J.B. begins with a discussion of the original split and resulting dualisms:
“The initial separation into subject and object is the ground of further oppositions, yet the whole is found, not in their later synthesis, which is a coming together of parts, but in uncovering our oppositions to disclose a more profound unity.”
Object arises out of the subject:
“The division of the primordial subject into a subjective and an objective portion replicates the pattern of mitosis in a single cell, as an iterated fission or parcellation gives from within a proliferation of object forms. As the object separates a subject appears. The world of the breast is exchanged for that of the mother’s smile. Over time, a self arises within the subject as the inner world articulates.”
What is freedom in this context?
“Freedom obtains in the opposition to objects, thus the attempt to control them, but only a self that feels itself in the object is genuinely free.”
The Fall! P.79:
“The loss of wholeness in the rupture of subject and object, then the individuation of self, is the price of freedom, as freedom is the consolation of autonomy.”
“Mind disowns its objects as it progresses to greater autonomy in a sequestration of the self from its own experiential products. Years later in withdrawal, in fusion or in embrace, the self will still be striving for the wholeness that was shattered when the subject first appeared. The self may seek to reclaim or drown in its objects. Mystical, meditative and trance states are paths to the whole. But wholeness is elusive, perhaps beyond life experience.”
Oh dear, doesn’t sound promising for one’s meditative projects!
“The world is the outer half of the subject. Through the inner half, the subject exists, through the outer half the subject is able to survive, not merely because the world is a source of nourishment. If the world should disappear, even for a second, as happens in the case of brain damage, the self would vanish with it. The continuity of the self requires a repeatable world, as the continuity of the world requires a repeatable self.”
How then do we live in this dualistic world?:
“The creative spirit moves freely fro one pole to another, from a lonely solitude at the peaks of conscious individuality to an absorption at the inward recesses of the unconscious where inspiration has its home. A settling in at the inner of outer pole points to an habitual recurrence. A focus at either phase is a sign of an unhealthy completeness. A tension, a longing for the unrealized polarity, is a sign of creative imbalance. We are neither oceans nor islands. An excess of autonomy is the sickness of our times. It isolates the feeling of being from that of becoming, separates the public self from its own internal process, as well as from tat of others, while an excess of the inward pole threatens oblivion and loss of contact.”
“Is “self forgetfulness” the loss of the self we crave? Forgetting the self is having the self as process rather than as memory, with individuality not lost but nested in the whole. The birth of the self is attended by conflict and apartness, but only a self can love, reflect, enjoy, endure. What is left of personhood without a self? Is a state of self-forgettng a regression to a sub-human consciousness?”
“But it is not the oneness of an animal consciousness that we desire rather, that of the seeker who at last achieves the goal of self forgetting, or denial in Buddhist thought, but retains the potential for enlightenment. The self is essential to knowing the goal and acquiring the means to its satisfaction, but it is also an obstruction, like a skill that has outlived its usefulness but cannot be forgotten.”
“Genuine freedom lies not in the delusion of autonomy and control, which are ordinary enslavements to illusion and brute impulse, but in accepting the world as a mode of self-realization or representation. But if autonomy permits a sham agency in disowning the world, how does reclaiming the world endow with greater freedom”
J.B answers the question and simultaneously answers critics of his idealism:
The result of perceiving the world as an extension of self, instead of a populated vastness with which the self makes contact, is that the self acts for the other as it would for its own needs. Idealism need not ignore the other or take a solipsistic turn, it can encircle the other in its orbit. Self realization is a criterion of value in the world for its own sake or for the sake of conscious beings.”
“Without insight, the urge to self-realization achieves a token insularity in its drive to autonomy. True self expression is the realization through the will of nature as it moves outward in the actualization of human ideals.”
Not mine Will but thine as we surrender to the process of nature – to Life.