Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On Karl Barth's Concept of Sin

From Karl Barth: Because of man's sinfulness it's impossible to find the meaning of history in history itself. Man can't find the meaning and purpose of its existence through man himself.

Some after thoughts: Biblical scholarship (secularly speaking) as a bastard son of Protestant theology is faulty as its approach to the historical problem of the West becomes a tautology. Here we return to Fichte znc our most hated contemporary thinkers, the meaning of history has to be found outside history, sd it by itself can't provide any data with which one can work with profit.

Historical questions become pointless, then times becomes irrelevant; a sort of deconstruction of God; the death of the author and the primacy of subjective individual readership. Such as the death-of-God theology, but if this God becomes un-alive (not necessarily dead) what else can justify the meaning sought? Perhaps only ethical Idealism and the Absolute Spirit of Hegel, the God of History.

But wasn't he dead? Wasn't history useless at all? It's bewildering to find out how lonely man is. How beauty, truth and goodness seem so unresponsive these days. The quest for anhistorical Christology loses its aim, then meaning is but within a dialectic or paradox of process. I might agree that it's no longer important whether the snake spoke to Eve or not, rather what was said or even better then human message therein.

If so, wasn't Western consciousness and memory relying entirely upon historical questions? The truth is literally historical, not philosophical! I think about the struggle of Alexandrian and Carthaginese schools of theology; the grammatico-historical method taking over the allegorical. A few questions at this point: The justifies the assassination of Origen, father of all theological activity (systemtically speaking), then the western canon would be to rest upon Augustine, Aristotle and Dyonisos. Were Augustine and Dyonisos so fully grammatico-historical? So undialectic and unallegorical? Then why was rhaetorics so important for Augustine? Wasn't all religious self-understanding in antiquity allegorical? Is history its very own enemy? That's perhaps Hegel's message, a hint to this paradox.

The end of history means the end of consciousness, the starting point of history. At this point systematic philosophy and theology are both problematic; for isn't a system always open-ended? Both cyclical and linear history could be seen as process-driven, non-linear history is then the foundational principle underlying vertigo, but a type of history for which disacknowledgement of God is as useless as his knowledge in the traditional view.

If religion was for the ancients what for us is culture, then culture today and with it modernity are mere self-reflections, but of enormous value. Philosophy or cultural philosophy as modernity itself isn't an imaginary flight on culture; the end of history has forced philosophy to find a refugee status in the earthly world. In that sense modernity is a struggle, a struggle to escape consciousness to begin history anew. A history in which history itself will carry its own meaning.

One in which reason and consciousness will meet not at the end of a syllogism but rather naturally, except for the fact that this natural world for the meeting to take place doesn't necessarily have to exist in the appropriate manner, it doesn't in actuality. Philosophy and the world can no longer separate; any social criticism no matter how scientific is also in a certain way truly and falsely philosophical. A struggle between reason, consciousness and modernity. In an ideal world the organized "modernity" could be solely institutional and leave philosophy to theorize (in the Greek sense) a-la-Socrates. This is really the world of the liberal theologians, but as both the new and the old order have collapsed one can no longer afford to be an Aristophanes or a Heidegger.

This is where my judgement starts, in Socrates and Jesus (my opinion has changed by now though, but this is interesting material).. but it doesn't culminate in Adorno... in ends in the Midrashic modes of Milan Kundera. The task of philosophy today is to show that such an ideal world is no longer possible once an awareness of its necessity is discovered, and that happened as long ago as two millenia in both Athens and Jerusalem. An ideal world can't be an artificial construct resting upon a categorical rejection of the natural order, as in the French Revolution.

At this point perhaps the most heavenly of utopias would be the realization (not awareness) that this unideal world is still liveable, that the ideal world is only a category of hope, a history of human desire and the underlying principle in the background of the Greek tragedy. History appears less causative than it appears arbitrary, "causative" isn't possible without awareness and "arbitrariness" is a mere representation of desperate empathy; an empathy that goes as far as saying that the most supreme knowledge is the awareness on the impossibility of itself. From this point on any epistemological activity is shattered and any metaphysics impossible.

Only reflexion is left, one that becomes most unphilosophical and meaningless when it enters the world. It can profitably enter the world only as political science and social criticism. Philosophy shouldn't be an adolescent sturm und drang to guide correct lives as in the Goethe religion of Rahel. It must remain as a flight, a conscious flight yet a void in consciousness. A reminder of the unideal world, a principle of hope.