lost your soul, then you lost your ability to think integrally: with your
mind and heart together. You also lost the fluency of your bodies: your bodies
so often look like a sack of potatoes. In the process, you lost touch with each
other. You finally lost nature—the intimate and sustaining relationship with
the living kingdom around you. In your fancy way, you talk about alienation. The
situation is at once more simple and more profound. You have been squandering
the spiritual heritage of mankind. The loss of soul signifies the loss of
corresponding sensitivities among others the ability to see more diversely than
your physical instruments can acknowledge. Your recent invocations to nature are
but a groping attempt to restore your lost balance. You have lost the centre and
your mind is confused.
H.S.: You are rather sweeping and unjust Plato. Would you mind going a bit
slower and analyse in some details your allegations so that we can trace out the
causal links and connections.
Plato: You with your analyses, your details, your causal
links and connections. Don’t you realise that unless you get the whole picture
right, you can’t get your details right. I have tried to present to you the
whole picture. Very well. I will give you some details. Already in the 18th
century you were on the downward slope. This whole concept of material progress,
which signified but mere improvement in the material standards of living
H.S.: You should not be so scathing about our material progress. People did
suffer hunger and destitution and were enveloped in abject poverty. Their lot
Plato: It may have improved in one sense, all right. But in
actual fact, they have exchanged one form of misery for another. For look at
then now, at the ‘improved’ lot. Theirs is a life of spiritual blight and
economic anxiety… As I was saying, already in the 18th century you were on the
sliding path. Rousseau was wise, hut he did not have enough personal integrity.
He was right that man is born free and wherever we look, we see him in chains.
He was also right that civilization and its artificial needs mutilate and
imprison people; rob them of their autonomy. Already, at the end of the 18th
century you lost nature—the sense of unity with the rest of the cosmos. Then
in the 19th century you invented ideology as a substitute for your
lost unity with the cosmos. A tremendous process of the falsification of
consciousness occurs. You are literally sanctifying technology and economics as
your new gods. This is, in a sense, understandable, but pathetic never the less;
you had to fill the vacuum caused by the collapse of religion. Disoriented and
confused, you not only relinquish religion, but also philosophy. The 19th
century is not so much the age of science, or progress, or the industrial
revolution, but the age of ideology running rampant: whether you take the
Marxist ideology, or the ideology of Scientism, or the ideology of Capitalism as
embedded in Western institutions, including the institutions of learning, they
all serve the cause of secularism. They all address themselves to the human
being, which is already alienated, estranged, derascinated.
H.S.: Plato, you are being too general and rather evasive. I asked you about
the relationship between nature and ideology, and you are rambling about
alienation and the fact that, in the 19th century, ideology replaced religion
and took upon itself the role of the messiah.
Plato: With your permission, I am not rambling. I told you at
the beginning that the real issue is that people have lost themselves. Such
abstractions as ‘ideology’ and ‘nature’ are desperate attempts of modern
man to find new existential bearings. Let us be clear about that. These two
concepts, ‘ideology’ and ‘nature’ are abstractions of the modern mind.
We did not have the idea of nature in Greek philosophy. We were at one with
nature. Why are present Western people so desperate about nature? Because they
are desperate about themselves. Your grand design—the mechanistic conception
of the universe—is now a shambles. Your ideological designs—the heritage of
Marxism and other ideologues from Hegel to Marcuse—all attempted to accomplish
salvation on the wheels of ideology. In each case we are confronted with a form
of ‘secular eschatology.’ In short, all these ideological designs are an
insidious opiate for the masses; as insidious an opiate as any past religion has
been; sadder still is the fact that none of these ideologies can provide
sustenance which many of the past religions could provide.
H.S.: Let me get it straight, Plato. You are saying that we lost nature in the
18th century and that as a substitute we brought in ideology in the 19th
century. And then, in the 20th century we discovered that ideology
was bankrupt too; particularly as an alternative eschatology. And now we are
looking longingly at nature, in a sense resurrecting nature, in order to find in
it our lost roots, and also in order to find in nature our spiritual bearings.
Plato: This is close enough. But still fundamentally
H.S.: What do you mean by ‘misconceived’?
