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INTRODUCTORY NOTE ON THE PATH OF THE SPIRIT PDF Print E-mail
Life – Consciousness

the spiritIn these texts on the 'Path of the Spirit', we deal with articulated terms in experiential evolution and perspective. In this way a lived flow of experience becomes apparent which is determined and defined linguistically in a field of consciousness directed towards the Spirit, where the Spirit is regarded as the transcendental field of reference. As Henri Bergson suggests, the transcendental field of reference is retrospectively approachable, through intuition, and is expressed creatively through the intellect. We approach it semiotically through a transcendental phenomenological awareness.

It should be said that there are at least two systems of articulation of experiential discourse:
1. One of these is semiotic. Its use has been limited in history. We can see the semiotic mode, together with the systemic, in a combined form, in Spinoza's Ethics in an attempt to examine the elements of Euclid as a philosophical isomorphism of the articulation of geometrical ratio. There have been more strongly semiotic styles, and it is these which have a venturesome verbal self-sufficiency or proposals - syllogisms which, however, are not integrated in terms of a world theory as a cognitive system, but have an allusive, but also emphatic dynamic and indicativeness.
2. The other system is established, in the form of chapters, systemically argued.

The initial text and ways of approaching it
The initial text in which a sample of analysis has been developed - both by the author and by Ioanna Moutsopoulou - began to be written in 1982, although there had been earlier attempts on a similar frequency, in the same range of discourse, manner, and content. It is a semiotically articulated text, with numbered paragraphs, without chapters and with an extent of more than some 2,500 pages.

This analysis has been made so that the experiential methodology of the text will be accessible, and, further, for the bringing out of a complementary viewpoint between the author and any possible reader, thus demonstrating differentness, but also similarity in the manner of approach, and also clarifying the semiotic expressions and the experiential signposts, in such a way that they do not appear only to be ideological or showing a predilection, but are also apprehended as belonging systemically to a world theory, even though - as we have said - this particular text was not written in this way.

We take as an initial foundation introduction to the whole issue Henri Bergson’s observation on the concept of intuition when speaking of the retrograde process of the Spirit in the direction of itself,[1] as well as the observation of Aurobindo[2] on this leap of the thought process as it is developed, for example, in the ancient scriptures, in the ancient texts of India and the East.

We would note similar approaches which have been made at a more modern level - of semiotic articulated discourse - and the necessity for this, in parallel with the intuitive retrospective approach to the spirit, which, however, becomes clear intellectually, creatively. We take also into account Edmund Husserl’s remarks on the direct and impersonal approach to experiential validation as he himself analyses it in his Philosophy as a Rigorous Science.[3]
We conclude our introduction with a passage from Husserl's work which deals with the mission of the West and the spirit which will be reborn from the 'ashes of the great weariness', and with the rebirth of a new inwardness of life and a new spirituality which is "the first omen of a splendid and distant future of mankind, since only the spirit is immortal".
"Europe’s greatest danger is weariness. If we struggle against this greatest of all dangers as 'good Europeans' with the sort of courage that does not fear even an infinite struggle, then out of the destructive blaze of lack of faith, the smouldering fire of despair over the West’s mission for humanity, the ashes of great weariness, will rise up the phoenix of a new life-inwardness and spiritualisation as the pledge of a great and distant future for man: for the spirit alone is immortal."[4]

The term 'spirit' has been much used in an abusive way. We do not believe that the spiritual is simply the exotic, the esoteric, or the religious. We regard this exclusivity as in itself sacrilegious and antispiritual. It is a form of totalitarianism. The spiritual can manifest itself in a variety of ways; it is also manifested in the field of action. In any event, The Path of the Spirit is a myriad-tinted spectrum. Furthermore, in this series, we shall expound a phasmatic manner of approach to the Spirit. The path being phasmatic means that it is multicoloured and polytonic. But that which characterises it above all is the transcendentalism of awareness, intuitive immediacy, the decentralisation of the consciousness, the renunciation of all appropriation in the consciousness and in identification or decentralization even of the identity. We wish, quite simply, to highlight a wealth, an experiential multiplicity through which such a Path may unfold and be trodden, thus giving expression to the fundamental quest, as formulated, to give but two examples, by Edmund Husserl or Aurobindo as to the 'Enigma of this World'.

__________________
[1] Bergson, Henri, Introduction to Metaphysics [Greek edition], 1962, DIPHROS publications, p. 60: "Is it not, then, preferable that we should call by another name a function which is not, of course, that which we usually call intellect? We say that it is intuition. It represents the attention which the spirit pays to itself while it adheres to matter, which is its objective dimension. This complementary attention can be cultivated methodically and can be developed. In this way a science of the spirit will be constituted, a true metaphysics, which will define the spirit positively, instead of simply denying as regards itself everything that we know about matter. In giving this meaning to this science, committing to intuition the knowledge of the spirit, we are not withdrawing anything from the intellect, because we maintain that the metaphysics which was the work of pure intellect precluded time, that from that moment it denied the spirit or defined it with negations; we readily leave this totally negative knowledge of the spirit to the intellect if the intellect insists on keeping it; we simply maintain that there is also another knowledge."
[2] Sri Aurobindo, 1976, Isa Upanishad [Greek edition], NEA EPOCHI LIBRARY publications, pp. c. & d.:
"The method of modern writing, which was borrowed from the Greeks, who were the first nation to replace inspiration with the intellect, is like the progress of a snake over a field: slow, spiralling, circumstantial, completely covering every centimetre of the ground. The literary method of the ancients is like the steps of a Titan striding over one reef after the other above flat and unexplored waters. The modern method trains the intellect, the ancient illumines the soul. In the latter there is also a perfect logical cohesion, but this logic requires our understanding and expects of it to follow something of the same illumination which dwells in its plot. This difference is so profoundly characteristic that the Greek sets out even his poetry through the law and manner of logical intellectuation; the Indian tends to subjugate even prose to the law and manner of the enlightened vision. The Wise Man in the Isa is an inspired poet who writes about God and life in a style that is lucid, but also of rugged and epic grandeur, lofty and magnificent, but without the European tendency towards breadth and sentences, laconically, with weighty meaning, totally decisively –  each word, enriched with meaning, leaves behind it thousands of echoes of ritual sounds. The terms of the method of writing must be received with full esteem when we are attempting to interpret his thought."  
[3] Husserl, Edmund, Philosophy as Rigorous Science [Greek edition], 1988, ROES publications.
[4] Husserl, Edmund, The Crisis of European Man Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology [Greek edition], 1991, ERASMOS publications, p. 63.


Ioannis Zisis, writer   

Photo from wikimedia

For further reading:
- The Path of the Spirit I
- The Path of the Spirit II

 

 
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