The Balance Of Objectivity And Subjectivity
There is another important duality in philosophy besides anthropocentricity and theocentricity and the material and spiritual, namely objectivity and subjectivity. These two philosophical aspects must be perfectly in balance as well. The rationalists think that through autonomous reason we can be mainly objective. We remain stuck with a bit of subjectivity due to inevitable ignorance. The hidden motivation behind this position is of course the deification of reason, by means of which the rationalists try to play God. Its inner weakness is that subjectivity is considered a necessary evil. Its inner tension is the fact that reason by necessity cannot transcend matter totally, while that is the goal of the rationalists. So sooner or later they feel cooped up in its determinism. To escape this tension, which is illogical in the first place, so called logical positivists and language analysts have claimed that metaphysical questions are altogether meaningless. All we must do is to concentrate on the logical “facts” that are positively verifiable. This deification of objectivity tries to go to its logical extreme. It practically denies subjective feelings and spiritual ideas altogether. Thus it kills off our non-material half, at least in theory.
What these people do not realize, is that their fondness of so-called facts is an irrational emotion and a spiritual ideology gone mad. If all we are is just unknowable matter and a mind looking for absolute objectivity, then we ourselves are meaningless facts The logical positivists called the old philosophical questions, the great problems, meaningless. However their factology itself is practically meaningless. What does the fact mean to me that my wife is married to me, if all we are supposed to know is just objectivity? We may as well call the facts “tlips”
All this so-called objectivity makes us prisoners of the facts, rather than masters. This is its horrible tension and its utter weakness. The scientist that treats his wife as a fact, rather than as a person to be cherished, loved and lived for, is a slave of his own madness. Where is the mysterium tremendum of smelling a rose? Is sex just a fact or something in which you can submerge yourself with all your soul and spirit? This atheistic philosophy is one of the curses that turns this world into a desert.
On the other end of the scales a similar slide into madness occurs. The mystic wants to be involved in reality as subjectively as possible. Objectivity is only necessary in as far as we must know what we must be subjective about. The emotional soul is idolized here. The inner weakness of mysticism and pantheism is that the mind with its power to be objective is just considered a necessary evil, a slave then at best, that must be subdued to the soul. Therefore its inner tension is the fact that the soul cannot be totally set free from cold reason. To escape this irrational tension, spiritists carry subjectivity to its logical extreme. The mind must be totally emptied, if not denied. Our individuality is also considered an evil rational notion. It is an illusion of the material world. Just as the objectivists get totally enslaved in the so-called facts, so the subjectivists become total slaves of spiritual powers, demons really. These spirits fool their mediums with cleverly devised schemes. This is the horrible tension of spiritism gone wild in various Asian religions.
The truth is that we can never set our minds outside of our hearts, nor can we set our spirits totally outside of our minds. Only God can be absolutely objective as well as absolutely subjective. If we try to be either, sooner or later we will unmasked as mad idolaters. The idealization of so-called objective science has let us into a morass of technical meaninglessness. Psychologists in their efforts to be objective and scientific have murdered our souls. Crime Is on the rise and so are all kind of psychiatric problems. Our souls die crying out for true emotional value and spiritual meaningfulness. Rationalism has hollowed us out. So the subjectivism of mysticists and spiritists has dragged many into a veritable slough of despond (witness India).
The objective and subjective sides of human nature must be kept in balance. Pure objectivity is a myth as well as pure subjectivity. All incoming sense impressions are coloured by our emotions and spiritual ideas. So the latter pair is influenced by our rational thoughts, theories and material practicality. The logical positivists and spiritists kill us in opposite ways.
The key to the universe is found in the rightly balanced and integrated position of the heart towards God and creation. This balance is at once objective and subjective. Our intrinsic and extrinsic sides must be in harmony. The key is not found in either side by itself, nor in any of the four human entities. None of these is autonomous in itself.
To a certain extent we create our own reality. The materialist bars God and demons out of his sight. The latter are only too willing to play along and hide themselves. The spiritist conjures them up. Again the demons are all too willing to comply. In both cases Satan acts from a person’s wishes and tries to fulfill them. A person’s heart surrounds itself with its own subjective reality. (The paradox of logical positivism is that it is as subjective as spiritism!). Subsequently it makes up a philosophy that must satisfy the mind in accordance with its own subjective realisation of self.
This conceitedness is caused by the heart’s desire to rid itself of God and play God instead. Thus the world is full of Illusion and mirror play. In God’s eyes all philosophies are like so many cream puffs that one day will disappear like snow in the sun light of His Truth.
It seems that in the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament we have a certain combination of respectively subjectivity and objectivity. The pious Jew in the times of the Old Testament was directly emotionally and morally involved in his world. There is an immediate relationship to God and the environment. Witness David’s penitential psalm 51 and his star psalm 19 and Solomon’s “Go to the ant, you lazy one (Prov. 6.6) and you will be impressed by the directness of the Jew’s emotional and spiritual subjectivity. Some of this resounds in the Arabic “Allahu Akbar!” ‘Allah is great.’
The Greek world is known for its attempt to objectivize God and nature. Theirs is an analytical aloofness. Some of this also seems to permeate the Greek New Testament. Particularly the apostle Paul acquired some of this objective ability, but of course combined it with his Jewish heritage. Paul said “The Jew wants a sign and the Greek seeks wisdom (1 Corinthians 1. 22). Unfortunately Christendom has largely failed to produce a powerful combination of the two. Yet the message of Christianity, I think, can combine both the Hebrew subjectivity of the Semitic and the Greek objectivity of the gentile. And if I am not mistaken, this means that God’s Grace not only addresses the heathen in his own tongue, but also it means that the gospel can accommodate his culture in so far as it is good.
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