Plato: Simply, that while you attempt to overcome the limitations of your atomistic thinking and thereby recover your soul and your wholeness, you once again slip into this atomistic thinking and those objectivized modes of reasoning. Why is your strategy inadequate? Because you put a frame, or should I say a strait-jacket on to your thinking by saying: let us talk about ‘ideology’ and ‘nature.’ You treat these as distinctive categories, separated from all, two things in themselves. At the same time, you presume that some significant elucidations will follow which will enable you to have a better grasp of the present, and will give you some meaningful vistas of the future. What do you want to accomplish? Understanding in depth or another analytical scrutiny of two interesting concepts? Look at this pile of analyses of concepts performed by those technicians who call themselves ‘analytical philosophers’ . Has this mountain of analyses helped anybody in a real understanding of the world and in the process of living? No, so what is your purpose? I take it, it is understanding in depth.
Now, let us be conscious of the fact that by looking at reality and our
own destiny through the frames of the two concepts ‘ideology’ and
‘nature’ which are so to speak our conceptual windows, you want to see new
paths; you also hope to have a clearer view of the familiar landscape. This is
justified, but be aware. Those windows, which are your frames, are themselves,
as it were, distorting lenses. All ideologies are loaded. Any concept of
ideology is more likely than not to be loaded in favour of a specific Ideology.
The concept of nature itself is not innocent either. It is a loaded concept. If
you consider it within a mechanistic framework, it is one thing; if you consider
it within a Rousseauian framework, it is another thing; if you consider it
within the framework of your Ecological Humanism, it is still another thing.
U.S.: Thank you, Plato, for reminding me about my idea of nature as expressed
in my early treatise called Ecological Humanism. I maintained there (and
later in my book Eco-Philosophy) that Ecological Humanism marks the
return of the unitary view in which the philosophy of man and the philosophy of
nature are aspects of each other.
Plato: This unity you talk about—it is all in my
philosophy. You do not need to unify the philosophy of nature with philosophy of
man. That is if you have got a unitary cosmology in which man and his soul have
their rightful place in the scheme of the cosmos; if, in other words, the cosmos
is not reduced to this stupid inanimate stuff but instead is conceived as all
encompassing, generous and admitting man as its essential component.
H.S.: It is exactly the point. It was easier for you Plato to spin out these
unitary cosmologies when you lived in those primitive societies of the past.
Plato: Primitive societies of the past? My dear fellow you
are under some dreadful illusions. We had culture and the respect for the whole
man. You are barbarians in comparison.
H.S.: My apologies, I didn’t mean to say ‘primitive’ in the derogatory
sense, but rather in the chronological sense. To return to my argument: once you
have got science which has imposed its reductionist scheme on all, it is not
that easy to entertain old fashion unitary cosmological schemes... “Tis all in
pieces, all coherence gone…” So we must re-unify things on a new
level, under new auspices. I have been trying to accomplish this reunification
within the new ecological perspective.
Plato: This is all right. Let me tell you however that you are introducing not so much an ecological perspective but rather a new religious perspective. I must grant you, though, that this is not a traditional religious perspective—particularly of the Christian variety.
H.S.: You may have a point here. But I would still call it a reverential
perspective rather than a religious perspective per se. Let me say it in another
way: the ecological perspective, as embodied in ecological humanism, is pervaded
with the reverential attitude that borders on the religious.
Plato: What do you do with ideology within this perspective?
H.S.: The function of ideology within Eco-Humanism is to create social,
political and existential structures to assure the validity of the idea that the
universe is home for man; to assure in other words that the reverential universe
becomes a reality.
Marx and neo-Marxists were the ideologues on behalf of society; we might
add on behalf of a ‘good’ society. However, their entire scheme was marred
from its inception, for society was meant to be antagonistic, based on
the idea of class struggle. Through the war of the classes, progress meant to be
accomplished and ultimately the classless society arrived at. The very
conception of society, which is in continuous war with itself, vitiates against
the idea of a good society. This is an important point that we must
emphasise. Since antagonism and class warfare are built into the very
structure of modern society, our thinking and attitudes, guided and conditioned
by the ideologies based on conflict and antagonism, are filled with poison,
distrust and hatred. Not much room in these ideologies for reverence and
compassion. Our distrust of each other and our defensive, antagonistic attitudes
are, to a large degree, imposed on us by the ideologies of class warfare. In
this scheme of things, we cannot create the universe that is home for man, we
cannot create harmony.
Plato: Should you also not be aware that since Marx, ideology
has been almost solely concerned with the socio-political superstructure. This
superstructure attempts to de-mystify the deceptions and exploitations concealed
in the capitalist societies. True enough, ideology in the Marxist frame of
reference serves as an instrument of de-mystification. But it also serves as an
instrument of mystification particularly when it is used as a political weapon
of class struggle; all in all ideology is not a force of reconciliation but an
instrument of class warfare.
H.S.: This is quite so, but not so within Ecological Humanism, which first of
all conceives of itself primarily, not as a socio-political superstructure but
rather as a cosmostructure. We are therefore broadening the scone and
shifting the centre—from society, as if it were independent of the rest of the
cosmos—to the conception of man in the entire cosmos. Once we accept this,
then the door is open to a new idea which I term cosmocracy.
Plato: Hmm… cosmocracy. Explain it to me a bit, will you?
H.S.: Let me start with some terminological comments concerning the meaning
of cosmocracy. For Rousseau (as you know) Democracy is so perfect a system that
“if there were a nation of gods, their government would be democratic. So
perfect a government is not for men.” (The Social Contract, chapter
IV). Rousseau may have been right that we are not mature enough for Democracy.
For this reason (and many other reasons) Democracy as a form of government and a
social ideology has been battered out of shape in the twentieth century. In the
Soviet Union it has been replaced by so-called Socialist Democracy, which is
another name for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat; as far removed from the
ideal of Democracy as the sheep from the wolf. In the U.S.A. the image of
Democracy still lingers on, but the system has been subverted by another form of
the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, which is symbolised by Mr Consumer. In
fact, in the United States Democracy has been replaced by Infantocracy.
The immaturity of the whole American political system stems from its shallow
ideology of consumerism, which can be best described as Infantocracy.
Plato: You are quite right. The whole Western world is
turning into infantocracy. And it seems there is little you can do about it,
including your idea of Ecological Humanism.
H.S.: Perhaps not so. Ecological Humanism wants to shift its emphasis from
society, and its surface needs, to the cosmos. Man in the cosmos, conceived as a
rightful inhabitant of it, and a steward of the cosmos (in the sense discussed
before) implies a new ideology, which I call Cosmocracy. But this
ideology is so different from existing ones that we perhaps should not use the
Plato: Now your concept of Cosmocracy strikes me as OK,
particularly as it attempts to weave back the human being into the tapestry of
the cosmos. No doubt in the process you will want to give back to the human
person the attributes that have been taken away from him/her in the process you
call reification. This is perhaps easier said thin done. You postulate
this new cosmological unity, which will provide the basis for man’s
existential coherence and wholeness. But you say nothing about the process,
the all-important agonising existential process which your cosmology will
H.S.: What do you mean by the agonising process that my new cosmology
Plato: New states of being do not come by themselves. They
require a stringent and systematic process whereby by working on ourselves we
transform ourselves. Eastern philosophies and religions knew that well. They
call it yoga—the process by means of which you can transform your recalcitrant
body and your often scattered brains and your atrophic heart into a pointed
flame of compassion; and whereby also you transform your mind into an agency of
understanding based on wholeness and empathy. Let me mention in this context
that during the last two centuries at least, and particularly during the last
few decades, you have been subject to the reverse process, that of
reification—whereby through the irresponsive and often irresponsible
institutions (as well as social relationships that serve these soulless
institutions) have been slowly turning you into objects. With the corresponding
loss of wholeness and other qualities that make you distinctly human, you have
been denuded, washed out of the fertile sources of your being, just as topsoil
is often denuded and washed out of its nutrients by careless and irresponsible
husbandry. In this sense, Heidegger may have been right when he said that the
dreadful has already happened. You are now hoping for a miracle. You want to
go in the opposite direction: from reification to transcendence whereby you will
build your psyche again and reabsorb into it the nutrients which alone can
sustain the human being in his quest for meaning. You don’t know how to go
about this process. You had lost religion first. You lost nature more recently.
In a roundabout way, by rediscovering nature, and yourself as a part of it, you
want to re-establish yourself both as a creature of nature and as a spiritual
being. This is alright. But a bit sheepish and cowardly; at any rate, not really
H.S.: Why is it sheepish and cowardly and not really adequate?
Plato: Simply, you are groping towards the divine, you want
to re-sacralise your broken souls. But you don’t have enough courage. My
search for the divine was undertaken without any evasion and apologies. Indeed,
my entire philosophy is but a journey in the quest for the divine. You are still
confused. And you have no guts. In a cryptic way you evoke nature. You want to
be saved through nature and renewed by it. You should have more courage and look
deeper into your souls and ask yourself what will be required to mend your souls
and make them sing again. If Heidegger is right that the dreadful has already
happened, then what you need and secretly hope for is that the wonderful
happens. The wonderful does not happen by nostalgic incantations. It can happen,
but only through a deep inner reconstruction. It won’t be easy, as you don’t
have philosophies adequate to the task, philosophies that would provide a grid
and a necessary support. Your ideologies more often than not, serve the demon of
H.S.: What do you mean by saying that we don’t have philosophies adequate
to the task, and that our ideologies do not help the matter?
Plato: Marcuse, Adorno, Habermas and the whole lot of modern
ideologues are not really philosophers. They are completely bogged down; unable
to conceive of larger philosophical designs. They are obsessed with justifying
their partisan allegiances; in a sense, they are obsessed with their smallness.
In analysing the pathologies of our times, they do not help the matter
fundamentally. They only add some spices to the already poisonous stew.
Wittgenstein, too, got lost in his fly-bottle along with his flies.
Only Heidegger stands as a man apart and from his Olympian heights has the courage to speak on behalf of all humanity, to speak on behalf of Being, and our participation in Being, which in simple terms means participation in our wholeness while our soul is alive and singing.
H.S.: Plato, you are forgetting some names. You are forgetting Whitehead and
especially Teilhard de Chardin; the latter too, stands as a man apart; a man who
has the courage to speak on behalf of evolution, of all life: past, present and
the future. And Plato, I have to tell you that both you and Heidegger must
really rethink your position on being. You are both mystifying being. The
real story of life, of evolution, and of the spirit (which you call soul) is
that of becoming. The pursuit of the divine did not start with the first
amoeba. It came about as the result of innumerable acts of transcendence.
Transcendence is the stuff of becoming. Your being without becoming is a
lifeless pile of petrified forms of life. As I see, the dreaded process of
reification happened not as the result of the fall from grace—well, the fall
from grace was a by-product; at the root cause of the process was, how shall I
put it: an unfortunate epicycle on the spiral of becoming. We went into a cul-de-sac.
It is the spiral of becoming that we must attend to, transcend the cul-de-sac
and start a new cycle. Really return to the spiral which is congruent with
evolution. Perhaps the way to recovery lies not through the heroic individual
self-mending, but through the evolutionary process whereby the human race, while
transcending itself, leaves behind yet another skin. There is a bit of a mystery
how this is done. But snakes do shed their skins periodically. This is perhaps
what we mean to do as a human race at the present time.
Plato: Well, yes. Teilhard is OK. Pity I did not have his
writings at the time I was shaping my philosophy… But I wonder whether his
idea of transcendence and his whole philosophy of becoming constitutes solid
enough ground for our quest for permanence. We must be rooted. We must belong.
H.S.: This is all right. But let us not get imprisoned in old forms. We must
rethink what we mean by ‘permanence,’ ‘belonging,’ ‘rootedness.’ If
our journey is one of continuous becoming, then what we need is not a permanent,
rusty anchor, but a good, reliable floating spaceship. Now, Plato, what are our
conclusions concerning ideology and nature?
Plato: As I told you at the beginning, our discussion about
ideology and nature, if it is to have any deeper significance, is about the
integrity of our being. In this context, what has gone on in the twentieth
century under the name of ideology is but a corrupt philosophy, philosophy
crippled in its scope and crippling us as the result of its myopic concerns.
H.S.: And by our recent invoking of nature, we timidly attempt to build a new
ladder to heaven, although we still lack the courage to call heaven by its
Plato: This is about right. Courage is ultimately what you
will have to have. For without the courage to be and the courage to become, you
are simpletons of the Paleolithic age.
H.S.: Plato, you should not be so unkind to Paleolithic people. They had
plenty of integrity.
Plato: Yes, I know. But they could not play with symbols.
They did not have enough stars in them and too much clay. We should not envy
them. And you should not pity yourself. The human condition is one of nobility
and of the courage to reach the stars.
H.S.: What do you think is going to happen to us within the next century?
Plato: I don’t want to be a prophet of doom. But you will
probably blow yourself to pieces. You have got too much of this lethal nuclear
stuff laying around. But no. You will muddle through. The wisdom of the
race will prevail. You are coming through a very bad patch. But on the
evolutionary scale it is just a tiny ripple. Those transitions from one
evolutionary cycle to another are quite agonizing. The future never emerges out
of simple designs, for it is as complex as life and evolution itself. Your
technological forecasting has invariably been wrong. In any case ‘the
future’ emerging out of it is so one sided and simplistic that it is not worth
having it. You must use your imagination more and not be too obsessed by your
agonies. At such periods of transition we must not look too obsessively at our
trembling feet. May the stars guide you.
H.S.: Plato, we haven’t finished our discussion yet. I know you would like
to finish in a crisp and elegant way. But we must not sacrifice content for the
sake of elegance. We should really say more explicitly what we mean by nature,
don’t you think? Even if we are unable to give a succinct definition of
nature—for she is such an extraordinarily rich and elusive character—we
should at least attempt to outline some of her essential characteristics.
Plato: A definition of nature you want) do you? To give a
definition of philosophy was not that easy as you remember from the Symposium
and my other texts; but nature, how can I define ‘nature.’ How can I define
my own skin? Well, nature for me is my outer skin.
H.S.: Not very informative, Plato. People with a pedantic and analytical bent
of mind might even scorn at the looseness of your metaphors.
Plato: Alright, you try.
H.S.: Let me begin with a story. Some years ago, I was in the Tatra mountains,
one of the most dramatic ranges in Europe. A group of tourists went from a lower
lake to a higher lake renowned for its austere beauty. Then one person from this
group was asked what he saw up there. He replied: “Nothing, a heap of
rocks.” I was inwardly outraged by what I thought was a reaction of a
Paleolithic man. Only the de-natured man, de-sensitised man could see this
marvellous landscape in which you were surrounded by natural cathedrals, as a
heap of rocks. Later on, however, I was troubled by my high brow attitude and
asked myself whether this fellow, who perceived the environ of the higher lake
as “nothing but a heap of rocks,” was not as correct, or at least as
justified as I was who saw in those mountains magnificent cathedrals.
Plato: You are not serious, are you? You are not saying that
any denuded, half-formed halfwit, a sorry product of your artificial
civilisation, is as good a judge and perceiver of nature as those endowed with
exquisite sensitivities who can really see the whole grandeur of nature.
I won’t have this kind of relativism which signifies the perversion of
standards as well as the debasement of sensitivity. We in antiquity knew better
H.S.: You are rather getting hot under the collar, Plato.
Plato: Of course I get irritated when by design or
inadvertence the very heart of beauty is being brutalised. Without beauty, you
are as good as dead. Without the experience of the sublime you are a crawling
H.S.: I was actually leading in another direction. While reflecting on the
experience of this “half-formed half wit,” as you call him, and many other
people who see strange things in nature—who reduce it to economic resources;
who sometimes claim, as a former President of the United States did, that once
you have seen one redwood tree you have seen them all—I have come to the
conclusion that somehow we must be able to judge the whole range of perspectives
of nature without granting the half wit and the greedy the right to determine
what nature is. We can do that by developing a new perspective on nature, a
new way of viewing her. Instead of maintaining that it is an object for
our exploitation—the approach of economists and physical scientists; and while
avoiding the other extreme, that is of maintaining that nature is part of our
subjectivity, we can, and I think we must, take the middle position by
maintaining that nature is an intentional object, in the sense in which
objects of art are. In our perception of nature, we bring our context, our
intentional context to bear. What we perceive there is not simply what is out
there but what we can elicit, what we bring to nature. It is the power of
our intentional act of deciphering that makes nature either “a heap of
rocks” or an exquisite, unforgettable experience.
Plato: You are extending here the idea of your country man,
the Phenomenologist Roman Ingarden who, in his Das literarische Kunstwerke
(or whatever its title, an incisive piece of work, anyway) has claimed that all
works of art are intentional objects.
H.S.: Perhaps I am extending Ingarden’s idea and applying it to nature.
Plato: Ingarden has maintained that every work of art has
several layers. There is the physical layer—the actual physical bits of paint
with which a poem was printed; or the actual marble of which a given statue was
carved. There is the next layer, the literal meaning of words within a poem, of
a discernible female form which the sculpture depicts. And there is also the
symbolic layer, the deeper meaning of the poem, or on the other hand, the
symbolic attributes of the female form whether she purports to be Athena of
Aphrodite. The symbolic aspect of the work of art goes beyond all its previous
layers. In this aspect, the human intentional activity comes to play a most
important part: we intentionally decipher the symbolism contained in physical
artefacts. This is what culture is about—symbolism and the way we play with
it. Now this phenomenological approach to objects of art works very well with
regard to 20th century art. I am less certain whether it works so
well with regard to classical or representational art. I am still less certain
whether it can be applied to nature in its totality.
H.S.: I think it can and it does. After all, we are talking about the same
activity, the activity of the mind. All mind’s activities are, in a sense,
intentional. The mind always brings its context, its intentions to whatever it
perceives and deciphers for it perceives and deciphers within its own web. It
elicits rather than discovers and merely describes.
Plato: All right. But let us return to nature and your
phenomenological or intentional approach to her. Will this approach not be
another form of justifying subjectivism and relativism?
H.S.: Not really, for we can analyse the content of these acts of deciphering
and determine intersubjectively which of them are crude and primitive and why.
It is simply not the case that any simpleton has as much right to assert what is
beautiful as those with exquisite and refined sensitivities; it is simply not
the case that anything goes.
Plato: You are now reiterating some of my views expressed in my dialogues.
H.S.: Not so, Plato, for you postulated unalterable forms from which all stems
and in which the essences of all things reside. My approach is evolutionary. We
must acknowledge that as evolution unfolds, both on the biological and cultural
level, our perspective on nature changes. Nature as an object of our intentions
is not given to us, once and for all, in the same form or essence (as you would
imagine). Our intentional acts of deciphering her, in certain ways and not in
other ways, are culturally conditioned. Different cultures elicit different
aspects from nature; indeed often find in nature incompatible things.
Furthermore the act of intentional deciphering is rooted in our biology:
we have certain biological propensities which make us relate to nature in
specifically human ways; not as frogs would do it or donkeys but as humans do.
Also the act of intentional deciphering is related to and rooted in our
emotional structure. An important aspect of our culture and of our emotional
make up is our aesthetic experience. Nature has been an inexhaustible source of
our aesthetic inspiration—because we have been able to read so much into it.
Thus nature is an intentional object in many senses: intellectual
aesthetic, emotional, but also in the mythic sense—as the womb and the source
of it all. Now we can see that the enormous variety of man’s conceptions of
nature is the result of our multifarious intentional activities, the activity
that elicits from nature what we are capable of entertaining. This activity
involves not only our minds but also hearts and guts.
Plato: And now you would like to say that the variety of
intentional activities performed by any particular man should be judged vis-à-vis
total human heritage and in relation to those highest achievements which make
the species worthy of the name human beings. Therefore, we shall find
some approaches to nature degrading to the human condition, and therefore
degrading to nature. And there will be other approaches, which bring enhancement
to the human condition and are, therefore, in a sense upgrading nature. This is
not a bad scheme at all, particularly as on best interpretations nature will be
co-extensive with the highest reaches of man’s spirituality. Finally, you will
want to say that every intentional act of perception of nature (even when we
deal with so called ‘objective’ perception) is a normative act.
H.S.: This is all true. Our mind is always active, always reconstructing,
always co-creating. Even in so-called objective acts, mind invariably moulds and
reconstructs, presents things in a uniquely human way. For our objectivity is
but human objectivity. We don’t know what God’s objectivity might be
like. Within the human universe, if there is no mind, there is no knowledge, no
perception, no intentional act of any sort; finally no conception or perception
of nature. But mind is an evolutionary creation. The mind of the fish could
conceive less of nature (in less richness and variety at any rate) than the mind
of the monkey… which in turn is less versatile in the power of its
conception—put otherwise, in the power of its intentional activity—than the
human mind; which in the future may become more and more evolved, as we take
evolution in our own hands and become evolution conscious of itself, thus
consciously striving to broaden the scope of our spirituality and the total
scope of our mental powers.
Plato: You are bringing this fellow Teilhard back again, with
his conviction of the inexorable unfolding of evolution, aren’t you?
H.S.: This is true. My only excuse is that I believe that Teilhard’s
influence will grow as the time goes on. We are only at the beginning of the
understanding of our role in articulating evolution. Now Plato should we not
attempt to clarify the concept of ‘ideology’ as we have done it with
Plato: No, this would be tedious and unnecessary. Ideology is
a pernicious thing. I told you at the beginning, ideology arises out of the
corruption of philosophy. When you evolve a right kind of philosophy, that is
all encompassing and spiritually sustaining, you won’t need any ideology. Even
Heidegger was wrong: philosophy is not dead. And will arise as a phoenix to
inspire and guide. For philosophy is our wings without which we can only crawl.